Muscle System By: LeAnna Humphrey

Muscle Cramps

A painful, involuntary contraction of a muscle.

Common causes of this symptom

Cramps can have causes that aren't due to underlying disease. Examples include dehydration, strenuous exercise, or lack of muscle use.

Self-treatment

Stretching and massaging the muscle may help it relax. Applying heat or cold to the area may also help.

Cerebral Palsy

A congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone, or posture.

  • Can't be cured, but treatment may help
  • Requires a medical diagnosis
  • Lab tests or imaging rarely required
  • Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong

People may experience:

  • Muscular: difficulty walking, difficulty with bodily movements, muscle rigidity, permanent shortening of muscle, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, overactive reflexes, involuntary movements, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, or paralysis of one side of the body
  • Developmental: failure to thrive, learning disability, slow growth, or speech delay in a child
  • Speech: speech disorder or stuttering
  • Also common: constipation, difficulty swallowing, drooling, hearing loss, leaking of urine, limping, paralysis, physical deformity, scissor gait, seizures, spastic gait, teeth grinding, tremor, or difficulty raising the foot.

See a doctor if

  • Severe discomfort
  • Swelling, redness, or skin changes
  • Muscle weakness
  • Frequent
  • Not associated with an obvious cause

Sprains and strains

A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments — the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The most common location for a sprain is in your ankle. A strain is a stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon. A tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones.

Sprains and strains are common injuries that share similar signs and symptoms, but involve different parts of your body.

A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments — the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The most common location for a sprain is in your ankle.

A strain is a stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon. A tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones. Strains often occur in the lower back and in the hamstring muscle in the back of your thigh.

Initial treatment for both sprains and strains includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. Mild sprains and strains can be successfully treated at home. Severe sprains and strains sometimes require surgery to repair torn ligaments, muscles or tendons.

Sprains and Strains

People may experience:

  • Pain areas: in the muscles, abdomen, back, or neck
  • Pain types: can be chronic, diffuse, sharp, or severe
  • Pain circumstances: can occur at night
  • Gastrointestinal: constipation, nausea, or passing excessive amounts of gas
  • Whole body: fatigue, feeling tired, or malaise
  • Muscular: muscle tenderness, delayed onset muscle soreness, or muscle spasms
  • Sensory: pins and needles, sensitivity to cold, or sensitivity to pain
  • Mood: anxiety, mood swings, or nervousness
  • Cognitive: forgetfulness or lack of concentration
  • Hand: sensation of coldness or tingling
  • Also common: depression, difficulty falling asleep, flare, headache, irritability, joint stiffness, painful menstruation, or tingling feet
  • Can't be cured, but treatment may help
  • Requires a medical diagnosis
  • Lab tests or imaging rarely required
  • Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong

Fibromyalgia

A nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function.

  • Can't be cured, but treatment may help
  • Requires a medical diagnosis
  • Lab tests or imaging always required
  • Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong

People may experience:

  • Muscular: muscle weakness, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, loss of muscle, muscle spasms, or overactive reflexes
  • Whole body: fatigue or feeling faint
  • Speech: vocal cord spasm or impaired voice
  • Also common: difficulty swallowing, drooling, lack of restraint, mild cognitive impairment, severe constipation, severe unintentional weight loss, shortness of breath, or difficulty raising the foot
Created By
Le Anna Humphrey
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