A muscle cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax. Muscle cramps can last anywhere from a few seconds to a quarter of an hour or occasionally longer. It is not uncommon for a cramp to recur multiple times until it finally resolves. The cramp may involve a part of a muscle, the entire muscle, or several muscles that usually act.
Muscle cramps are extremely common. Muscle cramps are common in adults and become increasingly frequent with aging
Muscle cramps are common and often occur when a muscle is overused or injured. Working out when you have not had enough fluids (dehydration) or when you have low levels of minerals such as potassium or calcium can also make you more likely to have a muscle spasm.
They can also be triggered by:
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Kidney failure
Cramps can be very painful. Stretching or gently massaging the muscle can relieve this pain.
If you have a muscle cramp, stop your activity and try stretching and massaging the muscle. Heat will relax the muscle when the spasm begins, but ice may be helpful when the pain has improved.
Other tips for relieving muscle cramps:
- ·Change your workouts so that you are exercising within your ability.
- ·Drink plenty of fluids while exercising and increase your potassium intake (orange juice and bananas are great sources of potassium).
- · Stretch to improve flexibility.