Injuries and Medical Advice

Cramp Voodoo

Google knows you have cramps. If Google knows, everyone who wants to sell you “a little-known remedy” will also know. Silly ads will appear on your preferred weather-forecast page. Be skeptical.

Mineral supplements are a shot in the dark, but stranger things have happened in the dark, so that is probably a good place to start if you suffer regular cramps. Blood tests would be a good precursor.

You do not have to drink two liters of water a day to ward off cramps; that is not only a myth, it is a thoroughly debunked one. In fact, drinking too much water might deplete your “precious bodily minerals,” actually leading to cramps.

If, on the other hand, you have been sweating a lot, then it’s a good idea to drink accordingly. Whether it is the loss of fluid volume in the body or the loss of sodium through the skin that contributes to the incidence of cramps is up for debate. Certainly excessive sweating, and sodium loss in particular, seem more important than other factors in the cramping command chain.

Magnesium is the new cure, if you believe the marketing hoopla of recent years. Cough-cough-bullshit. Perhaps it is for some, but it is not the elixir of muscle health that you are being led to believe.

Feature image by Jan Novak

This article appeared in Rock and Ice 255

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