A muscle cramp happens when a muscle contracts suddenly and uncontrollably. These cramps can occur in one or more muscles at a time. Muscle cramps can be a symptom of various medical issues. They are often linked with muscle strain, but they can also be a sign of medical conditions such as liver disease or circulation problems.
Muscle cramps can interfere with your daily activities because they often happen at night which affects your sleep. As a result, they may reduce your quality of life. But in most cases, muscle cramps are not serious. Muscle cramps occur most often in the:
Several medical conditions may contribute to cramping such as;
A physical exam may be recommended if you have frequent or severe muscle cramps. When you have cramps, your doctor will feel the affected areas and move them to check for muscle issues. Your doctor may also assess your activities or work to determine the trigger.
Blood and urine tests may also be used to determine the cause of muscle cramps. It detects underlying conditions such as liver or kidney disease that can cause cramps. If leg cramps are caused by neurologic problems, your doctor may order an MRI to diagnose them.
Muscle cramps can usually be treated with self-care measures. You can do stretches with your doctor to reduce the likelihood of getting muscle cramps. Making sure you stay well-hydrated also can help. For recurrent cramps that disturb your sleep, your doctor might prescribe a medication to relax your muscles.