The origin of muscle fasciculations and cramps

Muscle Nerve. 1994 Nov;17(11):1243-9. doi: 10.1002/mus.880171102.


The anatomic site of origin of muscle fasciculations and cramps has been debated for many years. Many authors have argued for a central origin of the abnormal discharges in the anterior horn cells. However, most of the evidence favors a very distal origin in the intramuscular motor nerve terminals. The factors giving rise to these discharges are not well understood. Fasciculations may be related to chemical excitation of motor nerve terminals, whereas cramps may result from mechanical excitation of motor nerve terminals during muscle shortening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fasciculation / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Cramp / physiopathology*
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Nerve Block