Friday, March 23, 2007

"Cramping" My Style

Yesterday morning as dawn was breaking and the rooster crowing (ok, not that early) it was about 7:30 am or so and I was just waking up. I was still in that half asleep part of waking up. My right calf muscle proceeded to tighten causing a very painful "Charlie Horse". It took (what seemed forever) a good 30 to 45 seconds to get it to relax. I am still feeling the after-effects today. My right calf muscle is very sore and I am constantly trying to stretch it out.

Now, I have gotten muscle cramps before so this morning I decided to look up exactly what a muscle cramp is and what one can possibly do to prevent it. The following information I discovered on WebMD.

Muscle Cramps At A Glance
-A muscle cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax.
-Almost everyone experiences a muscle cramp at some time in their life.
-There are a variety of types and causes of muscle cramps.
-Numerous medicines can cause muscle cramps.
-Most muscle cramps can be stopped if the muscle can be stretched.
-Muscle cramps can often be prevented.

It is not known exactly why muscle cramps develop. Insufficient stretching before exercise, exercising in the heat, and muscle fatigue may all play a role in their causation. Imbalances in the levels of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate) in the blood can also lead to muscle cramps.
"Copyright (c) 1996 - 2005, WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved"

Hmmmm, not much help. Pretty much it was the information I already knew. I learned this wisdom from my father. He is a runner. And in my pre-teen years I would run with him. "Bananas", he'd say, "eat bananas because a lack of potassium can cause cramps." He would also have me stretch properly to avoid cramps and stretch the cramp out if I ended up with one anyway and take in as much oxygen as possible. I did notice that imbalance in potassium was on the list of possible causes of cramps. I had always wondered if it were so.

So as I am writing this I am eating my breakfast banana to keep that "Charlie Horse" from visiting me again.

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