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Muscle Cramps (cont.)

Is It Possible to Prevent Muscle Cramps?

Stretching is recommended before and after for cramps that are caused by vigorous physical activity. An adequate warm-up and cooldown before and after activity can help prevent muscle cramps. Adequate hydration before, during, and after physical activity is important, especially if the duration exceeds one hour, and replacement of electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium, which are major components of perspiration) can also be helpful. Excessive fatigue, especially in warm weather, should be avoided. Supplemental calcium and magnesium have each been shown to help prevent cramps associated with pregnancy. Drinking quinine (tonic water) before bedtime can alleviate night cramps.

What Is the Prognosis for Muscle Cramps?

Although cramps can be a great nuisance, they are a benign condition. Their importance is limited to the discomfort and inconvenience they cause or to the diseases associated with them. Careful attention to the preceding recommendations will greatly diminish the problem of cramps for most individuals. As mentioned, those with persistent or severe muscle cramps should seek medical attention.


Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, McGraw-Hill, Mar 2008.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/26/2016

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