Muscle Cramps

Also called: Charley horse

Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions or spasms in one or more of your muscles. They often occur after exercise or at night, lasting a few seconds to several minutes. It is a very common muscle problem.

Muscle cramps can be caused by nerves that malfunction. Sometimes this malfunction is due to a health problem, such as a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in the neck or back. Other causes are

  • Straining or overusing a muscle
  • Dehydration
  • A lack of minerals in your diet or the depletion of minerals in your body
  • Not enough blood getting to your muscles

Cramps can be very painful. Stretching or gently massaging the muscle can relieve this pain.

Symptoms of Muscle Cramps

The following features are indicative of Muscle Cramps:
  • sharp pain
  • lump formation
  • swelling
  • redness
  • skin changes
  • muscle weakness
  • muscle fatigue
It is possible that Muscle Cramps shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

Get TabletWise Pro

Thousands of Classes to Help You Become a Better You.

Common Causes of Muscle Cramps

The following are the most common causes of Muscle Cramps:
  • malfunctioning of nerves
  • spinal cord injury
  • pinched nerve in the neck or back

Other Causes of Muscle Cramps

The following are the less common causes of Muscle Cramps:
  • straining or overusing a muscle
  • dehydration
  • mineral depletion in diet
  • electrolyte disturbance
  • medication such as diuretics
  • inadequate blood supply

Risk Factors for Muscle Cramps

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Muscle Cramps:
  • older people
  • dehydration
  • pregnancy
  • high intensity forces
  • highly repetitive exertions
  • physical environmental factors
  • psychosocial factors

Prevention of Muscle Cramps

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Muscle Cramps. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • adequate conditioning of muscles
  • gentle stretching and massage
  • keeping yourself hydrated
  • maintain electrolyte balance

Occurrence of Muscle Cramps

Common Age Group

Muscle Cramps can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Muscle Cramps can occur in any gender.

Complications of Muscle Cramps if untreated

It is not know if Muscle Cramps causes complications if left untreated.

Self-care for Muscle Cramps

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Muscle Cramps:
  • Stretch before exercise: Helps calming down spindles by lengthening the muscle fibers and increasing firing duration to slow down the firing rate of the muscle
  • Apply heat or cold therapy: Helps relieving pain of cramped muscle
  • High fluid intake: Fluids that are high in electrolytes helps relieving cramps

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Muscle Cramps

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Muscle Cramps:
  • Intake vitamin B-complex supplements: Helps managing leg cramps
  • Do exercise: Helps patients with muscle disease lead active lives
  • Get massage: Provides relief from muscle spasms
  • Acupuncture: Helps in treating muscle spasms and pain

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 3/13/2019.
This page provides information for Muscle Cramps.
Muscle Disorders
Sports Injuries

Sign Up


Share with friends, get 20% off
Invite your friends to TabletWise learning marketplace. For each purchase they make, you get 20% off (upto $10) on your next purchase.