One minute you’re sleeping peacefully. The next, you’re wide awake and bouncing around in pain from a night leg cramp.
If you experience night leg cramps or a tight, knotted feeling in your legs or lower body, you’re not alone.
Learn why these cramps happen and what you can do to ease their pain.
Ease Night Leg Cramps
In the video below, Physical Therapist Chris Ponichtera, PT DPT, explains why night leg cramps wake us from our slumber and shows us three stretches we can perform to help alleviate them.
When most people experience a night leg cramp it’s in the calves, hamstrings, or the front of the thighs.
Many people describe the cramp as a tight or knotted feeling, often referred to as a charley horse.
It may seem like a muscle causing the cramp, but that’s usually not the case.
The position we sit or lay in influences the nerves in the low back. If any compression takes place in the low back, signals work down the legs, irritating the leg muscles.
Though we feel the cramp in our legs, it’s stemming from issues in our low back.
The best way to prevent night leg cramps is to work on the muscles that contribute to motion in the low back. This will help relieve pressure or compression and prevent cramp-causing signals from being sent.
Here are three stretches to perform throughout the day to help alleviate night leg cramps:
Full Body Stretch
Put one leg up on a stool or step and leave your other on the ground, slightly pushed back.
Glide forward onto the raised leg, bending at the knee. Hold for two to three seconds. Repeat ten repetitions on each side.
Be careful not to extend your knee past your ankle on your raised leg.
Keeping your knee straight, put the heel of one foot on a stool or step. Keep a nice, straight line from your pelvis to your toe and make sure your ankle stays bent towards you.
Lean your chest forward until you feel a nice stretch in your leg. Hold this stretch for ten seconds. Repeat ten repetitions on each side.
Stand facing a wall. Put your left toe against the wall and keep your right leg straight. Bend your left knee towards the wall. This will give you a nice stretch in your right calf.
Hold for ten seconds. Repeat ten repetitions on each side.
Don’t lose another minute of sleep because of pain!
If you’re struggling with night leg cramps or low back pain and want a more personalized approach to finding relief, our Physical and Occupational Therapists can help.
Treatment is covered by insurance, no referral is required to start, and with flexible in-clinic and virtual appointments, you can find a time that works with your schedule.
Call 716-458-1990 or click the button below to schedule at one of our many locations throughout Western New York.