Nocturnal Leg Cramps
- 1.3k Downloads
Nocturnal leg cramps are a frequent cause of sleep disturbance among the general population, especially among the elderly. These painful episodes can delay sleep onset and awaken the patient from sleep, as well as delay subsequent return to sleep. Different mechanisms have been proposed to explain this phenomenon. Although most cases of leg cramps are idiopathic, multiple secondary causes of sleep-related leg cramps have been identified as well. In this article, we review the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and risk factors and discuss the salient features of the diagnosis and workup. Finally, we review the wide array of behavioral and pharmacologic treatments that have been studied for nocturnal leg cramps.
KeywordsNocturnal leg cramps Pathophysiology Epidemiology Quinine Magnesium Vitamin E Vitamin B complex Verapamil Diltiazem Gabapentin Exercises Secondary causes
No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •Of importance ••Of major importance
- 4.Young GL, Jewell D: Interventions for leg cramps in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002, 1:CD000121.Google Scholar
- 7.Criggs RC: Episodic muscle spasms, cramps, and weakness. In Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, edn 14. Edited by Fauci AS, Braunwald E, Isselbaucher KJ, et al. New York: McGraw Hill International; 1998:119.Google Scholar
- 9.Weiner IH, Weiner HL: Nocturnal leg muscle cramps. JAMA 1990, 150:511–518.Google Scholar
- 13.American Academy of Sleep Medicine: Sleep related leg cramps. In The International Classification of Sleep Disorders, edn 2. Diagnostic and Coding Manual. Westchester, IL: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2005.Google Scholar
- 14.Kannan N, Sawaya R: Nocturnal leg cramps: clinically mysterious and painful—but manageable. Geriatrics 2001, 56(6):34–42.Google Scholar
- 17.Daniell HW: Simple cure for nocturnal leg cramps. N Eng J Med 1979, 301:216.Google Scholar
- 25.Roffe C, Sills S, Crome P, et al.: Randomised, cross-over, placebo controlled trial of magnesium citrate in the treatment of chronic persistent leg cramps. Med Sci Monit 2002, 8(5):CR326–CR330.Google Scholar
- 28.Ayers S Jr, Mihan R: Leg cramps (systremma) and “restless legs” syndrome. Response to vitamin E (tocopherol). Calif Med 1969, 111:87–91.Google Scholar
- 33.Latta D, Turner E: An alternative to quinine in nocturnal leg cramps. Curr Ther Res 1989, 45:833–837.Google Scholar