What Is The Difference Between Leg Cramps And Restless Legs Syndrome
Although both nocturnal leg cramps and restless legs syndrome tend to happen to you at night or when youre at rest, restless legs syndrome doesnt cause the severe pain. Restless legs syndrome is uncomfortable, but not agonizing. Its a crawling sensation that makes you want to move your legs. When you do move, the restlessness stops, but there is still discomfort.
What Are Leg Cramps
If you havent already, you will probably experience leg cramps at some point in your life. They can hit at the worst possible moments whether youre lying in bed at night or taking a run on the treadmill, that sharp stabbing pain can feel totally debilitating. If leg cramps, also called charley horses, persist, they can become even more irritating, perhaps knocking you off your typical exercise or sleep routine.
A leg cramp is a sharp, sudden contraction or tightening of the muscle in the calf, which usually lasts a few seconds to a few minutes. If a cramp does hit, you can ease it in the moment by stretching the muscle gently. To find a long-term solution to leg cramps, however, you might need to take a closer look at their many potential causes.
To keep leg cramps at bay, make sure youre nourishing your body and getting enough rest. Youll also want to rule out any underlying issues that could be contributing to leg cramping, such as peripheral artery disease or thyroid issues. See a doctor when cramps prevent you from exercising, or if they seem to happen spontaneously without a trigger.
Here, experts weigh in on the major reasons you might be experiencing leg cramps, so you can keep those muscles free of charley horses for good.
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Drinking Away The Pain: A Slippery Slope
One of the benefits of moderate drinking is that it may help you relax and ward off stress, which helps manage and prevent back pain.
However, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that about 28% of people with chronic pain turn to alcohol to manage their pain. This presents several problems.
Ultimately, chronic alcohol use to dull back pain can cause you to develop a greater sensitivity to pain. If you withdrawal from alcohol after months or years of abusing it, you may feel pain to a greater degree than you did before. Because of this, many people go back to drinking as a form of pain management. This long-term, excessive use of alcohol causes significant and harmful problems for your overall health and safety.
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What Causes Leg Cramps After Drinking Alcohol
Leg cramps and pain in calf muscle is common problem in many people. Cramps can also occur in thigh muscles as well as in muscles of feet.
There are two main reasons for pain and cramps in leg after heavy drinking. Alcohol drinking causes accumulation of lactic acid in the body. Build up large amount of lactic acid in muscles of legs can produce pain and cramps.
Another leading cause for pain in legs associated with alcohol drinking is loss of fluid from the body. It is well known fact that drinking too much of alcohol causes dehydration. It causes too much of urination. Important salts such as potassium, magnesium and sodium get depleted due to excess loss of water from the body. Imbalance of electrolyte and minerals leads to pain and cramps in muscles, especially the muscles of leg.
Spasms in leg muscles can be one of the symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy. Drinking too much of alcohol can damage peripheral nerves. Drinking can cause vitamin deficiency especially vitamin B12, B6, folate and niacin. These vitamins help the nerves to function at its optimum. Deficiency of these vitamins can cause damage to the peripheral nerves. Diabetics who drink are more vulnerable to this problem.
/ Standing At The Bar
If you are the type to prop up the bar during a long drinking session, this could be contributing to you experiencing cramps afterwards.
It is know that exercise can increase lactic acid , a common cause of cramp.
Standing at the bar, or dancing on a night out can have the same effect as exercise due to the way your body exerts itself.
You may not think of it in this way, but a night out is basically a work out!
You may wish to consider sitting down more on a night out to stave off any episodes of cramp later in the evening, or the next day.
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Does Alcohol Reduce Fitness
Alcohol can slow down your metabolism, weaken your muscles, and give you fatigue. Excessive alcoholism does not just affect you in your fitness goals, it affects you in your daily life. You feel more sluggish, you start to choose alcohol over other things you love, and then everything seems to start falling apart.
Can Alcohol Cause Muscle And Joint Pain
Studies have shown that moderate drinking of alcohol can have some health benefits, at least according to Medical Dailys Sabrina Bachai. For instance, its been found that it can reduce the risk of some heart problems. However, heavy drinking can have some serious health repercussions.
Apart from health-related issues, alcohol has been associated with some social and economic problems. Some alcoholics will neglect family responsibilities, work, and misuse the available financial resources not forgetting the effects it will bring to friends and the communities they interact with. In this piece, well delve deeper into the effects of alcohol on the most important parts that constitute our body structure, muscles, and joints.
The body is made up of four types of movable joints, namely, gliding joints, interphalangeal joints , pivot joint , and the ball and socket joints. These are the links between all the bones in the body.
With this in mind, there are 360 joints in a fully grown human being. These are then joined by cartilages, tendons, and ligaments that connect to the muscles.
But does alcohol consumption have anything to do with muscle and joint pain? To rephrase that, can alcohol cause muscle and joint pain? With the support of some of the pointers below, the answer is a big capital yes. Find out why and how below.
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Why Do I Get Cramps In My Legs After Drinking Alcohol
Since centuries alcohol is considered to be a social drink. However, many people do not realize that drinking even small amount of alcohol has several untoward consequences on health. After drinking, alcohol is absorbed in the blood and gets distributed throughout the body. Alcohol abuse for long duration can seriously jeopardize a persons life. The toxic substances present in alcohol can have bad effects on each and every cell.
Consuming alcohol can have long term as well as short term effects on health. One of the bad effects in short period of time after drinking alcohol is aches and cramps in leg.
For example one person may experience cramps in extremities after drinking a small glass of wine. Another person may get leg pains after fair amount of alcohol consumption. Let us know the reasons for cramps in leg after drinking alcohol.
Why Do I Get Leg Cramps After Drinking Alcohol
Consumption of alcohol leads to loss of balance and coordination, making the muscles overwork whether you drink small or large amounts. Clinical trials show that the brain as well as the body suffers the effects of drinking alcoholic beverages for up to 3 days.
Muscle cramps occur when a muscle involuntarily tightens up and goes in to spasms, setting off acute pain.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Leg Cramps
- Do you think that my leg cramps are a symptom of an underlying condition?
- Can you show me the best exercises I can do to stretch my muscles?
- Can you show me the best massage techniques I can use to help with my leg cramps?
- Is it safe for me to take medication for my leg cramps? Which medications should I take?
- Do you recommend that I see a physical therapist, sleep specialist, massage therapist, or other specialist?
- How can I help my child when they have a leg cramp?
- Should I keep an eye out for symptoms other than leg cramps that might indicate a more serious condition?
- How often should I come back to visit you about my leg cramps?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Leg cramps can be unpredictable and agonizing. They can affect your sleep, your exercise routine and your general quality of life. Theyre common very normal and, fortunately, temporary, and there are steps you can take to manage them. Do your best to avoid risk factors, avoid medications with leg cramps as a side effect and take recommended preventative measures.
If youre concerned about the severity and duration of your leg cramps, or think that they may be caused by a serious condition, dont hesitate to contact your healthcare provider. Ask questions and voice your concerns. You dont have to just live with leg cramps.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/03/2020.
Legs Ache After Drinking Alcohol
Everyone knows that drinking too much alcohol, especially on a regular basis, should be avoided because excessive drinking can cause serious and chronic health problems. Taking an alcoholic drink or two occasionally may not be the worst idea you ever had, and some people even say that a glass of red wine has cardiovascular benefits, but drinking alcohol in large amounts could provoke a headache, nausea, vomiting, and clouded judgment, not too mention liver problems if you are a long-term heavy drinker.
So, when it comes to alcohol, the rule of thumb is to try to limit yourself in the evening to avoid morning complications, and only ever drink in moderation.
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Possible Explanations For The Association Between Alcohol Use And Nlc
Alcohol consumption is responsible for many medical conditions, from gout, to heart attacks, neuropathy, and myopathy. We found only 2 reported cases of cramps, without any signs of myopathy, that were presumably due to the consumption of alcoholic beverages., Cramps are one of the symptoms of alcoholic myopathy and is characterized histologically by selective atrophy of type II fibers., We hypothesize that, since the same defect is observed in aging individuals and in people with sedentary lifestyles,, chronic alcohol intake may increase the destruction of type II fibers in the elderly and make them more vulnerable to NLC. This remains to be confirmed. To our knowledge, the literature does not provide any evidence linking alcoholic neuropathy and cramps. Binge drinkers seem to be more at risk for complications such as heart attacks than people who chronically consume alcohol. Our study did not specifically explore the modality of alcohol intake, but binge drinking is rare among the elderly French population. An international multicenter cohort study would be necessary to confirm a causal link between alcohol consumption and NLC, and to determine a threshold for acute and chronic consumption.
Take Apple Cider Vinegar With Honey
Drinking apple cider vinegar reduces soreness, redness, and inflammation on the effective areas caused by cramps as it is Anti- Inflammatory and Analgesic in nature. Apple cider vinegar for leg cramps always works great. Few benefits are-
- Apple cider vinegar contains minerals and calcium that are known to help prevent and relieve cramps.
- Apple cider vinegar is rich in vitamin A, B, and D, and potassium, which are crucial for the excellent functioning of the muscular system.
- For the people suffering from diabetes and blood sugar problems, ACV can create wonders.
How to use:
To make this remedy take two tablespoons of honey plus one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a hot cup of water. Mix it well.
How much to use:
Limit your intake it should not be more than two tablespoons.
Excessive use may erode your tooth enamel. After taking ACV, remember to rinse your mouth with water.
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But Wine Might Actually Be Good For Your Gut
This is what you have been wanting to hear… wine is actually good as well.
More recent studies have been conducted and show that wine, particularly red wine, has a prebiotic effect. This just means that it promotes the growth of good gut bacteria.
Red wine made from grapes is high in bio-active compounds called polyphenols, which besides promoting good gut bacteria, also lead to increased antimicrobial activity against bad bacteria.
Six separate studies came to this same conclusion… that red wine polyphenols benefit gut bacteria according to a review in the Food Research International journal.
One of the studies that was mentioned in the review came from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In this particular study there were 10 healthy volunteers that consumed red wine on a daily basis. After consumption for 4 weeks there were significant changes in gut microbiota found. Seven different types of bacteria showed large increases and along with this they also fount decreases in blood pressure, triglyceride levels, cholesterol.
Why This Is So Important
Gut bacteria plays a very important role in digestion. Without a healthy gut microbiota your digestion would seriously suffer and diarrhea as well as constipation would be much more frequent.
But besides that… a healthy gut microbiota is important for overall health. It also effects other bodily systems such as the immune system, which in-turn impacts a lot more.
Can You Get Leg Cramps At Night
Leg cramps at night happen when youre not very active, or when youre asleep. They may wake you up, make it harder for you to fall back asleep and leave you feeling sore all night. Yearly, monthly, weekly, nightly the frequency of leg cramps depends on the person. Nocturnal leg cramps can happen to anyone at any age, but they happen most often to older adults. Of people over age 60, 33% will have a leg cramp at night at least once every two months. Nearly every adult age 50 and older will have them at least one time. Seven percent of children will, as well. Approximately 40% of pregnant women will experience leg cramps at night. The reason behind that is thought to be that the extra weight of pregnancy strains the muscles.
Three-quarters of all reported leg cramps happen at night.
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Treatment For Alcoholic Neuropathy
The most important thing you can do to treat this condition is to stop drinking. Treatment may first focus on problems with alcohol use. For some people, this may require inpatient rehab. Others may be able to stop drinking with outpatient therapy or social support.
Once alcohol use has been addressed, your doctor can focus on the neuropathy itself. Symptom management is important. Nerve damage can also make it difficult for you to carry out the functions of daily life. Nerve damage may even make injuries more likely.
Every persons needs are different. Treatment for neuropathy may involve one, or many, different types of care. These include:
Common Causes Of Leg Cramps
Most people experience leg cramps at some point in their life. From the occasional aching sensation to recurring pangs, people cope with leg crampsalso known as charley horses or muscle spasmsto varying degrees.
Cramps are involuntary contractions that occur in the muscles for anywhere from a few seconds to minutes on end . Mild or severe, the onset of cramping is typically sudden it may begin during intense exercise or at rest, in bed at night or after hours of being seated at your desk.
However, just because leg cramps can begin suddenly doesnt mean they come out of nowhere. Muscle spasms in the calves, hamstrings, and thighs result from a number of common causes, many of which can be addressed simply by being aware of what might trigger them. These are some of the main causes of leg cramps:
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Leg Cramps
Experts cant promise that youll never have a leg cramp again, but there are some steps you can take that might reduce your risk!
- Make sure that you stay hydrated drink six to eight glasses of water each day. Dont drink as much alcohol and caffeine.
- Adjust how you sleep. Use pillows to keep your toes pointed upwards if you sleep on your back. If you lie on your front, try hanging your feet over the end of the bed. Both positions can keep you in a relaxed position.
- Gently stretch your leg muscles before you go to sleep.
- Keep blankets and sheets loose around your feet so that your toes are not distorted.
- Wear shoes that fit you well and support your feet.
- Perform frequent leg exercises.
- Stretch your muscles before and after you exercise.
- Experiment with mild exercise right before bed. Walk on the treadmill or ride a bicycle for a few minutes.