After experiencing cramps in her legs every few nights, Anuja decided to pay a visit to Dr Nita to find out the cause.
“Hi Anuja, how are you doing?” greeted Dr Nita.
“I’m good now, doctor, thank you. But I wasn’t last night, that’s why I’ve come to see you.”
“Okay, what’s the problem? Something to do with your legs, I presume?” Dr Nita guessed, looking at how gingerly Anuja placed her legs on the bed for Dr Nita to inspect.
“Yes, doctor. I seem to have these really painful night cramps. My muscles spasm a lot. At first, I thought it was due to a hike I took but the soreness has continued for days now. In fact, my leg is still sore from last night’s cramp.”
“Hmm. When was this hike?” questioned Dr Nita.
“Three weeks ago. I regularly go on hikes so not sure why I’m experiencing these cramps all of a sudden.”
“Okay, and how many hours do you spend seated in front of your computer?” Dr Nita asked.
“Maybe 11-12 hours each day. Between work and online classes, I barely leave my desk.” Anuja told her sheepishly.
“I see the problem now. Your legs aren’t getting enough movement through the day and I’m sure you don’t hydrate yourself enough when you’re busy working,” said Dr Nita. “The blood flow in your legs is poor. Your sedentary lifestyle is the main cause of your night cramps.”
“What can I do to alleviate the pain?”
“Stretch around during the day and before bed at night. Simple leg and feet exercises will help promote better blood circulation. This will make your muscles less susceptible to spasming at night.” explained Dr Nita.
“Okay, I will try to do that. Sometimes it gets difficult for me to remember to exercise when work gets hectic.”
“Maybe you can look at devices like the SitWalker then. You can use it while you’re seated — your legs mimic the actual walking movement and this will ensure good blood flow in your legs. It works automatically, so you don’t have to move from your seat while you work and study.” Dr Nita advised.
“That sounds great! I will look into that and try to exercise a little every day!”
Nocturnal night cramps affect 60% of adults. They are much more likely to affect women and people who are over the age of 50. Night leg cramps often involve your calf muscles but the muscles in your feet and thighs may cramp as well.
Some causes for the same include:
- Overexerting your muscles
- Standing for prolonged periods
- Sitting (cross-legged) for long
- Low blood sugar
Use a cold or hot compress (according to your preference) to ease the pain when you have a night cramp. Massaging the cramped area, flexing your feet, and stretching can also help relieve the pain.
Changes to your sedentary lifestyle such as regular exercise and frequent movement during long periods of sitting can help with reducing night cramps. The SitWalker generates patterns of movement for the calf muscles once you rest the soles of your feet on the device platform. This automates your walking needs and boosts circulation in the lower limbs.
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