Usually, people associate suffering from leg cramps are due with vitamin deficiency. However, the painful and sudden tightening of your muscles, commonly referred to as a charley horse, can cause more problems within your lifestyles, such as insomnia or difficulty concentrating.
The pain lasts anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. While it typically goes away on its own, frequent leg cramps can cause you to look for help elsewhere. For example, you might consider taking vitamins or supplements to help treat your leg muscle cramps.
Leg cramps can lead to more health conditions down the road. It could be helpful to consult with a doctor to see if you are having pains due to nerve issues or some other root cause. The problem with them is that limited evidence supports the efficacy of vitamins and supplements for treating your muscle cramps.
WHAT CAUSES LEG CRAMPS?
The specific reasons for leg muscle cramps are not entirely known. But you can consult with a doctor or healthcare provider if you’d like to have some tests done that can help determine what they might be stemming from. Then you can take some action to cease or prevent it.
Some reasons for leg cramps may include:
- Muscle fatigue
- Nerve dysfunction or irregularities
- Electrolyte imbalance or low levels of magnesium, potassium, or calcium – this is why many people look to these vitamins and why they can be helpful in some cases if it is a true vitamin deficiency.
- Side effects from medications – cholesterol-lowering meds, blood pressure or edema treatments, anemia, and medicines to help prevent osteoporosis could be playing a role in giving you leg cramps.
If you are using any current medications and suffering from leg cramps, talk to your doctor and find out if they are a side effect of the medicine. There may be another alternative medicine that you can take that may reduce or not have that same side effect.
Some other health-related conditions could be causing leg muscle cramps. Leg cramps could signify an underlying health problem such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, or hyperthyroidism.
Other lifestyle situations and evens could potentially be causing your leg cramps. For example sitting too long throughout the day, working on hard surfaces, or standing for hours at a time. In addition, too little water or other fluids and electrolytes within the body could be a potential reason for muscle cramps.
VITAMINS FOR CRAMPS IN LEGS
As per the ongoing research the potential reason of muscle cramps is known to be the vitamin deficiency. It is recommended to consult with your doctor before using any supplements or vitamins to prevent leg cramps.
- Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, enables the body to utilize carbohydrates as energy and is essential for glucose metabolism.
If you are relatively active and are experiencing leg cramps, your muscles may have become weak. You may want to add additional Vitamin B1. Foods high in Vitamin B1 include nuts, peas, and brown rice.
- Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, called Riboflavin, is a nutrient that helps keep your body’s nerves and blood cells healthy and prevents anemia.
If you are feeling tired or weak and suffering from night time leg cramps, think about getting some Vitamin B12. It can also be found in foods such as beef, chicken, and shellfish.
Read here for the best vitamin B12 deficiency tests.
- Vitamin D
Some medical experts believe a lack of Vitamin D could be causing leg muscle cramps. Severe deficiency reduces your muscle mass and makes muscles weak. You may want to incorporate Vitamin D in your diet.
Foods high in Vitamin D include tuna, salmon, milk, and plant milks.
If your diet is deficient in D vitamins, you may want to consider a supplement. Read here for our best Vitamin D supplements.
Magnesium helps bring potassium and calcium across your body, with most being found in the bones. A lack of magnesium could contribute to muscle spasms in the legs.
Add magnesium supplements or foods rich in magnesium. Avocados, leafy vegetables, lentils, and peanuts can help your body with more magnesium and take the cramps away.
Potassium is a necessary nutrient that helps to keep standard cell functionality in your nerves and muscles. Deficiency of potassium has been heavily associated with leg cramps. So you should add some potassium supplements if you frequently exercise to help your nocturnal leg cramps. Some foods high in potassium include potatoes, dried fruits, and bananas.
Besides vitamins, calcium, or supplements when you’re suffering from leg cramps, some excellent alternatives cost little to no money and help treat the cause.
If your diet is deficient in potassium, you may want to consider a supplement. Read here for our best potassium supplements.
NATURAL, ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS FOR MUSCLE CRAMPS
There are exercises and stretches that you can do for yourself to relieve the pain of leg cramps.
Before reaching for vitamins, supplements, or other medications, think about trying out the following simple things to help relieve pain. These ways are also helpful in preventing muscle cramps. So you should do them frequently even when you are not suffering to keep the Charley horses away:
- Movement and walking around: Any leg work you can do throughout the day, even if only for a few minutes, can help keep the blood flowing and your legs from cramping.
- Stretching your legs: Simple stretches like reaching down to touch your toes and then getting on your tiptoes with arms up to the sky are great for your legs and feet.
- Stay hydrated: If you exercise at all, you should be drinking plenty of water throughout the day, but even if you are not, keeping yourself hydrated is essential for your body and will help keep your muscles from feeling too tired and cramping up.
- Apply heat: Putting a warm compress or heating pad on your sore muscles around your legs is effective in relieving pain and helping prevent nighttime leg cramps.
- Compression socks or stockings: Wearing compression socks all day may seem extreme. But you can find many benefits for your leg and muscle pain with compression socks or stockings. These help apply pressure to maintain blood flow and keep your legs from getting muscle cramping.
- Massage: Massaging also produces heat on your muscles. Consider getting a deep muscle tissue massage to help increase circulation, remove toxins and effectively relieve pain and keep your muscles tightening.
- Ride a bike: Another form of exercise is biking. Whether you do a stationary bike at home or take a bike ride around the neighborhood doesn’t matter. It is essential to get your legs moving and active to help prevent muscle cramps.
If you smoke, it would be helpful to quit since smoking can be a root cause in giving you poor circulation and a direct attribute to your leg muscle cramps. In addition, it will also help to look at your nutrition and diet to see if there are some better foods to help keep you hydrated and build your muscle.
FINDING RELIEF FROM LEG CRAMPS
There are various causes of leg muscle cramps, but it is also possible that there is no pinpointed explanation for them. So try out some of these helpful suggestions to see if you can relieve muscle cramps.
However, if you don’t find relief or you are concerned that you have frequent cramping in your legs, it is best to speak with your doctor or a healthcare professional for a medical opinion.
Evaluate your daily habits and lifestyle at home. See where you can make some simple changes to incorporate more movement and stretches. Stay hydrated to keep the blood flowing through your legs throughout the day, and you should see a noticeable difference.