Why Do I Get Cramps
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Your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine your legs and feet. They may also ask if you have other symptoms, such as numbness or swelling, which may be a sign that you have secondary leg cramps caused by an underlying condition.
Also, tendons naturally shorten over time as a person gets older, which may explain why older people are particularly affected by leg cramps. Tendons are tough bands of tissue that connect muscles to bone. If your tendons become too short, they may cause the muscles connected to them to cramp.
Contact your GP if you think your medication may be causing your leg cramps as your dosage may need to be adjusted. Never stop taking a prescribed medication unless your GP or another qualified healthcare professional who is responsible for your care advises you to do so.
For example, secondary leg cramps that are related to liver disease are caused by high levels of toxins in the blood which trigger muscles spasms. Therefore, muscle relaxants can be used to help prevent your muscles from going into spasm.
\"Muscle cramps are a fairly common condition,\" says Dr. William Ondo, a neurologist at Houston Methodist who specializes in movement disorders. \"They can happen in any part of the body, but they're most common in the legs and feet.\"
\"Nocturnal cramps, which are muscle cramps at night, seem to become more common with increasing age, but it's still not completely clear why motor nerves might suddenly start firing while your leg is relaxed and you're asleep,\" says Dr. Ondo. \"Then there are the muscle cramps that occur after strenuous activity or even during strenuous activity. When a tight muscle tries to relax, it sometimes begins to contract more than normal instead, causing a cramp.\"
\"Although they're classified separately, there's no physiological difference between exercise-induced cramps and nocturnal ones,\" says Dr. Ondo. \"A cramp is a cramp. We just give them different names based on when they occur and what's likely causing them.\"
\"There are a number of things touted to offer muscle cramp relief, with potassium being the most popular,\" says Dr. Ondo. \"This is why you often hear about pickle juice for cramps, since this juice contains potassium.\"
\"Stretching and hydration are really the best ways to prevent the benign muscle cramps that occur at rest or with exercise,\" adds Dr. Ondo. \"And if you're noticing other symptoms accompanying your muscle cramps, that's when it's time to consult a doctor.\"
\"There can be metabolic reasons for muscle cramps, such as hormonal disorders that cause electrolyte imbalances,\" says Dr. Ondo. \"A doctor can test for this and treat an imbalance if one is present, which will also likely help reduce the cramps.\"
\"If muscle cramps are accompanied by pain, weakness or reduced muscle size, it's important to consult a neurologist since there are certain neurological disorders that cause cramps,\" warns Dr. Ondo. \"While rare, these are very serious and will need to be ruled out.\"
Conditions such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids can cause menstrual cramps. Treating the cause is key to reducing the pain. Menstrual cramps that aren't caused by another condition tend to lessen with age and often improve after giving birth.
During your menstrual period, your uterus contracts to help expel its lining. Hormonelike substances (prostaglandins) involved in pain and inflammation trigger the uterine muscle contractions. Higher levels of prostaglandins are associated with more-severe menstrual cramps.
Certain conditions associated with menstrual cramps can have complications, though. For example, endometriosis can cause fertility problems. Pelvic inflammatory disease can scar your fallopian tubes, increasing the risk of a fertilized egg implanting outside of your uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
Statins, which are used to control cholesterol, and diuretics, which help your body get rid of fluid, are just two of the drugs that can bring on cramping as a side effect. Talk to your doctor if you have regular cramps soon after you start taking a new medicine.
Colorful fruits and vegetables have minerals called electrolytes that help keep your muscles in good shape and can help you avoid cramps. Leafy greens and bananas are good choices. Cramps have also been associated with certain vitamin deficiencies as well as low potassium and magnesium so make sure you have a diet rich in these.
A muscle cramp is a sudden, unexpected tightening of one or more muscles. Sometimes called a charley horse, a muscle cramp can be very painful. Exercising or working hard, especially in heat, can lead to muscle cramps. Some medicines and illnesses also might cause muscle cramps.
Blood, urine and other routine tests are not helpful in diagnosing leg cramps but they may help identify previously undiagnosed medical conditions that have leg cramps as a symptom. For example, your healthcare provider will likely perform typical tests such as taking your blood pressure, and that can reveal cardiac and vascular risks.
Quinine was thought to show some promise with healing leg cramps, but it is no longer recommended. There are potentially life-threatening side effects: arrhythmias, thrombocytopenia and hypersensitivity reactions.
Try the following to prevent leg cramps in your calves: Stand about three feet (one meter) away from a wall. Lean forward. Touch the wall with your arms outstretched while keeping your feet flat. Count to five before you stop, and do it over and over again for at least five minutes. Repeat three times per day.
The severity of a leg cramp is difficult if not impossible to predict. Some people see improvement with prevention and treatment plans, while others struggle. It is possible that your cramps will feel worse and happen more often as you age.
See your healthcare provider if your leg cramps are unbearably painful, happen frequently or last for a long time. Also, talk to your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms in addition to leg cramps:
Exercising without properly warming up the muscles can lead to cramps. Cramps also occur when a muscle is not able to relax properly (such as from a deficiency of magnesium or potassium in your diet) or when it becomes irritated by a buildup of lactic acid (which can happen if you don't rest your muscle after it has exercised a lot). Dehydration can worsen both of these problems. Kale says older adults often don't drink enough water at night because they want to avoid having to go the bathroom, and they end up dehydrated.
Reduced blood flow to the muscles also can cause cramps. This can occur from narrowing of the arteries to your legs caused by atherosclerosis. It can even happen for stranger reasons. \"Some people say they get cramps at night if their feet stick out from under the blankets. Being cold can constrict the blood vessels,\" Kale says.
Misfiring nerves that get confused because of neurological conditions (such as Parkinson's disease, neuropathy, or spine problems that compress nerves in the low back) can cause cramps as well. Even common foot problems (such as flat arches) can do it.
Finally, Kale says, cramps sometimes result from certain medications, like diuretics, that can cause both dehydration and mineral imbalances. Statin drugs, on the other hand, can cause constant muscle aches, but they rarely trigger cramps.
For hamstring cramps (in the back of the thigh), sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Slide your hands down your legs until you feel a burning sensation in the cramped muscle. Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly return to a sitting position.
Kale suggests staying hydrated throughout the day, eating foods rich in magnesium (especially leafy greens) and potassium (bananas, black beans), wearing warm socks at night if you have leg cramps, and keeping your muscles strong and flexible with regular exercises.
Menstruation, or period, is normal vaginal bleeding that happens as part of a woman's monthly cycle. Many women have painful periods, also called dysmenorrhea. The pain is most often menstrual cramps, which are a throbbing, cramping pain in your lower abdomen. You may also have other symptoms, such as lower back pain, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. Period pain is not the same as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS causes many different symptoms, including weight gain, bloating, irritability, and fatigue. PMS often starts one to two weeks before your period starts.
Primary dysmenorrhea is the most common kind of period pain. It is period pain that is not caused by another condition. The cause is usually having too many prostaglandins, which are chemicals that your uterus makes. These chemicals make the muscles of your uterus tighten and relax, and this causes the cramps.
You might also try taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen. Besides relieving pain, NSAIDs reduce the amount of prostaglandins that your uterus makes and lessen their effects. This helps to lessen the cramps. You can take NSAIDs when you first have symptoms, or when your period starts. You can keep taking them for a few days. You should not take NSAIDS if you have ulcers or other stomach problems, bleeding problems, or liver disease. You should also not take them if you are allergic to aspirin. Always check with your health care provider if you are not sure whether or not you should take NSAIDs.
Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions or spasms in one or more of your muscles. They are very common and often occur after exercise. Some people get muscle cramps, especially leg cramps, at night. They can be painful, and they may last a few seconds to several minutes.
If another medical problem is causing the cramps, treating that problem will likely help. There are medicines that providers sometimes prescribe to prevent cramps, but they are not always effective and may cause side effects. Talk to your provider about the risks and benefits of medicines. 59ce067264