A cramp is a sudden, automatic muscle contraction or over-shortening; while temporary and non-damaging, they can cause significant pain, and immobility of the affected muscle.

 You can be running or going to sleep when it happens. The muscles of your calf or foot suddenly becomes hard, tight, and painful. You are having a muscle cramp.

It can also be referred to as “charley horses”, specifically when they’re in the lower leg muscles. Cramps are caused by muscle spasms and characterized by involuntary contractions of one or more muscles.

What Causes Muscle Cramps?

Numerous things can trigger a muscle cramp. They include:

  • Poor blood circulation in the legs
  • Working lower leg muscles too hard during exercise
  • Not stretching enough
  • Being dynamic in hot temperatures
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Lack of hydration
  • Magnesium as well as potassium inadequacy
  • Medical conditions such as spinal cord injury or pinched nerve in your neck or back


Muscle cramps can also be a side effect of some drugs. Medications that can cause muscle cramps include:

  • Diuretics
  • Enzyme blocker like Donepezil
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Selective estrogen receptor modulators-SERMs
  • Asthma solutions
  • Statin medicines for cholesterol

For a charley horse in the calf or a cramp in the back of the thigh (hamstring), try this stretching exercise: Put your weight on the affected leg and bend your knee slowly. Or, sit or lie down with your leg out straight and pull the highest point of your foot toward your head.

For a cramp in the front of the thigh, hold on to the chair to keep your body steady and draw your foot back toward your buttock.

You can also massage the muscle, ice it, or apply a cream with menthol and magnesium sulfate.

How can you prevent Cramps?

Prevent cramps before they start:

  • Eat more foods rich in vitamins, magnesium and calcium.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Stretch appropriately before exercise.


When to see a Doctor?

Most of the time, you can manage muscle cramps. It will probably stop in minutes. In any case, if you get them frequently and for no clear reason, consult your doctor.

Because muscle cramps can happen anytime and with no warning, this occurrence can cause discomfort and can disrupt activity or sleep not to mention the sudden pain you feel when the muscles are contracting. It can also be dangerous if you experience cramping during swimming, driving or biking.

It is normal for those who are experiencing muscle cramps to want to find immediate relief. Applying ice like mentioned can help relieve a muscle cramp faster.

While ice is a classic and viable approach to soothe aching muscles, it’s not really the most effective method. Research demonstrates that topical, menthol-based analgesics are more powerful at diminishing pain, and it actually beats ice in areas like pain relief, comfort, durability and overall preference. In choosing topical cream for muscle cramps, it must have selected fine ingredients that can help relieve the pain and inflammation and improve the recovery process of the sore muscles.

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