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Muscle Cramps

Also called: Charley horse 
 
 

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
  • Dehydration
  • 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.

 
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    • Muscle Cramp(Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

 

 
 
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Illustration of arm muscle

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA  

National Institutes of Health

 

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MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.