Leg pain in night can be quite uncomfortable and can cause disruptions in sleep apart from making a person anxious about its cause. While it’s possible to get leg cramps due to extreme physical activity or dehydration, especially in summer, certain medicines or health conditions could also be behind it. (Also read: 5 easy Yoga poses to get relief from chronic pain)
Nocturnal leg pain is also called Charley Horse and is a common condition. If the leg pain is due to physical strain, stretching or hydrating well during workouts can help prevent this condition. One can try flexing the muscles or apply hot or cold pads for relief.
“Leg pain at night-time, or nocturnal leg pain, also called Charley Horse, is not very uncommon and most of the time it is usually self-diagnosable and self-treatable. Many times, the reasons are not well known but in some cases muscle cramp is due to long exercise or physical activity, especially in the summers. Dehydration, age, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions or prolonged use of some medications may increase the risk of a muscle cramp,” Dr. Ramkinkar Jha, Chief and Unit Head – Department of Orthopaedics, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram said in an interview with HT Digital.
“Some uncommon causes like tendinitis, DVT, insufficiency fractures, varicosity of veins, peripheral arterial disease, and Metabolic like gout or electrolyte dysfunction should not be excluded, especially if the pain is intractable or difficult to deal with,” adds Dr Jha.
What are leg cramps
“Leg cramps are painful muscle spasms that might last seconds or minutes. They have an impact on your sleep, exercise regimen, and overall quality of life. Certain medical illnesses and medicines can cause them, and there are several risk factors to avoid. When you have a cramp, try flexing the muscle, administering heat or cold, and massaging the affected region. Leg cramps are sharp, involuntary muscular aches that commonly occur in the calf, foot, or thigh. They are also known as ‘Charley horses.’ Your leg may spasm, or tense uncontrollably, as a result of the cramp. Cramps, while uncomfortable, are often harmless,” Dr Rakesh Nair, Consultant Knee Replacement Surgeon at Zen Multispecialty Hospital, Chembur told HT Digital.
How does a leg cramp feel?
A leg cramp feels like a clenched, constricted muscle that has knotted up. It can be extremely unpleasant, painful, or even excruciating. Your muscles in the affected area may pain for hours after the cramp has passed.
How to get rid of a leg cramp
Dr. Ramkinkar Jha suggests some easy remedies to get rid of nocturnal leg cramps.
– Stretching and hydration during exercise or work can help prevent a Charley horse.
– Simple stretches and massages with Epsom salts can help relax the muscle and stop it from contracting.
– Heating pads can smooth the relaxation process, while an ice pack can help reduce swelling and pain.
– If these simple measures don’t solve the issue, then popular medications like naproxen and combi flam can help a lot. In most cases, the charley horse will ease out within a few minutes.