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  • Cramp

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    A cramp is a sudden, involuntary muscle contraction or over-shortening; while generally temporary and non-damaging, they can cause significant pain, and a paralysis-like immobility of the affected muscle. Onset is usually sudden, and it resolves on its own over a period of several seconds, minutes or hours. Cramps may occur in a skeletal muscle or smooth muscle. Skeletal muscle cramps may be caused by muscle fatigue or a lack of electrolytes such as low sodium, low potassium or low magnesium. Cramps of smooth muscle may be due to menstruation or gastroenteritis.

  • Charley horse

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    Charley horse (or charlie horse) is a popular colloquial term in Canada and the United States for painful involuntary spasms or cramps in the leg muscles, typically lasting anywhere from a few seconds to about a day. It is less likely to refer to a bruise on an arm or leg and a bruising of the quadriceps muscle of the anterior or lateral thigh, or contusion of the femur, that commonly results in a haematoma and sometimes several weeks of pain and disability. In this latter sense, such an injury is known as dead leg. Dead leg and charlie horse are two different kinds of injury: a dead leg involves someone or something hitting a leg, causing it to go numb. A charlie horse involves the muscles contracting without warning, and can last from a few minutes or a few days. It often occurs in contact sports, such as football when an athlete suffers a knee (blunt trauma) to the lateral quadriceps causing a haematoma or temporary paresis and antalgic gait as a result of pain.

  • Benign fasciculation syndrome

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    Benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS) is a neurological disorder characterized by fasciculation (twitching) of various voluntary muscles in the body. The twitching can occur in any voluntary muscle group but is most common in the eyelids, arms, legs, and feet. Even the tongue may be affected. The twitching may be occasional or may go on nearly continuously. Usually intentional movement of the involved muscle causes the fasciculations to cease immediately, but they may return once the muscle is at rest again.

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