Home treatment for nighttime leg cramps includes stretching and massaging the affected muscle, having a warm shower, using a heating pad or applying a cold pack atop a cloth placed on the skin, says WebMD. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain medicines can also provide relief.
Trying different ways of relieving muscle cramps helps to determine which methods are the most effective, advises WebMD. Drink lots of water and sports drinks, as dehydration is one of the common causes of cramps. Walk a little or shake the leg when a leg cramp occurs. It may also help to stretch the calf muscles while sitting or standing. Contact a doctor if the likely culprit of a leg cramp is a medication.
To prevent leg cramps, minimize alcohol consumption, and eat foods containing high amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium, recommends WebMD. Doctors also suggest taking a multivitamin supplement every day. Start an exercise routine that involves riding a bike or a stationary bike and other exercises that stretch the muscles. The duration and amount of exercise should be increased gradually.
Nighttime leg cramps typically affect the calf muscles but sometimes occur in the foot or thigh, states WebMD. They usually occur when a person is about to fall asleep or wake up. Injury, muscle overuse, exercise, pregnancy and exposure to cool temperatures are common causes of muscle cramps.