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Muscle Cramps: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

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?

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.

Popular Questions & Answers

Worst muscle cramp on left leg, vitamin d: 9.4/150, not able to sleep at night it's been 3-4 months, mouth ulcer, whenever lies on bed at night, have to rush to the toilet 3-4 times with the gap of an hour, suffering with extreme depression, severe anaemia. Kindly suggest a remedy!

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1.no alcohol 2. Reduce body wt if over wt 3. No smoking 4. Diet - no ghee/ butter, have mix of vegetable oils - mustard, til, ground nut, olive oil, have more green vegetables and fruits, have whole grain atta, no fried. Fast. Spicy / processed/ j...
1 person found this helpful

I am having muscle pain in right hand. Vit b12 level - 183 vit d level - 19.72 is the muscle pain because of vitamin b12 deficiency?

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
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Hand pain can be caused by disease or injury affecting any of the structures in the hand, including the bones, muscles, joints, tendons, blood vessels, or connective tissues. Let's have a detailed discussion for better advice and healthy lifestyle.

I've literally done nothing but sit in my room and binge things all quarantine, but now my muscles (mostly upper leg) started cramping when I woke up this morning. Do I need to see an actual doctor or will it stop hurting over time?

MBBS, MD - General Medicine (persuing)
General Physician, Patna
Hi, Lybrate user. You should not worry. These all are due to stress. In this covid19 pandemic situation many people are suffering from same situation. Do something like morning walk / excercise. Eat healthy diet in routine. Don't skip. You should ...

I have severe nocturnal leg cramps (calf muscle) while sleeping, I couldn't sleep at night because of this pain. Whenever I close my eyes paining, but since three days I have cramps in arms and calf muscle and inner thighs. Please suggest any medicine for cure thank you doctor.

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It may be due to weakness of muscles. Or there may be some nerve problem. For better diagnosis please describe your problem in detail. You can chat or call me for right exercise program for it. Till than I am telling you some general exercises for...
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