Muscle Cramps: Things to Consider!!

Muscle cramps / night cramps / post exercise cramps can occur in anyone from the elderly to the high level athlete.

Although these painful muscle cramps are mostly benign (relieved by simple regular stretching), clinicians must be aware of all the various potential causes of cramps and rule out underlying serious medical conditions.

A number of my patients have been very grateful when I have informed them to see their MD as their Meds may be cause of their painful cramps? and I have been right a few times!

Muscle cramps may be related to:

1. Early Parkinson’s disease (Look for involuntary trembles, loss of balance?refer to MD)

2. Hypothyroidism (Ask about weight gain, feeling fatigue and cold? refer to MD)

3. Diabetes mellitus (Ask about feeling fatigue, family history of diabetes, unquenchable thirst, frequent trips to the bathroom?refer to MD)

4. Vascular problems (Check pulses and look for general leg coldness and paraesthesia?refer to MD)

5. Electrolyte disorders (Ask about fatigue, dizziness or confusion?urine & blood lab tests required, these individuals need more than a Sport drink or a banana!)

Cramps also may also be due to side effect of certain drugs:

1. Lipid-lowering agents (Always ask if they are on any Cholesterol lowering medications)

2. Antihypertensives (Always ask if they are being treated for high blood pressure)

3. Beta-agonists (Ask if they take asthma meds or anything for COPD)

4. Oral contraceptives (Ask them to speak with a pharmacist about the potential side effects)

5. Alcohol (Inform them that alcohol may contribute to muscle cramps in some people…regrettably the glass of red wine may be the culprit!)

Posted on: December 30, 2009

Categories: Relevant Physical Therapy Articles

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