February 14, 2019

You could be out for a run or drifting off to  Sleep  when it happens: The muscles of your calf or foot suddenly become hard, tight, and painful. You are having a  muscle cramp.

How can you stop it and prevent another one from happening? Here is your Fitzeri medical guide 

Sometimes called “charley horses” -- particularly when they’re in the  calf  muscles – cramps are caused by muscle spasms – involuntary  contractions  of one or more muscles.

Almost everyone gets a muscle cramps, which come without warning. What causes them, and what can you do to relieve them?

What Causes Muscle Cramps?

Many things can trigger a muscle cramp. They include:

  • Poor  blood  circulation in your legs
  • Working  calfmuscles too hard while  exercising 
  • Not  stretching  enough
  • Being active in hot temperatures
  • Muscle  fatigue 
  • Dehydration
  • Magnissium and/or  potassium   deficiency
  • A problem such as a spinal cord injury or  pinched  nerve  in your neck or back

Muscle cramps can also occur as a side effect of some drugs.  Medication that can cause muscle cramps include:

  • Furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), and other diuretics("water pills") that remove fluid from the body
  • Donepezil (Aricept), used to treat Alzheimer's disease 
  • Neostigmine (Prostigmine), used for myasthenia gravis
  • Nifedipine (Procardia), a treatment for angina and high blood pressure
  • Raloxifene (Evista), an osteoporosis treatment
  • Terbutaline (Brethine), albuterol (Proventil and Ventolin), asthma medications
  • Tolcapone (Tasmar), which helps treat Parkinson's disease
  • Statin medications for cholesterol, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin(Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin(Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor)

Leg Stretches That May Help

For a charley horse in the calf or a cramp in the back of the thigh (hamstring), try this stretch: Put your weight on the affected leg and bend your  knneeslightly. Or, sit or lie down with your leg out straight and pull the top of your foot toward your head.

For a cramp in the front of the thigh (quadriceps), hold on to a chair to steady yourself and pull your foot back toward your buttock.

You can also  massage the muscle, ice it, or try taking a bath with Epsom salt.

Can I Prevent Them?

To help stop cramps before they start:

  • Eat more foods high in  vitamins and magnesium and  calcium.
  • Stay well-hydrated.
  • Stretch properly before  exercise .

When Should I Call the Doctor?

In most cases, you can take care of a leg cramp. It will likely stop within minutes. But if you get them often and for no clear reason, tell your doctor