Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with a cramp in your leg that hurts so much you actually scream? That is one intense pain. Several things can cause this to happen. Overuse of your muscles, use of diuretics, or just general dehydration can cause this. So, since alcohol dries you out, and several of you are rabid drunks, I'm guessing you might need some tips on what to do when this happens.

  • Stretch and massage the cramp. Straighten your leg and point your toes upward, while you gently rub the cramp to help the muscle relax.
  • If it's in your calf, where I usually get them, get out of bed and stand up. Put your weight on the leg with the pain and bend your knee slightly.
  • If it's in your thigh, get out of bed, keep both legs straight and lean forward at the waist. Use a chair so you don't fall over and really make a fool out of yourself.
  • Apply ice first and heat later. The cold pack relaxes the muscle and a heating pad or warm towel (or these new bed buddies which you can heat up in a microwave) helps the pain and tenderness.

Here are some tips to avoid the problem in the first place:

  • Before you get in bed, stretch. Stand 2 or 3 feet from a wall, place your hands on the wall, keep your heels on the floor. Lean toward the wall and bend one knee. Hold that for a few seconds, while breathing deeply, then straighten your leg and do the same with the other one.
  • I've heard that a lack of potassium might be partially to blame. Eating more bananas might help.
  • Drink a bunch of water. Fluids help your muscles contract and relax, and alcohol robs your body of liquid.
  • If it gets too bad, you may have to get a muscle relaxer from your doctor. These things make you feel stupid, so many of you should definitely stay away from this option.
My wife gets severe leg cramps occasionally, and there's nothing that wakes you up faster than a loved one just sitting up and screaming bloody murder. Leg cramps hurt, and it took almost a half hour for me to get rid of them.

I usually straighten out her leg and massage the calf, making sure her toes are pointing up. By the time she is feeling like she may actually live through it, my hands are all cramped up.

Here were some suggestions that were given to me by my doctor:

  1. Drink lots of liquids, like Dannye noted above.

  2. Try to keep warm blankets on your lower legs when you sleep.

  3. Do not drink any caffiene-laced drinks, as they are diuretics (they dehydrate you by making you go pee).

  4. This was the interesting one: Take a calcium supplement. My wife still had leg cramps, but not as often after items 1 through 3. After she started the calcium, she has not had one in over two years.

Hopefully these will help you out. I still rub her calves and feet after a long day, but I get to do it at my pace.

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