The first thing to remember is that muscle cramps, especially in the legs, are shared among the older population. For this reason, individuals above 65 years experience leg cramps more often than their younger counterparts—also leg cramps or muscle cramps, also known as Charley horses. As a result, these painful muscle contractions occur mainly during the night hours. And for this reason, they are also referred to as nocturnal leg cramps. In other words, this disturbs the sleep of our elderly, and muscle is cramped and painful throughout the night.
Understanding leg cramps
For one thing, leg cramps usually occur in the calf muscle but can also affect the thighs and feet. According to Neurologist Miller, older individuals suffer leg cramps because of their age. As a result, the nerves control muscles, and the nerves wear out with age. To put it differently, causing the involuntary contraction of muscles. It is essential to realize the cramps last for a few seconds to several minutes. Another critical point is that the muscles contract when they receive repeated signals from irritated nerves.
So far, the pathophysiology behind the occurrence of muscle cramps is not very clear. But, according to various studies, the “squatting” hypothesis is the primary reason for cramps. The most compelling evidence is that our ancestors always used the squat position for the toilet, which caused the shortening of muscles and tendons. For this reason, such a phenomenon puts the individual at risk of developing muscle cramps. However, in modern times, the resting position is for toilets and doesn’t require many leg muscles.
Although this may be true, medications have effectively treated nocturnal muscle cramps. On the other hand, painkillers are too slow in taking action and preventing further attacks. Quinine has been highly effective. However, overuse of quinine comes with its side effects and is not recommended. Be that as it may, in the year 2010, a report published by the FDA stated. Quinine for treating nocturnal leg cramps has serious side effects.
The pickle juice story behind muscle cramps
Another critical point, pickle juice has been an excellent remedy for relieving muscle cramps. And to support this, there have been some scientific studies stating the effectiveness of pickle juice in relieving cramps. At the same time, one researcher Dr. Kevin Mille, at North Dakota State University, studied the efficacy of pickle juice in limiting or inhibiting muscle cramps. He induced muscle cramps in volunteers using electrical stimulation in this study. With this in mind, he gave plain water to one group and to the other pickle juice.
The most compelling evidence, the finding surprised everyone. In this case, the group that drank pickle juice experienced short-duration muscle cramps. As a result, according to the experts, there is an ion channel known as TRPV1, which activates the spinal column. Thereby inhibiting the firing of the nerves, which causes involuntary muscle contraction. Another critical point is assuming that the pickle juice contains these protons, which helps shorten the duration and limitless cramps. However, the research findings are to take with a pinch of salt, as pickle juice contains loads of sodium. Therefore, the elderly with heart disease or hypertension should not take it often. Here are specific tips for the elderly to help them with the problem of muscle cramps.
Other home remedies to help
It is essential to realize that swallowing one teaspoon of yellow mustard will help relieve muscle cramps within minutes. In other words, the possible reason could be that it contains acetic acid. As a result, this can promote the production of Acetylcholine in the body. For this reason, Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that prompts muscles to work and relieve pain.
Organic/Raw/Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
Another critical point, it contains a large amount of potassium that helps replenish and relieve muscle cramps. For this reason, mix one tablespoon with warm water daily to prevent leg cramps.
Soak in a tub with 2 cups of Epsom salt. As a result, it contains magnesium, which promotes muscle relaxation.
Black Strap Molasses
It is important to realize; It is an excellent source of calcium and potassium to prevent leg cramps. For this reason, mix it with milk or warm water for relief.
The anti-inflammatory effects can calm the muscle in question. As a result, steep one of the rosemary leaves once, then soaks a cloth and place it on the affected area for 10-20 minutes. In this case, it will absorb into the skin to relax the muscle cramp.
Tips for dealing with muscle cramps in the elderly
Although this may be true, quinine and pickle juice might not be favorable for our elderly loved ones. However, therein tips can be of help.
This is one of the best ways to stay fit and avoid cramps. If your elderly is healthy enough to perform mild exercises, it is best to encourage them to do so. Exercising helps to keep the muscles and nerves active. And this would help in preventing cramps.
Some experts have said magnesium and Vitamin D supplements can help relieve muscle cramps.
Taking a daily dose of vitamin E can prevent leg cramps at night. It improves blood flow through the arteries.
Massaging the affected area will help, or add heat and stretching to the massage for relief.
Leg cramps make life difficult for our elderly loved ones. Therefore, helping them during this phase becomes our prime responsibility. The tips mentioned above are sure to help you effectively manage the problem of leg cramps.
, I, too,o get massive leg cramps that wake me up during the night or hurt me during the day. They affect all parts of my leg, the back of my calf, and the back of my thigh. I think this is from sitting too much. So I also stand to write my post. My favorite remedy is dill pickle juice. I have also started taking a multivitamin with calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. Suppose you do not experience relief from the above tips, remedies, and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to consult your doctor. Also, check out this post on leg tremors for more information about legs. https://theultimatecaregivingexpert.com/2017/10/24/help-leg-tremors/
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