MDJunction - People Helping People
Ask a Question
02/25/2011 09:20 PM


Posts: 32225
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Cramp Got Your Leg?

Here's how to alleviate a muscle cramp

URL of this page: fullstory_109091.html(*this news item will not be available after 05/23/2011)

By Diana Kohnle

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

(HealthDay News) -- A muscle cramp occurs when a muscle involuntarily contracts. It often occurs during a sport or other exercise, but a muscle can spasm even during sleep.

The ADAM Encyclopedia offers these suggestions for alleviating or preventing a muscle cramp:

•Stop your activity right away, and perform some gentle stretching or massage.

•Heat the muscle while it's cramping. Apply ice for pain later.

Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to help manage pain.

•Drink plenty of water, a sports drink or take a salt tablet.

•Don't push yourself beyond your limit while working out.

•Be sure to include enough potassium in your diet.

•Stretch your muscles regularly.

Copyright (c) 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved. fullstory_109091.html

Post edited by: Bettyg, at: 05/14/2012 10:14 PM


04/18/2011 01:52 AM
Posts: 32225
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Quinine Safe for MUSCLE Cramps

By Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today

Published: April 15, 2011

Reviewed by

Dori F. Zaleznik, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston and

Dorothy Caputo, MA, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, Nurse Planner


Quinine as a treatment for muscle cramp appears safe, according to a Cochrane systematic review of published studies.

In 23 randomized controlled trials, there was only one major adverse event attributable to the drug, according to Sherif El-Tawil, MBBS, of the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.

Compared with placebo, quinine was also effective, El-Tawil reported here at the American Academy of Neurology meeting.

The safety issue is important, El-Tawil told MedPage Today, because the FDA has said that quinine should not be used for muscle cramp, largely because it fears adverse events.

Action Points

■Note that this study was published as an abstract and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

■Explain that a Cochrane systematic review found that quinine for muscle cramp reduced the number of cramps and cramp intensity and was not associated with major adverse events compared to placebo.

■Note that the review included 23 studies, and the single major adverse event was thrombocytopenia that reversed with stopping the drug.

But it is widely used in Europe. "In England, I don't know one GP who doesn't prescribe it," he said. "They dish it out like chocolates."

To help clarify the issue, El-Tawil and colleagues updated a systematic review performed in 1998.

All told, the researchers found 23 randomized controlled trials of quinine, mostly for idiopathic cramp, including 1,586 patients.

All but three of the trials compared the drug to placebo, while others looked at different comparators including vitamin E.

El-Tawil reported that minor adverse events -- mainly gastrointestinal effects -- were significantly elevated by 3% compared with placebo, but there was no difference in major adverse events.

One patient developed thrombocytopenia, which resolved when the drug was stopped, he said, and there were no cardiac adverse events.

"We can't see the evidence that there's a problem," El-Tawil said.

Compared with placebo, he added, the drug significantly reduced:

•The number of cramps over a two-week period by 28%.

•Cramp intensity by 10%.

•Cramp days by 20%.

On the other hand, he said, cramp duration was not significantly affected.

The safety findings are not surprising, according to Hans Katzberg, MD, of the University of Toronto, who was first author of a recent review of symptomatic treatment for cramp prepared by the AAN.

"I am not surprised that the Cochrane review found no significant difference in the incidence of cumulative serious adverse events, as I think they are in fact uncommon," Katzberg told MedPage Today in an email.

But, he added, it's important to remember that studies are not usually designed or powered to detect adverse events.

Because of that, he said, "it is difficult to make conclusive statements about safety based on this evidence, especially when serious events such as hematological or cardiac effects are in question."

The ANN review, he noted, argued that quinine derivatives can be used for cramp if the treatment is monitored, the patient is informed of the serious side effects, and if the cramps are particularly disabling.

"I think it is prudent to avoid routine and unmonitored (especially over the counter) treatment of muscle cramps with quinine," Katzberg said.

The FDA has come out against using quinine derivatives for muscle cramps, based on 93 fatalities and 663 serious adverse events related to the compound over the last few decades.

But Katzberg said the agency has not released enough information to allow the calculation of incidence rates.

The researchers had travel support from Casella-Med.

El-Tawil said he had no disclosures.

Katzberg had no disclosures.

Primary source: American Academy of Neurology

Source reference:

El-Tawil S, et al. "Quinine in Muscle Cramps: A Cochrane Systematic Review" AAN 2011; Abstract P04.020.


maye - Apr 15, 2011

They said quinine can resolve or somewhat helps in cramping.

Quinine can be found in a lot of alcoholic beverages from different countries around the world, including the tonic water that we are using to add in our wines or same kind.

Or in other cases can drink that kind of water alone.

So my question is "if you are experiencing cramping for instance leg cramps or same kind most of the time, can this tonic water alleviate it when you include this to your everyday diet, its like you are having everyday supplement of quinine in your body?

Perhaps cramping would be lesser or will be ruled out in this way without taking the drug and having side effects with it. Thanks!


Dr. Joel Saeks - Apr 16, 2011


I believe the amount in quinine water to be insufficient to affect cramps.

My biggest problem with the article is the comment by the FDA "93 fatalities and 663 adverse events over decades"

There are so many prescription drugs on the market that reach those numbers yearly, not to mention thousands die yearly from NSAIDS.

To me it is another example of the FDA being paid for by big Pharmaceutical companies.

It is a shame when an organization designed to help is so connected to the companies they are supposed to watch. Conflict of interest? YES.


Greg Carrick MS RPh - Apr 16, 2011

I smell a new drug patent coming.

A new brand name with a new strength that costs $5 a day. Then watch for tonic water to be outlawed as a public health hazard.

Pharmacist who's life was ruined by lipitor

********************************************* utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyHeadlines& utm_source=WC&userid=

© 2011 Everyday Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

12/03/2011 02:32 AM
Posts: 32225
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Muscle Cramp – A Common Pain

Has a muscle cramp ever woken you up in the middle of the night? Or stopped you in your tracks in the middle of an activity?

If you're like most people, chances are your answer is “yes.” Muscle cramps, or “charley horses” as they are sometimes called, are extremely common and occur when muscles involuntarily contract and cannot relax.

While it is not known exactly why muscle cramps develop, there are some proven methods for preventing and treating them.

“Cramps can affect any muscle under your control,” explains Carolyn Quist, DO, an osteopathic physician from Fort Worth, TX.

Dr. Quist adds that “cramps can involve part or all of a muscle, or several muscles in a group.”

The most notorious sites for cramps are the calves, thighs, and arch of the foot.

Cramps in the hands, arms, abdomen, and along the rib cage are also very common.

“When a person experiences a muscle cramp, the muscle that is cramping feels harder than normal to the touch or may even show visible signs of twitching,” Dr. Quist says. The intensity of muscle cramps range from feeling like mild twitches to excruciating pain.

Unfortunately, cramps can occur anywhere, anytime to anyone. “No one is immune,” explains Dr. Quist.

“You could be young or old, very active or normally very sedentary, and you could develop a muscle cramp doing just about anything.”

However, Dr. Quist adds that-infants, the elderly, the overweight, and athletes are at the greatest risk for muscle cramps.

Some common causes of muscle cramps, according to Dr. Quist, are

insufficient stretching before exercise, exercising in the heat, and muscle fatigue.

Athletes who become fatigued and dehydrated while participating in warm-weather sports frequently develop muscle cramps.

Imbalances in the levels of electrolytes in the blood, such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate, can also lead to muscle cramps,” she adds.

The good news is that muscle cramps usually go away within minutes and typically do not warrant medical attention. “You can usually treat muscle cramps with self-care measures,” says Dr. Quist. Here are a few of the methods:

Stop doing whatever activity triggered the cramp.

•Gently stretch and massage the cramping muscle, holding it in stretched position until the cramp stops.

◦For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly. If you're unable to stand, try pulling the top of your foot on the affected side toward your head while your leg is in a straightened position. This will also help ease a back thigh (hamstring) cramp.

◦For a front thigh (quadriceps) cramp, use a chair to steady yourself and try pulling your foot on the affected side toward your buttock.

•Apply heat to tense/tight muscles, or cold to sore/tender muscles.

Dr. Quist warns that if cramps are severe, happen frequently, respond poorly to simple treatments, or are not related to obvious causes like strenuous exercise, you should see your doctor.

“They could be a symptom of problems with circulation, nerves, metabolism, hormones, medications, or nutrition,” she says.

To prevent muscle cramps, Dr. Quist advises to work toward better overall fitness.

“It is important to do regular flexibility exercises before and after you work out to stretch muscle groups most prone to cramping.”

She adds that it's also a good idea to avoid dehydration.

“Your aim should be to drink plenty of liquids, generally at least six glasses of water or other beverages daily.”

The exact amount depends on what you eat, your gender, your level of activity, the weather, your health, your age and any medications you may be taking.

“Fluids help your muscles contract and relax and keep muscle cells hydrated and less irritable,” Dr. Quist explains.

When you're exercising, it's best to drink fluids before, during, and after the activity.

Though a muscle cramp is common, it is still a real pain. If you think your muscle cramps are too frequent and severe to be normal, it is best to see your doctor for an evaluation.

Preventive medicine is just one aspect of care osteopathic physicians (DOs) provide.

Osteopathic physicians are fully licensed to prescribe medicine and practice in all specialty areas including surgery. DOs are trained to consider the health of the whole person and use their hands to help diagnose and treat their patients.

Chicago Office – Main Headquarters

142 E. Ontario St.

Chicago, IL 60611-2864

Toll-free phone: (800) 621-1773

General phone: (312) 202-8000

Fax: (312) 202-8200 Washington, D.C. Office

1090 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 500

Washington, D.C. 20005-4949

Toll-free phone: (800) 962-9008

General phone: (202) 414-0140

Fax: (202) 544-3525

Copyright © 2001-2011 American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Chicago, Illinois, USA. All rights reserved. health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/ muscle-cramp.aspx

02/20/2012 10:49 PM
Posts: 32225
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Cold Baths May Help Ease Muscle Soreness After Workouts

But researchers caution that little is known about the safety of cold baths

By Robert Preidt

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

TUESDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) --

Taking a cold-water or ice bath may reduce exercise-related muscle soreness but it's not clear whether it can cause harmful side effects, a new evidence review indicates.

The use of cold or ice baths is increasingly popular among elite and amateur athletes as a way to reduce muscle inflammation that can lead to stiffness, swelling and soreness a day or more after a workout.

In this study, researchers reviewed 17 small clinical trials of cold baths that included a total of 366 people.

In trials that compared cold baths to resting or no intervention, cold baths were associated with a significant reduction in muscle soreness one to four days after exercise.

In most trials, participants spent five to 24 minutes in water that was between 50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, although in some cases the water was colder or participants were asked to get in and out of the water at set times.

However, few of the trials compared cold-water immersion to other interventions, noted the authors of the review published in the journal The Cochrane Library.

"We found some evidence that immersing yourself in cold water after exercise can reduce muscle soreness, but only compared to resting or doing nothing.

Some caution around these results is advisable because the people taking part in the trials would have known which treatment they received, and some of the reported benefits may be due to a placebo response," lead author Chris Bleakley, of the health and rehabilitation sciences department at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, said in a journal news release.

"There may be better ways to reduce soreness, such as warm-water immersion, light jogging or using compression stockings, but we don't currently have enough data to reach any conclusions about these interventions," he added.

Most of the studies failed to report any harmful side effects, so there is a lack of information about the potential risks of cold water immersion. Higher-quality studies are needed, the researchers said.

"It is important to consider that cold-water immersion induces a degree of shock on the body," Bleakley noted. "We need to be sure that people aren't doing anything harmful, especially if they are exposing themselves to very cold water for long periods."

SOURCE: The Cochrane Library, news release, Feb. 14, 2012


Copyright (c) 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved. fullstory_121922.html

03/11/2012 12:55 AM
Posts: 32225
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

At Risk for Muscle Cramps

Who is most likely to get them

By Diana Kohnle

Monday, March 5, 2012

Related MedlinePlus Page

Muscle Cramps

(HealthDay News) -- A muscle cramp occurs when a contracted muscle can't relax, causing pain and tightness.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says these factors increase the risk of getting a muscle cramp:

Being a young child or infant.

•Being age 65 or older.

Taking certain medications.

•Being overweight.

•Overexerting yourself.

•Being an athlete, particularly in the pre-season before the body is fully conditioned. fullstory_122580.html

Copyright (c) 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

05/14/2012 10:18 PM
Posts: 32225
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

What's Causing My Muscle Cramps?

Possibly, a lack of conditioning

By Diana Kohnle

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

(HealthDay News) -- A muscle cramp occurs when a muscle involuntarily tightens and does not release, often leading to intense pain.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says although the exact causes of muscle cramps aren't known, the following conditions are thought to increase your risk:

Having tight muscles that haven't been stretched.

•Having poorly conditioned muscles that become easily fatigued.

•Overusing your muscles.

•Exerting yourself in extreme heat.

Being dehydrated.

•Having low levels of essential minerals and salt, including potassium. fullstory_124944.html

Copyright (c) 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

06/20/2012 12:02 AM
Posts: 32225
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Sore Muscles May Not Benefit from Regular NSAIDs

By John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today

Published: June 11, 2012

Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner

Take Posttest

Action Points

This study was published as an abstract and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Muscle pain after heavy exercise is natural and even healthy and taking anti-inflammatory drugs for normal soreness may be a bad idea.

Point out that the findings imply that the inflammatory reaction following muscle injury may be essential for recovery.

BERLIN -- Muscle pain after heavy exercise is natural and even healthy, and taking anti-inflammatory drugs for normal soreness may be a bad idea, researchers suggested here.

Studies in healthy volunteers who exercised hard enough to cause muscle soreness indicated that the potent nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ketoprofen inhibited the recovery process, according to Matthias Rother, MD, PhD, of International Medical Research in Graefelfing, Germany, and colleagues.

The total amount of pain, as quantified by the area under the curve (AUC) for pain severity over a one-week period after the exercise, was increased in participants who took ketoprofen at first onset of muscle soreness.

Celecoxib (Celebrex) treatment diminished total pain slightly, Rother and colleagues reported at the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism.

But precisely because the reduction was small, and in light of the clear lack of benefit from ketoprofen, the researchers concluded that there is no value in NSAID treatment for muscle soreness.

Although NSAIDs are effective against a wide range of painful and inflammatory states, their benefit in exercise-induced muscle soreness has been controversial.

For example, a previous study found elevated cytokine levels in ultra-marathon runners who took ibuprofen relative to those who went untreated (Brain Behav Immun 2005; 9: 398-403).

Another study by a different group indicated that ketoprofen extended the time with pain after tonsillectomy compared with celecoxib (Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2005; 132: 287-294).

In the current studies, Rother and colleagues had a total of 64 healthy volunteers walk down stairs for a total of 300 to 400 vertical meters, similar to walking all the way down from the top of a 100-story building.

Forty of the participants were randomized to take 200 mg of oral celecoxib or placebo twice daily for a week afterward, starting 12 to 26 hours after completing the stair test.

The other 24 completed an identical protocol except the NSAID was oral ketoprofen at 100 mg twice daily.

Participants in the latter study simply reported overall leg muscle pain, whereas those in the celecoxib study were asked to rate pain separately for the calf and thigh during contraction.

All pain assessments were performed at pre-exercise baseline and at numerous intervals over the week after exercise.

At no point during the ketoprofen study did participants taking the active drug report less pain than those in the placebo group, Rother and colleagues found.

The AUC for pain scores was 462 (standard deviation 160) for ketoprofen versus 376 (SD 159) for placebo (P=0.02).

Most importantly, pain ended at hour 122 in the ketoprofen group versus hour 105 in the placebo group (P=0.005). Rother and colleagues said this was "the most negative effect" of ketoprofen.

In the celecoxib study, the drug was most effective in reducing calf pain on contraction.

For thigh contraction, scores at each time point were virtually identical between participants taking the active drug versus placebo.

The sum of calf plus thigh pain was reduced 12% to 13% over the full study period, according to Rother and colleagues.

The peak reduction was measured 3 days after exercise (mean 2.7 for celecoxib compared with 2.0 for placebo, P-value not reported).

Overall, the findings imply "that the inflammatory reaction following muscle injury is essential for recovery," Rother and colleagues indicated in their poster presentation.

"Since the effect of celecoxib ... was only modest, usage of NSAIDs for the treatment of exercise induced muscle soreness cannot be supported," they concluded.

The trial had no commercial funding.

Rother is a shareholder and former employee of IDEA AG, which is developing a topical NSAID product.

Other investigators declared they had no relevant financial interests.

Primary source: European League Against Rheumatism

Source reference:

Rother M, et al "Is the inflammatory reaction an essential part of recovery after muscle injury?" EULAR 2012; Abstract FRI0457. utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyHeadlines& utm_source=

© 2012 Everyday Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Share this discussion with your friends:

Disclaimer: The information provided in MDJunction is not a replacement for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.
In case of EMERGENCY call 911 or 1.800.273.TALK (8255) to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Read more.
Contact Us | About Us
Copyright (c) 2006-2014 All Rights Reserved