Thanks for the answer.
An hormonal assessment may give clue to the excessive cramps; especially of thyroid hormones and parathyroid hormones. People who have recurrent cramps, just a small stretching of the muscles may send the muscles in the spasms/cramps. The exact cause is not well understood, but there are some risk factors that are thought to contribute to this condition:
1) Muscle fatigue,
2) Heavy exercising,
4) Over weight
5) Electrolyte imbalances,
6) Vitamin deficiency,
The medical causes related to the disease process are; 1) Calcium and phosphorus imbalances can cause cramping.
2) Low potassium or sodium (salt) levels.
3) Deficiencies of a nutrient called hesperidin, an antioxidant flavonoid found in oranges and other citrus fruits, have also been linked to night time cramps.
4) Overexertion, standing on concrete for long periods, or prolonged sitting may contribute to cramps.
5) Having structural disorders in the legs or feet (such as flat feet, genu recurvatum, and the hypermobility syndrome) may increase the risk for cramps. A family history is common in these circumstances.
6) Among the many medical causes of muscle cramping include hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, uremia, hypoglycemia, anemia, and certain medications. Various diseases, such as Parkinson's, that affect nerves and muscles cause leg cramps. Peripheral neuropathy, a complication of diabetes in which the nerves in the extremities are impaired, can cause cramp-like pain, numbness, or tingling in the legs.
Electrolyte imbalances is generally considered the most common main cause. A blood electrolyte level can help you in ruling in or ruling out this (if this has not been done earlier). Some researchers believe inadequate stretching and muscle fatigue leads to abnormalities in mechanisms that control muscle contraction. Other factors may also be involved, including over exertion and dehydration.
Prevention of the cramps is the best cure; for that following measures should be employed:
1) Drink water at regular intervals, even whey you are not thirsty.
2) Drink more than what you require.
3) Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage if the working conditions are hot and one sweats a lot.
4) If cramps occur frequently, stretching exercises help. Muscle relaxant like chlorzoxazone can also help.
5) During the week, swimming and water exercises are a good way to keep muscles stretched, and wearing supportive footwear is also important.
6) Eating more nuts, seeds, seafood and low-fat dairy would help.
7) Also, take Calcium and vitamin D with a supplement of magnesium and zinc a day. Gatorade, can help as it contain electrolytes.
Stretching exercises would be the mainstay of the preventing the cramps. Remember, torso is connected with the limbs. So stretching of the limbs as well as torso is important.
Please feel free for your follow up questions.
Edited by Dr. Arun Phophalia on 7/10/2010 at 6:11 AM EST