How To Stop Leg Cramps
Learning how to stop leg cramps is invaluable to anyone who has experienced the sudden, painful, involuntary contractions of muscles in their legs. The cramp, or "charley horse," is often an isolated spasm of all or part of one or more muscles. It can occur in the foot, the calf, the hamstrings (back of the thigh) or the quadriceps (front of the thigh). No matter what muscles are involved, all you can think of is, "How can I stop these leg cramps!" It might surprise you to learn that true night leg cramps most often occur for no known reason, and though it's hard to believe, the precise cause of leg cramps isn’t known,but there are some pretty strong suspects.
- Leg cramps can be caused by strained or overused muscles. This is common with endurance athletes, or anyone trying to do the same things today, that they did 20 years ago.
- Muscles may contract if they’re getting an inadequate blood supply. This can happen if a muscle's kept in the same position for an extended time.
- Dehydration is another common cause, often the result of simply not drinking enough water or liquids per day. Drink a minimum of six to eight, 8-oz.. glasses of water/liquid per day. Water is best.
- Depletion of minerals in your body, such as potassium, sodium, calcium or magnesium, can often cause leg cramps. Be aware, that diuretic drugs can cause dehydration, and dehydration depletes the minerals in your body.
You need to know how to stop leg cramps if they occur. Even though the cramp may last only a few seconds, it can last up to 15 minutes or longer, and it might even recur multiple times before it goes away. So, you need to be patient, and you need to be persistent. To stop leg cramps, here are some great ideas to try.
- First, stop doing whatever activity it was that triggered the cramp. Calf cramps can be triggered by something as seemingly innocent as a morning stretch before you get out of bed. When the cramp is in the foot or calf, try to raise or elevate the leg, and "point your toes to your nose." In other words, stretch the back of the leg by pointing your toes up and back towards your shin.
- Try to gently stretch and massage the affected muscle. When a muscle is in spasm, the affected muscle may appear distorted, or feel hard, and may feel as though it's too painful to touch.
- Gently massage the muscle with ice if it’s tender or sore, and use heat, if the muscle is tight or tense.
- Sometimes walking or jiggling the leg gives some relief.
- Taking a hot shower or warm bath may also help.
- Quinine is still a very popular and successful remedy, but check it out first, as some people may experience potentially dangerous side effects.
If you do fall prey to a painful spasm, remember to try the remedies above. There's a good supply of ammunition that will help you stop leg cramps in their tracks.