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2/26/13 7:28 A

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Learn more about Leg Cramps www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness
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Most of the time, night leg cramps occur for no known reason, and they're usually harmless. In general, night leg cramps are likely to be related to muscle fatigue and nerve problems.
The risk of having night leg cramps increases with age. Pregnant women also have a higher likelihood of experiencing night leg cramps.

In rare situations, night leg cramps can be associated with an underlying disorder, such as peripheral artery disease in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs diabetes or spinal stenosis.

Some drugs, particularly intravenous iron, estrogens and naproxen, have been linked to night leg cramps so do keep a journal of activities, times and severity, of the cramps to help you and your doctor have a better look into this issue.

1. Eliminating Night Cramps When They Occur
Attempt to relieve cramp by extending the leg and angle the foot in toward the knee. Alternatively, grasp onto your toes and pull them in the direction of your knee.
Get up, walk around, and shake your leg vigorously, then go back to bed and prop your leg up on a pillow.
Gently massage the area applying a circular motion to help to relieve the tight muscle.
Loosen your sheets and blankets so that your toes and feet don't point which may cause your muscles to contract and bring on another painful cramp.
Soak in a warm bath, take a shower or apply a heating pad to the cramp for at least 10 minutes.

2. Eliminating the Cause of Night Cramps
Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day so that vitamins and minerals can adequately be absorbed in the body.
Stretch your legs every night. One way is to stand at a forward tilt about 30 inches from a wall, keeping your heels flat and steady. Slide your hands up the wall to lengthen the muscles in your legs. Hold for about a minute.
Maintain supple muscles by swimming or participating in water exercises.
Wear appropriate walking shoes and stay away from high heels.
Be sure that you are getting enough calcium, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamins E and A.
Include bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe and citrus fruits in your daily diet. These foods contain potassium, which is a key mineral in helping to regulate muscle activity.

Fun Facts
The term may date back to American slang of the 1880s, possibly from the pitcher Charlie "Old Hoss" Radbourn who is said to have suffered from cramps. When he kept suffering from cramp in his matches the name Charley Hoss was born. The term later became known as Charley Horse.




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