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How do you treat leg cramps?

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Quick Answer

Treatment for leg cramps includes the use of an analgesic patch or balm or a medicine formulated for menstrual cramping, such as Midol or Pamprin. Lifestyle changes such as hydration and including fresh produce in the diet prevent further onset of leg cramps, states Jessica Firger for Everyday Health.

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Full Answer

Leg cramps have a number of different potential causes. Dehydration is one of the simpler causes, although the more severe condition of kidney disease can also be a cause, according to Firger. Sometimes, it is just vigorous exercise, holding the leg in an uncomfortable position for a long time or some other source of trauma to the muscle that leads to leg cramps. Medications such as diuretics, birth control pills and steroids can causing cramping, as can a deficiency of calcium or potassium or even cold weather.

When the cramps first strike, movement is the first step. Walking around, shaking the leg or jiggling the muscle can alleviate the cramps at least momentarily. If the cramps do not go away, apply the patch or balm or take the medicines mentioned above. Another way to prevent cramps going forward is to use strength training on the legs, notes Firger. Stronger and more flexible muscles do not cramp as often.

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