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Cramps in the legs

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Cramps in the legs

Cramps in the legs

Many people throughout their life faced (some repeatedly) with a rather unpleasant phenomenon, when the muscles of the legs begin to spontaneously contract. All this is accompanied by severe pain, which is greatly enhanced when trying to make active movements in the limb. It is possible that someone does not know that he had a cramp.

Spasm is always an involuntary contraction of a muscle group or one muscle, accompanied by severe pain. Practically all the muscles in the body, including the intestinal wall, can contract so much, but the term "cramp" is actively used in relation to the extremities.

Fortunately, most people have to deal with an easy pathology option, when everything passes in a few tens of seconds and is rare. To some, such a state brings a lot of inconvenience, due to its strong severity and frequency of occurrence. Moreover, an attack of seizures can be life-threatening if it overtakes a person in an inappropriate situation. Everyone at school was frightened by the fact that an attack of convulsions could happen in cold water and it would be very difficult to keep afloat. However, the danger can also lie in wait for a person on land: you can just very unsuccessfully fall with your head on a hard surface and have big health problems afterwards.



Classification of seizures and their causes

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

  • epileptic - appear with simultaneous excitation of a whole group of neurons in the brain at once and excessive stimulation of peripheral muscles;
  • non-epileptic - a large group that includes all cuts 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 could not continue his performance due to a pathological spasm, many themselves, after a hard training session, experienced the whole “charm” of their condition after their intense training.
  • Traumatic brain injury - as a result of it, the individual brain structures can not properly perform their functions and send the wrong signals to the muscles.
  • A sharp narrowing of the blood vessels as a result of exposure to cold temperature is the main cause of the development of spasm of the calf muscles in cold water.
  • High body temperature - in most cases causes cramps not only in the legs, but you should not forget about it. Young mothers should remember it especially well, 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 seizures.
  • Gestosis is a terrible complication of the course of pregnancy, which in severe cases can lead to convulsions of different muscle groups, including the legs.
  • Nonspecific increase in the 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.
  • Disruption of the function of neurons with a lack of oxygen can provoke the appearance of excessive impulses and uncontrolled contractions.
  • Poisoning with poisons often leads to the pathological activation of individual brain structures. Such convulsions are called toxic and can occur when taking a large number of drugs.
  • Violation of the content in the body of individual hormones (very often - the thyroid gland or parathyroid glands) can provoke an attack of seizures.
  • A significant deviation of the content of ions in human blood (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.
  • Disruption of the functioning of mechanisms that are actively involved in organizing 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 which the progression of the patient’s blood enters a lot of toxins that can run the pathological chain.
  • Psychogenic factors and organic brain damage, as a result of which the central nervous system can not normally control all the structures located below them.
  • Iatrogenic convulsions appear as a result of taking certain drugs. Convulsion in this case may be one of the side effects, and may be due to overdose. Operations on the organs of the nervous system for other diseases (removal of a brain tumor or a peripheral nerve) can be complicated by convulsions, since brain structures are very sensitive to mechanical stress. Neurosurgeons, in turn, are well aware of what can happen to a patient and take such a risk only when justified. For example: a doctor performs a radical surgery to remove a tumor, saves the patient's life and prevents the disease from recurring, but convulsions become a complication.
  • Tonic spasms - characterized by a long, up to several minutes, muscle contraction, in which the patient has the impression that each individual muscle tends to gather in a small lump. Gradually, the attack passes, and all the elements relax to their original state.
  • Clonic spasms are synchronous jerky muscle contractions of the leg, which alternate with periods of complete relaxation. A person may simply bend or unbend his foot uncontrollably.
  • Tonic-clonic convulsions are the most severe variant of the course of the disease, in which muscles in different parts of the body contract. The attack can last long enough and in the absence of adequate help 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 could not continue his performance due to a pathological spasm, many themselves, after a hard training session, experienced the whole “charm” of their condition after their intense training.
  • Traumatic brain injury - as a result of it, the individual brain structures can not properly perform their functions and send the wrong signals to the muscles.
  • A sharp narrowing of the blood vessels as a result of exposure to cold temperature is the main cause of the development of spasm of the calf muscles in cold water.
  • High body temperature - in most cases causes cramps not only in the legs, but you should not forget about it. Young mothers should remember it especially well, 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 seizures.
  • Gestosis is a terrible complication of the course of pregnancy, which in severe cases can lead to convulsions of different muscle groups, including the legs.
  • Nonspecific increase in the 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.
  • Disruption of the function of neurons with a lack of oxygen can provoke the appearance of excessive impulses and uncontrolled contractions.
  • Poisoning with poisons often leads to the pathological activation of individual brain structures. Such convulsions are called toxic and can occur when taking a large number of drugs.
  • Violation of the content in the body of individual hormones (very often - the thyroid gland or parathyroid glands) can provoke an attack of seizures.
  • A significant deviation of the content of ions in human blood (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.
  • Disruption of the functioning of mechanisms that are actively involved 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 which the progression of the patient’s blood enters a lot of toxins that can run the pathological chain.
  • Psychogenic factors and organic brain damage, as a result of which the central nervous system can not normally control all the structures located below them.
  • Iatrogenic convulsions appear as a result of taking certain drugs. Convulsion in this case may be one of the side effects, and may be due to overdose. Operations on the organs of the nervous system for other diseases (removal of a brain tumor or a peripheral nerve) can be complicated by convulsions, since brain structures are very sensitive to mechanical stress. Neurosurgeons, in turn, are well aware of what can happen to a patient and take such a risk only when justified. For example: a doctor performs a radical surgery to remove a tumor, saves the patient's life and prevents the disease from recurring, but convulsions become a complication.

Types of cramps in leg cramps

Myoclonus is a sharp twitching of one or several muscle groups of a patient. In most cases, it occurs during sleep and affects the calf muscles. Often, patients call it a spasm, but this is not entirely true.

Symptoms of cramps in the legs

  • In most cases, a person has involuntary contractions of the leg muscles, which in the most difficult situations can provoke movement of the limb as a whole.
  • It seems that the whole muscle is going into one small ball and may even break into pieces. Everything is accompanied by severe pain, which is aggravated when you try to bend a leg or make another movement. You can choose a position of the body in which it becomes neither easier nor harder, and the pain subsides with continued contraction.
  • Gradually, everything passes, the muscle slowly relaxes and only slightly pronounced pain remains, which also gradually disappears. At the same time, a person may feel that if he makes a certain movement, the cramp will return.

Fortunately, rarely during leg cramps, people have to face more severe complications and symptoms. However, they need to be remembered by all people.

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



Rules of action during convulsions

Convulsions develop fairly quickly, but not lightning, which gives a person a few seconds to protect themselves and others. Moreover, in most cases the cramp affects only one leg, and the consciousness is not disturbed.

  • Driving a car is probably the most dangerous situation for a person. Do not panic in any way. It is necessary to immediately remove the affected limb from the pedal, which prevents uncontrolled pressing on it. It is also important to immediately stop the movement and, if possible, to stop near the curb.
  • Swimming in a pond is also one of the most dangerous situations in which cramp can develop. You can not try to accomplish the feat and attempt to rescue only on their own. Call for help is the surest way to protect yourself. It is important to change the position of the body in the water: roll over onto your back or stomach and emphasize hand movements. Experienced swimmers sometimes pin a swimsuit to a swimsuit in order to bring the muscle back to normal state with a sharp object. You can resort to using your nails and pinch your foot.
  • In other cases, you need to stop the movement and wait for the retreat of the attack. You can sit on a bench or the ground to avoid falling and getting injured.

Diagnosis of seizures

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

A neurologist examines a person, checks the state of his reflexes, conducts tests to coordinate movement, etc. Based on only these data, we can assume the correct diagnosis and determine which diagnostic methods will be the most relevant and informative.

  • The study of the blood and the determination of the content of hormones in it, as well as some ions - allows you to identify the pathology of the endocrine glands and subsequently assign the correct treatment.
  • Electromyography is a special, highly sensitive diagnostic method, based on which it is possible to determine which muscles receive pathological impulses and how prone they are to contractions.
  • Electroencephalography - a study of the brain, which allows you to study the activity of its individual structures and to identify foci of pathological activity.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography - accurate and modern diagnostic methods. On the basis of their obtained layer-by-layer image of the human body, which clearly shows all its structures. So you can detect a tumor, compressing the brain tissue or a single nerve and causing the appearance of seizures.

Treatment of seizures

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

  • Correction of the level of hormones or the content of ions in the blood of the patient - sometimes it is enough to resort to such treatment, and convulsions will never again disturb a person.
  • Epilepsy is a separate disease that many laboratories around the world work on treating. Created special drugs, using which you can achieve the elimination of attacks of the disease.
  • Treatment of an infectious disease that supplies toxins to human blood.
  • Massage and warm baths have a good effect on the state of the muscles of the legs and can prevent the development of seizures. The use of these methods is shown after a busy day.
  • Tranquilizers are indicated for severe seizures and are almost never used in the treatment of cramps in the legs.
  • Removal of neoplasms of the brain - sometimes you have to resort to this radical method.

With the right attitude to their health and timely seeking help from doctors, you can get rid of the disease and continue to live a full life without limiting yourself in anything.


| 20 December 2014 | | 1,705 | Uncategorized
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