Table of Contents
- Muscle cramps facts
- What are muscle cramps?
- What are the types and causes of muscle cramps?
- Types of muscle cramps: True cramps
- Types of muscle cramps: True cramps (Part 2)
- Types of muscle cramps - True cramps (Part 3)
- Types of muscle cramps - True cramps (Part 4)
- Types of muscle cramps - Tetany
- Types of muscle cramps - Dystonic cramps
- Q: What mimics a muscle cramp?
- Do all muscle cramps fit into the above categories?
- Can medications cause muscle cramps?
- Can vitamin deficiencies cause muscle cramps?
- Can poor circulation cause muscle cramps?
- What are the symptoms of common muscle cramps? How muscle cramps diagnosed?
- What is the treatment of skeletal muscle cramps?
- What types of doctors treat muscle cramps?
- What is the treatment of skeletal muscle cramps? (Continued)
- How can muscle cramps be prevented?
- How can muscle cramps be prevented? (Part 2)
- How can muscle cramps be prevented? (Part 3)
- How can muscle cramps be prevented? (Part 4)
- Are there particular concerns for older adults?
- Are there medications to prevent muscle cramps?
- What is the prognosis of recurrent muscle cramps?
Quick GuideDehydration: Causes, Symptoms & Tips to Stay Hydrated
Types of muscle cramps - True cramps (Part 3)
Rest cramps: Cramps at rest are very common, especially in older adults, but may be experienced at any age, including childhood. Rest muscle cramps often occur at night. While not life threatening, night cramps (commonly known as nocturnal cramps) can be painful, disruptive of sleep, and they can recur frequently (that is, many times a night, and/or many nights each week). The actual cause of night cramps is unknown. Sometimes, such cramps are initiated by making a movement that shortens the muscle. An example is pointing the toe down while lying in bed, which shortens the calf muscle, a common site of muscle cramps.
Dehydration: Sports and other vigorous activities can cause excessive fluid loss from perspiration. This kind of dehydration increases the likelihood of true cramps. These cramps are more likely to occur in warm weather and can be an early sign of heat stroke. Chronic volume depletion of body fluids from diuretics (medicine that promote urination) and poor fluid intake both lead to dehydration and may act similarly to predispose to cramps, especially in older people. Sodium depletion has also been associated with cramps. Loss of sodium, the most abundant chemical constituent of body fluids outside the cell, is usually a function of dehydration.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
"Muscle Spasms, Cramps, and Charley Horse." WebMD.com. Sept. 5, 2012. <http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/muscle-spasms-cramps-charley-horse>.
United States. Food and Drug Administration. "FDA Drug Safety Communication: New Risk Management Plan and Patient Information Guide for Qualapin (Quinine Sulfate)." July, 8, 2010.