There are several types of muscle cramps. Here we will review the most common muscle cramp types. First, what is a muscle cramp?
Muscle cramps are the contraction of a single muscle or a group of muscles. One of the causes of cramps is called hyper-excitability. Think of it as muscle misfire. In the various types of muscle cramps, there are commonalities and differences in the different kinds of muscle cramps. Here we will consider the commonalities.
Since your body does not do anything with out a reason, why would your muscles misfire? Sometimes the body does thing to tell us or warn us something is wrong.
Athletes experience cramps. They are experienced either during, after or several hours after the exercise or performance. When the muscles become fatigued, they are more prone to cramping.
Either over use or use of muscles that you are not used to extensively could cause cramps.
Commonality: When our muscles are extensively used, we are also using up fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential for nerve conductivity. Water is essential for normal cell function and for energy. Water in our cells provides hydro-electric energy.
Not using our muscles can also cause fatigue. If you sit, lay, extend your limbs, position your limbs abnormally and hold them for a long time you can get cramps. Likewise, using the same muscle over and over, causing others to not be used, can cause cramps.
Many are susceptible to cramps while they are asleep (known as nocturnal cramps). This is especially true of the elderly. Although science says the cause is unknown, at Water Cures, we disagree. Considering the commonalities, the leading cause of non-injury induced cramps is fluid and electrolyte imbalance.Commonality: We have two circulatory systems in our body. The lymph circulatory system requires our physical movement in order to pump the lymph. Our bodies also have a dynamic hydration balancing system. Without movement, or constrained movement, there is a increased risk of fluid and electrolyte imbalance.
When we are injured, the muscle cramp or spasm we may feel is a defense mechanism our bodies uses to protect the injury. Just as a cramp stops you from moving, a cramp when your injured stops you from moving and causing any additional damage. Even an injured muscle could end up cramping.
Commonality: Injuries result in inflammation. The inflammation causes a shift of fluids and in some cases limits fluid transfer. Fluids and electrolytes help muscles work, nerves transmit and energize cells.
Dehydration is often listed as a cause of cramps. The fluid loss in the form of sweat as well as moisture lost from breathing is an obvious physiological change. The warmer the environment, the greater the risk of the cramps. A secondary cause of cramps related to dehydration is sodium depletion. Sodium too is lost through sweat.
Commonality: Like other causes of cramps, there is a fluid and electrolyte imbalance.
In kidney failure and for those who are undergoing dialysis, cramps are common.
Cramps may be the result of disease or condition when there is a resulting fluid shift or fluid abnormality. Cirrhosis of the liver which often causes ascites (unusually buildup of fluid in the abdomen) can cause cramps.
Commonality: These all have fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Note: The Water Cures is not appropriate for kidney or dialysis patients. They require a doctors supervision due to the inability of the kidney to process salt.
When essential minerals like magnesium and calcium are depleted, the balance of the body is upset on several levels. For one, it can affect the circulatory system. This alone can cause fluid shifts.
These also affect nerve impulses and when we do not have enough, some nerves may become more excitable. This results in cramps.
Some foods decrease the amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
When we are low in potassium, although it can cause muscle cramps, more likely will cause muscle weakness.
Commonality: Fluid and electrolyte imbalance.
A Leg Cramp Testimonial This shows the importance of treating the whole person and not just the symptoms.
Medications can create the conditions within our bodies that cause cramps.
Donepezil (Aricept) an Alzheimer's medication.
Terbutaline (Brethine) and albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin) asthma drugs.
Raloxifene (Evista) an osteoporosis medication.
Furosemide (Lasix) cause imbalance of fluids and loss of sodium, magnesium and potassium.
Lovastatin (Mevacor), a cholesterol drug.
Nifedipine (Procardia) a high blood pressure medication.
Neostigmine (Prostigmine) used for myashenia gravis.
Tolcapone (Tasmar) a Parkinson's drug, 10% of those using it experience cramps.
Commonality: Medications have varied reasons for causing cramps. Some relate to causing the body to loose vital minerals or electrolytes. Some do to causing water loss.
There is more on types of muscle cramps we have not gotten into. This is the most important part. Come back as we are aggressively researching and adding information to this site.