One of the reasons people get leg cramps is that they are overusing a particular muscle. So, if you are working on a specific task, try changing your position or using other muscle groups. If you are stationary or lying down, try to get up and stretch periodically. The key is that you don't want your leg muscle overworked. At the same time, you don't want your leg muscles lying idle, such as when you are sitting in a chair all day either.
Most of the time leg cramps are caused by dehydration. This one is an easy fix, but it's something that a lot of people neglect. Try to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you continue to have cramps. A lot of people don't like drinking water, so grab a drink such as Gatorade if you don't like the taste of water.
• Hot or Cold
For those leg cramps that don't seem to go away, a hot or cold press is sometimes needed. Take a cold towel or an ice pack and apply it to the area of the cramp. Sometimes a heat pack will work better. You will have to experiment to see what works best for you. You can buy small heating packs or even a small heating pad at Amazon.com relatively inexpensively if you shop around. An ice pack is generally used by most people, but buying a small heating pad could be a worthwhile investment.
Massaging the area is the most common technique that most people try. The great news is that it works! Just remember to take it slow, and don't apply too much pressure. You want to slowly work the leg cramp out. Gently massage the area surrounding the cramp and work your way directly over where it hurts. Don't try to rush it. Go slow until the muscle starts to relax and you feel relief.
Your muscles need a lot of different vitamins. Lack of vitamins, such as B12, have been associated with nocturnal leg cramps. You can take a multivitamin to help give your muscles the vitamins and minerals your muscles need. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medication. Allergies and other relevant information are important to let your doctor know.
• Keep Legs Warm During the Winter
Keeping your legs warm in the winter can also prevent leg cramps. No one is sure why the cold causes leg cramps, but many have speculated that the cold could cause the leg muscles to contract. Leg and foot warmers can be found at places such as Amazon or your local department store.
• Foot Bath/Soak before Sleep
If you decide to try a foot bath, make sure you use epsom salt. Epsom salt contains magnesium which will absorb into your skin to help with cramps. You can also try mixing in some apple cider vinegar which is high in potassium. These two minerals are electrolytes, which carry the electric signal to your brain for muscle contraction and relaxing.
If leg cramps hit you at night, sometimes it's good to get up and move around. A cramp is caused by a muscle not relaxing. So, by moving you can reset that process in your brain by causing the muscle to contract and then relax again.
A lack of calcium can cause leg cramps as well. Calcium is an electrolyte, which, when low, will not allow your leg muscles to relax. Eating foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, which are high in calcium, can help. If dairy products don't work for you, eat things like broccoli, sardines, or kale, which are all high in calcium as well.
Most of the time leg cramps are caused by something that is preventing your muscle from relaxing, so you may need to experiment to see what works for you. Just remember to keep hydrated and try to stretch periodically throughout the day. If none of these methods work, then you may need to see a doctor. Sometimes a doctor can prescribe a vitamin that your body is lacking. So, follow up with your doctor if you feel that you may have a more serious problem.