cramp


cramp
cramp1
/kramp/, n.
1. Often, cramps.
a. a sudden, involuntary, spasmodic contraction of a muscle or group of muscles, esp. of the extremities, sometimes with severe pain.
b. a piercing pain in the abdomen.
c. an intermittent, painful contraction of structures of a wall containing involuntary muscle, as in biliary colic or in the uterine contractions of menstruation or of labor.
2. See writer's cramp.
v.t.
3. to affect with or as if with a cramp.
[1325-75; ME crampe < OF < Gmc; c. MD crampe, OS krampo, OHG krampfo; deriv. of adj. meaning narrow, constrained, bent; cf. OHG krampf, ON krappr; akin to CRIMP]
cramp2
crampingly, adv.
/kramp/, n.
1. See cramp iron.
2. a portable frame or tool with a movable part that can be screwed up to hold things together; clamp.
3. anything that confines or restrains.
4. a cramped state or part.
v.t.
5. to fasten or hold with a cramp.
6. to confine narrowly; restrict; restrain; hamper.
7. to turn (the front wheels of a motor vehicle) by means of the steering gear; steer.
8. cramp one's style, Informal. to prevent one from showing one's best abilities.
adj.
9. cramped2.
[1375-1425; late ME crampe < MD: hook. See CRAMP1]

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Painful, involuntary, sustained contraction of muscle in limbs or some internal organs.

Causes may be neurological, reflex, or psychological. Common muscle cramps include swimmer's cramp from overexertion in cold water, heat cramps from loss of salt in sweat, leg cramps, and occupational (e.g., writer's) cramp. Menstrual cramps are uterine muscle contractions before or during menstruation. Cramps occur in diseases including parkinsonism and Huntington chorea. Tetany is severe cramping noticed first in limb muscles.

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      painful, involuntary, and sustained contraction of muscle, most common in the limbs but also affecting certain internal organs. Examples of cramping include menstrual cramps and spasms of the circular muscles of the bowel (irritable colon), blood vessels (vasospasm), and pylorus of the stomach (pylorospasm; the pylorus is the opening from the stomach to the intestine).

      Cramps of the muscles of the extremities may occur in a variety of circumstances. Overexertion in cold water is responsible for swimmer's cramp of the legs or stomach, and the accompanying severe pain and temporary paralysis may lead to drowning unless the individual is rescued immediately. Severe cramp in the calf of a leg can awaken people from a sound sleep. The origin may be overstretching or strain of the affected muscle on the previous day, unconscious tensing of the muscle during sleep, or, especially in older individuals, poor circulation. Toe cramps are usually less painful than leg cramps.

      Menstrual cramps, which involve contractions of the uterine muscle, occur before or during menstruation and may last from several hours to a day. They occur most commonly in younger women who have not had children. Heat cramps in the muscles of the extremities or abdomen stem from loss of salt after periods of profuse perspiration. Overexertion in a hot environment usually is responsible for this condition.

      Professional or occupational cramp is a functional spasm affecting certain muscles that are used constantly in a daily occupation. At first there is a gradually increasing difficulty, or clumsiness, in making the movements required for the work at hand. Writers, for example, cannot move the pen or pencil with freedom, and the typist loses his dexterity in finding the right key on the keyboard. Painters, pianists, and tailors and seamstresses are other candidates for occupational cramp. Cramping usually fails to occur when the same muscles are employed in tasks not associated with the occupation, suggesting a psychological basis for the disorder. Indeed, there are many neurological, reflex, and psychological causes for muscle cramps.

      Cramps are particularly bothersome in victims of Parkinson's disease and Huntington's chorea. tetany (q.v.) is a severe form of cramping that is noticed first in muscles located in the extremities.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cramp — (kr[a^]mp), n. [OE. crampe, craumpe; akin to D. & Sw. kramp, Dan. krampe, G. krampf (whence F. crampe), Icel. krappr strait, narrow, and to E. crimp, crumple; cf. cram. See {Grape}.] 1. That which confines or contracts; a restraint; a shackle; a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cramp — Cramp, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Cramped} (kr[a^]mt; 215); p. pr. & vb. n. {Cramping}.] 1. To compress; to restrain from free action; to confine and contract; to hinder. [1913 Webster] The mind my be as much cramped by too much knowledge as by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cramp — cramp; cramp·er; cramp·ette; cramp·ing·ly; cramp·it; cramp·et; …   English syllables

  • cramp — ► NOUN 1) painful involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles. 2) a tool for clamping two objects together. 3) (also cramp iron) a metal bar with bent ends for holding masonry together. ► VERB 1) restrict or inhibit the development of. 2)… …   English terms dictionary

  • cramp — cramp1 [kramp] n. [ME crampe < OFr, bent, twisted < Frank * kramp; akin to MDu & MLowG krampe: for IE base see CRADLE] 1. a sudden, painful, involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles from chill, strain, etc. 2. partial local paralysis …   English World dictionary

  • Cramp — Cramp, a. [See {Cramp}, n.] Knotty; difficult. [R.] [1913 Webster] Care being taken not to add any of the cramp reasons for this opinion. Coleridge. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • cramp — [n] muscle spasm ache, charley horse*, circumscription, confinement, constipation, contraction, convulsion, crick, hindrance, impediment, kink, obstruction, pain, pang, restriction, shooting pain, stiffness, stitch, stricture, twinge; concepts… …   New thesaurus

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