Muscle cramps pertain to the painful contraction or tightening of the muscles. They usually last for a few seconds to a few minutes. They can happen to different parts of the body. Nocturnal leg cramps, on the other hand, usually happen in the calves and spread to the feet while a person is sleeping.
The primary cause of this is injury or overuse of muscles during exercise or physical activities. The way the legs are used during the day causes cramps too. Standing for long hours, sitting for a long time, crossing legs and putting legs in awkward positions all make the muscles to contract or tighten.
Exposure to cold weather or cold water also causes cramps during sleep. This explains why warm baths are recommended especially to those who have been outdoors before going to sleep. There are times when cramps are caused by lack of nutrients in the body. These include calcium, potassium and other minerals. Taking certain medications, coffee and carbonated beverages also cause muscle cramps.
As cramps happen, stretch and massage your legs. Take painkillers that can be bought over the counter for severe pain. Remember to take a lot of fluids because dehydration cause the muscles to be in poor condition. Directly apply a cold or warm compress on the cramped area. Taking a warm bath can help relax the muscles too. If the cramping doesn’t stop, try walking around and jiggling your legs.