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Monday, February 25, 2008

Advice about crippling calf cramp following exhausting exercise

"I enjoy hillwalking and a few months ago did the most arduous walk yet. Next day my thighs were tight for a day and next day fine. However on this second day a knot started in my right calf and progressed to almost crippling status and remained for 3-4 weeks before suddenly disappearing. Whilst there I took anti inflam , asprin and ibufrofen gels without much relief. I went on almost as hard a walk 3 weeks ago and although filled with trepidation, nothing untoward occurred. I was on holiday this week and played a round of golf and carried my bag. Now 2 days later the cramp has re-ocurred.
Help? Whats going on?"
Gary Moller advises
A muscle is a sponge pump. When it contracts, the old blood is squirted out via a one way valve system back to the heart. When it relaxes, fresh arterial blood fills the muscle. This is the "muscle pump effect" and it is as important for blood flow during exercise as the pumping of the heart muscle.

Let's talk about the calf muscles. Strain, bruising, mineral imbalance, dehydration, sheer exhaustion or overly unusual and intensive work may cause the muscle to go into a state of cramp. The muscle knotts up and is unable to relax. When this happens the muscle pump effect is lost altogether and the muscle causing further accumulation of metabolic wastes and further cramping. A vicious cycle begins and may remain for years. Muscles commonly affected are those in the back side, the calf and the shoulders.

Action to take
  • Gently stretch the affected areas using the stretch and hold for about 10 seconds method. Do not over stretch. One good stretch per day is usually more than enough.
  • Firmly massage the affected areas every 3-4 days. This is best done by a massage professional. The relief can be immediate and lasting when done properly. 3-6 sessions usually brings about a permanent resolution. The occasional top-up is recommended.
  • Redress any tissue mineral imbalances. Start by completing the Active Elements Online Assessment and then contact me to review the results.
  • If you have heavy exercise coming up that you are not used to, consider taking an anti-cramp supplement a day or so before and during the exercise and for a day after. Other supplements include Red Seal Crampbuster, and Nutra-Life Magnesium Complete. The Floradix Calcium and Magnesium Tonics are wonderful!
  • Have a warm Epsom Salts bath
Finally, maintain a high level of overall fitness all year so that you are always ready and able to take on all but the most arduous of adventures!

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