Leg pain may be a result of a single condition or it may be due to a group of different conditions. The main symptom of chronic leg pain is severe leg cramps, which last from a few seconds to several minutes. The real cause of this condition is difficult to diagnose as the patient may not differentiate between a normal muscle cramp and pain caused due to a severe ailment. Following are some of the prime causes of chronic leg pain experienced at night:
Claudication occurs as a result of blockage of arteries in the legs. Often the muscle group in calves is associated with claudication. Initially, claudication occurs while walking or during a physical activity. However, as the condition worsens, the pain may be experienced at night. The pain that occurs while lying in bed is called 'rest pain'. It aggravates if the leg is positioned at a height, from the rest of the body. The reason is that the blocked arteries cannot supply adequate blood to the leg.
Nocturnal Leg Cramps
The bouts of leg cramps occur throughout the night. Each bout lasts for about a few seconds or even a minute. The frequency of these bouts varies in every individual. Some people may experience nocturnal leg cramps pretty often, while others may only have isolated incidences of nocturnal leg cramps. The likelihood of these bouts increases after strenuous exercises, where a group of muscles is exerted or due to an awkward position, which cuts the blood circulation to the leg. Drinking adequate water and mild-calf exercises can help relieve nocturnal leg cramps.
Ankylosing spondylitis originates in the lower back, but eventually spreads to the lower body. It worsens while sitting or lying down. In its earlier stages, anklylosing spondylitis may be mistaken with mechanical back pain. Males between the ages of 16 to 35 are likely to be affected by this disorder.
Herniated discs or sciatica refers to rupturing of spinal discs. In this condition, any of the spinal disc bulges out between the vertebrae. The main symptom of sciatica is chronic back pain. However, it is rare to get leg pain due to sciatica, at night. Sciatica may or may not be responsible for chronic leg pain and numbness.
Fractures could be a possible cause of this condition in unsuspecting patients. Patients without any history of leg injury or other disorders related to legs, may have fractures as a cause of chronic pain in the leg. People with osteoporosis are more likely to get fractures.
Certain muscle disorders are responsible for chronic leg pain and fatigue. Traumatic injuries to muscles lead to compartment syndrome, which refers to constriction of leg tissues in fascial compartments. The compressed blood vessels are not capable of delivering adequate blood to leg, which eventually leads to chronic leg syndrome. In severe cases of muscle disorders, the concerned muscle may become necrotic and then die.
Besides the aforementioned causes, chronic discomfort in the leg may be a result of some other ailment too. For example, metastatic cancer of breast, prostate, or lungs may affect the roots of the nerves responsible for leg movement. Thus, it is necessary to get yourself checked by a physician. If the pain is excruciating and frequent, do not delay your appointment with the physician.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.