5 Signs Your Muscle Cramps Are More Serious Than You Think | Don't Ignore These Symptoms

5 Signs Your Muscle Cramps Are More Serious Than You Think | Don't Ignore These Symptoms

Muscle cramps can happen at any time. But when it stays for longer than it should and is more painful than normal, getting yourself to a doctor is the wisest choice.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 28, 2019. It has since been updated.

Have you ever been just going about your chores when suddenly a muscle in your arm or leg locks and cramps up, leaving you in severe pain, unable to move it? Well, those muscle cramps are not unusual. You can get them from overexerting yourself, from carrying heavy weights, and even just from sitting, standing, or sleeping in an awkward position.


Most of the time, these cramps happen in leg muscles, often in the calf, according to Mayo Clinic. Muscle cramps fade on their own and are rarely severe enough to require medical care.  However, there are times when no matter what you do or how much you take care of it, the cramp doesn't go away. When this happens, it's an indication that your muscle cramp has a more serious condition causing it.

Here are five signs that your muscle cramp means something worse:

1. It makes daily life difficult to get through

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If you're facing sleeplessness, are unable to focus or get out of bed, find yourself slowing down during the day or are unable to get through even the easiest chores, then it's time to visit a doctor. Normal cramps will come and go in short bursts of time before leaving you with just a slight, background ache. However, if it lasts much longer and is interfering with your daily life, it could mean that you are suffering from a more severe condition like pinched nerves or arteries as well as lack of proper blood circulation.


2. The site of the cramp looks different

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Muscle cramps generally aren't visible to the eye. However, if you see redness or swelling at the place where the cramp is, then your body is warning you that something is wrong. This could point to a blood clot, which becomes dangerous when it enters the bloodstream.

3. It is accompanied by fever, chills or congestion in your chest

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If you start to get muscle cramps while you suffer from chills, congestion, fever, nausea, headaches, and vomiting, then you need to visit your doctor as soon as you can. This is because these cramps are an indication of illnesses like the flu, food poisoning, infection, dehydration, and in the worst case scenario - Lyme disease.

4. It doesn't go away even with massages

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In the event that you've overstrained your body with strenuous exercise or a workout, the cramps and soreness may last longer. It's your body's way of adjusting to the new exercise. However, if you haven't done anything to cause a cramp and it still doesn't go away even with massages, then it could be a sign of a chronic illness. Conditions like fibromyalgia and muscle fatigue might be what you're suffering from.


5. The pain is in an extremely specific location

Where normal muscle cramps are widespread and radiate pain to other muscles, certain cramps can be pinpointed to a specific spot, to an uninjured limb or to one side of the body. This means that you might be suffering something more serious like a ligament tear or an infection.

But these are just a few causes behind your muscle cramps. According to Medical News Today, cramps can even be caused by these medical conditions:

- Addison's disease

- Cirrhosis

- Diarrhea

- Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid

- Chronic kidney failure

- Type 2 diabetes

- Lead poisoning

- Sarcoidosis

- Vascular disease and venous insufficiency

- Parkinson's disease

- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

It is essential that if you have muscle cramps that do not feel normal or are extremely long and painful, you should visit a doctor immediately. They may be able to catch an underlying disease before it gets worse.








Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.