Spasms & Contractions
Ouch. That hurts! Muscle cramps are painful, annoying spasms which mostly occur at inconvenient moments. It seems the cause of muscle cramps, is still not fully understood. Google it.
What Are Muscle Cramps?
Normal (voluntary) muscle contractions occur with an intent to make a specific movement or effect. Its a natural process of contracting and relaxing muscle groups to produce work or motion.
Muscle spasms occur when muscles involuntarily contract and do not relax. Sustained or prolonged spasms are called muscle cramps.
Strong nerve stimulation produce prolonged contractions, as the muscle hardens and is experienced as pain. Cramps last from seconds to minutes.
Muscle cramps can occur following:
- heavy exercise (sweating)
- vigorous activity (sweating)
- hot humid conditions (sweating)
- dehydration (sweating or urinating)
- diuretics - caffeine / cola (urinating)
- at night (nocturnal cramps)
The bullet points above, involve mineral loss, through sweating or urinating.
Its common knowledge that cramps are caused by insufficient salt (sodium) in the diet. Most people will tell ya to take more salt to cure your cramps.
Reading one of Jeff Volek's books, he explained muscle cramps are caused by low levels of sodium, potassium, or calcium. Volek, who specialises in sports medicine, went on to explain the primary cause of muscle cramps was insufficient magnesium, which is difficult to detect.
Increasing magnesium intake will cure cramps. Around 300 mg daily is a sensible quantity. If you take more than 400 mg, you may experience diarrhoea.