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 4)
Body fluid shifts: True cramps also may be experienced in other conditions that feature an unusual distribution of body fluids. An example is cirrhosis of the liver, which leads to the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites). Similarly, cramps are a relatively frequent complication of the rapid body fluid changes that occur during dialysis for kidney failure.
Low blood calcium or magnesium: Low blood levels of either calcium or magnesium directly increase the excitability of both the nerve endings and the muscles they stimulate. This may be a predisposing factor for the spontaneous true cramps experienced by many older adults, as well as for those muscle cramps that are commonly noted during pregnancy. Low levels of calcium and magnesium are common in pregnant women unless these minerals are supplemented in the diet. Cramps are seen in any circumstance that decreases the availability of calcium or magnesium in body fluids, such as taking diuretics, hyperventilation (overbreathing), excessive vomiting, inadequate calcium and/or magnesium in the diet, inadequate calcium absorption due to vitamin D deficiency, poor function of the parathyroid glands (tiny glands in the neck that regulate calcium balance), and other conditions.
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.