Kitchen-sink cures for muscle cramps

Working out in warmer weather should help loosen up tight muscles but you also run the risk of pushing it too far and getting dehydrated, leading to cramps post-workout. Here are some simple remedies that can be found in your kitchen to keep you limber and pain-free.

According to MayoClinic.com, a respected health information site affiliated with the US-based Mayo Clinic and its health experts, muscle cramps are caused by "inadequate blood supply, nerve compression, and mineral depletion" and can be associated with "nerve, kidney, thyroid or hormone disorders, diabetes, hypoglycemia and anemia."

The best approach is to be proactive and include deep stretching to your pre-workout routine, start slow, drink plenty of fluids and eat a diet rich in potassium and calcium.

On June 9, Kevin C. Miller, PhD, ATC, a researcher and assistant professor in the Athletic Training Education Program at North Dakota State University told the New York Times' blog Well that a something in pickle juice "may be lighting up specialized nervous-system receptors in the throat or stomach which, in turn, send out nerve signals that somehow disrupt" cramping.

He recommended, drinking a few ounces of pickle juice before working out even though it is not as convenient and tasty as "bananas, but unlike them, ‘it seems to work'."

The blog also mentioned that pure vinegar works slightly better than pickle juice. Pure apple cider vinegar is often touted as a cure-all so it can't hurt to give it a shot.

Here are some foods that are both potassium- and calcium-rich that you may want to try: mayhaw fruit, maca root, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, hulled barley, palmaria, fennel, pistachios, broccoli and dark, leafy vegetables.

Post-workout or the onset of a cramp it is best to stop the exercise, massage the spot and/or soak in hot water then ice cold.

In Home Remedies online forum, the following individual cures were advised:
- Turmeric: heat in a little water to make a thick paste and apply to swelling/cramp and reapply 3-4 times.
- Mustard: eat a tablespoon immediately
- Rooibos Tea: drink a cup before relaxing after a workout

 

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