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Category Archives: Leg Pain

A woman walking through her living room and stopping to grab her leg because calf cramps at night awoke her.

Calf Cramps at Night

Immediate and Long-Term Relief for Your Calf Cramps at Night 

Calf cramps at night can cause tight and knotted pain in your legs, and in some cases they last for several minutes. It may take days for your muscle to recover from a severe evening cramp without the right treatment.

Here’s a commonality: Leg cramps and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) both occur at night. In contrast to painful muscle cramps, RLS causes long-term discomfort and a physical desire to intermittently move your legs nearly all night long.

Nearly one in two people over the age of 60 suffer from a limited to chronic variation of nocturnal leg cramps, an issue that can impact your quality of life significantly. There is often a link between these cramps and other cramps elsewhere in the body, as well as high blood pressure, diabetes, venous insufficiency, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

According to another study, 84 percent of patients with Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) experience RLS or nighttime leg cramps. Untreated cramping, especially when your leg is swollen, can cause further complications. Some of these complications include discoloration or changes in skin texture, ultimately causing ulceration and infection.

To fully understand what’s going on when one or more muscles tighten suddenly and unexpectedly, it’s helpful to break down the science behind your chronic calf cramps into visuals and digestible nuggets.


Conditions and Factors Behind Your Calf Cramps at Night

The culprit behind your calf cramps at night can vary. They can happen from exercising or hard work — especially in the heat — and there are also some medicines and illnesses that cause bad muscle cramps.

Cramping occurs mostly in leg muscles, especially in the calf — usually lasting long enough to warrant anything from careful observation to actual treatment (or something in between). The area might be sore for hours or days after the cramp subsides.

Muscle cramps are usually harmless, but other incidents might come from medical conditions such as insufficient blood flow, nerve compression, or a mineral deficiency, leading to chronic calf cramps. When exercising, a cramping pain in your legs and feet can be caused by narrowing of your arteries that supply blood to the legs. As soon as you stop exercising, the cramps usually disappear.

Pressure on the nerves of the spine can also cause cramping pain in the legs. Walking usually worsens the pain in this situation. However, by walking slightly bent forward you actually ease the pain at times. This method looks and feels similar to when you push a heavy shopping cart.

Besides being overweight and not staying active, other factors can cause calf cramps at night:

  • Sweating excessively. Playing sports often leads to muscle cramps for athletes who get tired and sweat a lot.
  • Being pregnant. Extra weight and blood flow that accompanies the supply of oxygen and nutrients to a baby can cause muscle cramps.
  • Your age. Age slowly decreases muscle mass. As a result, your muscles cannot work as hard as they used to. Sudden or harsh stimuli can stress them beyond what they’re capable of.
  • Health and medical problems. Diabetes, liver disease, and thyroid illness can also cause muscle cramps. Other health or medical conditions impact them as well.


For the Time Being, Elevate Your Legs While Sleeping

Calf cramps at night can often be treated with a simple leg elevation pillow. These specialized pillows make sleeping more comfortable, ease lower back pain or knee pain, and assist in post-surgery recovery if needed.

But how does this work? Circulation is improved by raising your legs above your body. By raising your legs, your heart can more efficiently draw up oxygen-depleted blood from your veins. Whenever you raise your legs, you help deliver oxygen to every cell and every tissue in your body.

Leg elevation pillows can help ease inflammation, lower extremity swelling, and the pain inflicted by leg ulcers and varicose veins, as well as reduce the likelihood of blood clots. By flattening the lumbar spine, the pillows can also help decrease back pain. Overall, swelling and pain are reduced.

A leg elevation pillow usually has a washable cover, dense memory foam, breathable material, and a posture-boosting shape that makes it popular. You won’t feel like you’re lying on a board all night because it’s firm, yet soft. Non-slip pillows are designed with cooling gel foam to prevent overheating.

Sleep can feel elusive for those suffering from chronic calf cramps, but this “wedge” can make all the difference.

Besides using the pillow, you can stretch your calf and foot muscles before bed to prevent cramps. Also, moving around enough during every daily activity, errand, or chore can help, as well as drinking lots of water. When sleeping on your back, wear socks that are comfortable and supportive, and be sure your covers are loose.


Health, Lifestyle, and Prevention of Calf Cramps at Night

While neurological disorders, alcohol abuse, low blood sugar, hormone issues, insufficient vitamin intake, flat feet, pregnancy, and nerve damage are all related to calf cramps at night, a pain management specialist can identify the immediate steps you should take to improve your quality of life despite these conditions.

They include:

  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) or Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA). Fortunately, these are minimally invasive surgeries. Heat is delivered through a tube (catheter) to close the vein. Blood “pools” less once the vein is closed, and blood flow is improved.
  • Sclerotherapy. This is for more serious cases. Specialists inject the affected veins with a unique chemical. As a result, the chemical scars the vein seals it off. In turn, blood redirects itself and finds healthier veins to flow through. As time progresses, your body actually absorbs the closed-off veins.
  • Medications. A combination of compression therapy and medicines that increase blood flow through the vessels may help heal leg ulcers. In addition, after proper consultation with a doctor, you can also treat them with aspirin. However, doctors don’t usually recommend diuretics (medicines that pull excess fluid from the body through the kidneys). You can use them if other conditions such as heart failure or kidney disease also contribute to swelling. Diet can also cause chronic calf cramps. A lack of potassium, calcium, and magnesium can drastically affect your muscles. An eating lifestyle coupled with medications commonly prescribed for high blood pressure can cause these minerals to exit your body faster than they enter it.
  • Surgical procedure. When the situation is severe, vein stripping is an option. Blood can no longer flow through the affected vein after the stripping, as veins with heavily damaged valves are removed.


Relief Starts with Diagnosis and Ends with Proper Treatment

First and foremost, you should incorporate a heart-healthy diet into your 24-hour lifestyle to help rid yourself of calf cramps at night. You can maintain a healthy circulatory system by limiting red meat, processed meats, processed and added sugars, salt and high-sodium foods, highly processed foods, saturated fats, and trans fats. Instead, increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, and olive oil or grapeseed oil when cooking.

Remember that cramping and aching legs can be prevented by treating the underlying vessel disease (usually vessel insufficiency). The goal of pain management is to close off problematic vessels and treat vessel insufficiency with a variety of minimally invasive, effective procedures.

Most commonly, weak or damaged vessels cause your chronic calf cramps. These compromised vessels prevent your body from cleaning waste and byproducts from your blood. However, most patients don’t necessarily exhibit these physical symptoms. This quandary is even in conjunction with varicose and spider veins. It’s common for leg cramps to be the only symptom of vessel disease if any symptoms exist at all.

Sclerotherapy or vessel ablation are usually the best treatments for leg cramps. It’s difficult to live with chronic calf cramps, but fortunately there is a cure.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

A range of options for treating calf cramps at night are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

At Wellness and Pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.

A close-up of the potential results of untreated heaviness in legs, an elderly man's lower leg bruised and swollen.

Heaviness in Legs

The ‘Heaviness in Legs’ Question: Diet, Age, or Both?

When you’re in moderate to good health, it’s likely your “heaviness in legs” issue and related pain isn’t due to any major heart conditions. Oftentimes, this phenomenon is caused by reduced blood flow through your veins due to a confluence of aging and other factors, which is a different yet connected issue altogether.

No matter how old you are, you may not be in the greatest health — or at least as healthy as you once were. Take a minute and gently press your lower leg. Is the indent from your fingers visible for more than a few seconds? It’s likely you have a buildup of excess fluid.

If you have trouble putting on or taking off socks or shoes, you may have swelling that you shouldn’t ignore any longer. Individuals suffering from swollen legs often endure puffy, stretched or shiny skin, and those particular areas may even feel tightly stretched and painful to the touch.

While immediate pain management and medical care is available, your diet should not be overlooked. Maintaining healthy eating and better foods can pay off as you start your pain management journey. How to relieve swelling in legs is a process. We first must understand what’s happening under your skin.


Heaviness in Legs: What’s Happening to Me?

As we age, our veins’ valves deteriorate, resulting in decreased blood flow to the heart and possibly heaviness in legs. On top of aging, unhealthy diets and lifestyles only exacerbate the problem.

Swelling occurs when blood pools instead of circulating properly. In older adults and those not taking their diet as seriously as they should, “venous insufficiency” is the most common cause. Due to the direct connection between this health problem and your heart’s circulatory system, swelling in your legs can be accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pains, abnormal heart rhythms, and inflammation in other areas (such as your hands or abdomen). Leg swelling is often a sign of a more serious problem.

Unfortunately, these symptoms sometimes present themselves alongside more serious circulatory problems. Some of these problems include Superficial Venous Insufficiency (SVI), Deep Venous Insufficiency (DVI), and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). However, that’s not all. Other problems include Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), varicose veins (twisted and enlarged veins), and edema (swelling from trapped fluid). A number of other conditions can also cause swelling in your legs as well, including infections, injuries, and arthritic conditions.

First, it’s probably no concern if the puffiness goes away within a day or two. However, longer-term symptoms should be evaluated by a pain management specialist, especially if it affects only one leg (rather than both) or is compounded by other bodily symptoms.

Secondly, how to relieve swelling in legs should be your immediate priority. Some transformational food and eating habits — and home remedies — can help as your pain management specialist develops a treatment plan.


What to Think About Cholesterol, Fats, Sugar, and Sodium

While your heaviness in legs problem is often caused by underlying issues such as obesity, a healthier diet can help you combat the swelling. It’s a powerful thing when you apply better food-eating habits regularly each day.

The process begins with cholesterol, a fat-like substance. Cholesterol builds cell membranes, vitamin D and hormones, but too much can be harmful to your heart. Red meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are all large sources of cholesterol.

Carbohydrates play a role as well. These “macro-nutrients” provide energy to the body by being converted into glucose (or molecular sugar). Carbohydrates include starches — such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and cereal — sugars and fiber (fruits, whole grains, nuts, etc.).

Of course, fats cannot be ignored. Butter, palm oil, coconut oil, cheese, and red meat contain saturated fats. Likewise, trans fat (trans-unsaturated fatty acids) pose a great threat. They are partially hydrogenated oils manufactures create by turning liquid oils into semi-solid fats at room temperature. People often use them in cookies, cakes, crackers, frozen meals, frosting, and fast food).

A healthier option is monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature while polyunsaturated fats are solid at room temperature. These unsaturated fats are found in fish, nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, and other healthy foods and oils.

If how to relieve swelling in legs is important to you, remember to limit red meat, processed meats, processed and added sugars, salt and high-sodium foods, highly processed foods, saturated fats, and trans fats to support a healthy heart and circulatory system. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, and olive oil or grapeseed oil — and don’t be stingy with the herbs and spices (as opposed to salt).


Food Considerations, Practical Advice, and Heaviness in Legs

A heart-healthy diet doesn’t necessarily command a specific number of meals or timing of meals. However, you should spread your meals evenly throughout the day. You should do this as you incorporate eating strategies to combat heaviness in legs.

What’s a healthy eating strategy? For starters, place the saltshaker out of sight when you’re dining out. Consider substituting steamed vegetables for mashed potatoes and gravy or a side salad for fries. These healthier trade-offs are key to changing your habits and mindset.

You can also ask for sauces and dressings on the side instead of being smothered over your appetizer or entrée. Before ordering, ask for nutrition information and choose a low-sodium, low-fat option. Pick water over soda and alcohol every opportunity you have.

When shopping at your local grocery store, choose pre-packaged and canned foods that are reduced sodium, low sodium, or salt-free. Select frozen vegetables without salt or sauces — or when buying anything frozen for that matter. Whenever possible, you should choose poultry, fish, and lean meats with the lowest amount of sodium and saturated fat. Also, you should avoid cured, salted, or smoked processed meats.


Taking the Food Considerations Home

When cooking at home, use high-heat olive oil instead of butter when boiling, steaming, roasting, or lightly sautéing. Baking, broiling, stir-frying, sautéing, or grilling are preferred over deep-frying for poultry and fish. Remove the salt shaker from your table, since even a little “shake” can add a lot of sodium. Instead, spice up your meals with herbs, spices, garlic, onion, and citrus zest and juices.

If you have a special diet, feel free to adjust the recipes. Add less salt than called for, substitute butter for a healthier fat (such as olive oil or grapeseed oil), or use whole grains instead of refined grains. Reduce your prepackaged food consumption by cooking from scratch or semi-scratch as much as possible.

Believe it or not, how to relieve swelling in legs comes down to incorporating these food considerations and practical advice into your lifestyle — for just about anyone.


Smart Choices, Home Remedies, and Consistent Exercise

Some patients choose to kickstart their cholesterol-lowering journey with a meal delivery service as they get on track to defeating their heaviness in legs. Those with chronic diseases affected by diet — including cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol — could benefit from this convenient option.

Besides your diet, remember that rest, ice, compression, and elevation are also common ways in how to relieve swelling in legs. Ice packs wrapped in a towel help numb the pain and reduce swelling when applied to the affected area to prevent further injury. By using a reclining chair or stool, you can elevate your feet above your heart level and relieve some of the pressure. You might also experience worse symptoms if you sit or stand for too long.

Moderate exercise also keeps your blood pumping and improves risk factors such as high blood pressure. You should increase your exercise activity levels, as physical activity supports cardiovascular health and helps prevent heart failure and numerous other chronic diseases. High-intensity interval training, which alternates short bouts of intense exercise with less vigorous ones, has been shown to support and strengthen the heart.

Living a healthy lifestyle, eating the right foods, being physically active, and managing stress can all have a significant impact on your risk of congestive heart failure. Nevertheless, it can also be a useful sidekick as you look into immediate pain management treatment for your heavy and swollen legs.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

A range of options for treating heaviness in legs are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

A close-up of an elderly woman in an exam room having her calves examined because her legs feel heavy.

Legs Feel Heavy?

Do Your Legs Feel Heavy? Here’s What’s Happening Under the Surface…

When your legs feel heavy, it’s usually a symptom of venous insufficiency — but it can also happen from a combination of other factors. Leg heaviness, aching in the lower extremity of your body, and tiredness and fatigue are common symptoms that can sometimes hit you all at once.

It’s even worse when you stand or sit for a long time, although it may feel better when you lie down or elevate your legs. Those suffering from “heavy legs” say their legs are achy, tired, crampy, and stiff. Besides feeling heavy, your legs can also look swollen from circulatory problems, pale or bluish from poor circulation, and bumpy from varicose veins.

Every now and then, many individuals get heavy legs for various reasons. It’s possible you sat too long or worked out too hard during your daily exercise. But you should see a pain management specialist or doctor if the pain lasts more than a few days or your symptoms are bothersome.

Poor blood circulation throughout your lower limbs often causes aching heavy legs. People commonly refer to this condition as “heavy leg syndrome.” In addition to the symptoms already mentioned, tingling, numbness, mild edema (trapped fluid), and varicose veins (twisted or enlarged veins) characterize venous insufficiency. Although your discomfort is usually mild, it still hurts.

Though heavy legs are a common phenomenon, eventually one’s Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) can cause phlebitis (inflammation) and thrombosis (blood clot formation). One-way valves keep blood from flowing backward down your legs, but if these valves get damaged, blood can pool and cause various types of pain, including heaviness.

Your aching heavy legs from an underlying vascular disease is usually treatable, and symptoms will likely improve if you follow your doctor’s treatment plan.


Some Underlying Causes When Your Legs Feel Heavy

People often mistake “heavy legs” for fatigue or simply as part of the gaining process. Many patients aren’t aware of the underlying health issues that contribute directly to when their legs feel heavy. A pain management specialist should monitor you regularly if you have a vascular disease.

Over the years, the varicose veins you are seeing can cause Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), which can also happen if something damages your valves, such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Additional venous problems include:

  • A condition called “Superficial Venous Insufficiency” (SVI), which causes leg discomfort from increased venous pressure or pooling of blood in the superficial veins of the legs, happens because blood isn’t properly pumped back to the heart. Usually it’s accompanied by swelling, throbbing, and aching in the legs.
  • Despite similar symptoms to SVI, Deep Venous Insufficiency (DVI) affects your deep veins. The difference between SVI and DVI is often hard to tell until a pain management specialist or doctor diagnoses you. SVI and DVI can happen together or separately.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) can also cause aching heavy legs. Plaque buildup in the arteries makes it hard for the body to deliver oxygen to your lower extremities (hips, legs and feet). As a result, you get the heavy, aching feeling associated with PAD. Symptoms like these are typically associated with increased activity levels, such as walking.

Varicose veins also deserve a quick explainer. Compared to surrounding veins, these look more prominent and knotty. Because of gravity and elasticity loss, blood begins to pool as circulation decreases, and blood clots are possible. In addition to obesity, aging, and hormonal imbalances, occupations requiring long sitting or standing can contribute to varicose veins.


Swollen Leg Treatment: A Healthier Life is Waiting

If you don’t get the right swollen leg treatment for when your legs feel heavy, it can affect your quality of life. Your tired leg sensations are one of the most common vascular peripheral symptoms in society today, affecting up to 40 percent of people in developed countries. Despite this health issue, you can get healthier.

If your symptoms last a long time, you should see a pain management specialist. By reviewing your symptoms, applying the right treatment, analyzing your medical history, and completing any needed tests, you can work toward being pain-free. Ultrasounds and other tests can show how blood flows through your veins, leading to vessel ablation, massage therapy, acupuncture, or intravenous hydration.

Vein ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that seals off (or closes) certain veins. Treatments include varicose veins, spider veins, and venous insufficiency in general. It can be accomplished with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or laser ablation, where a small probe is used to destroy the “problem veins.” This technological technique collapses a vein by heating it with radiofrequency energy.

Massage therapy and acupuncture therapy are also two options to consider for your aching heavy legs, depending on your circumstance.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t necessarily hit anyone suffering from varicose veins. In general, women, tall people, and overweight individuals are more likely to get it, as are people with a family history of CVI. In addition, those already having DVT in the legs, people who are middle-age or older, and those who are relatively inactive could eventually suffer from CVI.


Home Remedies for When Your Legs Feel Heavy

Before your pain management specialist develops a personalized treatment plan, some daily changes and home remedies can help when your legs feel heavy. Elevating your legs makes your body work less as it pumps blood through your lower extremities. You can ease some of the pressure by propping your feet above your heart level by using a reclining chair or stool.

As mentioned, if you sit or stand for too long, your symptoms might get worse. Since blood circulation may be improved by changing positions, always be on the alert for how you can switch things up while you’re sitting or standing. You can also wear tight compression socks or stockings to promote blood flow in your legs, which is especially helpful for people who work long hours.

You can also fight against heavy or swollen legs by integrating a healthier lifestyle, diet, or choices. Reducing salt intake (sodium) may eventually reduce discomfort caused by swelling if you’re consistent and apply other healthy food-eating habits simultaneously. Believe it or not, some doctors may also tell you to limit your water intake, depending on your medications. Smoking can negatively affect your circulation and make you feel heavy, fatigued, and tired over time — which means these symptoms may go away if you reduce or stop the habit.

To cap things off, stay active, stay away from hot baths, and work on losing some weight. The heat from hot water can widen your veins, which can make blood-flow difficult. Obesity is also a major risk factor for many of the underlying issues causing aching heavy legs — therefore, losing weight may help.

The last tip: Increase your activity levels. Moderate exercise keeps your blood pumping and improves risk factors (high blood pressure). To avoid overexertion, take rest days and breaks as needed.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

When your legs feel heavy, vascular disease can progress even if there aren’t any sideline symptoms. In fact, treatment may be immediately necessary if you haven’t taken action within weeks or months of noticing the heaviness.

A range of treatment options are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

At Wellness and Pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.

Extreme hip and leg pain causing a young woman to bend over and hold her lower back.

Extreme Hip and Leg Pain

Extreme Hip and Leg Pain: It’s All About Your Blood Pressure

Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects millions of people worldwide. Experts associate it with several serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. They even associate it with extreme hip and leg pain. And even though high blood pressure doesn’t directly cause extreme hip pain, experts can’t overlook it. It contributes in subtle ways.

Consider the medical discoveries of Atherosclerosis and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) over the decades. While they do not develop in everyone with high blood pressure, nonetheless, it’s still important to control your blood pressure.

Atherosclerosis is the constant pressure of blood (hypertension) against the artery walls, and it can damage their inner lining, making them more prone to plaque buildup. PAD is when some outside factor has somehow damaged or weakened the femoral artery and its branches. The femoral artery carries oxygenated blood to your lower extremities. Often, high blood pressure is the primary culprit. As a result, PAD can reduce blood flow to your legs and hips.

You can reduce the chances of developing these conditions and other serious health issues through healthier lifestyle choices, a proper diet, and other tools. However, the first step is to see a pain management specialist before embarking on some of these major behavior modifications.


Extreme Hip and Leg Pain Connected to High Blood Pressure

Experts refer to the actual pressure inside your arteries as “blood pressure.” And they consider approximately 120/80 (“120 over 80”) as medically “normal.” This measurement presents itself as possibly the healthiest measurement for combating extreme hip and leg pain. In this example, your systolic pressure is 120 and your diastolic pressure is 80.

Systolic is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, and diastolic is the pressure in your arteries “in between” heart beats. Put another way: Systolic blood pressure is the pumping and expanding of arteries for peak pressure, whereas diastolic blood pressure drops when the heart relaxes.

While blood pressure should not exceed 120/80, medical experts give ample leeway to many individuals. This is especially true considering everyone’s body is different (height, weight, metabolism). Many people need treatment if their blood pressure exceeds 130/80, yet many do not seek it.

If you have other medical conditions hampering your health, such as extreme hip pain, high blood pressure treatment might be good to consider. Through healthy lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure. Consider exercising at least 150 minutes each week. If you smoke, get on a scheduled proactive plan to stop. Eat a balanced diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables, and minimize sodium and alcohol intake. Try maintaining a healthy weight and work-life stress.

You can also talk to your doctor about special blood pressure medication if needed.


What is Atherosclerosis, and How is it Related?

Atherosclerosis from high blood pressure means cholesterol, fat, and other substances can accumulate in your arteries, causing damage to the inner lining, plaque buildup, and eventually lower-extremity extreme hip and leg pain for many patients. Plaque is made up of fatty deposits and cellular waste.

Despite the fact high blood pressure is common in many individuals across the United States, do not be fooled — it’s not harmless. Besides adding pressure to the artery walls, high blood pressure can lead to Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), which is another risk, since blood cannot flow freely through your heart’s arteries. Blood vessels struggle to send enough blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your heart muscle, with outward symptoms including chest pain and shortness of breath. As a result, these blood vessels may become even more damaged, with plaque continuing to build up and causing arteries to narrow even more over the long term.

At a basic circulatory level, blood is pushed through your arteries into the entire body when your heart beats. Under high blood pressure, arteries throughout your body swell and stretch more than they would normally. In the long run, this stretching can damage the endothelium — the delicate lining of all arteries.

By keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range and protecting your endothelium from Atherosclerosis, you can actively prevent PAD and CAD, as well as extreme hip pain. An injured endothelium can lead to other concerns. It causes more low-density lipoprotein (or what circulatory specialists call “bad” cholesterol) and white blood cells to enter the arteries. Nobody should wish for a buildup of this cholesterol or fatty cells in their arterial walls.


Atherosclerosis Symptoms, Extreme Hip and Leg Pain, and Clots

There are typically no symptoms in the early stages of Atherosclerosis, which can be a tricky scenario to analyze for those suffering from extreme hip and leg pain. Whenever coronary arteries seriously restrict blood flow to the heart, you may feel chest pain, especially when exerting yourself or feeling angry or stressed.

To understand the symptoms of Atherosclerosis, it’s important to know which arteries are affected and how much blood flow is blocked. Symptoms other than chest pain include cold sweats, extreme tiredness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, memory problems, weakness or numbness, and severe pain after eating.

Atherosclerosis can also cause extreme hip pain. When plaque hardens in and narrows the arteries, it reduces blood flow to your hips and legs. This lack of oxygen in your lower-side extremities can inflict pain, cramping, and fatigue. What’s really happening is blood clotting, also known as claudication.

With blood clots, the clot itself can completely block blood supply to an area. This blockage can eventually lead to multiple issues like tissue damage and gangrene if not addressed in due time. In conjunction with blood claudication, arthritis can also occur in your hips and legs as a result of Atherosclerosis. Cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones can be damaged due to reduced blood flow to your joints.


PAD Symptoms, Statistics, and Other Red Flags

When walking or exercising, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) — the buildup of fatty deposits — can cause extreme hip and leg pain, cramping, and fatigue in your calves and buttocks. Depending on the severity of the disease, PAD may even result in gangrene or tissue damage (similar to bad cases of Atherosclerosis).

Up to six out of ten people with PAD in the United States experience leg pain each year. The physical signs of PAD are usually muscle atrophy (weakness); hair loss; smooth and shiny skin or “cool skin”; a decline in vein pulse in your feet; ulcers or sores in your legs and feet that won’t heal; and cold or numb toes.

Injuries or infections in conjunction with PAD can cause serious complications, such as heart attacks, strokes, or Critical Limb Ischemia (severe blockage of arteries in the lower extremities). This can occur in patients with severe Occlusive Arterial Disease, where resting blood-flow cannot meet the tissue’s basic nutritional requirements. In some cases, patients experience numbness or cold sensations in the toes and feet, with symptoms usually occurring when the legs are horizontal at night, yet improving when they are in a dependent position during the day.

Overall, PAD patients are rarely symptomatic, but many can have a slow or impaired gait — an unusual manner of walking. Intermittent blood clotting, which occurs during exercise and is relieved by rest, is the most common symptom. Across the nation, more than 6.5 million people aged 40 and older have PAD — a concerning statistic in today’s health-conscience world.


Treatment for Extreme Hip and Leg Pain Starts with an Ultrasound

Seeing a pain management specialist, getting a proper diagnosis, and discussing treatment are important options to consider if you’re experiencing extreme hip and leg pain. A pain management specialist can help you get the most out of your treatment — in the right timing, in the right environment, and with the right tools.

Hip pain specialists diagnose and treat hip discomfort, achiness, and the irritation you are experiencing. Specialists and orthopedic surgeons can also treat patients with debilitating musculoskeletal conditions.

It all starts with a ten-minute ultrasound, which uses sound waves to scan the inside of your body’s pain points and other areas. The good news is, your hip is diagnosed using non-invasive tools, without any discomfort or pain. After applying gel to select areas, a sonographer will move a small device over those markers. Sound waves are emitted, bouncing off tissues and organs in your body.

By the end, specialists can see displayed images of your problem areas for a proper diagnosis and recommendation of the best course of treatment in your situation. Don’t let extreme hip pain impact your life any longer.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

A range of options for treating extreme hip and leg pain are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

At Wellness and Pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.

An elderly man trying to get out of bed, awoken by his aching legs at night.

Aching Legs at Night

Spinal Pain Management Can Cure Aching Legs at Night

When resting in the evening, you may experience aching legs at night for many reasons. The symptoms of this disorder should not be ignored, especially if you are going through pain.

Pain management specialists should be consulted immediately if there is any discomfort. For some patients — believe it or not — lower back pain management is key. In herniated disk disease, the fibrous cartilage surrounding the vertebrae breaks down – resulting in a pain management plan in the future. A disk’s gelatinous center is forced outward due to the compression, and pain and damage are inflicted as a result of pressure on the spinal nerve.

Meanwhile, there are things you can do to bridge the gap between pain and a healthier you. Keeping your body hydrated, stretching legs before bedtime, and resting them intermittently each day can be very helpful.


Aching Legs at NightFocus on Your Lower Back

It seems counterintuitive, but daytime slouching while seated is not a good idea if you want to fend off aching legs at night. While keeping your feet flat on the ground, sit in your chair, and arch your back. By releasing this arch by about 15 percent, your back will be in a neutral position. To avoid bending your neck forward, keep your screens at eye height and your shoulders back as well.

Support for your spine comes from your core muscles, which is a great lower back pain management strategy. Your spine suffers degenerative damage if these muscles are weak. Core muscles include your abs, erector spinae, multifidus, obliques, glutes, pelvic floor muscles, and diaphragm. Your spine is supported by each of these muscle groups. Your spine can be relieved of pressure by keeping them strong.

Healthy spinal pain management also means sleeping should be a time to let your spine rest. A firm and supportive mattress is essential for good sleep. A pillow can also be placed under your knees if you sleep on your back (or between your knees if you sleep on your side). Avoid sleeping on your stomach, which forces your spine into an uncomfortable position.

Last but not least, most people spend too much time sitting, which puts much more pressure on their spines. Standing up and moving around every hour is important if you need to sit for long periods of time. A standing desk is another option that is spine-friendly.


Make a Habit of Resting Your Legs Intermittently

As a natural human posture, standing is not particularly harmful — although this fact can be challenged if you’re suffering from aching legs at night. Standing is usually only beneficial for certain periods of time.

It is possible, however, to develop sore feet, swelling of the legs, varicose veins, low back pain, and stiffness of the neck and shoulders if you stay in one position for long periods of time. Keeping the body in a standing position requires muscular effort while reducing blood supply to these muscles. Feet, legs, backs, and necks suffer from pain because of lack of blood flow.

The muscles in your feet and legs are more tired when you stand for an hour in one place. As you walk, all the muscles in your feet and legs are used. Muscles do not get overly tired in this way.

Although a sedentary lifestyle isn’t strictly defined, researchers use a number of metrics to measure it. In the end, just know that making a habit of resting your legs intermittently over a day of healthy standing fits well into any lower back pain management plan.


Elevate Yourself in the Daytime for Aching Legs at Night

In millions of adults throughout the United States, both Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) and lower spinal pain are widespread and often overlooked conditions — and they are usually related to aching legs at night. Fortunately, elevating your legs for just 15 minutes a day can temporarily alleviate those symptoms.

There are three reasons why elevating your legs is beneficial. First, it moves blood back to the heart. You remember those tiny blood valves, right? In the extremities, they struggle against gravity. Blood builds up in veins when the valves are weakened and cannot fight gravity. Blood drains back toward the heart when you raise your legs against gravity.

The second benefit of elevating your legs to help remedy aching legs and knees at night over the short term is: Reduction of swelling. Fluid leaks from the veins and causes swelling in the lower leg when blood pools in the veins. As a result, swelling can be reduced by elevating your legs.

Third, it reduces blood pressure. Sitting or standing for long periods restricts vein circulation. And the accumulation of blood leads to higher blood pressure in the veins. The pressure is lower when you put your feet up, because pooled blood drains from the vein.

Consult your pain management specialist or doctor before elevating your legs every day. Elevating the legs above the heart is safe for most people. Using a pillow, a table, or a wall as a prop can help you relax in a reclining position. You should feel comfortable and your back should be well supported. Eventually, lower back pain management will be essential for your situation.


Stretching Your Legs Before Bedtime is Important

Developing a routine in the evening to wind down from the day is important for battling aching legs at night and getting quality sleep. Before going to bed, some people may benefit from quiet activities such as reading or taking a warm bath, while others may find stress relief from gentle stretching — especially if their legs hurt at night.

Relaxing the muscles with stretching is a natural, effective strategy. Additionally, it promotes mental health and relieves stress, in addition to maintaining physical health. Before bedtime, these activities or other forms of stretching can alleviate stress and make it easier to fall asleep.

People sometimes experience cramps in their legs at night or in the evening. Did you know that stretching your legs before bedtime can alleviate leg cramps and tension? Standing quadriceps and thigh stretches, hamstring stretches, and calf stretches are among the leg muscles you can stretch. The right environment for proper spinal pain management can benefit from these little tips.


Stay Hydrated During the Day for Aching Legs at Night

Breathing, perspiring, urinating, and defecating make you lose water every day — and believe it or not, these activities can be related to aching legs at night. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by drinking water-containing beverages and eating water-containing foods.

In a temperate climate, how much fluid does the average healthy adult need? The average man drinks 15 cups (3.5 liters) of fluid a day, while the average woman drinks 11 cups (2.6 liters). A typical day’s fluid intake is about 20 percent from food, such as fruits and vegetables, and the rest from drinks. Lower back pain management should be accompanied by getting plenty of fluids every day.

It’s recommended you drink eight glasses of water each day. This is a reasonable goal, and it’s easy to remember. Drinking water whenever you feel thirsty is the best way to stay hydrated.

A few glasses of water a day might be enough for some people. It may be necessary for some people to take more. If you are pregnant or nursing, you may need to modify your total fluid intake based on several factors, such as your exercise activity, the environment you live and work in, and your overall health. Staying hydrated is just one more weapon in your arsenal in the fight against aching leg pain at night.


Spinal Pain Management Treatment for a Healthier You

A reasonable pain management solution can seem impossible when you’re hurting from aching legs at night. However, a pain management doctor who is experienced and knowledgeable knows how to relieve pain and restore your quality of life.

You should recognize that there are some serious issues that could be contributing to your painful legs at night. First off, lower back pain management should be in focus for you and your health care specialist as you get evaluated.

Next, seeing bulging blood vessels under the skin indicates varicose veins, which means specific pain management solutions should be on your radar right away. Your legs, feet, or ankles may display blue or purple bulges. When your veins are unable to send blood back to your heart because of venous insufficiency, you develop varicose veins. Poor circulation is caused by these damaged veins. It’s common for varicose veins on the back of the legs to appear contorted and bulging, causing aching legs and knees at night.

The weakness, tingling, and numbness of the arms, legs, hands, and feet may also be caused by muscle and nerve disorders, as well as cramps, spasms, or atrophy due to the loss of motor neurons. The majority of people also suffer from muscle tension, back and shoulder pain, and stress. Chronic pain, sciatica, insomnia, fatigue, and headaches are all symptoms and causes of chronic pain.

Muscle pain can occur for a number of reasons. The reasons range from sleeping in the wrong position to pulling large muscle groups while lifting weights. It may be necessary to seek medical treatment even after a few days of resting for people with constant or chronic muscle pain.


Diagnosis and Treatment

In addition to bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, musculoskeletal pain can affect other parts of the body as well. As a result, pain management is a priority for many people. Sudden, severe pain can result from injuries such as fractures. Chronic pain is also caused by arthritis, which affects muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It can be sudden musculoskeletal pain or chronic pain that lasts forever. There are different types of pain, including localized pain and generalized pain, that can make your legs hurt at night.

Diagnostics and treatments are performed using minimally invasive and highly effective techniques, reducing the risk of side effects, complications, and medication. Whether you’re experiencing mild pain or a type of pain that makes every moment miserable, a qualified pain management doctor can give you the dose of healthy reality you need. Various treatment options are available for painful legs at night.

Through conservative treatments, minimally invasive procedures, surgery, or quality spinal pain management, the right health specialist can provide what you need to move forward. Sometimes you need to find a different solution. You may consider medical massage therapy, acupuncture, arthroscopy, or radiofrequency vein ablation. You may also consider certain types of injections; hip and knee injections, platelet-rich plasma injections, or anesthetic injections.

Depending on the severity of the condition, a combination of treatments may be prescribed. Aching leg pain at night can greatly affect your ability to function and easily disrupt your quality of life, but you can tackle the issue immediately through lower back pain management.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

A range of options for treating aching legs at night are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

At Wellness and Pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.

A horizontal close-up of a woman receiving massage therapy on her leg as part of her charley horse treatment plan

Treat Your Nightly Calf Pain with Charley Horse Treatment

While many factors can contribute to a Charley Horse, it’s unclear what causes it — and it takes education to pinpoint the right Charley Horse treatment for your personal situation.

A variety of reasons may contribute, including dehydration, a lack of electrolytes, muscle fatigue, overstretching a muscle, cold weather, and certain medications. In addition to not stretching enough, exercising in high temperatures, eating too little magnesium or potassium, and having a spinal cord injury, you can also trigger a Charley Horse.

With the right treatment, you can safely relieve your back of leg cramps at night using minimally invasive approaches. First, you need to understand what’s happening in your calf muscles, and what makes up those areas of your leg.


Charley Horse Treatment: The Inside of Your Calf is Key

Calf muscles are located behind the shinbone on the back of the lower leg, which is where most Charley Horse treatment pain-management specialists and health care experts will focus on. In reality, it consists of three muscles.

As your muscles work together to help you walk, run, jump, stand on your toes, and flex your foot, calf muscles in particular contain the following arteries and veins:

  • The posterior tibial artery. This is a branch of the popliteal artery. As it runs down the leg, it supplies blood to the foot and calf muscles.
  • The peroneal artery. This is another branch of the popliteal artery. This vein provides blood to the calf muscles and foot at the back of the leg.
  • The posterior tibial vein. This vein drains blood from the calf muscles and the foot up the back of the leg.
  • The peroneal vein. This is another vein that drains blood from the calf muscles and the foot and runs up the back of the leg.

Calf muscles receive blood and nutrients from these veins, and waste products are removed from the muscles through these vessels. The calf muscles also have a number of smaller arteries and veins in addition to these main arteries and veins. Individual muscle fibers receive blood from these smaller arteries and veins. This is why your back of leg cramps at night deserve proper care and attention.


Veins, Vessels, and Capillaries

Muscles receive nutrients from blood via capillaries. An artery and vein are connected by capillaries. Since they are so small, only one blood cell can pass through them at a time. Muscle cells absorb nutrients and oxygen from the blood as it flows through the capillaries. Blood also contains waste products from muscle cells.

Concentration gradients drive the diffusion of nutrients and waste products. Different concentrations of a substance can be found between two areas in a gradient. The blood contains more nutrients and oxygen than muscle cells, so they diffuse into the cells from the blood. Muscle cells concentrate waste products more than blood cells, so they diffuse from the cells into the blood. With this visual in mind, you start getting a picture of why suffering through calf and foot cramps at night is serious business.

Capillary surface area also affects this entire process. Blood and muscle cells can diffuse nutrients and waste products more easily when capillaries have a greater surface area. In order to function properly, muscles need a lot of nutrients and oxygen. Capillaries are highly concentrated in muscles in order to cater to this demand. Among the body’s tissues, muscles have the most capillaries.

It’s why muscle cramps while sleeping shouldn’t be ignored — no matter how endurable (or not) they may be.


Zoom In on the Right Treatment for Your Suffering

Acupuncture, massage therapy, vein ablation, or IV hydration are all Charley Horse treatment options.

Massage therapy increases blood flow to the affected muscle, which helps relax the muscle and reduce pain. When not broken up by massage therapy, scar tissue and adhesions can also contribute to a Charley Horse. With a deep tissue massage, stretching can also help relax the affected muscle and reduce pain. Firm pressure breaks up scar tissue and adhesions. Myofascial massages release the fascia that surrounds your muscles with gentle pressure. This contrasts trigger point therapy. Oftentimes, a patient’s back of leg cramps at night won’t stand a chance against massage therapy.

A noninvasive treatment for varicose veins is vein ablation. After a specialist inserts a thin catheter into the affected vein, they seal the vein using either heat, radiofrequency, or chemicals. On an outpatient basis, doctors typically take an hour to fully perform this procedure.

Your Charley Horse caused by varicose veins has other solutions as well. Laser ablation has proven itself as a tried-and-true method. Laser ablation can help cure your frequent calf cramps at night. Similarly, laser ablation heats and closes affected veins. A laser ablation or radiofrequency ablation can be effective in treating varicose veins. The type of ablation that is best for you depends on the size and location of your varicose veins, as well as your preferences.

Last but not least, IV hydration does not directly eliminate a Charley Horse, but it can reduce its pain and discomfort by increasing fluid and electrolyte levels. To prevent muscle contractions, fluids can be injected into muscles and joints in order to lubricate them. Potassium and magnesium are essential electrolytes for muscle function. Muscles can contract when dehydrated or electrolyte-depleted.


How Cramps and Strains Relate to Charley Horse Treatment

The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles make up the calf muscle — and any Charley Horse treatment specialist will tell you it’s a prime location where they’ll focus on. These two muscles are commonly referred to as one large muscle with two sections because they attach to the Achilles tendon above your heel.

The plantaris is a small muscle that runs along the lower leg between the gastrocnemius and soleus. These three muscles are known as the triceps surae. However, not everyone has a plantaris muscle. Only a small proportion of people have these two large muscles.

When you stand, your calf muscle supports your foot and enables you to move your lower leg. When you walk or run, it propels you forward. Jumping, rotating your ankle, flexing your foot, and locking your knee are also possible. This is why you’ll need to seek immediate attention for your back of leg cramps at night.


Conditions and Injuries

Injuries to the calf muscles are among the most common in athletes. The risk of this type of injury increases for people who play sports that require sprinting and quick footwork. The likelihood of getting leg cramps increases as you age. Approximately three-quarters of people over the age of 50 suffer from leg cramps at some point in their lives.

Lower extremity muscles and calf and foot cramps at night are commonly affected by the following conditions:

  • Cramps in your legs. It can be very painful to experience muscle cramps and spasms in the calves. There are times of the day and nights when leg cramps occur. Several factors can cause them, including pregnancy, dehydration, some medications, and certain health conditions.
  • Strain in your muscles. Strains most commonly cause injuries to the calf. When you inadvertently stretch a muscle too far you also tear its fibers. Strenuous exercise or overuse can also cause this condition. Sports like soccer, basketball, football, and volleyball that require quick stops and starts and jumping are also prone to this injury.
  • A condition known as “compartment syndrome.” As a result of pressure building within a muscle, compartment syndrome can be a serious, life-threatening condition. Blood flow and oxygen levels are decreased due to the pressure. Strenuous exercise or trauma can result in the injury.
  • The “tennis leg.” This type of muscle strain injury affects the gastrocnemius muscle. People often refer to it as “tennis leg” because of how the muscle extends the leg and flexes the foot. However, it can happen in any sport. When tennis players “push off” suddenly into motion, their leg is placed in this position.


Non-Exercise Tips and Tricks Charley Horse Treatment

No matter what your level of activity (even lying in bed), there are ways to improve circulation in your legs so you won’t have to go in for Charley Horse treatment. These include walking, ankle pumping, knee bends, leg lifts, heel and toe raises, and ankle rotations. But there’s more, too: Calf stretching, leg stands, heel lifts, squats, using an exercise ball, compression stockings, and even yoga.

You can prevent your swelling and back of leg cramps at night by elevating those legs while you sleep. You should elevate your legs above your heart level. Pillows with wedge shapes make this easier. Elevating your legs in bed with pillows or folded blankets can also help circulation.

For better circulation, elevate your legs with a footstool or hassock if you’re sitting up. Also, an under-the-desk cycling device could be a good investment for those who sit a lot or spend a lot of time watching TV. You should shop around online for elliptical cycles from many different brands and types. Sitting and pedaling increases circulation in your legs, exercises your muscles, and burns calories.


Some Other Options

Herbs and vitamins may increase blood flow overall. Make sure you speak with a health care provider before taking any supplements for improving blood circulation. Certain medications may interact negatively with some supplements. Tackling your painful problem of muscle cramps while sleeping could take multiple angles, treatments, and options.

If you smoke, try to quit.  Make sure you stay hydrated. Maintain a balanced diet. Even try a warm bath when needed.

Acupuncture is especially used to treat Charley Horses. Acupuncture is beneficial for people who suffer from chronic back or thigh cramps at night, according to some studies. There isn’t a clear understanding of how acupuncture relieves this problem. When stimulated, acupuncture points relax muscles and reduce pain. By improving blood flow to the affected area, acupuncture therapy may also relieve inflammation and pain.

Find the treatment that’s right for you — immediately.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

A range of Charley Horse treatment options are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

At Wellness and Pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.

A colored visualization of a gentleman experiencing a thigh cramp at night and in bed.

Your Thigh Cramp and the World of Nocturnal Leg Pain

When a thigh cramp or leg pain occurs during sleep, it can happen suddenly and painfully — which isn’t unusual with diabetes, neuropathy, and obesity. Muscle cramps can affect any part of your leg, though calf and thigh cramps are the most common.

However, other issues can also contribute to the pain and suffering.


Your Thigh Cramp and the World of Nocturnal Pain

Many adults across the United States report having ongoing nocturnal leg cramps, and especially a thigh cramp, according to studies. It causes severe insomnia and is usually impacted by recurrent, painful tightening in the calf muscles.  While a precise reason is unknown, it’s likely muscle fatigue, nerve dysfunction, and blood vessel impairment cause your back of leg cramps at night — not necessarily electrolyte imbalance.

The causes of nocturnal leg cramps include vascular disease, spinal canal stenosis, cirrhosis, hemodialysis, pregnancy, and other conditions. Doctors and institutions associate some medications with leg cramps. This list includes intravenous iron sucrose, conjugated estrogens, raloxifene, naproxen, and teriparatide. In addition, you can differentiate restless legs syndrome, claudication, myositis, and peripheral neuropathy from nocturnal leg cramps with a history of physical examination.

Back of thigh cramps at night are difficult to treat, as well as leg cramps (also known as “charlie horses”). There is uncertainty about the etiology, appropriate diagnostic evaluation, and the best treatment. There are many children and adults who experience nocturnal leg cramps. The prevalence of these conditions increases with age, and they are slightly more common in women. The symptoms of leg cramps are bothersome enough to prompt patients to seek medical attention 20 percent of the time.


The Symptoms

An average leg cramp lasts nine minutes and is painful and incapacitating. Recurrences and residual pain may follow the acute episode for hours. Secondary insomnia is typically associated with leg cramps that occur at night. It is most common to experience cramps in the posterior calf muscles, but thigh or foot cramps are also common. There are several types of leg cramps, including spasms, tightening, twinges, strains, tetany, swellings, or seizures. It is possible for cramps to be isometric or to cause limb movements, for example, extreme plantar flexion of the foot.

In spite of this, leg cramps offer family physicians an opportunity to diagnose and treat conditions such as venous insufficiency, peripheral vascular disease, and peripheral neuropathy. The difference between restless legs syndrome, leg cramps, and your thigh cramp can be difficult to distinguish, which is why the best treatment for leg cramps at night starts with a simple appointment with a pain management specialist.


The Science Behind Venous Insufficiency and Cramping

Blood returns to the heart through deep and superficial veins in your lower extremities, which is key to understanding the bodily science surrounding your thigh cramp. Several valves within the veins are responsible for maintaining normal venous flow patterns.

An obstruction in a vein (such as chronic thrombosis) or an incompetent valve can cause venous insufficiency. The valves in your body help blood flow in the right direction (towards your heart). It becomes impossible for a valve to close properly if it becomes damaged. Flowing upward toward the heart becomes difficult as gravity takes over. As a result, it flows backward, a condition known as venous reflux.

It’s possible to develop varicose veins when the venous valves in superficial veins become incompetent. Pain, swelling, skin changes and eventual tissue breakdown may result from chronic venous insufficiency in the deep or superficial venous system. Your back of leg cramps at night can become a common occurrence each time you lay down to sleep.

Pain management specialists can detect obstructions in the deep and superficial veins through special scanning. Specialists can also use ultrasound to determine the direction of blood flow in each segment of the evaluated veins. Often, they perform the evaluation while you’re upright. This tests the function of each valve as well.

It’s usually not necessary to evaluate the function of the lower extremity veins. However, it’s important to obtain a complete lower-extremity venous duplex scan when considering surgical treatment, sclerotherapy, or saphenous venous ablation. Both lower extremities may be included during a comprehensive check-up to explore why you’re suffering from bad calf cramps at night.


Contributing Factors: Valve Damage and Your Thigh Cramp

Valves in your leg veins can be damaged for many reasons, including blood clots, varicose veins, pregnancy, injury, and various medical conditions — bringing on a severe thigh cramp as you sleep.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) causes damage to the vein’s valves when blood clots form. Varicose veins also don’t help, as you may develop venous insufficiency due to these twisted, enlarged veins. Even a leg injury can damage your vein’s valves.

What’s more concerning: A pregnant woman’s veins may suffer damage due to the extra pressure during pregnancy. Her bad leg cramps at night during pregnancy are usually directly attributable to the extra weight and pressure.

Congestive heart failure could also be a common factor in your back of leg cramps at night. It happens when the heart does not pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Fluid can build up in the tissues, including the legs and feet, causing edema. Venous insufficiency can be caused by congestive heart failure in two ways: Increased pressure in the veins and reduced blood flow to the legs. Most patients are also suffering from venous insufficiency.


Other Medical Conditions

High blood pressure caused by chronic kidney disease can also damage your veins’ valves, causing chronic kidney disease. Blood becomes anemic when it lacks enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to tissues. Changes in blood chemistry can also cause chronic kidney disease, causing veins to become more vulnerable.

Your life can also get super complicated when you have diabetes. In addition to damaging blood vessels, high blood sugar can also damage veins. Veins can become weaker and have a harder time pumping blood back to the heart as a result. As a result of diabetes, you can also develop neuropathy, which damages your nerves and affects your control of leg muscles, causing them to weaken as a result. Peripheral artery disease, which results in the narrowing or blocking of arteries, is also associated with diabetes.

Obesity can also complicate diabetes. When you’re obese, the extra weight exerts pressure on your leg’s veins. This makes it more difficult for the heart to circulate blood fully. All these problems have directed many patients to find the best treatment for leg cramps at night.


Understanding the Internal Anatomy of Your Thigh

There are four main blood vessels in your thigh that you should consider when suffering from a thigh cramp: the femoral artery, femoral vein, popliteal artery, and popliteal vein. Thigh and lower leg blood flow is supplied by the femoral artery. Upon entering the thigh, it exits behind the knee at the popliteal fossa.

Located along the femoral artery, the femoral vein drains blood from the thigh and lower leg into the abdomen via the inguinal ligament. In addition, the popliteal artery provides blood to the knee joint and lower leg. Behind the knee, it enters the popliteal fossa and exits at the calf.

We can’t forget the popliteal vein. Blood is drained from the knee joint and lower leg through this continuation of the femoral vein. Located at the head of the popliteal artery, it terminates at the calf where it enters the popliteal fossa.

Smaller blood vessels in the thigh also supply muscles and other tissues with blood. Combined, all these vessels supply blood and nutrients to muscles and tissue as well as remove waste products. Your back of leg cramps at night are all connected to this highly complex and unique area of the body.


Thigh Cramp Symptoms, Questions, and Best Treatment

As you endure your thigh cramp nearly every night in bed, you may feel dull aching, heaviness, or cramping in both your thighs and legs. Too much time spent on your legs will cause them to swell up. You may experience itching or tingling in your legs. If you stand, your pain will be worse, and if you raise your legs, it will be better.

Symptoms stemming from back of leg cramps at night are no fun. Looking past your thighs, there may be redness in your legs and ankles. Around your ankles, you may notice changes in the color of your skin. Varicose veins may be visible on the surface of your legs. Skin on your legs and ankles may thicken and harden.


Some Options

How can you treat venous insufficiency? Compression stockings will help you reduce swelling in your legs, according to your pain management specialist. Sitting or standing for long periods of time is probably not a good idea. The blood in your veins will return to your heart even if you move your legs slightly.

In the same way, walking helps. Varicose veins may require surgery or other treatments if you have tried everything and still have leg pain, skin ulcers, or sores caused by poor blood flow. Anticoagulant or blood-thinning medicines may be prescribed by your doctor if blood clots are causing you problems.

When lying down, your pain management specialist may also suggest elevating your legs above your heart. Exercise can also improve your circulation, and swelling and venous insufficiency can be treated with weight loss as well.

Insufficiency of the vessels can cause bad calf cramps at night. The good news is, there is a cure. In addition to vein ablation, massage therapy, acupuncture therapy, or intravenous hydration, the best treatment for leg cramps at night starts with treating the underlying vessel disease. This will prevent cramps and aching legs from happening.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

A range of options for treating a thigh cramp are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

At Wellness and Pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.

A close-up of painful legs at night causing a woman to curl her toes in bed and under a blanket.

Painful Legs at Night

The Real Story Behind Painful Legs at Night — and Your Solution

People with knee, spine, hip pain, and painful legs at night may experience it for several reasons while resting in the evening. Various factors can contribute to this condition, including osteoarthritis, sciatica, restless legs syndrome (RLS), pregnancy, and certain types of injuries or health problems that are interrelated to lower back pain management issues.

It can also occur as a result of venous insufficiency, nerve problems, muscle tension, bone, joint, tissue problems, or even basic daily stress and injury issues. According to one study, 20.9 percent of U.S. adults (51.6 million people) experienced chronic pain in 2021, and 6.9 percent (17.1 million people) experienced high-impact chronic pain causing substantial limitations in daily life.

The results of another survey show that many Americans think traditional health care providers are inadequate to manage their patients’ pain. Pain sufferers often feel stigmatized and unsupported.

If you suffer from aching legs and knees at night, you shouldn’t ignore these symptoms — especially if you are experiencing pain. Any discomfort you experience should be treated immediately.


Aging, Disorders, and Conditions Cause Painful Legs at Night

As the cartilage in your joints wear down, osteoarthritis or a host of other health conditions can start to creep in — inflicting painful legs at night. As a result, hips, knees, and your spine may experience pain, causing you to search for a lower back pain management solution.

Stiffness and inflammation are not uncommon either. When you lie down at night, your joints are less supported, which can worsen the pain, especially if it happens to be coming from osteoarthritis.

As a result of nerve irritation or compression, sciatica occurs in the lower back and down the back of the leg. A painful, numb, and tingling sensation can occur in the legs, hips, and buttocks due to this condition. Sleeping can actually worsen sciatic pain. Certain sleeping positions are more likely to compress the affected nerves.

There’s also a neurological disorder known as “restless legs syndrome” (RLS) that causes uncontrollable movements of the legs, particularly at night. An uncomfortable sensation in the legs, such as crawling, tingling, or aching, is often associated with RLS. Sleeping can be difficult due to these sensations at night.

For females, during pregnancy your legs, knees, spines, and hips can also be painful at night. Pregnancy is often associated with increased weight gain and hormonal changes. It’s also possible to experience pain at night from an injury to the legs, knees, spine, or hips. Lying down increases the likelihood that the injured tissues will swell and become inflamed.


Some Conditions Often Overlooked

Infectious diseases or aging conditions such as Lyme disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, blood circulation problems, and medication side effects — as well as nerve disorders such as multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathy — can also be the cause of issues if you notice your legs hurt at night or your evenings are void of beneficial spinal pain management for back and hip problems.

A person’s worst nightmare is experiencing pain at night, whether they’re resting, sleeping, or just sitting or lying down. There’s a possibility that you may suffer from a cramp or an unfortunate injury to your muscles, bones, or nerves. Legs, knees, spines, and hips may hurt for many reasons, including trauma and underlying conditions. The symptoms of one condition can also overlap with those of another.

Whether pain occurs steadily, sporadically, or gradually in the lower extremities depends upon the individual. During certain activities or even while resting, it can suddenly strike. It may be the whole leg or only a small area that is being affected. Lower leg pain can be accompanied by a range of sensitivities, such as dull, sharp, achy or stabbing sensations, as well as numbness and burning.


Neurological, Musculoskeletal, and Vascular Issues

For some patients, nervous, musculoskeletal, and vascular issues are the most common problems contributing to painful legs at night. Restless leg syndrome, neuropathy, and sciatica are among the conditions that cause neurological pain. Nervous pain can affect your arms and legs even when you rest.

Your knee can pop or crack when it suffers from musculoskeletal pain. As it progresses, arthritis can damage your joints. Musculoskeletal pain can result from bad falls, which injure muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Musculoskeletal issues include stress fractures, compartment syndrome, and cramps.

Thrombosis, vasculitis, varicose veins, varicose eczema, or skin discoloration can also cause vascular pain in adults. Blood is supplied by your heart to muscles and organs in your body. Your legs, knees, spine, and hips require healthy valves in blood vessels to maintain blood flow. During the stretching process, a vessel’s valves become inefficient. Your vessels become clogged with deoxygenated blood, cells, and waste, causing symptoms to appear. This is one particular reason why lower back pain management remains key to solving some of these health and nighttime sleeping obstacles.


But Most of all, Vascular Issues

Poor vein circulation may also cause aching legs and knees at night. This can result in mild to severe symptoms. A lack of circulation in the veins can result in swelling, cramping, and soreness. When veins cannot transport blood and oxygen to the lower extremities, muscles and bones may suffer from lower extremity pain. In addition to being swollen and bulging, varicose veins are also painful and uncomfortable.

Various diseases of the arteries and veins affect the body’s circulatory system. With the help of your heart, your veins and arteries pump blood throughout your body. Arteries and veins transport blood to the extremities. Specifically, veins transport oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart.

The first sign of vascular disease is usually limb pain, but each person experiences it differently. There is a wide range of severity when it comes to limb pain. No matter how active or inactive you are, you can feel pain at any time. The first time you feel pain, it’s easy to ignore it and hope it’ll go away on its own. However, you should never ignore pain in your legs.


PAD, DVT, and CVI Can Contribute to Painful Legs at Night

In the lower extremities, plaque buildup can also cause painful legs at night. This is especially true when you exert your muscles repeatedly. This inflicts a great pain on your larger muscles from arterial problems. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is common in the following circumstances:



As a result of fatty deposits accumulating inside the arteries, PAD hardens the arteries in the legs. Fat deposits narrow and stiffen the arteries, reducing the flow of oxygenated blood to muscles and soft tissues. There’s a tendency for limbs to suffer from poor circulation. It’s possible to improve circulation and reduce or eliminate symptoms by treating the underlying disease (arteriosclerosis in many cases). When walking, intermittent claudication appears, which disappears when lying down. The disease progresses very slowly. You may even need to seek medical attention if you experience severe pain in your lower extremities while at rest or sleeping. If your legs hurt at night, don’t delay.



Blocking blood completely or partially, venous blood clots can also cause lower extremity pain. An injury to deep veins in the legs can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When a vein becomes clogged, it causes pain, tenderness, swelling, redness, warmth, and aches and stiffness in the lower body. It’s important to note, however, that some people may experience entire lower body aches, while others may not experience any symptoms at all. It can be caused by major surgery, cancer, inactivity, pregnancy, trauma, hormone replacement therapy, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, obesity, and inherited blood diseases.


CVI and a Solution for Painful Legs at Night

When leg veins fail, blood pools in the legs and adds pressure to the vein walls. This inflames the lower extremities and causes pain. This failure of legs veins causes chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Thrombosis and blood clots can damage blood valves or cause them to fail due to heredity. An affected leg may experience mild pain, swelling, and heaviness due to gravity. In spite of the fact that there is no danger of losing your limb, an inside ankle ulcer can be painful. As a result of these factors, CVI can be characterized and understood. As well as CVI, varicose veins can develop. Varicose veins cause pain, burning, and heaviness.

Finding a lower back pain management solution and the best treatment for hip pain at night is usually one of the best courses of action you can take. Additionally, obtaining a pain management specialist’s recommendations for spinal pain management is important. Your options should be comprehensive and inclusive of as many choices and possibilities that may (or may not) help you in finding success.


Don’t Ignore the Pain: Seek Treatment Options

Painful legs at night can be remedied with a variety of treatment options. Medical massage therapy, acupuncture, radiofrequency vein ablation, hip and knee injections, arthroscopy, platelet-rich plasma injections, anesthetic injections, and other injections can all be provided by the right health specialist through conservative treatments, minimally invasive procedures, or surgery.

It may be necessary to develop a customized care plan for each patient, based on their unique circumstances and condition. Doctors usually aim this type of plan at reducing pain, improving range of motion, and preventing injuries. They may prescribe treatments in combination based on the severity of your condition. Oftentimes, a lower back pain management plan that’s right for you is a great place to start your discussion with a pain management specialist.

A patient’s care plan is usually tailored to their unique circumstances and conditions, as well as their input. Treatment objectives always include pain relief, range of motion improvement, and injury prevention. Depending on the severity of the condition and type of intensity from your aching legs and knees at night, your doctor may recommend a combination of treatments.

Doctors perform diagnoses and treatments via minimally invasive and highly effective techniques. This effort reduces the risk of side effects and complications. Whether you suffer from mild pain or chronic pain that makes life miserable, you don’t have to live with pain.

If you are hurting and looking for an effective pain management solution, it can seem impossible to feel good. But it’s not impossible. Your quality of life can be restored by a skilled and experienced pain management doctor.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

A range of options for treating painful legs at night are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

At Wellness and pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition. We consider unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.

Close-up of an adult female receiving acupuncture treatment for leg pain after running.

Treatment for Leg Pain After Running

Acupuncture Treatment for Leg Pain After Running

While runners often complain about thigh, leg, foot and heel pain, many don’t realize there is a unique treatment for leg pain after running. Many factors can contribute to the pain, including overuse, improper footwear, and underlying medical conditions.

Running through pain leads to serious conditions for many runners, even when they’re injured and need rest. It’s best to treat it as soon as possible to minimize long-term damage and speed up the healing process, especially when your back of heel hurts after running.

Even chronic pain can be treated with acupuncture therapies. Each patient’s condition is unique, but there are many reasons for the nagging running pains that won’t go away. Root causes often have deeper causes than we realize.


Issues Leading to Treatment for Leg Pain After Running

A number of issues can cause thigh pain, including IT band syndrome, which can lead to exploring treatment for leg pain after running. Located on the outside of the thigh, the iliotibial band (IT band) consists of a thick band of tissue. Inflammation of the IT band causes it to rub against the bone of the thigh.

You can also suffer from hamstring strain if your back of leg hurts after running. In the back of the thigh, there’s a group of three muscles called the “hamstrings.” Torn or overstretched muscles in the hamstrings cause hamstring strains. Back pain can occur near the buttocks, behind the thigh.

The quadriceps on the front side of your leg can get hit with deep thigh pain after running. Located along the front of the thigh, the quadriceps muscles are a group of four muscles. An injury to the quadriceps results from overstretching or tearing one of these muscles. Near the kneecap, this can cause pain at the front of the thigh.

In terms of your overall leg, shin splints are pains along the inside of your shinbone. Shinbone inflammation is caused by inflammation of the tendons and muscles attached to the bone. An overuse injury can also cause a stress fracture – a small crack in a bone. Runners are more likely to suffer stress fractures in their legs.

“Compartment syndrome” causes pain and numbness inside muscle compartments in runners. Though rare, runners must seek surgical intervention to correct this condition.

A pinched spinal nerve can also cause leg and thigh pain, as can spinal stenosis, injury or trauma, tendonitis, or deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in your deeper veins, usually in your legs).


Foot and Heel Pain: How it’s All Connected

A common complaint among runners is foot and heel pain, with the following being some of the most common causes before runners eventually seek out treatment for leg pain after running:

  • Foot pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue along the bottom of the foot. This condition most commonly causes a runner’s heel pain.
  • Tendinitis of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon connects calf muscle and heel bone.
  • Spurs on the heels. Bony growths catch muscle and tendons, causing your back of heel to hurt after running. Treatment isn’t always necessary, but spurs can be awfully painful over time.

2023 Foot Pain Trends Report uncovered some illuminating and concerning findings for anyone suffering from foot or heel pain, including:

  • Over 95 percent of Americans say foot pain impacts their day-to-day lives, with 8 in 10 reporting that their foot hurts from running.
  • Back, knee, and hip problems are also reported by 33 percent of those who experience regular foot pain.
  • The average monthly cost of treating foot pain for adults is $228.
  • 88 percent of respondents said that they purchased shoes in order to reduce foot pain.

In this report, survey data is based on 6,030 American adults who reported foot pain within the last 12 months (January – December 2022).


At-Home Prevention and Treatment for Leg Pain After Running

Depending on the underlying cause, the thigh, leg, foot, and heel pains will require different overall treatment for leg pain after running. To relieve pain and promote healing, consider the following:

  • Get some rest. Running and other activities that aggravate the pain should be avoided.
  • Ice it. Several times a day, apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time.
  • A compression process. Reduce swelling by wrapping the affected area in an elastic bandage, also known as “compression” (or “using a compress”).
  • Sitting or lying down, elevate the affected area above the heart.
  • Pain relievers available over-the-counter. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can reduce inflammation and pain.

If your back of heel hurts after running, you can incorporate several activities into your weekly lifestyle. This is also true if your back of leg hurts after running, or you have deep thigh pain after running — such as:

  • Wearing proper footwear. Fitted and supportive running shoes are essential.
  • Gradually increasing your mileage. Try not to take on too much at once. Give your body time to adapt by gradually increasing your mileage and intensity.
  • Listening to your body. Whenever you feel pain, stop running and take a break.
  • Cross-training. Injuries caused by overuse can be reduced by cross-training with other activities, such as swimming or biking.
  • Stretching regularly. You can reduce your risk of injury by stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf muscles.


Consider Acupuncture Therapy Treatment

Utilizing acupuncture therapy as treatment for leg pain after running can be more effective and less invasive than physical therapy, injections or even surgery — a major fact oftentimes overlooked by runners. Additionally, many health problems in general can be remedied by acupuncture therapy.

Acupuncture is used to treat everything from chronic pain to when your back of heel hurts after running. Other health problems that pain management specialists use acupuncture to treat include arthritis, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, headaches, migraines, sports injuries, jaw pain, sinus congestion, facial pain, neuropathy, and menstrual cramps

In acupuncture therapy, a specialist inserts thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body to treat specific conditions. Each point represents a different organ, emotion, or sense. Treatment plans incorporating acupuncture can reach these areas in a unique way that other treatments cannot.

Acupuncture does more that just relieve pain. It can also treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, migraines, nausea, menstrual cramps, fertility issues, smoking cessation, and weight loss.


Here’s how it Works

Needles cause your body to react, rebalance, or release natural chemicals, including endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers and neurotransmitters. Stimulation of the central nervous system releases norepinephrine and enkephalin into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. The release of these chemicals promotes physical and emotional wellbeing. Acupuncture therapy can even treat runner’s knee, which is the quintessential ailment for amateur, intermediate, and professional runners alike.

Acupuncture treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for when your back of leg hurts after running, you have deep thigh pain after running, or your foot hurts from running. Some patients feel a dull ache or a mild pricking, while others feel nothing at all. A tingling or buzzing sensation, a feeling of warmth or heaviness may be experienced by others. Following insertion of the needle, acupuncturists sometimes twirl or move it. It’s possible to experience a slight increase in sensation from time to time.

The most effective way to increase strength, mobility, and leg function is to combine knee and hip exercises, with many pain management specialists and doctors recommending a dual-approach strategy that includes knee braces, manipulation therapy, and even electromechanical therapies such as ultrasound or TENS muscle stimulators.

Acupuncture therapy comes in many different types, each with its own philosophy and approach. The most common type of acupuncture treatment is traditional Chinese acupuncture. In addition to improving health and wellbeing, acupuncture can unblock and balance qi.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

A range of options regarding treatment for leg pain after running are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

At Wellness and Pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.

Learn more about acupuncture treatment for leg pain after running or pain in general.

Charlie horses causing a woman to sit mid-run and massage her calf and lower leg in the street.

Charlie Horses

Charlie Horses: Risks, Prevention, and the Right Treatment

Charlie Horses is a common name for muscle spasms, where they can feel like your muscles have tightened up and locked down from involuntary contractions.

Even lying down or sleeping can trigger back of leg cramps at night. It’s painful and can happen suddenly. Calves and quadriceps are the most commonly affected muscles by these types of intense leg cramps, although they can occur in any muscle. In addition to the feet, arms, and abdomen, they can also occur in the hands.

It’s not clear what causes a Charlie Horse, but several factors can contribute to them, including dehydration, a lack of electrolytes (including potassium and magnesium), muscle fatigue, stretching a muscle too far, cold weather, taking certain medications (such as diuretics), and some medical conditions (diabetes, kidney disease, etc.). You can also trigger a Charlie Horse by not stretching enough, exercising in high temperatures, not getting enough magnesium or potassium in your diet, and having a spinal cord injury.

One fact is for sure: The best treatment for leg cramps at night is in reach.


Your Risks, Health, and Relationship to Charlie Horses

A pain management specialist or doctor is not needed unless you have Charlie Horses with weakness, numbness, vomiting, diarrhea, or severe sweating (which can cause dehydration). Physical exams and questions about your medical history will be done by your pain management specialist or doctor.

Those with diabetes or thyroid, liver, or nerve disorders tend to suffer from Charlie Horse activity more frequently, as do older adults, athletes, pregnant women, overweight or obese people. There are also several medical and health risk factors leading to back of leg cramps at night, according to a study at the National Library of Medicine, published in 2021:

  • Being diabetic.Type 1 diabetics experience muscle cramps around 60 percent of the time. About 80 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes have this condition.
  • Chronic renal failure.Muscle cramps in the legs are especially common in individuals with chronic renal failure.
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).There is a 95 percent chance that people with ALS will experience muscle cramps.
  • Having a baby.Pregnant women are more likely to experience muscle cramps at night, especially if they are pregnant.
  • Over 60 years old.Over 60 percent of Americans suffer from nocturnal leg cramps.

Nonetheless, there’s a smart way to treat your bad calf cramps at night.


Treatment and Prevention: The Best Paths Forward

Areas on your lower extremity that are impacted by Charlie Horses can benefit from simple stretching. Put your weight on the affected leg and bend your knee slightly if you have a Charlie Horse in your calf or back of your thigh (hamstring). Put your foot up against your head while seated or lying down.

Hold onto a chair and bend the knee of the affected leg if you have a cramp in the front of your thigh (quadriceps). Pull your foot upwards toward your buttocks. When you lie down, lift your foot, bend your ankle, and point your toes toward your shin to get relief. It loosens the tightness by causing the injured muscles to move in the opposite direction of the contracted muscles.

The muscles can also be relaxed with a massage, epsom salt bath, or heating pad. Ice packs or over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen may also be helpful.

Try relaxing your foot muscle when it tightens up to treat foot cramps. Additionally, ibuprofen can be taken over-the-counter to ease any remaining pain.

In most cases, muscle spasms resolve themselves on their own. Heat applied to your cramp — especially back of thigh cramps at night — can help ease the pain, as well as ice after the heat.

The best treatment for a Charlie Horse, however, is prevention. By drinking plenty of water, stretching before and after exercise, and avoiding cramps at night, you can prevent them. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes, eat magnesium, potassium, and calcium-rich foods, and adjust your exercises as needed. See what the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends for calf stretches, hamstring stretches, and quadriceps stretches.


Additional Cures for Charlie Horses and Night Cramps

Those suffering from Charlie Horses can also benefit from vein ablation, massage therapy, acupuncture, or IV hydration.

Using vein ablation, varicose veins can be treated in a non-invasive manner. Heat, radiofrequency, or chemicals are used to close the vein after a thin catheter is inserted into it. About an hour is usually required for the procedure to be performed outpatient.

A vein can be ablated using laser or radiofrequency energy, helping cure back of leg cramps at night. Laser ablation uses a laser to heat the vein, causing it to close. Varicose veins can be effectively treated with laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation. It depends on the size and location of your varicose veins, as well as your preferences, as to what type of ablation is best for you.

The benefits of massage therapy include the increase in blood flow to the affected muscle, which helps to relax the muscle and reduce pain. Scar tissue and adhesions can also contribute to a Charlie Horse when they are not broken up by massage therapy. Stretching the affected muscle can also help relax it and reduce pain with a deep tissue massage. Firm pressure is used to break up scar tissue and adhesions. In contrast to trigger point massage, myofascial release massage uses gentle pressure to release tension in the fascia, which surrounds your muscles.


Acupuncture Therapy and IV Hydration

A Charlie Horse can also be treated with acupuncture therapy. According to some studies, acupuncture reduces the frequency and severity of a Charlie Horse in people with chronic bad calf cramps at night. It’s not fully known how acupuncture relieves the problem. Acupuncture points have been found to relax muscles and reduce pain when stimulated. Inflammation and pain may also be relieved by acupuncture therapy by improving blood flow to the affected area.

Lastly, IV hydration does not directly eliminate a Charlie Horse, but it can reduce its pain and discomfort by increasing fluid and electrolyte levels. Muscle contractions can be prevented by fluids lubricating the muscles and joints. A muscle’s function relies on electrolytes like potassium and magnesium. In dehydration or electrolyte depletion, muscles can contract.


Origin and Meaning: Describing Leg Cramps

A Charlie Horse — and the plural “Charlie Horses” — is believed to have originated in the United States in the late 1800s, although its origin is unclear. Several theories exist about the origin of the term. It’s believed that the term originated from the name of a baseball player named Charley Radbourne.

In the 1880s, Radbourne pitched for the Boston Beaneaters. During games, he was known to get daytime leg cramps, which can lead to back of leg cramps at night. Newspaper reporters used the term “Charlie Horse” to describe Radbourne’s leg cramp one day.

It may also be derived from the name of a horse that pulled groundskeepers’ carts in baseball parks. It was common for these horses to get leg cramps from being overworked and tired. In reference to the horses, these cramps became known as a “Charlie Horse.”

The term may have been derived from a horsefly that bites horses, according to another theory. As a result of their ability to cause leg cramps in horses, a horsefly of this sort is called a “Charlie Horse.”

It’s now common to refer to back of thigh cramps at night as a “Charlie Horse,” no matter what the origins of the term are. As well as in informal settings, it’s used in medical settings as well. A leg cramp can also be called a muscle cramp, a muscle spasm, a calf cramp, a shin splint, a night cramp, and a writer’s cramp.


Wellness and Pain Can Help

A range of options for treating Charlie Horses are available at Wellness and Pain. We offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues, quickly relieving the inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.

At Wellness and Pain, we personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.

Keep reading to learn more of what what you can do about leg cramps and charley horses.

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