Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions that can last for several minutes, most often occurring after exercise or at night. It is not uncommon to experience a leg, calf or abdominal muscle cramp.
Common causes of muscle cramps are:
- lack of minerals
- strain/overuse of a muscle
- not enough blood getting to your muscles
Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can cause depletion/lack of these minerals in your body. Also, some diuretics prescribed for high blood pressure can cause potassium loss resulting in muscle cramps.
Not enough blood getting to muscles can be caused by arteriosclerosis in your extremities. This reduction in blood flow can produce cramp-like pain in your legs, calves and feet during exercise, which typically diminishes a couple of minutes after you stop.
Muscle cramps can also be caused by nerves that malfunction, and this malfunction is sometimes due to health problems, like a pinched nerve in your back or neck.
For treatment to relieve the severe pain caused by cramps, try stretching or gently massaging the cramped muscle.
Prevention of muscles cramps starts with consuming a healthy diet, giving special attention to your potassium, calcium and magnesium intake.