Leg cramps are an involuntary contraction of a single muscle or a group of muscles in the leg. These are usually painful and extremely discomforting. Leg cramps often occur in elderly patients though age is no criteria as it is often seen in young people too. Leg cramps generally occur in the calf muscle, the hamstring and the quadriceps. The duration of a leg cramp ranges from less than a minute to several minutes at times.
Night leg cramps or nocturnal leg cramps are problematic because they can be excruciating when they strike. This could therefore leave you completely incapacitated and writhing in agony for the duration that the cramp lasts. Restless leg syndrome is not the same as night leg cramps and although similar, the two should not be confused. Leg cramps during pregnancy are known to also be problematic, but these are mostly caused simply by the additional stress and strain on the muscles, and this symptom will accordingly pass on with delivery.
Causes of Leg Pain
If you have suffered an injury to the bone, muscle or tendon of your leg, it's easy to connect these injuries to leg pain and seek treatment. Sometimes, however, the cause of leg pain is not crystal clear. Vascular disorders involving the vessels that carry blood and lymph throughout the body can cause blood clots or varicose veins. Blood clots, known as deep vein thrombosis, often result from prolonged bed rest.
Atherosclerosis or narrowed arteries is a condition that can impair circulation so that less blood reaches your legs. In this case, you might feel pain during exercise that's called claudication which feels like a sharp cramp when you walk or run.
Infections are another source of leg pain. Osteomyelitis, for example, is an infection of the bone that results in impaired mobility. Inflammation from diseases like arthritis and gout can also attack joints in the leg, making everyday activities painful.
Leg Pain Symptoms
Depending upon the cause and the individual situation, symptoms of leg pain may have a wide range of presentation. The pain may be described in varying ways, for example, as sharp, dull, heavy, aching, or burning. It may be constant or intermittent, or made better or worse with activity or rest. There may be other associated symptoms, depending upon the cause.
Pain from muscles and joints often can be felt or palpated, meaning that touching the area reproduces the pain. However, the pain may radiate from its source to another location, sometimes confusing the patient and the health-care practitioner. For example, hip problems may initially present with knee pain. With some injuries and arthritic conditions, pain gradually resolves as the muscle or joint warms up during activity, but other times, the pain may be made worse with use.
Patients who suffer from claudication develop pain with exercise, but as the blood vessels narrow over time, the amount of activity required to bring on the pain decreases. Also, this type of pain tends to resolve with rest.
Those who have a blood clot causing ischemia (decreased oxygen supply to the tissues) tend to have an acute onset of pain that is intense and involves the whole extremity below the area of the arterial blockage. Sometimes the body is able to dissolve the clot on its own and as the blood supply is restored, the pain resolves. Most often, though, this is a true emergency that requires treatment to prevent loss of the leg.
People with neuropathy tend to describe their pain as a burning sensation, while those who have sciatica describe intense sharp pain.
Nighttime symptoms of pain and leg cramps may be associated with restless leg syndrome, a sleep disorder.
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Home Remedies for leg pain
Steam baths and massage once a week are very helpful.
Take 10-15 grams of camphor and 200-250 grams of mustard oil and mix in a glass bottle and keep this bottle in sun till the camphor get dissolved properly. Massage the affected area everyday with it. One of the good home remedies for leg pain.
A red flannel can be wrap up around the pain area.
Use of coconut also assists in curing the leg and knee pains.
To get better the general weakness of the body a well-balanced diet including all the three basic food groups is advisable.
Eating 4-5 walnuts with an bare stomach in morning provided relief from leg pain in a short duration.
Intake of cod liver oil helps in curing all sorts of leg pains and general weakness of the body.
2-3 teaspoonful of fenugreek powder in morning water is very helpful.
Various yogasanas like janusandhi, uttanpadasana and gomukhasana are very helpful for the leg pain.