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Getting Hit by Those Dreaded Leg Cramps

By Stephen R. Farris

We all get them from time to time, those dreaded cramps in our legs. It can happen out of the blue, while you're working out, or even at night when trying to drift off to sleep -- then bam! Out of nowhere it hits you like a ton of bricks. It's enough to make you want to scream out loud. And yes, admit it, you have done this.

It's not always what we've heard growing up. You know the phrase, "Oh you haven't been drinking enough water." So what's the science behind it? How and why do cramps happen? The answer is not as simple as we think it is. There are a number of reasons this happens. It could be from overused or overworked muscles, poor circulation or even sitting for long periods of time. 

It could also be related to the type of medication you're taking too. And of course, it very well could be related to being dehydrated, especially if you work out in intense heated conditions, particularly during the summer months when our bodies lose a lot of water through sweat. But there are a few ways to prevent cramps.

Stretch It Out

This is a technique I use a lot, and it seems to work best for me and that's stretching it out when experiencing cramps in your calf muscles. Basically the technique is to simply point your toes straight out and hold that position for a few moments until the pain subsides. Then try not to position yourself where it happens again, which can be tough at times.

Water: Not Exactly What You Think

If you can make it, hit the shower or bath. A change in temperature like a hot shower or tub can help ease cramping pain. And if you're brave enough, make it an ice bath.

Pickle Juice

Available in every jar of pickles from the grocery store. It's simple, yet effective. Did you know that drinking pickle juice within the first 30 seconds or so when hit by a cramp can reduce the pain up to 40 percent faster than water? Turns out it's not the sodium as you'd think it would be, but rather a reaction from the throat region that reduces the neurons associated with cramps.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Derby, Kans.

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