Waking up with leg pain at night is an unpleasant experience. Most leg pain is caused by severe muscle cramps, also called a charley horse. This discomfort is commonly triggered by dehydration, strenuous exercise, an electrolyte imbalance or certain medications. To relieve leg pain at night and reduce leg cramps here's a few steps to consider.
Drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Leg pain and leg cramps is often caused by slight to severe dehydration. Have a goal of drinking about eight glasses of water a day. Try to avoid caffeine which acts like a diuretic in your body.
Avoid excessive exercise. Working your leg muscles too hard without proper conditioning will cause muscle fatigue. If you suspect your leg cramps are from overuse, rest and elevate your leg whenever possible. Apply ice four times a day for 15 minute intervals. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help reduce swelling and discomfort and relieve leg pain.
Stretch your calf muscles regularly, especially before and after any exercise routine. Stand on the edge of a step with your heels positioned slightly off the edge. Slowly raise and lower yourself on your toes to gently stretch the muscle. Do not bounce.
Consider the foods you eat. A diet rich in potassium and calcium can help relieve leg pain and prevent an electrolyte imbalance. For potassium try: bananas, strawberries, spinach or peas. Add dairy to your diet for calcium. Supplements are also available.
Ask your doctor to review all your current medications. Certain medications like Lasix, asthma drugs, and others can have leg cramps as a side effect. Find out if any of your drugs could be the source of your leg pain and ask for possible alternative medications. If your leg pain at night persists, seek medical help for other causes.