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Avoiding Muscle Cramps


What are muscle cramps?

An involuntary contraction, muscle spasms can occur suddenly, can be resolved quickly, and are often painful. Depending on the muscle and where its located, it can last from a few minutes to an hour. Spasm consists of small twitches in the muscles, an uncontrolled fine movement of segments in the muscle that can be seen underneath the skin.

What causes muscle cramps?

Usually, dehydration is the main cause of cramps. Having a lack of hydration in the system can result in these cramps unexpectedly, and can be resolved by drinking water. If the muscle is overused and tired, the muscle can cramp, letting you know that you need to rest. Those who do strenuous exercises in a hot environment are more likely to have muscle cramps due to the conditions the body is placed under. However, in serious cases, the narrowing of the arteries, chronic back pain, and systemic illnesses such as diabetes, anemia, and kidney disease can also cause the body to cramp up. Depending on the condition of your body, almost any type of illness or pain can lead to cramps.

What are the risk factors for muscle cramps?

Those who work in construction or factories have a higher chance of getting muscle cramps on a regular basis due to the working conditions. People with peripheral artery disease can develop leg cramps at night, as the same risks are associated with strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking. Also, those with neurological disorders, such as seizures, have a higher chance of developing muscle cramps more frequently than those who don’t.

What kind of treatments are there for muscle cramps?

Since most cramps are related to dehydration and electrolyte disturbances, replenishing those electrolytes can help reduce the number of cramps a person can have. Eating a healthy diet filled with vitamins and minerals can also help to prevent cramps from happening. If exercising, stretching out the muscles before use will help prevent cramps during and after the exercises. For those with more serious conditions, speak to your doctor about medication and treatment options that are available.

What healthcare professional should I go to for muscle cramps?

Any physician will be able to help treat your cramps by diagnosing the issue based on your health history and activity. Most doctors will also be able to help keep your muscle cramps regulated through the use of medication if necessary. However, in more serious cases, emergency doctors can immediately give medication to help treat the cramps if they haven’t stopped or caused more serious issues. Nevertheless, muscle cramps are part of a person’s life, as about 95% of people experience them at least once in their life.

If you want to learn more about taking care of your health, then contact Dr. Luc Teurlings at Space Coast Orthopedics. Located in Merritt Island, FL, Dr. Teurlings and his team of physicians will be able to address and diagnose any problems that you may have regarding muscle spasms.

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