CRAMP is experienced in the calves of the legs, the thighs, the stomach, the breast, the womb, etc. It is a very painful, sudden, and violent contraction of one or more muscles. The part is sometimes, as the phrase is, drawn up into knots." When it attacks the stomach, it is a very dangerous affection. Women are subject to it about the third or fourth month of pregnancy.
They occur more frequently at night as the result of over fatigue and indigestion during the day. These spasmodic contractions often occur in the abdomen and are accompanied by diarrhea due to indigestion. Abdominal cramps are also a symptom of locomotor ataxia and other spinal diseases. The cramp of swimming is often due to an over straining of some one group of muscles not hitherto much used, the sudden fatigue causing cramp. They may be also of nervous origin. Rheumatism is not infrequently the sole cause of painful muscular spasms.
Causes Drinking cold water when very hot and perspiring, exposure to damp night air, debility, indigestible food, and excesses in eating and drinking, and particularly over straining the muscles.
Treatment. Moderate the excessive labor and straining of the muscles which produce the cramps. When an attack occurs in the legs, tie a cord or handkerchief tight around the leg above the affected muscle. This will generally produce instant relief. Also briskly rub the parts with hot water, alcohol, ammonia, spirits of camphor, paregoric or laudanum.
When it occurs in the stomach, apply warm fomentations, or what is better, a mustard paste (165). Take hot jamaica ginger or naturopathic drops. The bowels, if confined, should be opened with an injection.
Cramps of the limbs which afflict women in the family way, can only be mitigated, not cured, till after confinement. As a palliative, high cranberry bark, skullcap, etc. (8T), will be found useful.
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