Muscle cramps happen to everyone. They are involuntary muscle contractions or spasms that occur in one or more muscles. They are fairly prevalent and frequently develop after physical activity. Muscle cramps, particularly leg cramps, affect certain persons at night. They can be excruciatingly painful and last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes. While most muscle cramps are benign, meaning there is no alarming or scary reason behind why you may be experiencing them, some are signs and symptoms of an underlying condition that may be more dire than simply a fitful night’s sleep in a precarious position.
Read on to find out the possible causes of muscle cramps, to see if what is cramping in your extremities is doing more than just cramping your style.
1. Straining a Muscle
When your muscle is overstretched or torn, it is called a muscle strain. This generally happens as a result of muscular exhaustion, overuse, or inappropriate usage. Strains may affect any muscle, but the lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring (the muscle below your leg) are the most prevalent. These strains can cause discomfort and restrict mobility in the afflicted muscle area. Mild to severe strains respond well to cold, heat, and anti-inflammatory drugs when treated at home. Medical attention may be required for severe strains or tears.
A muscle strain is frequently felt as it happens. Pain, discomfort, decreased range of motion, bruising or discoloration, swelling, a “knotted-up” feeling, muscular spasms, stiffness, and an overall feeling of weakness in the afflicted region are some of the symptoms to watch out for. A torn muscle in a mild strain may be slightly tight but still supple enough to use. When a muscle is significantly ripped, it is called a severe muscular strain. This causes discomfort and restricts mobility. Mild to severe muscular strains normally resolve in a few weeks. It may take months for more serious strains to recover.