The Cramps in the legs: causes, treatment, what to do with cramps in the legs
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Cramps in the legs

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Cramps in the legs

Cramps in the legs

Many people throughout their lives have come across (some times) with a rather unpleasant phenomenon, when the muscles on their legs begin to contract spontaneously. All this is accompanied by severe pain, which is greatly enhanced when trying to commit active movements in the limbs. It is possible that someone does not know that he had a cramp.

A convulsion is always an involuntary contraction of a muscle group or one muscle, accompanied by severe pain. Almost all the muscles in the body, including the intestinal wall, can reduce this, but the term "cramp" is actively used in relation to the extremities.

Fortunately, most people have to face an easy pathology option, when everything goes through a few dozen seconds and is a rare occurrence. To some, this condition brings a lot of inconvenience, because of its strong severity and frequency of occurrence. Moreover, an attack of seizures can be life threatening if it catches up a person in an inappropriate situation. Everyone at school was frightened by the fact that in a cold water there could be a seizure attack and stay afloat would be very difficult. However, danger can lie in wait for man on land: you can simply very unfortunately fall head on a hard surface and have big health problems afterwards.



Classification of seizures and the causes of their occurrence

There are several classifications of seizures, depending on the cause of development, the nature of the contractions and other characteristics. Initially, all seizures are divided into two large groups:

  • Epileptic - appear with the simultaneous excitation of a whole group of neurons in the brain and excessive stimulation of peripheral muscles;
  • Non-epileptic - a large group, which includes all the reductions caused by other causes.
  • Physical overstrain is the most common cause of cramps in the legs. Someone saw on the TV screen how an athlete can not continue the performance because of a pathological spasm, many of them after a hard work experience experienced the whole "charm" of the state.
  • Craniocerebral injury - as a result of it, individual brain structures can not properly perform their functions and send the wrong signals to the muscles.
  • Sharp constriction of blood vessels due to cold temperature is the main cause of the development of spasm of gastrocnemius muscles in cold water.
  • High body temperature - in most cases causes cramps not only in the legs, but forget about it not worth it. Especially good about it should be young moms, since young children have an imperfect system of thermoregulation and more often adults suffer from febrile seizures.
  • Neoplasms of the brain and spinal cord can make significant adjustments to the patient's health, including in the form of convulsions.
  • Gestosis is a formidable complication of the course of pregnancy, which in severe cases can lead to convulsions of different muscle groups, including legs.
  • Nonspecific increase in excitability of neurons that make up the segments of the brain. Sometimes they are provoked by pathological changes at the level of reflex arcs in the structures of the central nervous system.
  • Violation of the function of neurons with a lack of oxygen can provoke the appearance of excessive impulses and uncontrolled contractions.
  • Poisoning with individual poisons often leads to pathological activation of individual brain structures. Such cramps are called toxic and can occur when taking a large number of medications.
  • Violation of the content in the body of individual hormones (very often - the thyroid gland or parathyroid glands) can trigger an attack of seizures.
  • A significant deviation in the content of ions in the blood of a person (calcium, potassium, etc.) - they are involved in the reduction of muscle tissue and can have a stimulating effect on whole muscle groups.
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency or hypoglycemia.
  • Disorder of the functioning of mechanisms that take an active part in the organization of sleep and rest of the central nervous system.
  • Congenital malformations of the central nervous system.
  • Infectious diseases affecting the brain (meningitis, encephalitis, etc.).
  • Any disease, as a result of the progression of which a lot of toxins enter the bloodstream of the patient, capable of running a pathological chain.
  • Psychogenic factors and organic lesions of the brain, as a result of which the CNS can not normally control all structures located below them.
  • Iatrogenic convulsions - appear as a result of taking some drugs. Seizure in this case may be one of the side effects, or may be a consequence of an overdose. Operations on the organs of the nervous system for other diseases (removal of the tumor of the brain or peripheral nerve) can complicate convulsions, since the structures of the brain are very sensitive to mechanical action. Neurosurgeons, in turn, perfectly understand what can happen to the patient and take this risk only when it is justified. For example: a doctor performs a radical operation to remove the tumor, saves the patient's life and prevents the relapse of the disease, but complications become seizures.
  • Tonic spasms - characterized by a prolonged, up to several minutes, muscle contraction, in which the patient gets the impression that each individual muscle tends to assemble into a small lump. Gradually, the attack goes away, and all the elements relax to their original state.
  • Clonic spasms are synchronous, jerky, contractions of the leg muscles, which alternate with periods of complete relaxation. A person can simply uncontrollably bend or unbend his leg.
  • Tonic-clonic convulsions are the most difficult variant of the course of the disease, in which muscles contract in different parts of the body. The attack can last long enough and, in the absence of adequate care, lead to the death of a person.

Causes of non-epileptic seizures

  • Physical overstrain is the most common cause of cramps in the legs. Someone saw on the TV screen how an athlete can not continue the performance because of a pathological spasm, many of them after a hard work experience experienced the whole "charm" of the state.
  • Craniocerebral injury - as a result of it, individual brain structures can not properly perform their functions and send the wrong signals to the muscles.
  • Sharp constriction of blood vessels due to cold temperature is the main cause of the development of spasm of gastrocnemius muscles in cold water.
  • High body temperature - in most cases causes cramps not only in the legs, but forget about it not worth it. Especially good about it should be young moms, since young children have an imperfect system of thermoregulation and more often adults suffer from febrile seizures.
  • Neoplasms of the brain and spinal cord can make significant adjustments to the patient's health, including in the form of convulsions.
  • Gestosis is a formidable complication of the course of pregnancy, which in severe cases can lead to convulsions of different muscle groups, including legs.
  • Nonspecific increase in excitability of neurons that make up the segments of the brain. Sometimes they are provoked by pathological changes at the level of reflex arcs in the structures of the central nervous system.
  • Violation of the function of neurons with a lack of oxygen can provoke the appearance of excessive impulses and uncontrolled contractions.
  • Poisoning with individual poisons often leads to pathological activation of individual brain structures. Such cramps are called toxic and can occur when taking a large number of medications.
  • Violation of the content in the body of individual hormones (very often - the thyroid gland or parathyroid glands) can trigger an attack of seizures.
  • A significant deviation in the content of ions in the blood of a person (calcium, potassium, etc.) - they are involved in the reduction of muscle tissue and can have a stimulating effect on whole muscle groups.
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency or hypoglycemia.
  • Disorder of the functioning of mechanisms that take an active part in the organization of sleep and rest of the central nervous system.
  • Congenital malformations of the central nervous system.
  • Infectious diseases affecting the brain (meningitis, encephalitis, etc.).
  • Any disease, as a result of the progression of which a lot of toxins enter the bloodstream of the patient, capable of running a pathological chain.
  • Psychogenic factors and organic lesions of the brain, as a result of which the CNS can not normally control all structures located below them.
  • Iatrogenic convulsions - appear as a result of taking some drugs. Seizure in this case may be one of the side effects, or may be a consequence of an overdose. Operations on the organs of the nervous system for other diseases (removal of the tumor of the brain or peripheral nerve) can complicate convulsions, since the structures of the brain are very sensitive to mechanical action. Neurosurgeons, in turn, perfectly understand what can happen to the patient and take this risk only when it is justified. For example: a doctor performs a radical operation to remove the tumor, saves the patient's life and prevents the relapse of the disease, but complications become seizures.

Types of spasms in leg cramps

Myoclonia is a sharp twitching of one or more groups of the patient's muscles. In most cases, it occurs during sleep and affects the calf muscles. Often patients call a cramp it is her, but this is not entirely true.

Symptoms of leg cramps

  • In most cases, a person has involuntary contractions of the calf muscles, which in the most difficult situations can provoke the movement of the limb as a whole.
  • It seems that the whole muscle is going to one small ball and can even burst into pieces. Everything is accompanied by severe pain, which is intensified when trying to unbend a leg or make another movement. You can choose a position of the body, in which it becomes neither lighter nor heavier, and the pain subsides with the continued contraction.
  • Gradually everything passes, the muscle slowly relaxes and only a slight pain remains, which also gradually disappears. Thus the person can feel, that if he will make certain movement the cramp will return back.

Fortunately, rarely during cramps in the legs, people have to face more severe complications and symptoms. However, they need to be remembered for all people.

  • A slight clouding of consciousness or the appearance of hallucinations in the form of sounds, smells and other phenomena are all the precursors of an epileptic fit, in which a person's cramps cover not only the muscles of the legs, but also other parts of the body. Knowing this fact can help prepare for an attack and avoid serious consequences.
  • Incontinence of urine or feces - it happens with pronounced tonic-clonic convulsions. If we are talking about simple leg cramps, then the person has nothing to fear from such a complication.
  • Loss of consciousness or its turbidity - in most cases, accompanies epileptic seizures.



Rules of action during seizures

Seizures develop quickly enough, but not lightning fast, which gives a person a few seconds to protect themselves and others. Moreover, in most cases, the spasm affects only one leg, and the mind is not disturbed.

  • Traffic on the car is probably the most dangerous situation for a person. In no event should you panic. It is necessary to immediately remove the affected limb from the pedal, which prevents uncontrolled depression on it. It is also important to immediately stop the traffic and, if possible, stop near the curb.
  • Swimming in a pond is also one of the most dangerous situations in which a spasm can develop. You can not attempt to perform a feat and make attempts to save only yourself. A call to help is the surest way to protect yourself. It is important to change the position of the body in the water: turn over on your back or on your stomach and focus on the movements with your hands. Experienced swimmers sometimes pin a pin to the swimsuit to bring the muscle into a normal state with a sharp object. You can resort to the help of your fingernails and pinch your foot.
  • In other cases, it is necessary to stop the movement and wait for the retreat of the attack. You can sit on a bench or ground to avoid falling and getting injured.

Diagnosis of seizures

The task of doctors is to determine the true cause of the patient's convulsions. For this, a neurological examination is performed, instrumental and laboratory diagnostic methods are used.

The neurologist examines the person, checks the condition of his reflexes, conducts tests for coordination of movement, etc. Already on the basis of only these data one can assume the correct diagnosis and determine which diagnostic methods will be most relevant and informative.

  • The study of blood and the determination of the content of hormones in it, as well as certain ions, allows us to reveal the pathology of the endocrine glands and to prescribe the right treatment afterwards.
  • Electromyography is a special highly sensitive diagnostic method, on the basis of which it is possible to determine which muscles receive pathological impulses and how predisposed they are to contraction.
  • Electroencephalography is a study of the brain, which allows you to study the activity of its individual structures and identify foci of pathological activity.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography are precise and modern diagnostic methods. Based on them, a layered image of the human body is obtained, on which all its structures are clearly visible. So you can find a tumor that squeezes the brain tissue or a separate nerve and is the cause of the appearance of seizures.

Treatment of seizures

If the cramp in the legs appears only after considerable physical exertion or when the leg is long in an uncomfortable position, then this is not a cause for concern. However, if the symptoms appear regularly and are very severe, then treatment should be performed based on the data obtained during the diagnosis.

  • Correction of the level of hormones or ion content in the patient's blood-sometimes it is enough to resort to such treatment, and convulsions will never disturb a person again.
  • Epilepsy is a separate disease, over the treatment of which many laboratories around the world work. Special drugs have been created, which can be used to eliminate the attacks of the disease.
  • Treatment of an infectious disease that is a supplier of toxins to human blood.
  • Massage and warm baths have a good effect on the condition of the leg muscles and can prevent the development of seizures. The use of these methods after a busy day is shown.
  • Tranquilizers - are shown at the expressed attack of cramps and practically are never used at treatment of cramps in legs or foots.
  • Removal of the neoplasm of the brain - sometimes you have to resort to such a radical method.

With the right attitude to your health and timely treatment for help to doctors, you can get rid of the disease and continue to live a full life, not limiting yourself in anything.


| 20 December 2014 | | 1 705 | Uncategorized
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