Natural Treatment for Nocturnal Leg Cramps
It grabs you suddenly, seemingly without warning. One minute you’re feeling sleepss gentle arms enfold you, the next your muscle is tightening, leg tensing out of control and burning pain ripping you awake.
Yep, a bit prosey, but how else to describe nocturnal leg cramps (NLC)? They jolt you awake, hurt like the dickens, and keep you tossing and not turning for fear they’ll return or have you hopping out of bed running as best you can for a warm bath.
Nocturnal leg cramps most often present in the calf muscles but can also occur in the thighs, feet or toes. They can last for a few seconds up to several minutes. Once the cramp goes away, there may be residual pain and tightness. They can be quite painful and because of the location of the affected muscle may cause difficulty in walking or finding relief.
Causes of Nocturnal Leg Cramps
You may never know where an NLC comes from but in some cases with a little thought you may determine it occurred because you:
- Sat for an extended period of time during the day
- Overexerted the affected muscle or surrounding muscles
- Stood or worked on concrete floors
- Sat in a chair that was not ergonomically designed for your body type
NLC’s have also been linked to certain medical conditions and medications, including
- Dehydration or electrolyte imbalances
- Deficiency in micro minerals like magnesium and potassium
- Neuromuscular disorders or diseases
- Structural issues like flat feet and misaligned spine
- Endocrine disorders like diabetes and hypothyroidism
- Prescription medications: diuretics, statins, beta agonists
What Can Be Done?
First, your doctor will determine the cause of the leg cramps through full case history or specific testing like the hair mineral analysis, VegaTest Expert or blood test. Determining whether there is a deficiency or electrolyte imbalance is imperative as it may indicate malabsorption or more serious conditions.
Stay hydrated throughout the day. Don’t wait till 8 at night to drink your 8 glasses of water or else you’ll be up all night for other reasons. Drink water throughout the day. Make sure it is water and not tea or coffee or juice.
- Ask your naturopathic doctor for specific stretches to do before you go to sleep.
- Keep blankets and sheets loose around your feet so your legs don’t get distorted while sleeping and for a quick escape out of bed in case you get a NLC.
- During the day wear proper shoes that fit well. Add a proper orthotic if you have flat feet or fallen arches.
- Ride a stationery bike before going to bed.
- Have a 30 minute infra red sauna before bed followed by a warm shower.
- Treat the underlying cause first!!! Find out what nutrients you are deficient in and then speak with your naturopathic doctor about a Myer’s Cocktail to get the right nutrients to your muscles fast.