Muscle cramps can be a symptom of many different medical problems, ranging from muscle strain to circulation problems and liver disease. Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder that causes unwanted muscle contractions or spasms, and exercise-induced cramps can occur due to an electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, or the muscles being out of shape. In many cases, the muscle contracts to such an extent that the entire limb or body moves physically. To diagnose the cause of muscle cramps, a small needle is inserted into a muscle to record its electrical activity.
Treatment for muscle cramps depends on the underlying cause, but may include medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. Muscle cramps are common and can affect anyone of any age. They are often associated with muscle strain, but can also be a sign of medical conditions such as diabetes or disorders of the nerves, liver, or thyroid. Pregnant women may also be at greater risk of muscle cramps.
An estimated 300,000 people in North America have dystonia, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. If people have arm or trunk cramps or muscle spasms, a disorder (such as a hormonal or electrolyte disorder) or a drug is more likely to be the cause than benign leg cramps or exercise-related muscle cramps. Two independent studies in this population observed safety and efficacy in reducing the severity and frequency of muscle cramps, offering an alternative for people with ALS or other neuromuscular conditions with prominent muscle cramps.For this test, a small needle is inserted into a muscle to record the muscle's electrical activity when the muscle is at rest and when it contracts. In doing so, the motor nerves of the peripheral nervous system are activated to trigger muscle contractions necessary for normal muscle movement.If a muscle cramp occurs during needle electromyography, the electrically silent nature of myogenic cramps or the characteristic high frequency (≤150 Hz) of involuntary cramp potentials in neurogenic muscle cramps can be observed, together with morphological characteristics and Neurogenic factors of classical EMG, neurogenic or myopathic recruitment.There is no evidence that recurrent muscle cramps cause significant and lasting muscle damage, and serious damage caused by muscle cramps (e.g., tendon ruptures) is rare.
The pathophysiology of myogenic muscle cramps is usually the result of altered energy production in muscle cells and occurs more frequently in metabolic myopathies associated with glycogen, lipid or mitochondrial metabolism disorders.But if you have frequent muscle cramps, and especially if you have other symptoms of muscle weakness or loss, it's time to see your doctor. Treatment for muscle cramps depends on the underlying cause but may include medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.