Muscles, the storehouse of energy in a living body, contract to help in the movement of different parts of the body. The general body composition consists largely of voluntary muscles. It is called voluntary because its contraction and movement is consciously controlled by the living being. Sometimes, these voluntary muscles contract involuntarily and refuse to relax and return to normalcy. This is called a Muscle Cramp. Muscle Cramps are forceful contractions that sustain for sometime and reappear, often till the muscles relax. Cramps can happen to any voluntary muscle, mostly bending or curling the affected muscle.
Muscle Cramps come from the vigorous use of muscles. Cramp can result when a muscle or group of muscles that acts together in the movement of a certain part of the body forcefully become involuntary. For instance, athletes often complain of Muscle Cramps in calf muscles. But when it affects the feet, the group of muscles in the fingers too gets cramps.
Muscle Cramps occur due to various reasons. These can be dehydration or excessive loss of body fluid due to vigorous exercise or activities of the muscle; or a muscle fatigue caused mostly from a long rest period for muscles in one position or exertion of muscles leading to injury. It may also happen from some kinds of muscle disease. It is not always necessary for the cramps to attack 'over activated' muscles. Muscle Cramps can attack even when the muscles are at rest or dormant for a very long time. For instance, sitting in the same position for a very long time can cause muscle fatigue and may later become a cramp. Most of the cramps come especially at night, like the cramps in the calf muscle. This last for some time till the bend muscles flex and relax.
Muscle spasm and Muscle Cramp may seem to be the same. But a Muscle Cramp, unlike a muscle spasm, affects only a certain muscle. The affected muscle bulges or rolls and hurts till it gets its normal shape. Cramps can thus affect anyone, anytime and anywhere. Muscle Cramps affect pregnant women too. Hence as a precaution, their diet is supplemented with calcium and magnesium. Cramps can be kept at bay through exercises, especially stretch exercises, a nutritious balanced diet and proper water intake.
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Annoying but necessary - I'm not a Healthcare Professional so please check with your Healthcare Professional before changing anything concerning your well being.