Muscle cramps are caused by painful and involuntary contractions of a muscle or group of muscles. Nighttime or nocturnal cramps manifest as sudden muscle pain and stiffness in the legs, feet or both, while at rest. They can interfere with sleep. The cramps only last a few minutes, sometimes seconds.
The cause of nighttime leg cramps is often unknown. Certain factors however, may contribute to their onset:
There are several techniques and treatments that are said to help relieve and prevent nighttime muscle cramps in the legs. There is little evidence however, to support their effectiveness. Here are a few measures to consider as an initial strategy to reduce nighttime leg cramps:
When nighttime muscle cramps occur, here is what you can do to relieve them and reduce recurrences:
Do not hesitate to see your doctor if muscle cramps often wake you at night, if they prevent you from getting enough sleep, if they are very painful, or if they develop in other areas such as the upper back or stomach.
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.