June 5, 2009

How To Relieve Cramps In Hands, Arms And Fingers?

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

A cramp can be described as an involuntary, painful and unpleasant, contraction of the muscle. These contractions could occur in any muscle of the body and are very common in the hands and arms. Depending upon its cause and location, a cramp can range from being an irritating inconvenience, to a highly painful problem. Most of us have experienced cramps in hands and arms at some point or the other. For some of us, cramping of hands and fingers may be a one-off occurrence, but in others, this may be a recurrent problem. If the cramping occurs frequently and is very painful, it is important for you to check with a doctor. However, there are several ways through which you can reduce the occurrence and discomfort caused by muscle cramps in hands, arms and fingers.

There are several different factors that could cause your arm or hand muscles to contract excessively. Before trying to treat these cramps, it is important to for you to identify its causes. Some of the most common causes of muscle cramps in hands and arms include:

  • Overuse: You may notice cramps in your arms because certain muscles are too tired. Using the same muscle over and over or holding your hand in an awkward position for a long period of time could put immense strain on the muscles and consequently lead to cramps. You may experience cramps after clenching your hands, writing or working out for a long period of time.
  • Vitamin Deficiency: In case the level of any nutrient in your body is lower than what it should be, you may suffer from frequent cramping in the hands and feet. The lack of magnesium, calcium or Vitamin D usually triggers of muscle cramps in the hands.
  • Medical Conditions: At times, cramping in the hands and feet could be a symptom of a disease or an underlying health problem. Conditions that could lead to spasms and cramping are tetany, hypothyroidism, kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In such instances, treating the underlying condition reduces the frequency of cramps.
  • Nerve Problems: Any damage to a single nerve, a nerve group or multiple nerves connected to a muscle, could lead to involuntary muscular contractions. Disorders and injuries involving the peripheral nerves could also cause the same problem.
  • Pregnancy: Many women experience cramps only when they are pregnant, probably due to hormonal fluctuations and increase in the quantity of blood.
  • Unhealthy Habits: Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol on a regular basis could also cause you to experience cramps. This also happens when you take recreational drugs. In fact, the use of certain medication can also cause cramping in the muscles.

Some of the causes of muscle cramps are more serious than the others and need to be treated by a doctor without any delay. Therefore, it is important for you to consult a doctor and determine the cause of the cramps, before trying to treat it on your own. In order to identify the exact cause of muscle cramps, your doctor may need to conduct a blood test, a urine test, a detailed physical exam and imaging tests.

In case the cramps are caused by a certain activity, you may be asked to discontinue it, so that your muscles can rest and recover. Some of the other ways to relieve muscle cramps in hands could include –

  • Massage Therapy: Apply some warm oil on to the area that is frequently affected by cramps. Use light and gentle massaging strokes to relieve the cramping in the area.
  • Heat Therapy: Soaking your hand in some warm water or applying a hot compress to the area helps alleviate cramps to a great extent. Heat causes the muscles to relax, which in turn reduces the cramping.
  • Stretching: One of the fastest ways of relieving cramps in the hands is by practicing a few gentle and easy stretching exercises. All you need to do is flex the muscles and move your hands around a bit.
  • Exercisers: Incidences of cramping can be reduced with the help of a hand exerciser or a stress ball. Several people who work out regularly, or perform repetitive actions with their hands use these exercisers to alleviate cramps in hands and fingers.
  • Drinking Water: Dehydration or the lack of adequate water in the body could also cause you to experience cramps. Make sure that you drink at least 8 glasses of water each day to avoid this problem.

There are certain natural remedies that can also alleviate cramps, by getting your muscles to relax. Some of the herbs that can be used in the treatment of muscle cramps include:

  • Bilberry
  • Black cohosh
  • Caraway
  • Cayenne
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon
  • Cramp bark
  • Ginger
  • Gingko biloba
  • Horse chestnut
  • Nutmeg

While some of these herbs can be taken internally, others are strictly meant for external use. Moreover, there are a few side effects associated with these herbs and therefore, you need to check with your doctor before trying any of them.


  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003194.htm