Hey – What About Us Normal People!

We write about athletes a lot here, it’s true.

I’m Not An Athlete & I Get Leg Cramps!

It’s true, Recovery e21 helps a lot of people outside the athletic realm.  So it’s LONG overdue to write a bit about those cases as well.  I will talk forever about triathlon, given the chance, so forgive me for going on and on about it without talking about the rest of you.

What causes these leg cramps?

There are a lot of theories, of course.  What I increasingly find to be true is that there are some people who are just prone to cramping.  For whatever reason, our bodies don’t naturally manage electrolytes as well as most people.  Yes, I said “our bodies” – I’m one of you.  While I would never refer to myself as “normal”, I do belong to this group.  haha.

We’ve written a lot about the sodium-potassium pump, and why we need electrolytes, so please review those articles if you’d like to learn more about some of the underlying causes of muscle cramps.

Here are several of the common types of cramps

1.  Calf Cramps.  This has got to be the most common kind of cramping.  These usually occur during the night, when you are otherwise relaxed.  And suddenly there is a massive knot screaming in your calf…followed immediately by you screaming and waking up the neighborhood.  Every cramp I’ve ever had has been painful…but these are killer.  Especially when they strike unexpectedly like that.

2.  Foot Cramps.  Do you get these?  I’ll admit, this usually happens when I’m swimming.  But not ALWAYS, so it counts for the non-athletes as well!  These are awful!!  They can occur in either foot, either right under the arch or on the outside bottom of the foot.  I suppose technically a cramp can occur anywhere there is a muscle, but those are the common areas.

3.  Arm Muscle Spams.  I might lose my “normal” status with this one, but this is one I personally get a lot.  It’s more of a spasm than a cramp, but a muscle group in my arm will start firing and won’t stop.  I’ve had them in my bicep, forearm, and one time in my triceps.  That one hurt, though these cramps are less painful and more…annoying.  The muscle will just twitch and twitch for hours.

4.  Quad Cramps.  We’ve just about covered the whole leg at this point!  Quad cramps will leave you motionless, and I personally have had them so bad they shot up into my spine and I was in agony.  This one will leave you totally immobilized for awhile.  It also leaves residual “soreness” after the cramp subsides.

What Do I Do About It?

Your experience may vary, but I find the following to help:

1.  Prevent them in the first place!  I know this isn’t as easy as it sounds, but there are things you can do to help.  Read up on our prevention articles on the site, and e21 really does help.  You can get it here on our site.  We have many clients that get leg cramps at night and have had tremendous success with e21.  To the point that our office gets panic-sounding calls if their supplies run low without getting noticed.

2.  Put weight on them.  Try this at your own risk!!  I personally have had success getting cramps to ease by putting my body weight on them.  It is possible for this to send the cramp to “infinity and beyond”, so seriously try this at your own risk.  It helps for me sometimes, but if it backfires you will be in a lot of pain.  I would test it on a more minor cramp first.

3.  Stay hydrated.  While I think some of us tend to be crampers, I think hydration plays a large role.  Stay hydrated and eat properly.

Is Any Of This Stuff a Cure?

No.  I don’t think there really is a cure.  But by following these steps I have personally cut my cramping down to about 5-10% of what it used to be.  If I can prevent 90%-95% of my cramps with a few simple steps…I’m all for it.  Those of you that suffer with cramps are all nodding your heads in agreement!

If you have any other ideas, please share in the comments!