Where do leg cramps come from and how can I avoid them?
Leg cramps, or as they are sometimes known as Charley Horses, typically happen after exercise
or at night. They can result from muscle strain or overuse, nerve malfunctions, dehydration,
decreased minerals or an overall lack of minerals like calcium and potassium in your body or a
lack of blood getting to the muscle. When you feel a cramp, you should stop any activity that
may be irritating the muscle. Then you should gently massage or stretch the muscle to relieve
cramping and pain. Heat can also aid relaxing the muscle but ice can be applied after heat to
help recovery and healing of the muscle. Anti-inflammatory non-steroidal painkillers like ibuprofen (Advil®), aspirin (Bayer®) and naproxen (Aleve®) can ease muscle pain from a muscle cramp. If your leg cramps are
persistent, check with a health professional to rule out any more serious medical or nerve
issues. You can prevent leg cramps by drinking lots of fluids like water, eating high-potassium
foods like bananas and properly stretching before and after strenuous exercise.
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