Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 4

Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 4

Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 4

Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 4

Excerpt

Cramp

Almost everyone has experienced muscle cramps—unexpected and agonizing pain, usually in the backs of the legs. But cramps are not usually a sign that anything is seriously wrong, and can be relieved by self-massage.

A cramp is a painful and involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. Cramps in the limbs usually occur in the legs, affecting the muscles in the calf or the back of the thighs. They come on suddenly and without warning, sometimes when a person is deeply asleep. The muscle fibers contract into a hard knot, which may last from a few seconds to a few minutes (see Muscles).

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