Medical Advice

 What Causes Muscle Cramps – Complete Guide

what causes muscle cramps

Most of the people in the world deal with uncontrollable and painful muscle cramps in the body. There may be various reasons for which a person may deal with muscle cramps. So, today this blog will help you to know what causes muscle cramps with all factors.

It is solved by itself but sometimes it varies for a long period of time. Usually, cramps are very harmless for the body and can be caused by various factors including some medication. So, let’s start the blog to know the all relevant information regarding muscle cramps with their cause.

What are muscle cramps?

A ‘muscle cramp’ is a phenomenon where a muscle suddenly and involuntarily contracts. Depending on the severity and duration, these spasms can be mildly or very painful. Muscle spasms or muscle cramps are usually harmless and can be allowed to pass.

Many people work out or do some form of regular physical work often. Such people are likely to suffer from spasms more often.

What Causes Muscle Cramps:

Although muscle spasms are common, the exact causes that lead to them are not known. However, some probable causes are as follows:

(i) Doing Physical Work Hot Temperatures

While sweating, our body loses a lot of water, salt, and electrolytes. In case of excessive sweating, the body will lose electrolytes in a large amount. To keep rehydrating the body, drinking excess water may help,  but it will not replenish your body of the lost electrolytes, therefore, the electrolyte content in your body will dilute.

The intense heat combined with electrolyte dilution can cause a muscle cramp, called the ‘Heat Cramp’. Heat cramps can happen in the arms, legs, abdomen, shoulders, etc. These are commonly seen in people who have a profession that requires intense physical work in heat. Examples of such professions are manual laborers, farmers, athletes, etc.

To avoid heat cramps, one must consume enough amount of water along with electrolytes. Bananas, yogurt, oranges, and soups are some edibles that are high in electrolyte content and can be consumed for replenishment.

(ii) Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body has less than an adequate amount of water. When your body is low on water, blood flow to your muscles is reduced, therefore, the muscles don’t receive enough nutrition and oxygen, which makes them susceptible to damage and tingles.

Dehydration occurs when your body lacks water. In general, drinking water before you get thirsty is a good habit to avoid dehydration. However, conditions like recurring vomiting and diarrhea can make water retention quite difficult.

(iii) Electrolyte Imbalance

Our muscles require a balance of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride) to function properly.  Having too much or too little of these electrolytes can hinder the electrical impulses that occur in our body, which can lead to muscle spasms.

As mentioned above, to avoid a deficiency of electrolytes, consider adding foods and fluids that are high in electrolytes. Any excessive electrolytes are excreted from our body through sweating or excreting.

(iv) Overuse of Muscle

A fatigued or damaged muscle is more likely to suffer from a spasm. When you overuse a muscle that is tired or has not healed properly or use it in a way that can create stress on the joints of your body, it can cause the muscle to cramp, swell, and get numb.

To avoid this, you must:

  • Give proper rest to any muscle that feels tired or in pain
  • Have a full night of sleep
  • Take an adequate amount of protein

(v) Medication:

There are certain medications that make a patient excrete electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride. When low in electrolytes, your body is prone to cramps. Some of these medications are Diuretics, Statins and Fibrates, Beta-blockers, etc.

If you have noticed cramps after starting a medicine course, you can always stretch and massage the muscle. Taking vitamin B12 after consultation with your doctor may also help.

Common Types of Spasms

Muscle spasms are common, and they can occur in all muscles of our body, but spasms in the back and legs are seen most commonly.

What Causes Muscle Spasms in Legs

There are numerous factors that can lead to a muscle spasm. Some common ones are as follows:

  • While sleeping, some people tend to bend their knees and stretch out their feet. This extends the calf muscle and can cause it to cramp.
  • Going out for runs can be good for maintaining fitness. But if your legs are fatigued and/or your body is low on electrolytes, you may get a cramp.
  • Leg cramps can also be symptoms of other conditions like pregnancy, excessive alcohol intake, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
  • If you are having a leg cramp, stretching your foot in the opposite direction can shorten its duration. Sometimes, massaging the area around the muscle spasm can also help.

What Causes Muscle Spasms in the Back:

Back spasms can happen due to multiple reasons. A few of them are listed below:

  • Living a sedentary lifestyle can cause your back muscles to weaken. Weak muscles are more likely to cramp up.
  • On the other hand, people who overuse their back, like athletes, can also suffer from a spasm. Such incidents occur due to insufficient sleep or improper diet. In these situations, massaging can help relieve muscle cramps.
  • Medical conditions such as gallstones, kidney stones, tumors, etc. can also cause back spasms.


so, concluding this blog, we provide all the relevant information regarding muscle cramps. These spasms, also called cramps or twinges, are common and should pass within a minute or two. But, if you are facing these cramps often, this could be due to some underlying cause that you may want to get checked right away.

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