Definition of Cramp

Cramp is a painful, involuntary, and often extended contraction of a muscle.

Cramps may occur in any muscle and often occur with overuse, such as writer’s cramp and leg cramps during running. Overexertion, dehydration, and fatigue are key contributors to muscle cramps.

Uterine cramps are common with menstruation.

Gentle stretching and massage can relieve the contraction, allowing the muscle to relax. Heat to the area, such as with menstrual cramps, helps maintain the muscle in a relaxed state. Stretching before physical exercise helps prepare the muscles for activity. Adequate hydration helps muscles release toxic byproducts into the blood circulation.

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