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Overview

Muscle Cramps: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Muscle cramp is a common difficulty that can occur among people belonging to various age-groups; it can affect elderly people and adults, as well as children. Muscle spasm or a sudden throb in the muscle is felt most commonly on the leg, feet, or around the calf area, that is, around the knee when a muscle, or a group of muscles get contracted involuntarily and the muscle(s) do not get back to their normal position anytime soon, until and unless some stretching exercises on part of the sufferer is performed.

Muscle cramps can occur due to rigorous exercise, (which causes the tiring of the muscles) and other factors such as dehydration and intake of some particular medicines. Among older people, nocturnal cramp is a common ailment that can be checked by pointing one’s toe downward.

Remedies for common cramps include the intake of enough fluids and nutrition, stretching, maintaining proper body posture and being careful while exercising. If the muscle cramp crosses the threshold of tolerance, hot water massage or application of ice on the affected area are recommended. A heating pad or a towel soaked in warm water can be applied on the cramp. A jet of hot warm water can be directed onto the cramp; likewise, a hot shower may also help. Those who face severe and persistent cramps should see a doctor and take the prescribed medications. Many medicos recommend the intake of Vitamin B complex for treating muscle cramps; however, the effectiveness of this alternative is not foolproof.

How is the treatment done?

Muscles cramps are undoubtedly disruptive, but ordinary cramps that occur due to coercive contraction of voluntary muscles can be treated with a little amount of exercise and muscle relaxation by massaging the affected area.

Cramps that occur owing to some particular medical conditions can be diagnosed and treated by specialists. Other than that, common leg cramps can be cured by performing an exercise where a person needs to stand away from a wall and then place the forearms against the wall while keeping the knees and the back straight and the heels touching the floor. Muscle stretching is another exercise that can also be performed where a person lies on his/her back and flexes the ankle by pulling the toes up as far as possible while keeping the knees straight. Cramps on the palms can be removed by pressing the fist against a wall.

Apart from exercises, drinking enough water and fluids having electrolyte combinations help to reduce the frequency of muscle cramps. Cramps that result from injuries can be treated by medicines. In recent times, people having “Dystonia” (a disorder in muscle tone), have found relief by being injected with doses of Botulism toxin or Botox. Cramps may occur due to several ailments, and these cramps are treated by treating the core illness.

People suffering from chronic muscle cramps can take 1-1.5 grams of calcium or 50-100 milligrams of magnesium daily. (However, people with kidney problems shall take regular blood tests for additional magnesium in the blood which could prove hazardous). Vitamin D and E are other supplements that older people can use to prevent themselves from regular, agonizing, muscle cramps.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Anybody from a child to an elderly person suffering from muscle cramps can perform regular exercises and consume sufficient nutrition and fluids to prevent muscle cramps. If a person faces persistent cramps that refuse to go away even after being treated by exercises or common home remedies, he/she should see a doctor. Other circumstances for which a doctor needs to be visited include a cramp that is an outcome of a particular condition or an injury.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Those people suffering from kidney disorders who consume magnesium pills for muscle cramps shall get their blood tested regularly for additional magnesium or cleanse themselves off of extra magnesium by taking the required amount of calcium. Surplus magnesium deposition in blood is hazardous for health and those who have kidney disorders tend to develop this condition because of their inability to excrete properly. Another measure to rectify this condition is the intake of diuretics that encourage proper urination.

Are there any side effects?

Certain medication from muscle cramps can induce side effects like defects in the system of reproduction. It can cause miscarriage too. It can be responsible for the reduction of platelets count, and can cause other symptoms like nausea, headaches, deafness, vision and heart problems. That is why the use of Quinine is usually prohibited but in some cases quinine solution, also known as tonic water is given to patients to prevent nocturnal cramps.

Magnesium is another supplement that doctors often recommend among patients to get respite from muscle cramps. However it is not recommended for those with kidney problems and even if it is, it should be balanced with a proper dosage of calcium or diuretics.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

In the current scenario, Botox therapy is applied when it comes to the treatment of muscle cramps. It reduces muscle cramps and the effect lasts for several months after which the process needs to be repeated.

Apart from that regular exercises like muscle stretching, ankle and palm flexing, maintaining correct posture while conducting any activity will keep ordinary cramps at bay. Cramps could be an indispensable outcome of rigorous exercise that not only causes fatigue but also increased perspiration that results in the loss of important minerals like potassium and sodium, thereby conducing muscle cramps. Regulating these conditions can only be made possible by the intake of electrolyte solution as well as warm up and cool down exercises. Those with severe cramps can perform these routines and consume Vitamin D, E, calcium and magnesium rich food professional medical treatment.

How long does it take to recover?

An ordinary muscle pain takes a few minutes to recover if proper stretching or relaxation massages are performed on the affected area. If the cramp is severe it can even take an hour before it gets healed completely.

Nocturnal cramp is common among old people and relief can be attained within a few minutes by moving the toe downwards.

Serious cramps resulting from dystonia (it is a condition where the muscular tones are disordered) that can be treated by physiotherapy or Botox injections are ongoing processes that patients need to continue as long as possible.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost for treating muscle cramps depends upon the severity of the condition. If it is an ordinary cramp it would be cured by home remedies. But if it entails medications or physiotherapy, the cost could be anywhere within Rs. 250 - Rs 1000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

An ordinary muscle pain takes a few minutes to recover if proper stretching or relaxation massages are performed on the affected area. If the cramp is severe it can even take an hour before it gets healed completely.

Nocturnal cramp is common among old people and relief can be attained within a few minutes by moving the toe downwards.

Serious cramps resulting from dystonia (it is a condition where the muscular tones are disordered) that can be treated by physiotherapy or Botox injections are ongoing processes that patients need to continue as long as possible.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There are some natural processes by which one can prevent the inflammation of muscles. These include application of chamomile oil on the affected area, consumption of cherry juice, and blueberries that work as antioxidants. Pills and creams that are infused with the goodness of Cayenne Pepper also work wonders when it comes to reducing muscle cramps. Apart from all these proper intake of nutritious food, sunbathing, and adequate rest help in relaxing the muscles, thereby preventing muscle cramps.

Safety: Condition Effectiveness: Very High Timeliness: High Relative Risk: High Side Effects: Low Time For Recovery: High Price Range:

Rs. 250 - Rs 750.

Popular Health Tips

Workout During Menses - Should You Do It?

MBBS, MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Gurgaon
Workout During Menses - Should You Do It?

Should you be hitting your gym during your ‘time of the month’ that is during your periods? This is a very common query and is presently a debatable issue. However, after weighing the various pros and cons, it has been concluded that working out during your periods is actually a good thing.

How work out during menses is helpful?

Exercising helps in beating the uncomfortable and painful cramps in the lower abdomen and helps in relieving fatigue, headaches and malaise. Exercising also helps in regulating blood flow, preventing clots. Working out also helps in sweating out the excess water retention or bloating that occurs during the premenstrual period. It keeps unnecessary weight gain in check. Exercise also helps in the steady flow of feel good hormones, scientifically termed as endorphins. This helps in improving mood, significantly making menstruating women happier and feeling positive.

It's a myth

  • In fact, there may be benefits to exercising on your period, including reduced cramps and higher pain tolerance. Additionally, the hormonal changes don’t impact your strength or endurance. So although you may feel tired, heading to the gym might make you feel better. Plus, we all know that exercise releases endorphins that cause happiness, so you’ll probably feel a bit cheerier after your workout as well.
  • If you feel really ill or have extreme cramps, don’t force yourself to exercise. Sometimes when your body is asking for rest, it’s because all it really needs to recover is a bit of rest.
  • If you’re still not sure about working out, try doing some low-impact exercise for the days you’re on your cycle, and switch back to heavier work when you’re off.

Use the right protection:
Generally, one of the biggest concerns for working out while during period is "what if I leak?" Although you will be moving your body in ways that might cause more of a flow, you can use the right tools to keep your menstrual cycle out of view. Opt for using a menstrual cup or a tampon rather than pads or panty liners; these options will trap the blood before it leaves your body, making it less likely to leak. If you’re still concerned, double up your protection by using a menstrual cup or tampon with a panty liner. Menstrual cups are much better at preventing leaks than tampons are, but their application may not be comfortable for everyone. Insert a new tampon just prior to exercising, so that you’ll have a better chance of being leak-free.

Here are 4 exercises you can explore during your periods:

  1. Aerobics: If you don’t feel enthusiastic about performing at your usual intensity, try some simpler aerobic exercises like running on a treadmill, Pilates, etc. If you play any games, continuing your sports during periods is a good idea.
  2. Yoga: By trying some breathing and relaxation exercises, you can reduce the stress and tension, in both mind and body. There are yoga postures that have been created specifically for the abdomen that can soothe painful muscles.
  3. Lifting Weight: If you don’t feel like moving around much, try lifting weights during your periods. You can burn calories even when at rest. Work out all major muscle groups. You can do smaller sets with lighter weights.
  4. Swim: Swimming during periods is not impossible. You can wear a tampon and take a dip, whether it is to swim laps or just to float around. The water will make you feel lighter and you’ll feel fresh too. Change your protection before and after the swim.
  5. Take home message: There is only one real rule for working out during your period: Listen to yourself. If you are cramping in a major way, listen to your body and take the day off. Push yourself to exercise but don’t push yourself too hard.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2458 people found this helpful

Dr. Stephen Hawking: The Man Who Lived By The Thought, "Intelligence Is The Ability To Adapt To Change"

DNB (Neurology), MD/MBBS - General Medicine
Neurologist, Delhi
Dr. Stephen Hawking: The Man Who Lived By The Thought, "Intelligence Is The Ability To Adapt To Change"

“I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first”, are the famous words of a man who, against all odds pursued his passion till the end. 14 March 2018 will always be considered as one of the darkest days as the world mourns the loss of the great Dr. Stephen Hawking, who enlightened people with his theories related to, ‘exploration of general relativity and properties of the black hole’.

At the age of 21 he was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)  or Lou Gehrig’s disease and despite the challenges he faced, he lived his life with fun & vigor.

So, what is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron disease, which is responsible for controlling the voluntary muscle movement in the body. It is one of the rare neurological diseases and has no cure at present. It is degenerative disease i.e. the condition affected by it will get worse over a period of time and weakens the working of these neurons.

What is the cause of it?

In 90% to 95% of cases, the definitive cause of it is still not known. And, for the remaining cases, there is a possibility that this disease can occur due an inherited genetic history of certain specific genes from their parents.

How the disease affected Stephen?

The symptoms of this disease vary from person to person. Also, the disease has a tendency to spread to unaffected regions of the body with the affected regions turning worse. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, the patient eventually will not able to walk, use their hands & arms, loses his ability to speak, to swallow food or their own saliva, and lastly, it affects the ability to cough & breathe resulting in the death of the patient.

In most of the cases, people who are diagnosed with ALS live up to 2-5 years. However, Hawking was a rare case who survived for over 50 years, since he was diagnosed when he was 21. And, in spite of his disease, he came up with highly elaborate researches such as that of the black hole theory.

How did he survive for so long?

When a patient suffers from ALS it is possible he or she can die due to respiratory failure, or deterioration of swallowing muscles which leads to dehydration and malnutrition. The case of Hawking is still a mystery for both doctors and scientists alike. As, in all ALS cases, the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction or memory dysfunction are common but were proven wrong in Hawking’s case. As per Hawking’s biography ‘A Brief History of Time’, his grasping, and learning ability improved only after his disease.

Due to the progression of his disease, he was paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair and was not able to perform day to day activities such as bathing, eating, and even talking. He was only able to move a few fingers. In order to overcome his difficulties, he started using a speech synthesizer that gave him a computerized voice. Also, after reading his case many doctors claimed that the disease progressed slower than it usually does in his case.


Common signs of this disease

Although the above symptoms can indicate other health ailments in case of continuous occurrence one should consult a doctor immediately. In case of any concern, do consult an expert and get answers. 

3635 people found this helpful

Calcium & Bone Disorders - How to Know If Your Are Suffering From Them?

DGO, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Chandigarh
Calcium & Bone Disorders - How to Know If Your Are Suffering From Them?

Pregnancy places a lot of demand on the expectant mother. While the emotional demands are not very evident, the physical ones are. The mother has to ensure that the developing baby gets all the required nutrients through her. Some of them are very critical, and not getting adequate amounts of these manifest as problems, which cannot be rectified later. Calcium supply and associated problems that may arise is one such example.
If there is a reduced supply of calcium and the bones and teeth are not formed properly, taking any amount of calcium is not going to correct the situation later, after delivery.

  1. The bones which are forming in the developing baby are dependent on the mother for adequate supply of calcium. It is common knowledge that calcium is an integral component of bones, teeth, and skeleton. Hypocalcemia, which is a condition where there is reduced amounts of calcium in the body, can be quite severe during pregnancy.
  2. In addition to the growing baby’s needs, calcium also plays a vital role in the pregnant mother for muscular contractions, nerve conduction, hormone secretion, and blood clotting. So adequate intake of calcium during pregnancy is essential.

Now, the question arises as to how much calcium is good enough. For a normal female, about 1000 mg of calcium is required on a daily basis. This goes up by another 200 to 300 mg for a pregnant woman, especially during the third trimester when the bone and teeth formation is in full speed. This extra amount of calcium should be continued even after pregnancy, as calcium continues to be provided to the baby during the lactation phase.

Some of the symptoms of reduced calcium intake during pregnancy are aching muscles, brittle nails, weakened bones, severe cramping, and dry skin. If there is suspected hypocalcemia, it is best to seek medical advice. It is not advisable to take supplements without medical supervision. Increased amounts of calcium can produce a different set of symptoms.

While these are evident symptoms, there are other detrimental effects on the baby too. Calcium deficiency affects development of heart and associated structures and puts the newborn at a higher risk of developing hypertension. The baby’s fat percentage and triglycerides are also increased. The bone mineral density is reduced. The delivery period could be prolonged, as muscular contractions and nerve conduction are severely impacted when there is less calcium in the system. Recovery from labor is also delayed.

It is possible that you are taking adequate amounts of calcium, but its absorption is affected. Reducing caffeine intake helps in better absorption of calcium. Iron, which is often given during pregnancy, prevents calcium absorption and so needs to be spaced out. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions! 

3763 people found this helpful

Vitamin D Deficiency - Symptoms & Ways to Reverse it!

MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, DNB - Orthopedics
Orthopedist, Delhi
Vitamin D Deficiency - Symptoms & Ways to Reverse it!

Before explaining how you can reverse the deficiency, it is important to know how vitamin D plays a pivotal role in your body. Well, this very vitamin is responsible for balancing the hormonal levels and ensuring the perfect functioning of your bones and brain. Also, vitamin D is indispensable for the proper functioning of your central nervous system. This is why people who are deficient display signs of anxiety, depression and, in severe cases, even suffer from bipolar disorder.

Apart from the neurological symptoms that the deficiency of vitamin D indicates, there are some physical symptoms as well that should not be overlooked either:

  • Arthritis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle soreness
  • Autoimmune disease

So, What Are The Causes Of Vitamin D Deficiency?

There are various reasons that lead to vitamin D deficiency. The most common ones are as follows:

  1. It happens when you are a vegan and do not consume any animal-based products, as it is common in foods like fish, egg yolks, beef liver, and fortified milk.
  2. You have limited exposure to sunlight, in such a case your body fails to make required vitamin D.
  3. If you spend a lot of time indoors or live in the northern latitudes, or wear robes, you may become vitamin D deficient.
  4. In case you have dark skin, it reduces your skin’s ability to make vitamin D based on your exposure to sunlight. Aged adults having a dark skin tone are more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

How To Overcome Vitamin D Deficiency?

  1. Get More Sun: 20-30 minutes of sunlight is all it takes for our bodies to produce enough Vitamin D to last us for a week, not everybody is able to enjoy the sun. 
  2. Eat More Food Rich In Vitamin D: Just increase your intake of foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D, such as salmon, raw cheese, yogurt and egg yolk. And if you are vegetarian, go for mushrooms as they are also an excellent source of vitamin D.
  3. Vitamin D Supplements: This is the fastest way to boost the vitamin D levels in your bloodstream, but it is advisable to consult a doctor before you begin your daily dose.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

8796 people found this helpful

Body Ache in the Morning - Tips to Get Rid of Them?

Spine and Pain Management
Pain Management Specialist, Hyderabad
Body Ache in the Morning - Tips to Get Rid of Them?

Do you wake up in the morning feeling like a log? Do you feel so irritated to move around with all the pain that you wish the day never started? People affected with disorders such as arthritis, rheumatism and fibromyalgia (a pain disorder which affects the soft tissue and the muscles in the body) are the most vulnerable to such kind of pain. Body stiffness in the morning can make it difficult for you to get out of the bed and go about your work for the day.

Here are some causes that may lead to such a condition:

  1. Not exercising on a regular basis
  2. Obesity
  3. An unhealthy diet which does not provide you with all the necessary nutrients
  4. Living in a damp and cold environment can stiffen up those muscles, contributing to this condition.
  5. A bad sleeping posture such as sleeping on your side can reduce the flow of blood to the concerned muscles, leading to early morning body ache.

Tips to get rid of it?
You can follow these tips to get your body up and about in the morning, right from the time you wake up:

  1. The first tip to get rid of morning stiffness is to get the required amount of sleep. The recommended amount is 6-8 hours of regular sleep. Avoid distractions such as the glare from the slickest smart phone you recently bought, or another mindless episode of Quantico on your TV set.
  2. Stretch your body before you go to sleep; a proper stretching routine will help loosen up the muscles and reduce stress from the body.
  3. Remember, cold aggravates almost any kind of pain. So, if the room is cold or damp, use heaters or blankets to make sure that you are not affected by the cold.
  4. Taking a hot shower before going to bed is a very good way to relax your muscles and also promote better blood circulation.
  5. You need to keep yourself hydrated; so drink at least 2-3 liters of water regularly. Dehydration can lead to body cramps that can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, a factor which will most certainly add to your morning fatigue and pain.
  6. Eat a healthy diet which consists of vegetables and fruits. Avoid eating too much carbohydrates as it can overload your system.
  7. Avoid or at least limit stress: Make use of relaxation techniques such as meditation to manage stress effectively. Meditating early in the morning can set the tone for the day.
  8. Get regular exercise as it promotes stronger muscles and keeps your body free from almost all kinds of pain. But make sure not to overstrain those muscles as that can add to a separate set of worries for you. Try not to exercise if you find the pain really troublesome and bothering; rather, let it subside before you resume with your exercises.
2 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

My mother is at 70, and she has joint and muscle pain on her legs. She also has low diabetics, what may be the reason or treatment? Her height: 5' weight: 54 Kgs.

D.A.M.S( A. M.), D.AC/B.E.M.S
Acupressurist, Mumbai
You should take acupressure treatment and take biochemic mag phos 200x + kali phos 200x 4 tab each thrice a day with warm water and take it 5 days and inform me private online.

I am a 54 year old male, I have knee joint muscle pain for both knees. How do I strengthen muscles surrounding knees. Who is the TOP doctor available for the same?

MBBS, D'Ortho, DNB (Orthopedics)
Orthopedist, Mumbai
Hello lybrate-user, pain in both knee at this stage might be due to early arthritic changes ,starts static quads and hamstrings exercises.
1 person found this helpful

I am 43 years old lady having muscles pain back of the legs. sometimes Its starts from my thigh to ankle. Ankles are paining always. I am having lumber spondylosis. To press legs gives relief to me. Is there any deficiencies of vitamins.

Madurai Medical College, M.S orthopedics, DNB orthopedics, National University Hospital, Singapore.
Orthopedist,
Dear madam, you may be having sciatica due to lumbar disc problem. Try to avoid bending down and lifting weights. Wear a lumbar support belt also. Lf pain persists, take MRI SCAN of lumbosacral spine and revert.

I have a problem of herniated disc The muscle pains are more, can you suggest me a physiotherapy to reduce the pains I can't take pain killers so give me the right advice plz.

MS - General Surgery, MBBS, MCh - Neuro Surgery
Neurosurgeon, Hyderabad
A lot depends if you have leg pain or back pain. Back pain requires back strengthening exercises, leg pains require medication and exercise and sometimes surgery.

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Play video
Spine Injuries
Hi, I am Dr Gaurav Tyagi. I am HOD of Physiotherapy in Anath Multispeciality Clinic, Phase-3, Gurgaon.

Today I am going to discuss the major things which nowadays every person is experiencing in their life. Because of the busy schedule, the work culture, the diet and the environment, everyone is facing issues of the spine injuries. It might be their neck pain, or it might be their back pain or anything regarding this.

But it happens mainly because of their body posture. Bad posture leads to weakness of the muscle and that lead to pain and dysfunction of the joints which will hinder their movement, give irritation, pain, inflammation or inability to move their body or to perform certain activities.

Here, we focus on maintaining and gaining the strength of the muscle so that the weakened muscle can be improved and help gain their mobility and to help do the routine work easily. For that, we have different techniques, different exercises and some kind of modality also. But e generally do it, manually. The modality does not go for long, it will help the muscle to get stronger and is better for a longer duration.

For any query, you can contact me through Lybrate.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice