We don’t have to be runners or athletes to experience cramps. It is a common muscle problem that each one of us has experienced. Cramps are involuntary spasms or contractions in your muscles that lasts from a few seconds to several minutes. This common muscle problem is usually experienced in the calf muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps, feet, hands, abdomen, arms, and along the rib cage.

image via http://ehow.com

Muscle cramps may occur due to the following conditions:

  • inadequate stretching and muscle fatigue
  • poor conditioning
  • working or exercising in intense heat
  • low levels or depletion of electrolytes in your body
  • malfunctioning nerves due to health problems i.e. pinched nerve, or spinal cord injury

Athletes and older people involved in strenuous physical activities are prone to cramps and would most likely experience them regularly with physical exertion.

A person experiencing cramps may feel the tightening and hardening of the affected muscle/s that may also appear twitched or distorted. Cramp pain can range from tolerable to agonizing levels.

It may be treated by gently stretching and massaging the cramping muscle/s, or applying hot compress to tight or tense muscles and cold compress to tender or sore muscles.

Cramps are usually relieved by simple treatments and go away on their own. However, you need to see a doctor for severe cramps that does not respond well to simple treatment, happen frequently, and are not caused by the usual conditions such as physical activity or intense heat.