Rosenthal Chiropractic Logo

6 Tips to Prevent and/or Stop an Active Cramp

By Dr. Nicholas Marini

Imagine this. It’s a beautiful night, and you’ve finally fallen asleep after a long day. You’re snug as a bug in a rug in your bed, and then suddenly…BOOM! You get a cramp in a muscle that wakes you up instantly and makes you jump out of bed to try and get that sucker to calm down. It’s happened to most of us and, needless to say, it’s quite unpleasant. So, here are 6 tips to prevent and/or stop an active cramp. 

  1. Pickle Juice! The chemical that controls our muscles is called acetylcholine, so by ingesting something that has a lot of acetic acid (vinegar), you can give the body what it needs. It’s a neat trick that a lot of pro athletes use on the field. Note: 1.5 oz of pickle juice for every 100 lbs. of body weight. Avoid if you need to avoid/limit salt intake. Only drink as needed, on occasion— pickle juice is not to be consumed regularly.

  2. Get adjusted! A muscle out of its normal length-tension relationship is much more prone to cramping. Muscles that are attached to subluxated (misaligned) structures are quite often too long or too short. Fix the structures and make the muscles happy. A recent cramp can indicate that it's time for a chiropractic visit. For people who have been suffering from cramps on an ongoing basis, chiropractic is often what finally brings lasting relief!

  3. Hydration. Not drinking enough water each day (about 2 L or 70-80 oz) can lead to dehydration, tightened tissues, and make you more prone to cramping. That also means avoiding things that dehydrate you, especially at night, like alcohol.

  4. Get your minerals balanced. Our bodies contain vast quantities of sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and other minerals that help control our muscles. You could take a multivitamin, or you can drink electrolytes. I normally don’t recommend Gatorade because of the sugar content and array of artificial ingredients. Instead, try coconut water. I call it “Nature’s Gatorade.” Not only will it give you the electrolytes, but it’ll help with your hydration! For those with chronic issues or sweet heavily (work, exercise, etc.) or looking for an easy way to ensure you are getting what you need, click on our dispensary link for specific supplements we recommend: RECOMMENDED SUPPLEMENTS AND ELECTROLYTES

  5. Stretching may help to prevent cramps from happening. Ideally, you want to stretch for at least 5 minutes before bed. DO NOT stretch an active cramp, as you could make it worse. Gently try and move the cramped limb through its normal motions during an active cramp. Please speak to me or Dr. Rosenthal if you have specific questions regarding stretching. If you experience pain during a stretch, stop and talk to us before continuing. CHECK OUT THE STRETCHING VIDEOS ON OUR WEBSITE

  6. Stress can make any problem worse, and that includes muscle tension. Anything to help alleviate stress, from behavioral health care, and meditation to chamomile tea, will help your brain better coordinate your muscles (and may prevent them from being tense in the first place, primed for a cramp). CHECK THIS MEDIATION ARTICLE BY DR. ROSENTHAL

May 28, 2024