Nighttime should be a time of rest and relaxation, however, for many people, it’s the time of the day when muscles begin to cramp. These night cramps, or nocturnal cramps, occur when muscles contract or spasm involuntarily, and as the name suggests – this generally occurs at night. This often painful and frustrating condition most commonly arises in the calf muscles, but can also occur in other areas of the body.
Of course, nocturnal cramps usually occur just when you’re ready to go to sleep! So, what are the causes, and what can you do to prevent nocturnal cramps?
The causes of night cramps
These nightly cramps have a number of possible causes; however, the precise cause is unknown. The following are commonly considered to be contributing risk factors:
* Dehydration – as it alters the balance of minerals and electrolytes in the body
* Magnesium deficiency
* Over-exertion of muscles
* Inadequate warm up
* Poor or reduced blood supply to the area
* Poor or unbalanced diet
* Certain medications, such as certain diuretics, blood pressure and cholesterol medications
* Pregnancy – due to various changes occurring in the body
* Spending long periods wearing high-heels
How to help with the prevention of night cramps
* Ensure adequate water intake throughout the day, as well as prior to, during and after exercise
* Consume a nutritionally balanced diet
* Improve physical fitness – gradually
* Ensure you warm up, cool down and stretch properly and adequately
* Wear properly fitting shoes and minimize time spent wearing high heels
* Receive regular massages – to help increase blood flow (and therefore nutrients and oxygen), helping to remove toxins, reduce stiffness and increase flexibility
To help with reducing the duration and severity of cramping, try some gentle stretching, and massage the affected area.
If you have been suffering from muscular cramping – whether at night or otherwise – contact us at 13th Beach Health Services in Barwon Heads. Our team of osteopaths, physiotherapists, massage therapists and podiatrists are here to help relieve your symptoms, allowing you to have a more restful nights sleep. Get in touch with our experienced team today on (03) 5254 2668 to book your appointment, and get back to resting and relaxing at nighttime again!