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*An Alternative Treatment for Calf Cramps
A Better And Smarter Method
If you've ever seen an athlete suddenly drop to the ground, writhing in pain, and holding their calf area, it's likely you have just observed a "Calf Cramp". And if you have ever suffered a Calf Cramp, you know how painful it can be. According to conventional "wisdom", in order to stop this cramping, you are supposed to stretch your (violently) contracting calf muscles in the opposite direction. I want to repeat what I just said because it bears repeating. According to conventional "wisdom", in order to stop this cramping, you are supposed to stretch your (violently) contracting calf muscles in the opposite direction. In my opinion, such action violates all common sense. Please read on and I will tell you how I came upon a better treatment plan.
I recall the first time I experienced a Calf Cramp. I was in my college physical education class, and the coach quickly grabbed my foot and pushed the top of it towards me (to stretch and to force out the violently cramping/contracting muscles). I was in significant pain and glad that experienced help had arrived. Later, after the cramp subsided, the coach advised me to continue to stretch the calf for the next few days. The next day my calf felt like it had been hit with a hammer. As directed, I continued to stretch it, hoping to speed recovery, yet my calf area continued to hurt for the next week.
A week or so later... I experienced another Calf Cramp, but this time, as I was reaching to stretch it out, the following thoughts hit me, "What the heck am I doing? My calf muscles are violently contracting and I am supposed to force them in the opposite direction at the same time? That's ridiculous; that can't be right." So this time, instead of stretching the muscles, I decided to rub the calf muscles (as hard and as fast as I could stand it) in order to stimulate the blood flow and to "relax" the muscles. This worked. In fact, it worked fast, and much better, too. And the next day, my calf felt fine.
I should add that I eventually determined the cause of my calf cramps. As a child, I had been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. And before age 10, I had been hospitalized twice with bleeding ulcers. This was a serious health problem for me. But what does this have to do with calf cramps? I'll tell you. When I experienced my first calf cramp, I had recently started taking a newly introduced medicine to treat excess acid production. This medicine was called Zantac. It took a few rounds of treatment with this medication before I put "two and two together". And when I asked my physician about it, he laughed it off, and said "impossible". Sure enough though, nowadays, some ulcer medications are known to cause muscle cramps. And this is now listed as one of the possible side effects. It just goes to show that "conventional wisdom" can be changed, but it goes "kicking and screaming all the way".
Frankly, I am shocked (although from past knowledge/experience I shouldn’t be) that somebody hasn’t challenged the ridiculousness of the "conventional wisdom" on how to handle/treat a calf cramp. Pulling and stretching the muscle fibers (while they are violently contracting) in the opposite direction will cause tearing of those fibers – and it will make things worse. I just do not understand why so many people can't see the simple straightforward/obvious logic in that. It seems like simple common sense to me. And I figured this out over 20 years ago! What does this say about "mainstream medicine/conventional wisdom"? To the best of my knowledge; no one in "alternative medicine" has figured it out either.
To sum up: If you experience a calf cramp, my advice is to try rubbing and massaging the calf muscles. And if you take "acid reducers" and have frequent or occasional cramping, ask you health professional about alternative acid reducers or blockers. For me, Cimetidine and Prilosec do not cause cramping. Also contrary-to-popular-belief, if changing your medication doesn't work, (and-I-Know-I-Am-Going-To-Get-A-Lot-Of-Flack-about-this) try cutting out the bananas. I'll explain more on this in another article. Stay tuned. :)
Please keep me informed if any of these ideas work for you. Thanks!
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