Everyone experiences muscle cramps from time-to-time. Perhaps your neck gets cramped after a day at your desk or you get a leg cramp after exercise when you’ve been sedentary for a long time.
Some women get leg cramps after wearing high heels. The solution to most of these common cramps is to stretch the muscles regularly and, in the case of high heels, avoid them.
There is another kind of cramp that people often experience: nocturnal leg cramps. Just as you’ve fallen deep asleep, you’re awakened by severe and painful cramping in your calf muscle. Most people jump up and hop around on the affected leg until the cramp goes away. But, occasionally, it returns. Sometimes the cramp is in the thigh; sometimes the foot.
The first thing to check if you are experiencing nocturnal leg cramps is your prescription drugs. Some can cause cramping. Diuretics, taken for high blood pressure or heart disorders, can cause an imbalance of your potassium and magnesium levels.
The most common cause of nocturnal leg cramps is calcium deficiency. If you are , trying to lose weight, or don’t consume enough calcium, you are vulnerable to developing leg cramps. To relieve leg cramps and prevent any long-term problems associated with calcium deficiency, start today to increase your calcium consumption. If you’re avoiding fat, try nonfat yogurt and skim milk. Also, you can take a calcium supplement at bedtime.
Pregnant women are sometimes vulnerable to leg cramps, which usually occurs due to a change in their calcium metabolism. Calcium supplements can help. Please check with your obstetrician before beginning any supplements. Another help for nocturnal leg cramps is vitamin E.
If neither calcium nor vitamin E gives you relief, you may benefit from magnesium, potassium, or vitamin A.
Because it has been shown that sugar and caffeine reduce the absorption of vitamins and minerals (particularly calcium), people with cramping problems should eliminate as much sugar and caffeine from their diets as possible.
Natural Prescriptions for Leg Cramps
- Eliminate as much sugar and caffeine as possible from the diet.
In addition to current daily supplements, add:
- 1,200 mg. of Calcium at bedtime. If no results, you can discontinue but be sure you get 1,200 mg. of Calcium daily through diet and/or other supplements. If you are pregnant, check with your doctor before beginning and supplements.
- 400 I.U. Vitamin E twice daily after meals for two weeks. If symptoms are relieved, cut down to 400 I.U. daily. If symptoms recur, increase the dosage until symptoms are relieved but never take more than 1,200 I.U. daily.
- 400 mg. Magnesium daily.
- 10,000 I.U. Vitamin A daily
- 100 mg. Potassium daily
If you are still experiencing nocturnal leg cramps, visit your doctor.