Health & Nutrition Health and Nutrition - February 2018.edcoan.ir - Page 87

Muscle cramps differ from stiffness or leg pain. A cramp occurs when a muscle contracts involuntarily in a sudden, intense manner, producing a lump of tightened muscle you can feel with your hand. It’s typically a response to a stress or chemical imbalance in the muscle’s environment. Sorting Out The Cause Some common causes of muscle cramps include: X Muscle overuse, strain or prolonged exercise. X Being dehydrated and losing too much salt due to exercise or due to prolonged illness involving vomiting or diarrhoea. X Certain medications. X Low levels of blood calcium. Less commonly, muscle cramps may be caused by diseases affecting your peripheral nerves – the nerves that extend from your spinal cord to nearly all other parts of your body. Peripheral nerves are the conductors of information between your brain and your organs, blood vessels, muscles and skin. Damage to a peripheral nerve (peripheral neuropathy) can interrupt communication lines between the brain and the area served by the damaged nerve. Peripheral neuropathy that produces muscle cramping may occur with a number of conditions, including diabetes, thyroid disease and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. When To See Your Doctor Muscle cramps often have no identifiable cause. But if you have frequent, severe muscle cramps, a doctor’s visit is appropriate. You’ll likely have tests that include a neurologic exam and possibly A cramp occurs when a muscle contracts involuntarily in a sudden, intense manner, producing a lump of tightened muscle you can feel with your hand. Gently stretch the contracted muscle for relief HEALTH & NUTRITION February 2018 87