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Muscle Cramps: What's causing my muscle cramps | Ask the Expert
Muscle cramps are a common symptom and occur both in men and women. Cramping is caused by an electrical impulse from a nerve to a muscle. The impulse is triggered spontaneously and can be very forceful and painful. There are several common causes of muscle cramps. Finding the cause can often lead to the solution!
Injury Prevention,Back & Spine,Shoulders & Extremities,Bone, Joint & Muscle Health,

Question:

I get a lot of muscle cramps. What’s wrong, and what can be done?

Answer:

Suzanne Pertsch, M.D.Suzanne Pertsch, M.D.Internal MedicineMills-Peninsula Health Services
Expert
Suzanne Pertsch, M.D.Internal MedicineMills-Peninsula Health Services

Dr. Suzanne Pertsch is Board Certified in Internal Medicine. She is a physician with Mills-Peninsula Health Services.

See Dr. Pertsch's profile

Muscle cramps are a common symptom and occur both in men and women. Cramping is caused by an electrical impulse from a nerve to a muscle. The impulse is triggered spontaneously and can be very forceful and painful. There are several common causes of muscle cramps. Finding the cause can often lead to the solution!

  • Dehydration (make sure you are drinking plenty of water)
  • Hormonal changes (cramps are more common in pregnancy and after menopause)
  • Medication (ask your doctor to check if any medication you may be taking could be causing cramps, especially diuretics used for hypertension, asthma/emphysema medication, or osteoporosis medication)
  • Lack of exercise (stretching several times a day and walking 20-30 minutes a day can really help)
  • Degeneration in the discs or nerves in the low back (this would generally cause low back pain and nerve pain into the buttocks or legs as well)
  • Low levels of potassium, calcium or magnesium in the blood stream (ask your doctor to make sure you are not deficient).
  • There are other less common causes of muscle cramps that your doctor will consider when discussing this with you. These will need to be evaluated on an individual basis. The treatment of muscle cramps depends on the cause, however starting with adequate water intake and stretching exercises is a good approach for anyone.

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