What Causes Muscle Cramps

what causes muscle cramps

Muscle Cramps 

Did you ever experience what causes muscle cramps? If you didn’t face, you would easily remember because it hurts so much. This is a muscle cramp. In short, a muscle cramp is a sudden involuntary contraction of any muscle. Also, it goes by other names. For example, muscle spasms and Charley horses. So, call whatever name you like, and it won’t hurt less. 

However, it can happen to several muscles at the same time. Undoubtedly, it’s painful and does not last forever. Usually, it lasts for several seconds to a few minutes. In some cases, it can last for hours.


Many conditions can cause these problems. Also, you can treat your muscle cramps at home. So, to know what causes muscle cramps and everything about it, stay with us.


Sweet Spots for Muscle Cramp


Several spots can be affected by these. Though some spots are common for it, they can happen anywhere. Common muscle cramps spots are: 


  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Abdomen
  • Thighs
  • Feet


Muscle cramps are the worst, indeed. After all, a sudden pain due to its problems seems to last for ages. However, it can happen in more than one spot. For the most part, it occurs in the feet and arms. But it differs in the situation.


Who gets Muscle Cramp?


Generally, anyone can get a muscle cramp. Specifically, it can happen anywhere, anytime, at any place. But some types of people are more likely to get cramps. For instance:


  • Athletes.
  • Overweight
  • Elderly
  • Bodybuilders
  • Pregnant women 


 What causes Muscle Cramps?


Earlier, we knew about it and usually who gets them. But what causes muscle cramps? That’s the most important part of knowing. 


Basically, several factors cause it, for example, dehydration, low levels of minerals, a low blood supply in the body, and more. Besides, some medical conditions can influence it. We are going to describe them in brief. 


So, let’s get started


Exercise without a warm up activity


 Generally speaking, most muscle cramps happen while exercising. Especially, start exercising without a warmup. Moreover, over usage of muscles causes cramps. While exercising, do not push your limits too far. Eventually, you will end up with a bad muscle cramp.




 Excessive loss of fluids in your body can also cause muscle cramps. Always stay hydrated. Generally, sports activities can cause a lot of fluid loss in the body. Furthermore, this type of dehydration leads to true cramps. Besides, this can be a sign of Hydration is not only to avoid it but also necessary for other bodily activities. 


Low level of minerals


 In order to gain healthy muscles, minerals play a vital role in our body. Particularly, it cramps can happen due to a lack of some minerals. For instance, sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.


Low level of blood supply


 Inadequate blood supply to your lower part of the body can cause cramps. When you walk, run, or exercise, you can face these on your feet. But this type of cramp usually goes away as soon as you rest.


Medical conditions that cause muscle cramps


What causes muscle cramps? In some cases, some medical conditions cause muscle cramps, such as hypothyroidism, pregnancy, medication, alcoholism, kidney failure, and nerve compression. In brief, let’s know about them.




 We all more or less know about the thyroid gland in our neck. When it can’t produce enough thyroid hormone, hypothyroidism occurs. To clarify, thyroid hormones provide energy almost to every organ. Also, it controls some functions of our body. Such as digestion and heartbeat. However, a less active thyroid gland can cause these.


Pregnancy causes muscle cramps


 Women can experience leg cramps during pregnancy. During pregnancy, there are changes in circulation, low levels of electrolytes, and nerve pressure. So, it can happen for these three reasons. 

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Earlier I mentioned, low levels of minerals or electrolytes can cause these problems. However,

pregnant women commonly lack magnesium and calcium. Certainly, lack of these minerals causes this cramp. So, these minerals should be taken with supplements.


Alcoholism causes muscle cramps


 Drinking alcohol is never recommended. Eventually, it dulls your mind and body. Also, it causes muscle cramps.


Kidney failure causes muscle cramps


 In general, kidney failure patients can have many problems. Comparatively, they are common. Because they need to dialysis regularly, due to the rapid fluid changes in the body, these cramps can happen.


Nerve compression


 In some cases, spinal cord injury puts pressure on nerves. As a result, it can cause muscle cramps in your feet.




 Surprisingly, certain medications can cause this sign. For instance, diuretics, donepezil, statin drugs, etc.


Muscle Cramps: Diagnosis


Undoubtedly, you won’t need a doctor to diagnose it. All of a sudden, you will feel pain in your muscle for a few seconds or minutes. After that, it will all go away. In general, most  are normal. If you suffer from frequent muscle cramps, the doctor will help to diagnose the cause. 


Moreover, the doctor will ask some questions related to the cramps. Also, he will ask questions about your daily activity, lifestyle. Because you already came to know what causes muscle cramps. So, the doctor must make sure of the exact cause for your frequent cramp.


Generally, there are no traditional or exact tests for this. Nevertheless, the doctor may give tests to know the cause of your frequent cramp. For example, the doctor may give blood tests to measure the electrolyte level in your body. Also, the doctor will get information about your kidney and thyroid gland. 


A piece of advice, if you have frequent muscle cramps, do not ignore this. It can be a precaution against pressing health problems. So, talk to a doctor and let him detect the cause.


Muscle Cramps: Treatment


Imagine you are watching a movie or enjoying a party. A sudden cramp for a few seconds or minutes can take all the enjoyment in your life. So, what can you possibly do at that moment? Well, let’s see what to do.


Generally speaking, most of the muscle cramps are not severe. In fact, you can treat a muscle cramp at home. However, you will need a hot or cold cloth for the cramp. Also, an ice pack or heating pad would be better. Put pressure on the affected muscle until the pain goes away. 


Instead of trying to walk or doing anything, lay down on the floor or sit down. After that, massage and stretch the cramping muscle gently. This technique will help to relax the cramping muscle. 


In case it gets worse, call a doctor immediately. In the meantime, you can take painkillers like naproxen or ibuprofen.


Muscle cramps: Prevention


Indeed, it’s wise to take preventive measures rather than suffering. We already discussed what causes muscle cramps. So, you can already guess what steps you need to take to prevent muscle cramps. Nevertheless, let’s clarify those matters.


Stretch every day


 Before exercise or any kind of physical activity, do not forget to stretch or warm up. Otherwise, you can have a very bad day. 


Exercise daily


 In order to live a healthy life, you need to exercise daily. It will reduce the possibility of having muscle cramps.


Stay hydrated


 As you know, dehydration can lead to muscle cramps. So, always stay hydrated and avoid dehydration. 


Moreover, drink enough water while doing any physical activity because water helps to relax your muscles and makes them less irritable.


Increase your mineral intake


 As a low level of potassium and calcium causes muscle cramps, do not forget to intake it. Natural fruits like bananas, oranges, and nuts are some rich sources of minerals. Besides, drink milk every day. It’s a rich source of calcium.

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What can I drink for muscle cramps?


Excessive loss of fluids in your body can cause muscle cramps. So, stay hydrated all the time. Generally, sports activities can cause a lot of fluid loss in the body. Furthermore, this type of dehydration leads to true cramps. 


Water helps to relax your muscles and makes them less irritable. You can drink sports drinks that contain electrolytes. But it’s healthy to drink natural fruit juice. For example, you can make juice from avocados, watermelon, banana, and papaya. Also, you can make flavourful smoothies from them. 


These fruits contain the minerals that you need to fight muscle cramps. Besides, coconut water is the best source of electrolytes. 


Do bananas make cramps worse?


Of course, not. Rather it provides minerals that ease muscle cramps. In order to gain healthy muscles, minerals play a vital role in our body. Particularly, they can happen due to a lack of four minerals, which are sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. 


However, banana is a natural best source of magnesium, potassium, and calcium. It provides these three minerals out of four. Obviously, it does not make cramps worse.


Can lack of salt cause leg cramps?


Yes, lack of salt can cause leg cramps. Basically, our body needs four types of minerals, which are sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Lack of any of the four minerals can cause leg cramps. Salt is one of them, which is sodium. So, lack of sodium can cause leg cramps.


Moreover, leg cramps happen mostly while exercising or any physical activities. Because your body loses sodium through sweat so, if you do not take any electrolyte drinks during physical activities, leg cramps will occur. 


Why is my body low in magnesium?


Magnesium is one of the minerals that help to prevent muscle cramps. However, there can be several reasons that decrease magnesium levels in your body. 


Generally, the kidneys control a large portion of magnesium. So, an increase in magnesium excretion can lower the level in your body. If you do not intake enough magnesium, it will decrease the level. Furthermore, GI diseases, type-2 diabetes, alcohol consumption, and certain diuretics can cause a low level of magnesium in your body.


Is it okay to take magnesium daily?


Of course, you should take magnesium daily. But you should take it to a certain level. Otherwise, it will cause hypermagnesemia. Magnesium is a widely spread mineral. You will find it in nuts, seeds, green vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.


How do I know if I need magnesium?


What causes muscle cramps is a big question.Magnesium is a very important mineral for our body. There are many  symptoms of magnesium deficiency. These symptoms will let you know if you need magnesium or not.


At first, frequent muscle cramps, twitches, and tremors. Also. Fatigue with muscle weakness. Others are osteoporosis, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and asthma. After all, mental disorders.


Can chiropractors fix causes muscle cramps spasms?


Chiropractors can help to relax your muscles. They can help you to release the pressure of the cramping muscles. Chiropractors can suggest massage therapy to reduce inflammations that influence muscle spasms.


Wrapping up what causes muscle cramps


A few seconds to minutes of muscle cramps can ruin your day. It’s quite impossible to do anything with this intense pain. You may do exercise, live healthily. Still, these cramps can occur. So, what causes muscle cramps and its treatment with prevention will aid you in fighting these cramps. Hopefully, this article was helpful. Enjoy a healthy life. 


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