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
- 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.
- Muscle Cramp - A Common Pain (American Osteopathic Association)
- Heat Cramps, First Aid (Logical Images)
- Genetics Home Reference: hereditary angiopathy with nephropathy, aneurysms, and muscle cramps syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
Health Check Tools
- Leg Cramps (DSHI Systems)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Muscle Cramp (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- How Can I Relieve My Pregnancy Leg Cramps? (Nemours Foundation)