Muscle Cramps (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Muscle cramps facts
- What are muscle cramps?
- What are the types and causes of muscle cramps?
- Do all muscle cramps fit into the above categories?
- Can medications cause muscle cramps?
- Can vitamin deficiencies cause muscle cramps?
- Can poor circulation cause muscle cramps?
- What are the symptoms of common muscle cramps? How are muscle cramps diagnosed?
- What is the treatment of skeletal muscle cramps?
- How can muscle cramps be prevented?
- Are there particular concerns for older adults?
- Are there medications to prevent muscle cramps?
- What is the prognosis of recurrent muscle cramps?
Can vitamin deficiencies cause muscle cramps?
Several vitamin deficiency states may directly or indirectly lead to muscle cramps. These include deficiencies of thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), and pyridoxine (B6). The precise role of deficiency of these vitamins in causing cramps is unknown.
Can poor circulation cause muscle cramps?
Poor circulation to the legs, which results in inadequate oxygen to the muscle tissue, can cause severe pain in the muscle (sometimes known as claudication pain or intermittent claudication) that occurs with walking or exercise. This commonly occurs in the calf muscles. While the pain feels virtually identical to that of a severely cramped muscle, the pain does not seem to be a result of the actual muscle cramping. This pain may be due to accumulation of lactic acid and other chemicals in the muscle tissues. It's important to see your doctor if you have pain like this.
What are the symptoms of common muscle cramps? How muscle cramps diagnosed?
Characteristically, a cramp is painful, often severely so. Usually, the sufferer must stop whatever activity is under way and seek relief from the cramp; the person is unable to use the affected muscle while it is cramping. Severe cramps may be associated with soreness and swelling, which can occasionally persist up to several days after the cramp has subsided. At the time of cramping, the knotted muscle will bulge, feel very firm, and may be tender.
There are no special tests for cramps. Nevertheless, the diagnosis of muscle cramps is relatively easy. Most people know what cramps are and when they have one. If present during a cramp, the doctor, or any other bystander, can feel the tense, firm bulge of the cramped muscle.
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