Sudden and involuntary contraction of the muscles, the cramp is painful and unpleasant. But did you know that it can intervene in multiple situations for different reasons? We take stock with Dr Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens.
Cramp, this painful and sudden contraction of a muscle, we all experience it one day or another during exercise or a lack of magnesium. But these are not the only reasons that cause it. While some causes are benign, others are more problematic and should prompt you to consult your doctor. Dr Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens, takes us through what can cause them.
Deficiencies, efforts… The best known causes
Certain situations cause cramping which is to be expected. These manifestations are therefore painful but isolated and can invite us to review our habits:
- The dehydration. “When you don’t drink enough during the day, it can cause muscle contractions”;
- Excessive muscular effort : “In this case it is a cramp localized to a group of muscles used too intensively”;
- A deficiency is what we call a electrolyte imbalance. “To function, muscles need electrolytes, sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. An imbalance can cause cramps. So when you have regular cramps, you need to do a blood ionogram”;
- A bad position : if your posture is not good, a muscle may be used inappropriately… and contract;
- Age or pregnancy can also be sources of cramps;
- Certain medications can also cause cramps, adds our expert.
Diseases that also cause cramps
certain illnesses can also cause cramps:
- Poor blood circulation can also cause muscle cramps. “If it does not properly irrigate the muscle, a cramp may occur”;
- Chronic kidney disease: when the kidneys are damaged and no longer properly filter the body’s blood, cramps can also be part of the symptoms, alongside digestive problems, itching and loss of appetite;
- A hypothyroidism. This disruption of the thyroid gland causes a reduction in the production of thyroid hormones and a slowdown in metabolism. This time the cramps accompany weight gain, great fatigue and intolerance to the cold;
- Peripheral neuropathyIt is a disorder that affects the peripheral nerves that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body. Cramps may be among the symptoms, along with tingling and electric shock sensations.
- Finally, Charcot’s diseasea serious neurodegenerative disease also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), can cause cramps accompanied by muscle weakness and joint stiffness.
“In summary, we can say that a cramp when it is benign and temporary should not worry you but that if the cramps come back and last over time, it is necessary to see your doctor. He will do a neurological examination , will check your reflexes and possibly take a blood test to find the origin of these problems” concludes our expert.