Tag Archives: Cramp

Crampbark

Botanical Name :Viburnum opulus
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus:
Viburnum
Species:
V. opulus
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Dipsacales

Common Names :Cramp Bark, Guelder Rose , Highbush Cranberry, Snowball Bush, Viburnum opulus , Red Elder, Water Elder, May Rose, Whitsun Rose, Dog Rowan Tree, Silver Bells, Whitsun Bosses, Gaitre Berries.Crampbark, Cranberry Bush,Cranberry Tree, Guelder Rose, Pembina, Pimbina,Whitten Tree. Indian name : Udvests chala

Habitat : Crampbark is indigenous to Europe as well as North America and is also found growing in the northern regions of Africa and Asia. It grows in woodlands, low grounds, thickets, and hedges . It prefers moist soils and full sun.

Description:
Crampbark is a deciduous shrub  and usually grows up to a height of 4 meters to 5 meters. The leaves of this herb appear opposite to each other on the stalk and each leaf has three lobes that are about 5 cm to 10 cm in length and width having a smooth base and roughly indented margins. The leaves of crampbark have resemblance to those of some varieties of maples and can be told apart very easily by means of their rather creased surface having underlying network of veins on the leaf. The leaf buds of crampbark are green in color and have bud scales that meet without overlying (valvate).
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It bears white flowers possessing both the male as well as the female parts (hermaphrodite). The flowers are produced in a type of inflorescence called corymbs that are about 4 cm to 11 cm across at the apex of the stems. Every corymb includes an outer circle of sterile flowers that is about 1.5 cm to 2 cm across having very noticeable petals, which encircle a small center of fertile flowers. This center of small flowers is about 5 mm in diameter. Crampbark blossoms during the beginning of the summer and is mainly insect-pollinated. The fruit of crampbark has the shape of a globe and is actually a vividly red drupe that measures about 7 mm to 10 mm across. The fruits of this shrub enclose a solitary seed, which is scattered by birds for propagation.

The flowers are large up to 3 to 5 inches’s, flat-topped clusters of white or reddish-white florets. The inner florets are tiny, complete flowers while the florets along the outer edge of the cluster are bigger and showy . The leaves are broadly triangular shaped at base, and and turn a rich purple color in the fall. The ripe red berries are high in vitamin C, but if uncooked,are poisonous. The bark has a strong smell and a bitter, astringent taste.

Cultural meaning:
Viburnum opulus (Kalyna) is one of the National symbols of Ukraine. Mentions of the bush can be found throughout the Ukrainian folklore such as songs, picturesque art, Ukrainian embroidery, and others. Chervona Kalyna was the anthem of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Kalyna Country is an ecomuseum in Canada.

This bush’s symbolic roots can be traced to the Slavic paganism of millennia ago. According to a legend Kalyna was associated with the birth of the Universe, the so-called Fire Trinity: the Sun, the Moon, and the Star. Its berries symbolize blood and the undying trace of family roots. Kalyna is often depicted on the Ukrainian embroidery: towels and shirts. In Slavic paganism kalyna also represents the beauty of a young lady which rhymes well in the Ukrainian language: Ka-ly-na – Div-chy-na. That consistency was reviewed by numerous Ukrainian folklorists such as Nikolay Kostomarov, Aleksandr Potebnia (founder of the Kharkiv Linguistic School).

Edible Uses: The fruit  is edible in small quantities, with a very acidic taste; it can be used to make jelly. It is however very mildly toxic, and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if eaten in large amounts.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts used: Bark from branches.

Cramp bark can be used in two ways Firstly it is used to cure muscular cramps and uterine muscle disorders. Secondly it may be used to treat threatened miscarriage.It play a good role as a astringent & treat the excessive blood loss in periods . It relaxes the uterus and smoothe the painful cramps associated with menstruation. It has been used with success in cramps and spasms of all types, in convulsions, fits and lockjaw, and also in irregular heart beat, heart disease and rheumatism.

It is very efficacious treatment of all types such as breathing difficulties associated with asthma ,colic , spastic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and the physical indications of nervous tension , hysteria, cramps of the limbs or other parts in females, especially in the time of pregnancy, It is thought that cramp bark is a effective for the prevention of abortion , and to make the way for the process of parturition.In some cases of migraine cramp bark works effectively.

crampbark is used to ease the symptoms of various conditions related to spasms in the stomach, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is also used to treat conditions related to the respiratory system, such as loosening up the airways in the instance of asthma and, also employed for treating the musculoskeletal system to provide respite from tension/ stress in the case of pain caused by arthritis. Crampbark is also used in conjunction with various other herbs for treating problems related to the cardiovascular system as well as to lower high blood pressure (hypertension).

Cramp bark is most used to ebb cramps, along with menstrual cramps, muscle cramps, and stomach cramps. Cramp Bark will relax the uterus and so ebb painful cramps associated with dysmenorrhoea disorders. It has astringent property which works effectively to treat excessive blood loss in periods and especially bleeding associated with the menopause .

The US National Formulary documented crampbark as late as in the 1960s in the form of a tranquilizer for conditions related to the nervous system as well as in the form of an antispasmodic in treating asthma. As the name ‘crampbark’ suggests, the therapeutic use of this herb is primarily related to easing cramps as well as other conditions, for instance, painful menstruation due to excessive tightening of the muscles as well as colic.

While crampbark may be used internally as well as externally on its own, often it is also combined with other herbs to treat specific conditions. For instance, the bark is combined with wild yam and prickly ash to ease cramps. In order to ease ovarian and uterine pain or even susceptible miscarriage, crampbark may well be used in combination with valerian and black haw.

Side Effects:
Using of cramp bark during pregnancy,( when the blood pressure is low ) is not recommended.

Women who are lactating (breast-feeding) should not use cramp bark without consulting a physician.

It may cause nausea or skin rash, if use more than two cups per day for three consecutive days.

Side effects occurring from the use of cramp bark have not been shown in the medical literature. However, since some reliable scientific studies involving the use of cramp bark have been done in humans, it may have side effects that are not yet known. If the person feel unexplained side effects while using cramp bark, one should stop taking it and consult doctor .

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.health-care-tips.org/herbal-medicines/cramp-bark.htm
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_crampbark.htm
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_crampbark.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cramp_Bark

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Restless Legs Syndrome(RLS)

Alternative Name : Wittmaack–Ekbom syndrome

Definitipon:
Restless legs syndrome (RLS)  is a neurological disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move one’s body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations.  It most commonly affects the legs, but can affect the arms, torso, and even phantom limbs.  Moving the affected body part modulates the sensations, providing temporary relief.
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RLS sensations can most closely be compared to an itching or tickling in the muscles, like “an itch you can’t scratch” or an unpleasant “tickle that won’t stop.” The sensations typically begin or intensify during quiet wakefulness, such as when relaxing, reading, studying, or trying to sleep.  In addition, most individuals with RLS have limb jerking during sleep, which is an objective physiologic marker of the disorder and is associated with sleep disruption. Some controversy surrounds the marketing of drug treatments for RLS. It is a “spectrum” disease with some people experiencing only a minor annoyance and others experiencing major disruption of sleep and significant impairments in quality of life

Restless legs syndrome can begin at any age and generally worsens as you get older. Women are more likely than men to develop this condition.

A number of simple self-care steps and lifestyle changes may help you. Medications also help many people with restless legs syndrome.

Symptoms:
Commonly described sensations
People typically describe restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms as unpleasant sensations in their calves, thighs, feet or arms, often expressed as:

*Crawling

*Tingling

*Cramping

*Creeping

*Pulling

*Painful

*Electric

*Tense

*Uncomfortable

*Itchy

*Tugging

*Gnawing

*Aching

*Burning

Sometimes the sensations seem to defy description. Affected people usually don’t describe the condition as a muscle cramp or numbness. They do, however, consistently describe the desire to move or handle their legs.

It’s common for symptoms to fluctuate in severity, and occasionally symptoms disappear for periods of time.

NIH criteria
In 2003, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) panel modified their criteria to include the following:

1.An urge to move the limbs with or without sensations.

2.Improvement with activity. Many patients find relief when moving and the relief continues while they are moving. In more severe RLS this relief of symptoms may not be complete or the symptoms may reappear when the movement ceases.

3.Worsening at rest. Patients may describe being the most affected when sitting for a long period of time, such as when traveling in a car or airplane, attending a meeting, or watching a performance. An increased level of mental awareness may help reduce these symptoms.

4.Worsening in the evening or night. Patients with mild or moderate RLS show a clear circadian rhythm to their symptoms, with an increase in sensory symptoms and restlessness in the evening and into the night.
RLS is either primary or secondary.

*Primary RLS is considered idiopathic or with no known cause. Primary RLS usually begins slowly, before approximately 40–45 years of age and may disappear for months or even years. It is often progressive and gets worse with age. RLS in children is often misdiagnosed as growing pains.

*Secondary RLS often has a sudden onset after age 40, and may be daily from the beginning. It is most associated with specific medical conditions or the use of certain drugs

Causes:
Disease mechanism
Most research on the disease mechanism of restless legs syndrome has focused on the dopamine and iron system.   These hypotheses are based on the observation that iron and levodopa, a pro-drug of dopamine that can cross the blood-brain barrier and is metabolized in the brain into dopamine (as well as other mono-amine neurotransmitters of the catecholamine class) can be used to treat RLS, levodopa being a medicine for treating hypodopaminergic (low dopamine) conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, and also on findings from functional brain imaging (such as positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging), autopsy series and animal experiments.  Differences in dopamine- and iron-related markers have also been demonstrated in the cerebrospinal fluid of individuals with RLS.  A connection between these two systems is demonstrated by the finding of low iron levels in the substantia nigra of RLS patients, although other areas may also be involved.

 

Heredity
RLS runs in families in up to half the people with RLS, especially if the condition started at an early age. Researchers have identified sites on the chromosomes where genes for RLS may be present.

Pregnancy
Pregnancy or hormonal changes may temporarily worsen RLS signs and symptoms. Some women experience RLS for the first time during pregnancy, especially during their last trimester. However, for most of these women, signs and symptoms usually disappear quickly after delivery.

Related conditions
For the most part, restless legs syndrome isn’t related to a serious underlying medical problem. However, RLS sometimes accompanies other conditions, such as:

*Peripheral neuropathy. This damage to the nerves in your hands and feet is sometimes due to chronic diseases such as diabetes and alcoholism.

*Iron deficiency. Even without anemia, iron deficiency can cause or worsen RLS. If you have a history of bleeding from your stomach or bowels, experience heavy menstrual periods or repeatedly donate blood, you may have iron deficiency.

* Kidney failure. If you have kidney failure, you may also have iron deficiency, often with anemia. When kidneys fail to function properly, iron stores in your blood can decrease. This, along with other changes in body chemistry, may cause or worsen RLS.

Risk Factors:
RLS can develop at any age, even during childhood. Many adults who have RLS can recall being told as a child that they had growing pains or can remember parents rubbing their legs to help them fall asleep. The disorder is more common with increasing age.

Complications:
Although RLS doesn’t lead to other serious conditions, symptoms can range from barely bothersome to incapacitating. Many people with RLS find it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep. Insomnia may lead to excessive daytime drowsiness, but RLS may prevent you from enjoying a daytime nap.

Diagnosis:
The diagnosis of RLS relies essentially on a good medical history and physical examination. Sleep registration in a laboratory (polysomnography) is not necessary for the diagnosis. Peripheral neuropathy, radiculopathy and leg cramps should be considered in the differential diagnosis; in these conditions, pain is often more pronounced than the urge to move. Akathisia, a side effect of several antipsychotics or antidepressants, is a more constant form of leg restlessness without discomfort. Doppler ultrasound evaluation of the vascular system is essential in all cases to rule out venous disorders which is a common etiology of RLS. A rare syndrome of painful legs and moving toes has been described, with no known cause.

 

Treatment:
Treatment of restless legs syndrome involves identifying the cause of symptoms when possible. The treatment process is designed to reduce symptoms, including decreasing the number of nights with RLS symptoms, the severity of RLS symptoms and nighttime awakenings. Improving the quality of life is another goal in treatment. This means improving overall quality of life, decreasing daytime somnolence, and improving the quality of sleep. All of these goals are taken care of through nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies. Pharmacotherapy involves dopamine agonists as first line drugs for daily restless legs syndrome; gabapentin (Horizant™) and opioids for treatment of resistant cases.

An algorithm created by Mayo Clinic researchers and endorsed by the RLS Foundation, provides guidance to the treating physician and patient, including non pharmacological and pharmacological treatments. Treatment of primary RLS should not be considered until possible precipitating medical conditions are ruled out, especially venous disorders. RLS Drug therapy is not curative and has side effects such as nausea, dizziness, hallucinations, orthostatic hypotension and daytime sleep attacks. In addition, it can be expensive (about $100–150 per month for life), and needs to be considered with caution.

Secondary RLS may be cured if precipitating medical conditions (anemia, venous disorder) are managed effectively. Secondary conditions causing RLS include iron deficiency, varicose veins, and thyroid problems. Karl-Axel Ekbom in his 1945 doctoral thesis on RLS suspected venous disease in about 12.5% of cases. But due to the unavailability of Doppler ultrasound imaging technology (the diagnostic tool detecting abnormal blood flow in the veins, “Venous Reflux”, the pathological basis for varicose veins) at that time, Ekbom may have underestimated the role of venous disease. In uncontrolled prospective series, improvement of RLS was achieved in a high percentage of patients presenting with a combination of RLS and venous disease and had sclerotherapy or other treatment for the correction of venous insufficiency.   In Nonpharmacologic treatments there are ways patients may be able to reduce the symptoms or decrease the severity of the symptoms. One thing that may worsen the symptoms is fatigue. Therefore using relaxation techniques, soaking in a warm bath or massaging the legs can all help aid in relaxation and relief of symptoms. Another technique is avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Also exercising every day and maintaining a schedule of relaxation and avoiding heavy meals before bed will all help with relief of symptoms. These techniques can be used with medication or just by themselves for those who do not want medication. For symptoms that occur in the evening patients may find that activities that alert the mind like crossword puzzles, and video games may reduce symptoms. Many patients may also benefit from RLS support groups.

Stretching and shaking legs
Stretching the leg muscles can bring relief lasting from seconds to days.   Walking around brings relief also. Tiredness can be a factor and some sufferers may find going to bed usually stops the discomfort. Bouncing or shaking the legs/feet in an up and down motion, with the ball of the foot on the floor when sitting down may bring temporary relief.

Iron supplements
According to some guidelines, all people with RLS should have their serum ferritin level tested. The ferritin level, a measure of the body’s iron stores, should be at least 50 µg for those with RLS. Oral iron supplements, taken under a doctor’s care, can increase ferritin levels. For some people, increasing ferritin will eliminate or reduce RLS symptoms. A ferritin level of 50 µg is not sufficient for some sufferers and increasing the level to 80 µg may further reduce symptoms. However, at least 40% of people will not notice any improvement. Treatment with IV iron is being tested at the US Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital. It is dangerous to take iron supplements without first having ferritin levels tested, as many people with RLS do not have low ferritin and taking iron when it is not called for can cause iron overload disorder, potentially a very dangerous condition

Medication therapy:
Several prescription medications, most of which were developed to treat other diseases, are available to reduce the restlessness in your legs. These include:

*Medications for Parkinson’s disease. These medications reduce the amount of motion in your legs by affecting the level of the chemical messenger dopamine in your brain. Two drugs, ropinirole (Requip) and pramipexole (Mirapex), are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS.

Doctors commonly also use other Parkinson’s drugs to treat restless legs syndrome, such as a combination of carbidopa and levodopa (Sinemet). People with RLS are at no greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than are those without RLS. Side effects of Parkinson’s medications are usually mild and include nausea, lightheadedness and fatigue.

*Opioids. Narcotic medications can relieve mild to severe symptoms, but they may be addicting if used in too high doses. Some examples include codeine, oxycodone (Roxicodone), the combination medicine oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet), and the combination medicine hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Lortab, Vicodin).

*Muscle relaxants and sleep medications. This class of medications, known as benzodiazepines, helps you sleep better at night. But these medications don’t eliminate the leg sensations, and they may cause daytime drowsiness. Commonly used sedatives for RLS include clonazepam (Klonopin), triazolam (Halcion), eszopiclone (Lunesta), ramelteon (Rozerem), temazepam (Restoril), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien).

*Medications for epilepsy. Certain epilepsy medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), may work for some people with RLS.It may take several trials for you and your doctor to find the right medication and dosage for you. A combination of medications may work best.

Caution about medications:
One thing to remember with drugs to treat RLS is that sometimes a medication that has worked for you for a while becomes ineffective. Or you notice your symptoms returning earlier in the day. For example, if you have been taking your medication at 8 p.m., your symptoms of RLS may start at 6 p.m. This is called augmentation. Your doctor may substitute another medication to combat the problem.

Most of the drugs prescribed to treat RLS aren’t recommended for pregnant women. Instead, your doctor may recommend self-care techniques to relieve symptoms. However, if the sensations are particularly bothersome during your last trimester, your doctor may approve the use of pain relievers.

Some medications may worsen symptoms of RLS. These include most antidepressants and some anti-nausea drugs. Your doctor may recommend that you avoid these medications if possible. However, should you need to take these medications, restless legs can still be controlled by adding drugs that manage the condition.

 

Lifestyle and home remedies

Making simple lifestyle changes can play an important role in alleviating symptoms of RLS. These steps may help reduce the extra activity in your legs:

*Take pain relievers. For very mild symptoms, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) when symptoms begin may relieve the twitching and the sensations.

*Try baths and massages. Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs can relax your muscles.

*Apply warm or cool packs. You may find that the use of heat or cold, or alternating use of the two, lessens the sensations in your limbs.

*Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga. Stress can aggravate RLS. Learn to relax, especially before going to bed at night.Establish good sleep hygiene. Fatigue tends to worsen symptoms of RLS, so it’s important that you practice good sleep hygiene. Ideally, sleep hygiene involves having a cool, quiet and comfortable sleeping environment, going to bed at the same time, rising at the same time, and getting enough sleep to feel well rested. Some people with RLS find that going to bed later and rising later in the day helps in getting enough sleep.

*Exercise. Getting moderate, regular exercise may relieve symptoms of RLS, but overdoing it at the gym or working out too late in the day may intensify symptoms.

*Avoid caffeine. Sometimes cutting back on caffeine may help restless legs. It’s worth trying to avoid caffeine-containing products, including chocolate and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, for a few weeks to see if this helps.

*Cut back on alcohol and tobacco. These substances also may aggravate or trigger symptoms of RLS. Test to see whether avoiding them helps.

*Stay mentally alert in the evening. Boredom and drowsiness before bedtime may worsen RLS. Mentally stimulating activities such as video games or crossword puzzles can help you stay alert and may reduce symptoms of RLS.

Alternative Medication:
Because restless legs syndrome is sometimes due to an underlying nutritional deficiency, taking supplements to correct the deficiency may improve your symptoms. Your doctor can order blood tests to pinpoint nutritional deficiencies and give you a good sense of which supplements may help.

Doctor may also tell you whether certain dietary supplements can interfere with the way your prescription medications work or may pose health risks for you.

If blood tests show that you are deficient in any of the following nutrients, your doctor may recommend taking dietary supplements as part of your treatment plan:

*Iron
*Folic acid
*Vitamin B
*Magnesium

More research is needed to reliably establish the safety and effectiveness of all of these supplements in the treatment of RLS.

 

Prognosis:
RLS is generally a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age, though more slowly for those with the idiopathic form of RLS than for patients who also suffer from an associated medical condition. Nevertheless, current therapies can control the disorder, minimizing symptoms and increasing periods of restful sleep. In addition, some patients have remissions, periods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, or months, although symptoms usually eventually reappear. Being diagnosed with RLS does not indicate or foreshadow another neurological disease.

Prevention:
Other than preventing the  causes, no method of preventing RLS has yet been established or studied.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/restless-legs-syndrome/DS00191
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restless_legs_syndrome
http://www.sleepdisordersguide.com/restless-leg-syndrome-causes.html

Restless Legs Syndrome

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Varicose Veins

Image by me. Larger version available on Flickr.

Image via Wikipedia

Definition:
Varicose veins are most often swollen, gnarled veins that most frequently occur in the legs, ankles and feet. They are produced by a condition known as venous insufficiency or venous reflux, in which blood circulating through the lower limbs does not properly return to the heart but instead pools up in the distended veins.
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More than 25 million Americans suffer from venous reflux disease. The symptoms can include pain and fatigue in the legs, swollen ankles and calves, burning or itching skin, skin discoloration and leg ulcers. In less severe cases, thin, discolored vessels – “spider veins” – may be the only symptom.

Gender and age are two primary risk factors in the development of venous reflux. An estimated 72% of American women and 42% of men will experience varicose veins symptoms by the time they reach their sixties. Women who have been pregnant more than once and people who are obese, have a family history of varicose veins or spend a great deal of time standing have an elevated risk for the condition, but it can occur in almost anyone at almost any age. Varicose veins never go away without treatment and frequently progress and worsen over time.

Severe varicose veins can have a significant impact on the lives of people who work on their feet – nurses, teachers, flight attendants et al. Research has shown that more than two million workdays are lost each year in the US, and annual expenditures for treatment total $1.4 billion.

Symptoms
Varicose veins are swollen vessels, blue or purple in color and generally bulging above the surface of the skin. They may appear twisted or “ropey” and can be accompanied by swelling in adjacent tissue. They can be found anywhere on the leg, from the ankle up to the groin, but most commonly appear on the inside of the thigh or on the back of the calf or knee.

Varicose veins are not always a serious or uncomfortable condition – for some people, small discolored vessels or minor swelling may be the only signs – but for millions of sufferers they can cause symptoms severe enough to significantly impact the quality of life. Throbbing pain, a deep ache or heavy feeling in the legs, muscle cramps, fatigue, “restless” legs, burning or itching skin, and severe swelling of the ankles can all be symptoms of venous reflux disease, the major underlying cause of varicose veins.

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If you have varicose veins, your legs may feel heavy, tired, restless, or achy. Standing or sitting for too long may worsen your symptoms. You may also experience night cramps.

You may notice small clusters of veins in a winding pattern on your leg, or soft, slightly tender knots of veins. Sometimes, the skin on your legs may change color, become irritated, or even form sores.

If you have severe varicose veins, you have slightly increased chances of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT may cause sudden, severe leg swelling. DVT is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention

When symptoms like these are present, they frequently curtail the patient’s activities and can even force them to miss work. Sufferers complain of being unable to walk, stand or sit for very long without feeling pain or exhaustion.

In severe cases, varicose veins can be indicators of serious circulatory problems, producing blood clots or skin ulcers that require immediate medical attention.

Diagnosis:
To determine whether venous reflux disease is causing your varicose vein symptoms, your primary care physician may conduct an examination and some tests. In some cases, you may be referred to a vein specialist at this time.  After you describe your symptoms, the doctor will examine your legs in a standing position, looking for swelling, visible veins and signs of skin changes, like discoloration, irritation or early signs of ulcers.

The next step is a “hands-on” examination – the doctor will feel your leg with his fingertips to detect swollen veins that are too deep under the skin to be visible. The groin area and the back of the calf are particular targets for inspection, and the doctor will also pay special attention to any areas of significant pain or tenderness, because that can indicate a possible blood clot or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

If the exam produces sufficient signs of venous reflux, your doctor will probably order an ultrasound examination, a non-invasive test that provides a clear and detailed image of the circulatory system in your leg. The most sophisticated ultrasound tests use  Doppler technology – the same technology used for weather radar – that illustrate the blood flow in various shades of red and blue to show the doctor the speed and direction of the blood flow through the vein.

If the ultrasound confirms the diagnosis of venous reflux, your physician will commonly prescribe conservative measures like compression stockings as a first step in your treatment. (If the ultrasound does not indicate venous reflux, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test may be ordered to pinpoint the source of the symptoms.) Patients exhibiting the signs or symptoms of varicose veins may request a referral to a specialist performing the VNUS Closure procedure.

Causes :

Heredity, obesity, age, trauma and standing for long periods of time have all been thought to damage venous valves and therefore cause venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Women, especially if previously pregnant, are more likely to develop varicose veins.

If you have never suffered from varicose veins, you are quite fortunate or you are in the minority as– nearly three-quarters of American women and more than 40% of men will encounter the condition by the time they reach retirement age, and venous reflux disease occurs even in teenagers.

Possible causes are:-
High blood pressure inside your superficial leg veins causes varicose veins.

Factors that can increase your risk for varicose veins include having a family history of varicose veins, being overweight, not exercising enough, smoking, standing or sitting for long periods of time, or having DVT. Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins. Varicose veins usually affect people between the ages of 30 and 70.

Pregnant women have an increased risk of developing varicose veins, but the veins often return to normal within 1 year after childbirth. Women who have multiple pregnancies may develop permanent varicose veins.

Risk Factors
By an almost 2-1 margin, women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men. pregnancy and childbirth are major contributing factors – women who have been pregnant more than once are highly susceptible – partly because the hormonal changes that occur during pre-menstruation and menopause are known to relax vein walls and increase the chances of venous reflux. Hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills can increase the risk as well.

Other significant contributing factors for varicose veins include obesity, a family history of varicose veins, and extended periods of standing – nurses, teachers, postal workers, flight attendants and other people with “vertical” careers or activities are vulnerable to developing varicose veins, as is anyone who does a lot of heavy lifting.
Finally, the longer you live, the more likely you are to develop varicose veins.  Half of all Americans over 50 have them, as do two-thirds of women over 60.

Prevention:
There are no medically proven ways to completely prevent varicose veins. Common sense, however, tells us that relieving pressure on the veins as well as promoting muscle strength helps to keep the blood flowing in the correct direction. Exercising, losing weight, elevating your legs when resting, and not crossing them when sitting all have potential benefits. Wearing loose clothing and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing also are thought to be helpful. Wearing high-heeled shoes is not advisable because they don’t allow the calf muscles to fully contract. Other than varicose vein treatment, medical compression hosiery is the most helpful method of decreasing the symptoms of varicose veins.

Advanced Vein Therapies uses the latest technology and offers several vein therapies & procedures to effectively treat varicose veins.

Treatments

* VNUS Closure® (Click  to 0pen the window to go toVNUS Closure Video)
* Endovenous Laser (EVL) (Click  to View RF Thermal Ablation Device Outperforms Endovenous Laser)
* Vein Stripping………CLICK & SEE
* Phlebectomy……….CLICK & SEE

Overview
For milder cases of varicose veins and spider veins, physicians generally recommend a variety of self-help, non-surgical measures to ease discomfort and prevent the condition from worsening. These measures include exercise, losing weight, wearing compression stockings, elevating the legs and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting.

Direct medical treatments for spider veins include sclerotherapy, in which the veins are sealed with injections of a chemical solution that closes the vein walls. Spider veins can also be treated with non-invasive lasers, which cause the veins to fade and disappear.

For more severe cases of varicose veins, in which the veins bulge beyond the skin or cause significant pain and swelling, relief usually requires a medical intervention. The traditional surgical approach has been vein stripping, a procedure commonly requiring general anesthesia in which incisions are made near the knee and groin and the diseased primary vein is literally pulled from the body using a device. While reasonably effective, vein stripping generally produces significant post-operative pain and bruising, and usually requires a lengthy and uncomfortable recovery period.

In the United States, however, vein stripping has been rendered virtually obsolete by new, minimally invasive catheter technology that enables even severe varicose veins to be successfully treated in a doctor’s office under a local anesthetic in just a few minutes. A device is inserted into the diseased vein, where a catheter or fiber delivers either radiofrequency (RF) or laser energy to heat and seal the vessel. The technique is extremely successful and far less painful and traumatic to the patient than vein stripping.

Endovenous laser (EVL) devices utilize an optical fiber to deliver extremely high heat – over 700 degrees centigrade – that boils the blood in the vein to create a clotting effect that seals the vein as the device is withdrawn. Radiofrequency devices operate at far lower temperatures to heat and shrink the vein walls, limiting the impact on surrounding tissues and, according to a clinical study, causing significantly less pain and bruising than laser.

Physicians using the VNUS® ClosureFAST™ catheter, the only radiofrequency device on the market today for the treatment of venous reflux,  report that most patients return to normal activity almost immediately following the procedure, with little or no post operative pain.

Compression Stockings.
For more severe varicose veins, your physician may prescribe compression stockings. Compression stockings are elastic stockings that squeeze your veins and stop excess blood from flowing backward. In this way, compression stockings also can help heal skin sores and prevent them from returning. You may be required to wear compression stockings daily for the rest of your life. For many patients, compression stockings effectively treat varicose veins and may be all that are needed to relieve pain and swelling and prevent future problems.

When these kinds of treatments alone do not relieve your varicose veins, you may require a surgical or minimally invasive treatment, depending upon the extent and severity of the varicose veins. These treatments include sclerotherapy, ablation, vein stripping, and laser treatment.

Sclerotherapy

During sclerotherapy, your physician injects a chemical into your varicose veins. The chemical irritates and scars your veins from the inside out so your abnormal veins can then no longer fill with blood. Blood that would normally return to the heart through these veins returns to the heart through other veins. Your body will eventually absorb the veins that received the injection.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:

http://www.vnus.com/vascular-disease/varicose-veins/diagnosis-of-varicose-veins.aspx

http://www.vascularweb.org/patients/NorthPoint/Varicose_Veins.html

http://www.avtherapies.com/varicose-veins.php?gclid=CO7WodevxpsCFQ_xDAodqgvhAA

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Restless Leg Syndrome

Alternative Names : Nocturnal myoclonus; RLS

Definition
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which your legs feel extremely uncomfortable while you’re sitting or lying down. It makes you feel like getting up and moving around. When you do so, the unpleasant feeling of restless leg syndrome temporarily goes away.

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Restless leg syndrome affects both sexes, can begin at any age and may worsen as you get older. Restless leg syndrome can disrupt sleep — leading to daytime drowsiness — and make traveling difficult.

It is a sleep disorder characterized by leg discomfort during sleep, which is only relieved by frequent movements of the legs.

A number of simple self-care steps and lifestyle changes may help you. Medications also help many people with restless leg syndrome.

Causes :
In many cases, no known cause for restless leg syndrome exists. Researchers suspect the condition may be due to an imbalance of the brain chemical dopamine. This chemical sends messages to control muscle movement.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) occurs most often in middle-aged and older adults. It is worsened by stress.

The disorder consists of sensations in the lower legs that make the person uncomfortable unless the legs are moved. The sensations usually occur shortly after going to bed but may also occur during the daytime.

The abnormal sensations occasionally occur in the upper leg, the feet or the arms in addition to the lower leg. In some cases, no other medical or neurological condition is identified. However, restless leg syndrome may occur in patients with peripheral neuropathy or other neurological disorders.

There is an irresistible urge to walk or move the legs to relieve the discomfort, resulting in periodic episodes of leg movements during early sleep stages. The symptoms may last for 1 hour or longer.

Restless leg syndrome can result in a decreased quality of sleep (insomnia) with subsequent daytime sleepiness, anxiety or depression, and confusion or slowed thought processes from lack of sleep.

Heredity
RLS runs in families in up to half the people with RLS, especially if the condition started at an early age. Researchers have identified sites on the chromosomes where genes for RLS may be present.

Stress and pregnancy :
Stress tends to worsen the symptoms of RLS. Pregnancy or hormonal changes also may temporarily worsen RLS signs and symptoms. Some women experience RLS for the first time during pregnancy, especially during their last trimester. However, for most of these women, signs and symptoms usually disappear quickly after delivery.

Related conditions :
For the most part, restless leg syndrome isn’t related to a serious underlying medical problem. However, RLS sometimes accompanies other conditions, such as:

Peripheral neuropathy. This damage to the nerves in your hands and feet is sometimes due to chronic diseases such as diabetes and alcoholism.

Iron deficiency. Even without anemia, iron deficiency can cause or worsen RLS. If you have a history of bleeding from your stomach or bowels, experience heavy menstrual periods or repeatedly donate blood, you may have iron deficiency.
Kidney failure. If you have kidney failure, you also may have iron deficiency, often with anemia. When kidneys fail to function properly, iron stores in your blood can decrease. This, along with other changes in body chemistry, may cause or worsen RLS.

Symptoms:
Difficult to describe sensations
People typically describe restless leg syndrome (RLS) symptoms as unpleasant sensations in their calves, thighs, feet or arms, often expressed as:

*Deep-seated

*Creeping

*Crawling

*Jittery

*Tingling

*Burning

*Aching

*Sleeping difficulty

*Persistent leg movements during sleep hours

*Irresistible urge to move the legs

*Abnormal sensation in the legs (occasionally, feet, thighs, arms)
.Creeping sensations or discomfort (not pain, not cramps) relieved by movement of the legs
.May occur during the day
.Worse when lying down

Sometimes the sensations seem to defy description. People usually don’t describe the condition as a muscle cramp or numbness.

Note: Symptoms may be worse during stress or emotional upset.

Characteristics of signs and symptoms:-
Common characteristics of RLS signs and symptoms include:

*Starts during inactivity. The sensation typically begins while you’re lying down or sitting for an extended period of time, such as in a car, airplane or movie theater.

*Relief by movement. The sensation of RLS lessens if you get up and move. People combat the sensation of restless leg in a number of ways — by stretching, jiggling their legs, pacing the floor, exercising or walking. This compelling desire to move is what gives restless leg syndrome its name.

*Worsening of symptoms in the evening. Symptoms typically are less bothersome during the day and are felt primarily at night.

*Nighttime leg twitching. RLS may be associated with another condition called periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS). Once called myoclonus, PLMS causes you to involuntarily flex and extend your legs while sleeping — without being aware you’re doing it. Hundreds of these twitching or kicking movements may occur throughout the night. If you have severe RLS, these involuntary kicking movements may also occur while you’re awake. PLMS is common in older adults, even without RLS, and doesn’t always disrupt sleep. More than four out of five people with RLS also experience PLMS.

Most people with RLS find it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep. Insomnia may lead to excessive daytime drowsiness, but RLS may prevent you from enjoying a daytime nap.

Although RLS doesn’t lead to other serious conditions, symptoms can range from bothersome to incapacitating. In fact, it’s common for symptoms to fluctuate in severity, and occasionally symptoms disappear for periods of time.

RLS can develop at any age, even during childhood. Many adults who have RLS can recall being told as a child that they had growing pains or can remember parents rubbing their legs to help them fall asleep. The disorder is more common with increasing age.

Diagnosis:
Some people with restless leg syndrome never seek medical attention because they worry that their symptoms are too difficult to describe or won’t be taken seriously. Some doctors wrongly attribute symptoms to nervousness, stress, insomnia or muscle cramps. But RLS has received more media attention and focus from the medical community in recent years, making more people aware of the condition.

There is no specific examination for restless leg syndrome. No structural or other abnormalities are usually discovered unless peripheral nerve disease is also present. A blood test may be done to rule out anemia, which rarely has been associated with restless leg syndrome.

Examination and testing may be used to rule out other disorders that may cause similar symptoms, especially disorders associated with claudication of the legs.

Reviewing your signs, symptoms and medical history :-
If you think you may have RLS, consult your doctor. Doctors diagnose RLS by listening to your description of your symptoms and by reviewing your medical history.

Your doctor will ask you questions such as:

*Do you experience unpleasant or creepy, crawly sensations in your legs, associated with a strong urge to move?
*Does movement help relieve the sensations?

*Are you more bothered by these sensations when sitting or at night?

*Do you often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?

*Have you been told that your legs or your arms jerk while you sleep?

*Is anyone else in your family bothered by restless legs?

*Ruling out other conditions
There’s no blood or lab test specifically for the diagnosis of RLS. Your answers help your doctor clarify whether you have RLS or whether testing is needed to rule out other conditions that may explain your symptoms. Blood tests or muscle or nerve studies to exclude other possible causes may be necessary to pinpoint RLS.

Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist for additional evaluation. This may require that you stay overnight at a sleep clinic, where doctors can study your sleep habits closely and check for leg twitching (periodic limb movements) during sleep — a possible sign of RLS. However, a diagnosis of RLS usually doesn’t require a sleep study.

Treatment :

There is no known cure for restless leg syndrome.

Treatment is aimed at reducing stress and helping the muscles relax. Warm baths, gentle stretching exercises, massage or similar techniques may help.

Sometimes, treating an underlying condition, such as iron deficiency or peripheral neuropathy, greatly relieves symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Correcting the iron deficiency may involve taking iron supplements. However, take iron supplements only with medical supervision and after your doctor has checked your blood iron level.

If you have RLS without any associated condition, treatment focuses on lifestyle changes, and, if those aren’t effective, medications.

Lifestyle changes
Making simple lifestyle changes can play an important role in alleviating symptoms of RLS. These steps may help reduce the extra activity in your legs:

Take pain relievers. For very mild symptoms, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) when symptoms begin may relieve the twitching and the sensations.
Try baths and massages. Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs can relax your muscles.
Apply warm or cool packs. You may find that the use of heat or cold, or alternating use of the two, lessens the sensations in your limbs.

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Leg massage may work to calm restless leg. A warm bath or an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen before bed also may help. For severely bothersome cases, you may need prescription medication for symptom relief.
Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga. Stress can aggravate RLS. Learn to relax, especially before going to bed at night.
Establish good sleep hygiene. Fatigue tends to worsen symptoms of RLS, so it’s important that you practice good sleep hygiene. Ideally, sleep hygiene involves having a cool, quiet and comfortable sleeping environment, going to bed at the same time, rising at the same time, and getting enough sleep to feel well rested. Some people with RLS find that going to bed later and rising later in the day helps in getting enough sleep.
Exercise. Getting moderate, regular exercise may relieve symptoms of RLS,(exercise of calf muscle specially) but overdoing it at the gym or working out too late in the day may intensify symptoms.
Avoid caffeine. Sometimes cutting back on caffeine may help restless leg. It’s worth trying to avoid caffeine-containing products, including chocolate and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, for a few weeks to see if this helps.
Cut back on alcohol and tobacco. These substances also may aggravate or trigger symptoms of RLS. Test to see whether avoiding them helps.
Stay mentally alert in the evening. Boredom and drowsiness before bedtime may worsen RLS.
Medication therapy :

Click to see:->Drugs for Restless Legs Syndrome Have Downsides
Several prescription medications, most of which were developed to treat other diseases, are available to reduce the restlessness in your legs. These include:

Medications for Parkinson’s disease. These medications reduce the amount of motion in your legs by affecting the level of the chemical messenger dopamine in your brain. They include pramipexole (Mirapex), ropinirole (Requip) and a combination of carbidopa and levodopa (Sinemet). However, people with RLS are at no greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than are those without RLS. Side effects are usually mild and include nausea, lightheadedness and fatigue.
Opioids. Narcotic medications can relieve mild to severe symptoms, but they may be addicting if used in too high doses. Some examples include codeine, the combination medicine oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet), and the combination medicine hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Lortab,Vicodin).
Muscle relaxants and sleep medications. This class of medications, known as benzodiazepines, helps you sleep better at night. But these medications don’t eliminate the leg sensations, and they may cause daytime drowsiness. Commonly used sedatives for RLS include clonazepam (Klonopin), eszopiclone (Lunesta), ramelteon (Rozerem), temazepam (Restoril), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien).
Medications for epilepsy. Certain epilepsy medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), may work for some people with RLS.
It may take several trials for you and your doctor to find the right medication and dosage for you. A combination of medications may work best.

One thing to remember with drugs to treat RLS is that sometimes a medication that has worked for you for a while becomes ineffective. Or you notice your symptoms returning earlier in the day. For example, if you have been taking your medication at 8 p.m., your symptoms of RLS may start at 6 p.m. This is called augmentation. Your doctor may substitute another medication to combat the problem.

Most of the drugs prescribed to treat RLS aren’t recommended for pregnant women
. Instead, your doctor may recommend self-care techniques to relieve symptoms. However, if the sensations are particularly bothersome during your last trimester, your doctor may approve the use of pain relievers.

Some medications may worsen symptoms of RLS. These include most antidepressants and some anti-nausea drugs. Your doctor may recommend that you avoid these medications if possible. However, should you need to take these medications, restless leg can still be controlled by adding drugs that manage the condition.

Coping and support:-
RLS is generally a lifelong condition. Living with RLS involves developing coping strategies that work for you. The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation recommends these approaches:

Talk about RLS. Sharing information about RLS will help your family members, friends and co-workers better understand when they see you pacing the halls, standing at the back of the theater, or walking to the water cooler many times throughout the day.
Don’t fight it. If you attempt to suppress the urge to move, you may find that your symptoms only get worse. Get out of bed. Find an activity that’s distracting. Stop frequently when traveling.
Keep a sleep diary. Keep track of the medications and strategies that help or hinder your battle with RLS, and share this information with your doctor.
Rise to new levels. You may be more comfortable if you elevate your desktop or bookstand to a height that will allow you to stand while you work or read.
Stretch out your day. Begin and end your day with stretching exercises or gentle massage.

Seek help. Support groups bring together family members and people with RLS. By participating in a group, your insights not only can help you but also may help someone else.

If sleep is severely disrupted, medications such as Sinemet (an anti-Parkinson’s medication) or tranquilizers such as clonazepam may be prescribed, but they may cause daytime sleepiness. Low doses of pramipexole or ropinirole (Requip) have been found to be very effective in controlling symptoms in some people.

Low doses of narcotics may sometimes relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Alternative Therapy :Click to see :->

Phytotherapy for Restless Legs Syndrome……….CLICK & SEE

Natural Healing of Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome- Natural Water Herbal Remedy

Restless Legs Syndrome treatment

Heat Therapy Treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome

Herbal Treatments for Restless Leg Syndrome

Cure for Restless Legs

Click to see:->Homeopathic Medication for Restless Leg Syndrome.…..(1).…..(2)..(3)….(4)...(5).

Click to see Latest Research on Restless Leg Syndrome

Prognosis:
Restless leg syndrome is not dangerous or life-threatening and does not indicate a serious disorder. It can be uncomfortable and can disrupt sleep.

Possible Complications :
Insomnia may occur.

When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms of restless leg syndrome are present and sleep is disrupted.

Prevention
Techniques to promote muscle relaxation and stress reduction may reduce the incidence of restless leg syndrome in people prone to the condition.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000807.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/restless-legs-syndrome/DS00191/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print

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Night Leg Cramps

Definition:A muscle cramp is a sudden, uncontrolled contraction of a muscle. This type of pain is most commonly experienced in the legs, and therefore often called a leg cramp or a “charley horse.”

Leg cramps occur when the muscle suddenly and forcefully contracts. The most common muscles to contract in this manner are muscles that cross two joints. These muscles include the calf (crossing the ankle and knee), the hamstring (crossing the knee and hip), and the quadriceps (also crossing the knee and hip).

Leg cramps usually last less than one minute, but may last several minutes before the contraction subsides. In some patients, the leg cramps occur primarily at night, and can awaken the patient from sleep.

A muscle cramp is an involuntary, sustained tightening (contraction) of one or more of your muscles. It can result in intense pain and an inability to use the affected muscles. Night leg cramps are contractions of the leg muscles, usually in the back of the lower leg (calf). They often occur just as you’re falling asleep or just as you’re waking up.

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Causes:
The exact cause of night leg cramps isn’t known. Some experts believe they may be due to abnormal processing of electrolytes — essential elements and chemical substances your body needs for basic functions — by muscles. Almost everyone has occasional leg cramps. But they occur most often in older adults. Common causes of night leg cramps include:

Muscle overexertion
Prolonged sitting
Dehydration
Pregnancy
Diabetes
Decreased potassium levels
Neuromuscular disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease
Certain medications, such as albuterol, niacin, diuretics, and some calcium channel blockers and antipsychotic medications
Alcohol use

If you do get a leg cramp, you may be able to make it go away by:
1.Walking on the affected leg
2.Massaging the affected muscle
3.Straightening your leg and flexing your foot toward your knee until you feel the calf muscles stretch
4.Applying a cold pack to the affected muscle
5.Taking a hot bath

6.When your calf muscles cramp Flex your foot up (toes to ceiling) and hold until the cramping stops.

7.Apply heat to cramping muscles
8. Massage the cramped muscles
9. Make sure you eat plenty of potassium rich foods – (bananas,
tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit)

To help prevent night leg cramps:
Drink plenty of fluids during the day.
Stretch your leg muscles before bedtime.
Get adequate potassium in your diet.
If you have frequent and severe leg cramps at night, talk to your doctor. Treatment results vary. But the most effective treatments based on current research are:

Vitamin B-12
Gabapentin

Night leg cramps should be distinguished from another common cause of night leg discomfort called restless legs syndrome, a condition in which your legs have a creepy, crawly or fidgety sensation unless you move them. The sensation often worsens as night approaches. Restless legs syndrome is a neurologic condition that requires different treatment from that of night leg cramps.


You may click to see
:->Nocturnal Leg Cramps

>Home Remedies for leg cramp

>Cramp

>Nocturnal Leg Cramps

>Leg cramps, cause & natural cure
>Soap Under Sheet to Fight Leg Cramps->

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/night-leg-cramps/AN00499
http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/sprainsstrains/a/legcramp.htm

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