If you’ve ever been awakened in the middle of the night by the excruciatingly sharp, shooting pain of a leg cramp in your calf, then you know what it’s like to leap out of bed, half asleep, as you try desperately to release the cramp and subdue your pain. Here’s a simple stretch to help release the cramp and get you back to sleep.
Nighttime Leg Cramps: A Simple Stretch
Leg cramps are the act of the muscle, itself, tightening. To release a cramping muscle you need to tire it, so that it HAS to let go. Resistive stretches help cramping, by doing just that. “Charlie horses” are the most common muscle cramping we hear of in our practice and they usually happen at night.
- If you have a footboard on your bed use it to help alleviate the cramping by pointing your toes and pressing against the footboard — pushing, for a count of three (go ahead and yell, if it hurts.)
- If you have no footboard, get up and walk on your tippy toes (that hurts too, so feel free to yell.) This will release the cramp — massage the calf to prevent residual soreness.
If you’re experiencing these types of cramps in your legs at bedtime, try taking an Epsom salt bath before bed. Epsom salts are loaded with magnesium that is directly absorbed through your skin.) You could also try adding some more magnesium to your diet. Our last post on the miracle muscle mineral can help guide you in getting a more restful night’s sleep.
Questions about these stretches or magnesium? Post them below in the comments section, send us an email or ask us at your next appointment.