When you sit down to watch TV, your legs and back often begin to hurt. Maybe they fall asleep while sitting or reclining on the sofa, but these lower leg pains don't often cause you any concern; however, there are other instances when that same pain in your knees or lower legs becomes a real problem. About 60% of people worldwide experience lower leg pains at one point or another during their lifetime. Lower leg pain at night is the most common kind of lower leg pain, and it affects 40 million. Keep reading if you're looking for answers as to why and how you experience lower leg pain at night.
Common Causes of Nighttime Leg Pain
The most common reason for muscle aches and pain in the legs at night is because of calf cramps, or what doctors often refer to as a charley horse. Different root causes can be linked to many different underlying issues:
Spending too much time sitting down can result in stiff ankles and other lower leg muscles. When the muscles are not properly stretched regularly, they can cramp at night when you're resting because your body will get stuck in unnatural positions when there is no one else to stretch it out for you.
Poor sleep position
Sometimes the position in which you sleep can cause your foot to cramp. One common position linked with cramping is when one keeps their toes pointed for too long while sleeping.
Standing too much can also have a negative effect. If a person stands for long periods without adequate breaks (up to two hours or more), their leg muscles can cramp due to blood accumulating in their feet.
Cramping in the lower extremities can often occur during the summer months because of excess sweat and heat. Drinking plenty of water is important year-round to avoid cramps, especially when it's hot outside.
Low electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, or magnesium can cause nearly all of your muscles to stop contracting abruptly. It may make you hit the floor like a ton of bricks, but at least it's something we see in Olympic-caliber athletes once in a blue moon. If you're not an athlete or involved in anything requiring a lot of physical effort for long periods, you're just dehydrated.
Sensitive Daily life is full of things that can lead to cramping. You may have experienced cramps in the feet from wearing overly constrictive shoes or in your hand from gripping something too tight, but those are just examples of minor things we face every day. Sadly, some people suffer chronic pain that leads to muscle cramping much deeper. For these people, it's not uncommon to experience cramping when they do things like eating certain foods or workouts while they're doing daily tasks!
Tips for Reducing Lower Leg Pain at Night
We will provide you with some proven home remedies to help relieve lower leg pain and get you a good night's rest.
Check Your Sleeping Posture
One of the most common causes of cramping in the calves is due to sleeping on your back or stomach. When the feet are plantarflexed, it compresses and shortens the calf muscles causing a great deal of pain and muscle fatigue. The position of the feet is not only affected by posture but by sleeping position. When one chooses to sleep on their side instead, it's easier to keep your feet flat, and there's less likelihood of experiencing this type of discomfort. If you prefer to sleep while sitting upright, putting your legs over a small chair or ottoman can help maintain proper ankle dorsiflexion while preventing cramping.
Utilize Cold Therapy
Using a cold therapy pack can do more than relieve pain. It can also assist in reducing swelling from injuries as well! The best way to use a cold pack to treat your injury is to elevate your leg and apply the cold pack for about 20 minutes. Afterward, use it intermittently throughout the day for about 15-20 minutes each time. Another one of the benefits of using a cold pack is that as long as you maintain proper sitting and sleeping posture while you're using cold pack, it will be easy enough to manage the combination of swelling control and pain reduction simultaneously when used in this way.
You can also alternate between a hot therapy relief heating pad and cold therapy pack using a Sacksythyme's Hot/Cold pack if you're looking for concurrent relief for muscle aches and pains before going to sleep at night.
Elevate Your Legs
If you want to tackle swelling in your copious schedule before bed, then elevating your legs can feel heavenly. There are bed wedge cushions that fit snugly under your legs while you're laying in bed or at some point throughout the night. That is great because it ensures no injury, or you have to deal with extra wear and tear on the floor if you decide to stack pillows underneath your legs instead! However, there's no need to add pillow stacks both underneath and on top of your feet since this could make it harder for you to breathe properly or even lead to complications like choking if they get too high!
Try Self Massage
If your muscles are feeling sore, try a nice deep tissue massage. Using either your hands or an instrument such as a foam roller can be very helpful in relieving tension. It might take a while to loosen up all of those knots, so make sure that you set aside plenty of time for the massage to get in there and help you relax from top to bottom! You can also do these massages before bed or even an hour before exercising.
Stretching Before Bed
Finally, a good ankle stretch can also help significantly with nighttime pain. Start by standing on one leg, so the opposite foot is propped up against a wall or piece of furniture. You don't have to be able to reach your hands high on the wall; usually, it's enough to be close to taking some of the pressure off your legs during the stretch. And when you feel you can stand there while reaching a maximum of six inches above your head without feeling any discomfort, then consider resting your hands appropriately higher from that point onward. Also, include two other minute stretches at both ends of the day for even greater effectiveness!
When to See a Doctor
If you're feeling uncertain about your symptoms and what may be causing them, get in touch with a medical professional - it's best to be safe than sorry! If things are particularly serious or are beginning to affect your lifestyle, this is even more important. Your doctor can help you by suggesting further possible treatment options such as physical therapy, extra medications (such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen or naproxen), or prescriptions if they feel the need arises.
Relieve Lower Leg Pain at Night
If you have suffered from long-term pain in the lower leg, it's important to not just focus on relieving your current pain but also be mindful of steps you can take to avoid experiencing similar symptoms in the future. To relieve nighttime leg pain while protecting your body from unnecessary stress, one should develop healthy sleeping habits, exercise regularly, and make sure they cut out any harsh or unhealthy habits that might exacerbate their condition!
With a plan in place for your lower leg and foot pain at night, you can expect to start getting adequate rest and sleep. Poor sleep at night can exacerbate your sensitivity to lower leg pain. Thus, once you feel in control of your nighttime pain, you should notice a gradual improvement in your overall symptoms. It ultimately means a better quality of life with fewer limitations from the unnecessary aches, pains, and suffering associated with the lower leg.