Avoiding Painful Leg Cramps

Your mind has finally stopped racing and you've just nodded off, only to be rudely awakened by a deep knot of sudden pain in your thigh, calf or in the arch of your foot. Athletes and high heel wearers alike are often awakened from sleep by the infamous nocturnal leg cramp or "charley horse." And though these occasional cramps usually are not serious, they are undeniably painful and downright annoying.

Check your H20 levels

The exact cause of leg cramps is not known, however, they are most often associated with dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. That said, and you've heard it before, drinking the optimal amount of water - 7 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day - is the first line of defense against "charley." Staying hydrated is also important for overall health, so the water speech bears repeating!

Stretch those stems

Also, simple stretches before bed can stave off cramps. Try this simple stretch before you hop into bed each night:

  1. Stand facing the wall, 30 inches away.
  2. While keeping your heels on the floor, lean forward, put your palms on the wall, and slowly move your hands up the wall as far as you can reach comfortably.
  3. Hold the stretched position for 30 seconds. Release.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 two more times.

Just remember, when stretching, to take it slowly. Jolting right into a deep stretch and quick bouncing motions through the stretch are mistakes that can cause injury.

Supplement your regimen

If you're still bothered by occasional cramping, your diet may need slight supplementation. According to Charles Kuntzleman, EdD, associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, taking a daily supplement of 400 IU of Vitamin E is usually very helpful. If the cramps persist, your body may be experiencing a lack of calcium and magnesium, found in dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli. Dr. Kuntzleman suggests supplementing with daily dosages of up to 1,000 milligrams of magnesium and 500 to 1,000 milligrams of calcium.

How can chiropractic help?

Circulation is crucial for rushing nutrients from food and supplements to the areas of the body that need healing most. Chiropractic adjustments can improve circulation and greatly reduce healing time. Remember to inform your chiropractor if you're experiencing muscle cramps.

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"I struggled with back pain for 4 years prior to seeking help for my Scoliosis. I decided after visiting Dr. Breidenbach that it was worth the financial commitment and time dedication to go through the CLEAR scoliosis treatment. My pain throughout the 4 years was more of an extreme discomfort and occasional immobilization from immense pain spikes. My biggest problems occurred when I was on my feet for long periods of time, sitting for too long, and any type of consecutive lifting. It was emotionally draining because no matter what stretches, exercises or methods I tried, nothing seemed to work.
My pain level now, after completing the 4 month treatment program and continuing my at-home protocol, is extremely low and very manageable. The only time I experience discomfort is after very long days on my feet, which still only results in minor soreness. I am so much happier and less stressed about everyday activities, and can do so much more than before. My Cobb angle also improved from 13.8 degrees down to 4 degrees (71% improvement).
I would suggest the CLEAR scoliosis Center of La Crosse to anyone that experiences pain and dysfunction with scoliosis. The whole staff was extremely kind and supportive, while also maintaining a high level of professionalism. I am so happy to have a normal life without the constant annoyance and discomfort of pain from scoliosis.

Megan