Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cramp, a term applied to involuntary contraction of muscle, accompanied by pain such as occurs in the calves of the legs after excessive exercise or during convalescence from acute disease. Cramp may involve the muscles of the trunk, it rarely invades those of the limbs, with the notable exception of the muscles of the calf of the leg. Varicose veins and gout seem to act as predisposing causes of cramp: again, muscular cramps are striking symptoms in the onset of certain acute diseases, notably cholera. In the treatment of cramp friction and forcible extension of the affected muscles opposing the spasm are the most effectual means of alleviating the distress occasioned by the seizure. The intractable forms of cramp met with in bedridden subjects are often alleviated by raising the head of the bed some six or eight inches. Writers' cramp or scriveners' palsy is a condition in which involuntary contraction of certain overworked muscles is associated with pain, and with more or less paralysis. It affects, as the names given imply, clerks and others who are engaged during the greater part of each day in writing. The history of the condition, unfortunately, is usually one of steady progress from bad to worse. The right hand is finally rendered useless for writing purposes. In some instances where the left hand has been employed by sufferers, in order to continue to earn a livelihood, it, too, has been attacked. Rest of the affected muscles is practically the only satisfactory form of treatment.