Calf pain can be troublesome in the middle of the night and make for a miserable day. But what causes it? And how can you help relieve it? Is there anything you can do at home? This can't-miss article will reveal the top explanations behind leg pain as well as many ways to relieve yourself so that you may rest comfortably all night long.
What Causes Calf Pain at Night
Nighttime calf pain can be caused by several different factors. You may have leg cramps (which are often due to not getting enough calcium or magnesium), which are typically relieved by stretching your calf muscle and rotating your foot in circles when you wake up. We recommend that you keep your calves well hydrated throughout the day with plenty of water, potassium, and sodium as well.
Nocturnal leg cramps often strike during the night as you're trying to sleep. The discomfort or severe pain may only last a few seconds to an hour, but has no cause in the Medical field and is unable to be identified. Some common causes of this phenomenon include not getting enough calcium, magnesium, potassium, or sodium (commonly known as electrolytes) which are all needed for proper muscle contraction and relaxation. Stress levels and over-exercising are also two causes that contribute to bloating of your limbs which can cause a tingling feeling while limb can be experiencing Charley horses.
Here is a list of the common causes:
- Muscle overuse
- Decreased blood flow
- Shortened tendons
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Older age
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes people to have intense urges to move their legs. Sufferers describe sensations of itching, burning, aching, or tugging at their legs. Although anyone can develop restless legs syndrome, there is a strong genetic link, which means if someone in your family has it there is a greater chance that you will develop it than someone who doesn't have any relatives with the condition. As well as those with family members who suffer from this condition tend to develop the problem around the same time their relative did. It also tends to be more common for sufferers to report that they have experienced other leg problems in the past, especially at an early age such as growing pains and bone pain caused by conditions such as inflammation in the joints. The other factors and medical conditions that are typically linked to restless leg syndrome are:
- Certain medications
- Iron deficiency
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Parkinson’s disease
There are a variety of factors that can cause calf pain during the nighttime. One of the most common is exercise, but this applies to anyone who repeatedly uses their leg muscles or overdoes it in general. You can avoid this type of pain by giving yourself some time to rest and relieve the stress on your lower limbs with a few simple cures such as cold compression via Cold therapy packs and stretching.
Poor Standing or Sitting Posture
Calf pain is often connected to having poor standing or sitting posture. Crossing your legs and pointing your toes outwards can easily lead to calf pain and cramping, particularly in the lower leg area. Standing and sitting with poor posture causes other parts of your body to compensate for you, thereby leading to more nerve pain in other places like the right shoulder or right hip area for example. It's important to rest your calves regularly by changing positions - sitting on a sofa with crossed legs or standing on hard surfaces, like concrete or clay for prolonged periods, can all take a toll on one's feet, ankles, knees, and back.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease, or Pedicure's disease, is a tough one to swallow. The blood vessels in your lower legs become hardened and damaged, creating narrow and even blocked vessels that may cause some discomfort. This can lead to cramping or pain as well as a decrease in blood flow which means you might find walking or standing rather uncomfortably difficult for long periods.
Quick Calf Pain Treatments
When aching calves strike in the middle of the night, nearly any precaution can be administered at home with simple techniques. Below are a few remedies that are worth considering and how to best apply them for superior levels of comfort.
After a long day, a massage can relieve the restlessness of our muscles. Treat yourself to a massage and revel in bliss! In cases where nighttime calf pain had been preventing you from having peaceful sleep sessions, introduce massage time into your routine right before you go to bed. There are multiple massage techniques available: using a massager, using your fingers and/or hands, or using an elbow. You can also use deeper pressure on your calves depending on what you find more comfortable.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Calf and leg pain can prove to be problematic, especially when you try to operate under normal circumstances. Two options complement each other when trying to manage this type of pain (Heat & Cold) which is effective and provides great relief. Using an ice pack will help decrease inflammation which reduces the off-putting swelling, and should then be followed with heat from either a hot water bottle or a heating pad for an hour or so if possible.
Cold therapy pack constricts the blood vessels which also reduces further aggravation of the calf area as well as pain in the local region. This helpful mechanism works by interrupting pain signals, allowing for more comfort and reduced levels of discomfort until it’s time for your next cold therapy session!
Getting a Sacksythyme's herbal heating pad will be key to receiving the best results when it comes to healing muscle injuries. Once you've acquired your heating pad or towel, set aside 20 minutes for rest. This will ensure that you're relaxed and comfortable which is essential for this type of therapy because it speeds up the blood flow around your body. If you're dealing with a minor injury, cold treatments are recommended in the initial phase but once the swelling goes down then it's time to use heat.
Over the Counter Pain Killers
Over-The-Counter medications, otherwise known as OTCs are a type of medication that can be used to help with short-term pain and swelling. Although there is no prescription needed for these types of drugs, you should always talk to a health professional before consuming any over-the-counter drugs because even though they are generally inexpensive, if you end up taking them incorrectly or eat certain foods, the effects from over-the-counter medications can become severe.
Elevate the Leg
Elevating your leg is another home treatment for calf pain. While you're sleeping or even simply lounging on the couch, prop up one knee with a pillow to accommodate it being higher than the other. The elevation will help reduce swelling, which can also bring down some of the pain as a result of the swelling. On top of that, this acts as sort of a stress-reducing measure when you realize there's now one less thing weighing on your mind!
When you feel your calf hurting at night, your first thought may be to take everything you can get your hands on short-term. Most of us are busy and run around so much that we don't stop to think like this. But what if there was an easy way to reduce the frequency and intensity of these pains? By adopting long-term lifestyle changes, you can make sure that it is a more serious issue than just a wake-up call every night. Here are some habits that anyone who gets nighttime calf pain should practice to prevent them from occurring:
- Manage your weight
- Exercise regularly
- Don’t smoke
- Allow your body to rest, especially when injured
- Stretch to improve your range of motion
Practice Good Posture
While sitting, standing, or on the move, poor posture can be harmful to your body by causing pain in various regions. When you have good posture while at your desk job or on the move (walking, bicycling), your body is aligned properly and you’ll feel comfortable and relaxed despite how much you’ve been moving around!
Treating Nocturnal Calf Pain
A calf injury can have deep-seated roots, going all the way up to the brain. It can be caused by blood clots, torn muscles, and even a stroke! Some calf injuries are mild but others will require you to visit a doctor. Make sure to schedule an appointment if you experience new calf pain since it might be a sign of something more serious like a condition that affects your heart.