Many people experience leg cramps while driving, especially when driving long distances. A variety of muscle injuries can cause leg cramps, so consult your doctor before trying home remedies. Leg cramps also are occasionally caused by insufficient potassium and dehydration, according to the "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book." Drink plenty of water and take a multivitamin. If you frequently experience leg cramps, there are several exercises you can do before and after driving to minimize the pain.
Stretching loosens the muscles and helps to prevent spasms, cramps and other painful conditions, according to the textbook "Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology." Before driving, stretch your legs by pulling your foot up behind you so that the back of your calf meets the back of your thigh. Bend over and touch your toes. This can loosen up the muscles in your back; a tight back frequently contributes to painful leg cramps. To stretch your calves, stand about two feet from a wall. While keeping your feet flat on the floor, lean forward so your hands touch the wall and hold for a few seconds.
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Driving can place strain on the sensitive ankle muscles, especially when your foot must remain in one position for an extended period, according to the "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book." Before driving, extend your leg. With your toes pointed, move your foot around in a circle. Repeat five to 10 times. Take frequent breaks from driving during a long trip and repeat this exercise.
The back carries the majority of the body's weight, and weak back muscles contribute to pain in a variety of locations, according to "Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology." While driving, focus on contracting and then relaxing the muscles in your back. Maintain an upright posture. Slouching or maintaining awkward positions can contribute to leg and back pain.
A charley horse is a painful muscle spasm in the legs. Common during driving, this condition often is caused by muscle strain and time spent in a sedentary position, according to the "American Medical Association Family Medical Guide." To relieve sudden, intense pain, stretch your foot by extending your toes and touching the floor of your car. If the pain continues, pull over and massage the affected area. Contract and release your leg muscles 10 to 15 times.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.