Sudden spasm in the calf muscles is a common problem in sporting and non-sporting people alike, at any age. It can happen during activity, rest or sleep. Severe leg cramp after sports sometimes called a ‘charley horse’.
What You Feel During Calf Cramp
The effects of calf cramp range from a mild tension in the muscles to severe tightness and agonising pain.
Causes of Calf Cramp
Because of their close association with the circulatory system, the lower leg muscles reflect any adverse changes in the blood flow. Calf cramps, especially at night, happen most often because of dehydration, sometimes combined with overexercising. In very hot humid climates, loss of minerals can be a factor. Females can become prone to calf cramps related to the menstrual cycle or pregnancy, and are more vulnerable if they are dehydrated or mineral-deficient. Other contributory factors include stress, raised cholestrol, varicose veins and certain medicines. Soleus muscle strain can cause cramping in the calf, especially when you walk to try to run.
Treatment for Calf Cramp
Calf cramps are usually eased by moving the foot and leg, gently stretching the calves, walking around and drinking water. In a humid climate or hot conditions you may also need to take in more minerals, including salt. If you suffer cramps often, and not sure why, you should consult a doctor.
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The gluteus medius is one of the main buttock muscles that are responsible for holding the pelvis stable and supporting your body on your legs when standing, walking, or running. It also helps control the sideways movement of your legs. If the gluteus medius is strained in some way, it can become tender and tight and less able to function normally.
Causes for Gluteus Medius Dysfunction
Stress or tension alone, if it continues with some intensity over a long period of time, can make your gluteus medius tighten up. Apart from the pain this causes, the muscles may become shortened and less flexible. In addition, referred pain from the spine or hip can cause dysfunction in the muscle. However, the most common cause of injury to the gluteus medius is overworking or stretching them beyond their normal range. Athletes, particularly runners, hurdlers, and long jumpers, frequently overuse their gluteus medius and soometimes cause them to tear from failing to adequately stretch or warm up before any activity, particularly in cold weather. A less common cause of gluteus medius trauma is a direct impact, such as a heavy fall onto the buttocks, which usually leads to bruising and irritation of the underlying bursa (a protective fluid-filled sac).
Symptoms and Diagnosis for Gluteus Medius Dysfunction
Apart from buttock and hip pain on one or both sides of your body, and possibly leg pain, you may feel stiff, be slightly unstable when standing, and find moving your hip awkward. Your doctor will carry out a physical examination to establish the cause of your problems.
Risks and Recovery for Gluteus Medius Dysfunction
Minor strains and bruises will usually heal on their own within a few weeks, but if action is not taken fairly promptly to rehabilitate overtight or stretched muscles, recovery may be slower. Muscles held in a state of tension for too long will fail to regain their former range of movement and response.
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psSpineComments Off on Coccydynia Causes and Treatment
Pain or soreness occurring in and around the coccyx – the three to five fused vertebrae at the base of the spine that are often referred to as the tail bone – can vary from general discomfort to bouts of sudden sharp or nagging pain. Also known as coccygeal pain, this condition tends to be brought on or made worse by sitting down.
Causes for Coccydydynia
A number of very different sets of circumstances appear to be responsible for trigger episodes of tenderness and pain in and around the coccyx region. Muscle spasms that have been brought on by prolonged tension and stress might be a trigger, for example, as might a damaged ligament that has been caused by a heavy blow or fall. In a large number of cases, coccydynia is he result of sitting in more or less one position for a very long period of time. Many women also suffer bouts of pain around the coccyx after giving birth. It is always important to have these symptoms checked by a doctor.
Symptoms and Diagnosis for Coccydynia
You will find it uncomfortable and often very painful to sit down, with the pain getting worse the longer you stay in one position. There may also be some inflammation and bruising in the coccyx area. Occasionally, bowel movements can be painful. Your doctor will make a diagnosis by performing a physical examination, and may order X-rays if he suspects you have broken bones.
Risks and Recovery for Coccydynia
Coccyx pain can be difficult to treat, so it needs an expert eye and awareness of the full range of related conditions that can occur; as such, the main risks stem from inadequate treatment. If your pain persists for several months and is consistently severe enough to make daily life difficult, a local injection of cortisone may reduce any inflammation and alleviate your symptoms. In extreme cases, where a fall or blow has damaged the coccyx, you may need surgery to remove any loose bone fragments and possibly the last few segments of the coccyx, but this is usually a last resort.
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Located on either side of your spine at the very bottom of the back, the sacroiliac joints link to your sacrum (the fused bones at the base of your spine) to your hip bones, forming the rear part of your pelvic girdle. They assist the twisting movements of your legs when you walk or run. Problems arise when they either become “locked”, restricting movement, or too mobile.
Causes for Sacroiliac Strain
Sacroiliac strain is usually the result of a sudden impact, such as a heavy blow or fall, which damages the ligaments supporting the joint. Sudden, unexpected twisting or bending movement, where your muscles are unprepared to take the strain and the pressure is absorbed by the ligaments, can have the same effect. 0
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Sacroiliac Strain
You will feel a sharp pain in the upper inner part of your buttock when you put your foot down, making walking or running very uncomfortable. There will also be dull pain radiating deep into your lower buttock; sometimes you will also experience referred pain in your legs. Movement of your legs may be restricted, which will also make walking difficult. Your specialist may use an MRI scan or X-ray to identify any inflammatory cause of your symptoms. If inflammation is present, you may be given a blood test to check if this is being caused by an infection.
Risks and Recovery
If you sit or lie down for a long time, you may feel stiffness and immobility. Ligaments take longer to heal than fractured bone, and may fail to heal completely. Injections may help with the symptoms.
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Pain often occurs when one of the facet joints that link the vertbrae in your spinal column is suddenly twisted or jerked. A joint that is damaged in this way may stick or “lock”, making movement difficult as well as painful. Facet joint strain can occur throughout your spine.
Causes for Facet Joint Strain
Awkward twisting or bending of your neck or back can injure the ligaments, muscles, or the capsule of a facet joint. Whiplash from a car accident is a good example of this type of injury, but it can also result from failure to warm up before exercising or playing sport, or from lifting heavy objects. Even simply turning over in bed or sleeping awkwardly can have the same effect. Your muscles may then go into an uncontrollable spasm, making the joint stiff and immobile. Facet joints are more vulnerable to strains from middle age onwards, when osteoarthritis may flare up, the discs in your spine have degenerated significantly, and the ligaments that are supporting the joints become more slack.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Facet Joint Strain
In the early stages, disabling pain in you neck or back is often accompanied by restricted movement. Pain from facet joint strain in your lower back may also radiate into your buttocks, hips, lower abdomen, and thighs. Movement may be limited for only a few weeks; however, it can last for months, and in some cases years, unless you receive appropriate treatment, which usually involves manipulation or, in chronic cases, an injection. Facet joint strain in your neck may extend down to your shoulders, making it difficult to bend your neck or turn your head. Your doctor will make a diagnosis by giving you a physical examination.
Risks and Recovery for Facet Joint Strain
There is no serious risk from facet joint strain, but failure to relieve pain or inflammation can lead to permanently stiff joints. Joint strain in the middle of your back, although the least common, may cause pain to radiate around your chest, making it painful and difficult to breathe, especially if the joints between the ribs and thoracic vertebrae become “locked”.
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