Tag Archives: Spaz Out® by Metabolic Maintenance

About Those Muscle Cramps

crampsJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

At some point in time, just about everyone experiences the short lived, but excruciating, pain of a muscle spasm — a sudden involuntary muscle contraction often referred to as a charley horse. Muscle spasms, which frequently come without warning while exercising, resting or sleeping, often occur in the arch of the foot or the calf, quadricep, or hamstring muscles. The spasm may last from just a few seconds to an agonizing fifteen minutes and, less commonly, even longer. When the pain is intense, it can seem like an eternity until the forcibly contracted muscle resolves itself, just as spontaneously as it occurred. It’s not uncommon for a spasm to recur several times before it finally abates and, frequently, the aftermath may be discomfort or sore muscles for a day or two. While muscle spasms can happen to anyone, pregnant women and seniors are the most susceptible to recurring muscle cramping.

Although science has yet to determine an exact cause, underlying or known medical conditions, dehydration, overexertion, muscle fatigue and electrolyte imbalances are believed to be contributing factors. An occasional charley horse is common, however, frequent recurring muscle spasms may require a medical diagnosis. As with other health concerns, prevention measures may be the best approach for reducing the chances of developing cramps and muscle spasms.

  • Physical exertion – Strenuous activity, failure to adequately warm up before exercising, and overworked, fatigued muscles can frequently result in cramping, sometimes many hours later. To help prevent regular occurrence of spasms, exercise while well hydrated at a proper level for you and, when temperatures are high, consider avoiding outdoor exercise.
  • Dehydration – Excessive fluid loss from perspiration during sports or vigorous exercise increases the likelihood of developing cramps. Sodium loss as a result of excessive sweating and insufficient, irregular fluid intake are likely causes of dehydration.
  • Medications – Many medications, including those designed to control blood pressure, lower cholesterol or treat Parkinson’s disease, can also contribute to cramping. Diuretics may induce cramping by depleting body fluids along with sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
  • Low blood levels of calcium and magnesium – Cramping often occurs when calcium and magnesium levels, critical to muscle function, are inadequate. Commonly found in pregnant women and older adults, calcium and magnesium deficiencies, whether caused by inadequate intake, medications, morning sickness, or poor absorption due to vitamin D deficiency, can directly impact the excitability of nerve endings in the muscles they help stimulate.
  • Low potassium – Low potassium levels are commonly associated with muscle weakness but may cause cramping as well. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps regulate nerve and muscle function, hydration, blood pH and blood pressure. Imbalanced electrolytes can lead to either muscle weakness or severe muscle contractions.
  • Nocturnal night cramps – Staying in one position, where a muscle is contracted for an extended period of time, is often cited as a cause of spasms that occur while resting. Daily stretching, adequate hydration and keeping bed linens unrestrictive may help to prevent night time cramps.

When muscle spasms do occur, massaging and stretching the muscle are often effective strategies to minimize discomfort and relieve the cramp more quickly or, at the very least, give you something helpful to do while you wait for the muscle to relax. An Epsom salt bath, replenishing fluids and icing the muscle may help to relieve any residual soreness.

MuscleCramps

To reduce the risk of developing muscle spasms and cramps, stay well hydrated before, during and after exercise. Increase your flexibility by warming up and stretching properly before and after physical activity and remember to work out in accordance with your own fitness level. Routine daily stretching of the calf, the quadriceps and the hamstring muscles may help minimize cramping. Eat a well balanced and nutritious diet, address electrolyte imbalances and make sure you are getting adequate amounts of all essential vitamins and minerals daily.

The following high quality formulas are specifically designed to relieve occasional muscle tension and cramping:

Muscle Cramp/Tension FormulaMuscle Cramp/Tension Formula by Pure Encapsulations – This carefully designed formula offers important electrolytes, soothing herbs and vitamin C to help relieve occasional nighttime leg muscle cramps, overall muscle tension and minor muscle cramps related to physical activity. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation

 

BaxaprinBaxaprin™ by Designs for Health – This calming formula contains vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, potassium and botanicals designed to help relieve occasional muscle tension and cramping related to muscular stress or overuse. Gluten free, vegetarian formulation.

 

Muscle-AidMuscle-Aid by BioGenesis Nutraceuticals – This combination formula of mineral amino acid chelates and vitamins is designed to help control muscle spasms and alleviate cramping, while optimizing energy and providing cardiovascular health support. Natural orange flavored powdered formula easily mixes with food or beverage of choice.

 

Spaz Out Spaz Out® by Metabolic Maintenance – An excellent choice for the physically active, this well-balanced formula is designed to replenish the mineral electrolytes typically found to be deficient in those with muscle cramping. Vegetarian formula.

 

References:
What causes leg cramps?
Nocturnal Leg Cramps
Charley Horse
What are electrolytes?

Muscle Cramps – All Pain No Gain

MusclePainBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

If you have ever experienced a sudden and severe muscle contraction, and the majority of us have, you’ll know just how painful that experience can be.  While muscle cramps generally last only a few seconds to a few minutes, the often surprising and sudden onset and intensity are not as quickly forgotten.  Muscle soreness may remain for several days and it may take up to a week for the muscle to return to a normal, pain free state.  A cramp occurs when a muscle involuntarily contracts and does not release.  Skeletal muscles, which we voluntarily control, are most likely to be affected.  Most often cramping occurs in the calf, hamstring or quadricep muscles but hand and foot cramps are also common. 

Causes of muscle cramping can include muscle fatigue, inadequate stretching, poor conditioning, dehydration and electrolyte depletion. Low levels of potassium and calcium may also cause muscle cramping, as both minerals contribute to healthy muscle function. Those most susceptible to cramping include athletes, who often develop cramps at the end of intense or prolonged exercise, and the elderly due to normal muscle atrophy and the body’s lessened ability to respond to thirst and temperature changes.  Those who are ill, overweight or taking certain medications are also at high risk of cramping. 

True cramps, one of four basic categories of skeletal muscle cramps, are the most common type.  True cramps are most likely the result of hyperexcitability of the nerves that stimulate the muscles and can occur under a variety of circumstances.  These can include:

Injury to the muscle or a broken bone can cause persistent spasms as a protective mechanism to keep the muscle or bone stable in order to recover. 

Strenuous physical activity, overuse of muscles and muscle fatigue can cause cramping during exercise or while at rest many hours later.  Rest cramps, which often strike during the night,  can be painful, frequent and sleep disruptive. 

Dehydration caused by excess fluid loss during vigorous activities increases the likelihood of cramping.  Poor fluid intake, diuretic medications , and sodium depletion are all contributing factors that can result in dehydration. 

Low blood calcium or magnesium levels can directly impact and overstimulate nerve endings and muscles, increasing the predisposition for true muscle cramping.  Low levels of calcium and magnesium can be the result of pregnancy, diuretic medications, inadequate dietary absorption or poorly functioning parathyroid glands, which regulate calcium balance. 

Low potassium blood levels can cause cramping and muscle weakness, as potassium affects the way neuromuscular cells discharge and regenerate energy.  When potassium levels are low, muscles and nerves cannot function properly. 

Vitamin deficiencies including thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5) and pyridoxine (B6) can also lead to muscle cramping although the exact reasons are unclear. 

Poor circulation, which results in decreased oxygen in the muscle tissue, can cause severe pain and cramping. 

Initially, stretching the muscle will often relieve a cramp especially in the feet and legs.  Gentle muscle massage can help to relax the muscle.  Later on, a warm bath or a heating pad may help relieve the soreness that may follow a cramp or muscle spasm often called a Charlie horse.  Fluid and electrolyte, especially sodium and potassium, replacement is critical for treating or preventing cramping.  If cramping is severe or persistent or not associated with an obvious cause, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, which may require a visit to your healthcare professional.   

To prevent muscle cramping, stretch before and after exercise, hydrate before, during and after the activity, and make sure to get adequate amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium.  Although cramps are painful, the discomfort is generally short lived.  Giving your muscles a little TLC can prevent or lessen the occurrence of muscle cramping, allowing for a great exercise session or a good night’s sleep. 

Try these products for relief of muscle cramping:

Spaz Out® by Metabolic Maintenance is a balanced mineral formula that is designed to replenish the mineral electrolytes most at risk of deficiency in those with muscle cramping.  Contains calcium, magnesium and potassium and other minerals. 

Muscle Cramp/Tension Formula by Pure Encapsulations contains important electrolytes and soothing herbs to relieve occasional nighttime muscle cramps, minor muscle cramps associated with exercise and overall muscle tension. 

Restore by Heel/BHI is a homeopathic formula for the temporary relief of muscle soreness, burning  and cramping resulting from physical exertion or lactic acid buildup.