Treatment for severe nocturnal leg cramps involves home care measures such as stretching and massaging the muscles, taking warm showers to relax the muscle, applying ice, taking over-the-counter painkillers and drinking plenty of fluids, states WebMD. In some cases, a doctor prescribes medications for muscle cramps to manage the condition.
Also known as night leg cramps, nocturnal leg cramps are painful contractions of the muscles that occur suddenly in the legs during the night, notes WebMD. The cramps can occur in the foot or the thigh. Some causes of this condition include overworking of muscles, exposure to cold, dehydration, pregnancy or insufficient calcium and potassium in the diet. Standing on a solid surface for an extended time or pulling the legs in a poor position can lead to muscle cramps. The condition is also linked to alcoholism, diuretics, Parkinson's disease and structural disorders.
Anyone can get night leg cramps, but they are more prevalent in middle-aged or older people. In cases where the cramps are severe, the doctor recommends lab work to determine if there are electrolyte imbalances. When the cramps occur, forcefully stretching the legs, walking around or jiggling the legs helps to make them go away, according to Cleveland Clinic.