Also called: Charley horse
Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions or spasms in one or more of your muscles. They often occur after exercise or at night, lasting a few seconds to several minutes. It is a very common muscle problem.
Muscle cramps can be caused by nerves that malfunction. Sometimes this malfunction is due to a health problem, such as a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in the neck or back. Other causes are
- Straining or overusing a muscle
- A lack of minerals in your diet or the depletion of minerals in your body
- Not enough blood getting to your muscles
Cramps can be very painful. Stretching or gently massaging the muscle can relieve this pain.