Muscle Cramps

The involuntary and sudden contractions in the muscles that don’t relax on their own are known as cramps. Cramps are the advanced stage of the muscles spasms. A local hardening can be palpated in the cramped muscle.

Muscles cramps can happen at any time, during exercise or while you are asleep. The duration is also variable; these may last for a few minutes in some cases or a few hours or longer. A part of muscle, the whole muscle or group of muscle may be involved in these cramps.



The main causes for muscle cramps are:

  • Trauma or injury like a broken bone

  • Vigorous activity

  • Muscle fatigue

  • Dehydration

  • Sprains and strains

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Electrolytes imbalance

  • Body fluid shifts

  • Lack of essential minerals (Low levels of potassium)

  • Certain drugs like furosemide

  • Deficiency of vitamins

  • Poor circulation in the body



  • Pain is the main complaint in cramps. It hampers the routine activities as cramped muscle cannot be used smoothly.

  • There may be associated swelling and soaring of the muscle.

  • The muscle becomes firm and tender.

  • Inability to use muscles well after a heavy exercise or prolonged work is a sign of muscles cramping. However, it should be kept in mind that the lavish and lazy lifestyle can also cause muscle cramps as it disturbs the body fluids and circulation.



There is no special lab work for the diagnosis of cramps; however the testing for cramps is very easy. Most of us can assess the cramps. If a patient is confused, the doctor can make a clinical diagnosis easily by feeling the muscle. He may ask you about your occupation and current activities, previous history of any disease and other clinical conditions to rule out other possibilities and make a diagnosis for cramps.



Cramps are not a severe condition and can be managed easily. Following measures can heal the condition:

  • Getting the muscle off the work and giving them some relaxation can abolish the cramp.

  • Giving a gentle massage is also effective in reducing spasms.

  • Certain muscle relaxing drugs such as cyclobenzaprine, botox can be used in serious conditions.

  • If the patient has some underlying medical condition that is responsible for cramps, curing that problem will halt the cramp.