About Resting Leg Pain

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Leg pain while at rest
Leg pain while at rest (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

You might expert leg pain after strenuous exercise or after using muscles you aren’t used to using. Experiencing leg pain while at rest, however, is an ailment you might not expect.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is the progressive narrowing and hardening of the arteries, which is caused by aging as well as other factors. As the condition worsens, pain or burning sensations can be felt in the lower extremities. These occur when a person is lying down. This resting leg pain is worse when lying down because blocked arteries in the leg do not allow sufficient blood flow to the feet and toes. To relieve this pain, the sufferer might have to hang his legs off the side of a bed.

Resting Leg Cramps

While resting in a sound sleep, a person might be suddenly awakened with a charley horse in the leg. Leg cramps and spasms occur in the calf, and can last from a few seconds to several painful minutes. They might also occur multiple times during the night. These nocturnal leg cramps can be brought on after a day of repeatedly using a muscle group or after strenuous exercise.

Leg Cramps From Sitting

Occasionally, one can experience leg pain while resting in a chair if the sitter’s position is such that it cuts off circulation. Cramps from this condition seldom last more than a few seconds or minutes once circulation is restored.

At Rest Leg Pain At Night

Sometimes a person might get a leg cramp while resting in bed. It can be an uncontrollable spasm of a calf muscle and the pain can range from mild to severe. These attacks can be chronic for some individuals or an occasional occurrence for others. While they might happen for unknown reasons, it is known that dehydration, as well as certain medications, can cause resting leg pain. Leg cramps can also be the sign of more serious problems, such as atherosclerosis or thyroid disease.

Getting Relief

Anyone can experience resting leg pain, but pregnant women and elderly people are more susceptible. When a leg cramp occurs, straighten your leg, point your feet back and pull your toes toward your knee. Massage the spasming muscles. Stretch leg muscles by slowly standing up, bending the knee and bearing weight down on the cramping leg for several minutes. The application of either heat or cold (whichever gives you relief) might help relax the muscle.

Serious Conditions

A tumor on spinal nerves can cause leg pain at night. Herniated disks in the back can result in sciatica which, in rare cases, can cause nocturnal leg pain. See a doctor if you have recurring resting leg pain.

Prevention

Stretch legs and calves several times during the day and before bed. Lie down and slowly pull your toes toward your knees. Avoid pointing your toes while sleeping. Keep well hydrated by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.

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