Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index
Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
A muscle cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax. When we use the muscles that can voluntarily be controlled, such as those of our arms and legs, they alternately contract and relax as we move our limbs. Muscles that support our head, neck, and trunk contract similarly in a synchronized fashion to maintain our posture. A muscle (or even a few fibers of a muscle) that involuntarily (without consciously willing it) contracts is called a "spasm." If the spasm is forceful and sustained, it becomes a cramp.
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Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
Main Article on Muscle Cramps
Causes of Muscle Cramps
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Other Causes of Muscle Cramps
- Body Fluid Shifts
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Rest Cramps
- Trauma Injury
- Vigorous Activity
- Vitamin Deficiencies [Thiamine (B1), Pantothenic Acid (B5), and Pyridoxine (B6)]
Examples of Medications for Muscle Cramps
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