(HealthDay News) -- A muscle cramp can occur during virtually any activity, even while sleeping.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says the slightest movement that shortens a muscle can make it contract forcibly and involuntarily, leading to a cramp.
Here are the academy's suggestions for what to do when a muscle cramp strikes:
- Immediately stop any activity or exercise that led to the cramp.
- Gently stretch out the muscle, holding it in a gentle stretch until the cramp and pain subside.
- Gently massage the muscle.
- Apply heat if the muscle continues to be very tight or tense.
- Apply cold if the muscle is tender or sore.