What are Muscle Cramps?
Sudden and involuntary contractions which occur in various muscles in the body is known as muscle cramps. These contractions tend to be painful and are known to affect different muscle groups in a human being.
Some of the most commonly affected muscles are the ones in the back of your thigh, in your lower leg and in front of your thigh.
There are different types of Muscle Cramps that doctors and researchers know of which has been mentioned below:
- True cramps
- Dystonic cramps
Muscle Cramps Symptoms
There are quite a number of Muscle Cramps symptoms. Pain and discomfort are the most common ones faced by an individual. However, despite that, there are some other common ones which we have listed below for your reference and knowledge:
- Experiencing a sudden and sharp pain in the affected area
- A visible hard lump of muscle tissue beneath the skin
- Having trouble in movement when the cramps have happened with even the slightest movement causing a large amount of pain and discomfort.
- Feeling like the affected body part is frozen and unable to move it
These are some of the reasons for Muscle Cramps that doctors have been able to identify.
Who is at Risk?
There are various Muscle Cramps risk factors as it can happen to anyone due to multiple reasons. Some individuals are more sensitive to this condition as compared to others.
- As an individual ages and lose muscle mass, they are more prone to this as the remaining muscle can become overstressed very easily
- An athlete who participates in warm-weather sports
- An individual who is pregnant
- Certain medical conditions in an individual
Muscle Cramps Causes
There are multiple different Muscle Cramps causes that have been identified by researchers till now. However, there are certain causes which are believed to contribute to this. We have discussed below for your understanding some of these causes across the types in details:
- Overusing of the muscles which typically happens while exercising
- Certain muscle injuries
- Dehydration which causes excessive loss of fluids in the body
- Low levels of minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium in the body
- Kidney failure
These are some common causes that are known to possibly cause this condition.
How is Muscle Cramps diagnosed?
For Muscle Cramps diagnosis, a Muscle Cramps doctor will need to perform a certain number of tests for this condition as there is no one common test to understand the root cause of the problem. As mentioned, the doctor may then have to conduct multiple tests to get a proper understanding of the problem:
- The doctor will start with a physical test and get an understanding of your medical history including that of your family members.
- The doctor in most cases prescribes different tests for the individuals such as a blood test to check for levels of calcium and potassium in your blood
- Pregnancy test
- An electromyography (EMG) to measure muscle activity
- Myelogram if needed
How is Muscle Cramps Treated?
There are different methods for Muscle Cramps treatment. The treatment is done with the aim of improving the symptoms and helping the individual lead a better quality of daily life. We have mentioned in brief the process of treatment:
- A cold or hot compress with the help of a heating pad, a cold cloth, ice and a hot cloth
- Stretching is known to help relieve the pain gradually as well
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How can Muscle Cramps be prevented?
Prevention of Muscle Cramps is not something that is too difficult to do as there are simple measures that can be adopted to reduce the risk of getting this condition. Some of these have been mentioned below for your understanding and consideration:
- Limit or avoid exercises that strain your muscle
- If you do exercise then ensure that you always warm up before starting with it
- Do not start exercising right after eating
- Reduce intake of drinks and food that contains caffeine
- Drink enough water