This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
This term is applied to a sudden spasmodic contraction of a single muscle or set of muscles. It most frequently occurs in the calf of the leg. It sometimes extends to the whole body. It is often very painful In many cases the spasm is preceded by a crawling or tingling sensation, or stiffening of the parts affected.
When the cramp is confined to a single muscle, as in cramp of the leg, it may be relieved by simply grasping the muscle and pressing it with considerable force.
A gentleman who was much troubled with this peculiar affection, and to whom we recommended compression as a remedy, had made for the purpose, two straps, furnished with a buckle at each end, which he always carried with him. Whenever he felt the first symptoms of attack, he would apply the straps to the calves of the legs, where the cramp always began, buckling them as tightly as possible. The application of heat and cold to the spine, with fomentations to the affected part, are useful measures. When the cramps extend to various parts of the body, a general warm bath will usually afford relief. Some cases are best relieved by applications of ice to the spine. Ice may be applied by the ice pack, or by rubbing a piece of ice, inclosed in a piece of muslin, up and down the spine. The patient should be kept as quiet as possible, as the least motion will often induce a return of the spasms after they have ceased. Gentle manipulation of the affected muscles, if very cautiously performed, will sometimes relieve the tendency to spasm.