A muscle cramp occurs when there is an involuntary and sudden muscle contraction. Although it is transient and usually resolves on its own, it can cause significant pain and temporary immobility of the affected muscle. Muscle cramps usually happen suddenly and resolve after several seconds to hours.
Cramps can occur in both smooth and skeletal muscles. Management of muscle cramps include massage, stretching, and drinking plenty of fluids. Other options that may be beneficial are vitamin B complex, lidocaine, calcium channel blockers, and naftidrofuryl.
Some research reported that quinine may be effective if other treatments have failed. Researchers have also found that pickle juice can be effective due to its high electrolyte and sodium content. Another effective medication is cyclobenzaprine. However, its effectiveness decreases once taken for more than several weeks.
Cause #1: Hypoxia
Hypoxia refers to the condition where the body has inadequate oxygen supply at the tissue level. It can be localized or generalized. While it is often a pathological condition, it may also occur physiologically such as seen in hypoventilation training or strenuous exercise.
Hypoxia can occur in people who ascend to a high altitude resulting in altitude sickness, high-altitude pulmonary edema, and high-altitude cerebral edema. Symptoms include fatigue, paresthesia, nausea, muscle cramps, headaches, hallucinations, and breathlessness.