By Dietetic Intern and Master Student Evelyn Rubio and Eleanor Baker, MS, RDN, LDN
Charley horse, corky, muscle spasm, however you want to call them, we have all experienced one at some point and they are not pleasant. Whether it is in the middle of the night or after exercising, this shooting pain can last from several seconds to several minutes. Though they can occur to any muscle in the body, they are most common in the legs, more specifically in the thighs, calves, and feet. But what is this shooting pain exactly? This occurs when the muscle is actively tightening or having a strong contraction.
Causes of muscle cramping
Muscle cramping is a secondary effect caused by exercise, overuse of a muscle, decreased blood flow, lack of electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium), certain medications, and dehydration. Even taking a very cold shower can cause our muscles to react and contract. Pregnant women tend to have recurring muscle cramps in the later months of pregnancy due to the decreased amount of minerals circulating through their body. Through adequate nutrition, hydration, stretching, and drinking an electrolyte solution or pickle juice, you can prevent muscle cramping.
Whats the big Dill with Pickle juice?
Pickle juice contains high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, sodium, potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. Vinegar is also important ingredient in pickle juice as it aids in alleviating pain and discomfort when having a muscle cramp. The sodium in pickle juice is in the form of calcium chloride and vinegar; these components work fast to prevent cramps from happening. Replenishing the body’s electrolytes with pickle juice is also a great preventative. Pickle juice has other beneficial factors for example it can provide probiotics, slows down gastric emptying, contains antioxidants, and helps control blood glucose levels.
How does it work?
There are ion channels called TRVPV1. This channel is located in areas around the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. TRVPV1 is activated by the protons in the pickle juice. Once triggered, this ion channel activates the spinal column and prevents the firing of nerves that cause muscle cramps.
If this is a recurring problem for you, contact us so we can help you find your solution. Don’t let muscle cramps stop you from being active and doing what you love! Schedule your complimentary phone consultation today with one of our Registered Dietitians!
- Kahn J. If You Get Leg Cramps, Try This Strange Harvard-Approved Cure. mindbodygreen. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15529/if-you-get-leg-cramps-try-this-strange-harvardapproved-cure.html. Published May 31, 2015. Accessed May 22, 2019.
- Muscle Cramps. Muscle Cramps | Michigan Medicine. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/za1086. Accessed May 22, 2019.
- Muscle Cramps. HealthLink BC. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/za1086. Accessed May 22, 2019.
- Pickle Juice: Benefits, Side Effects And How Much To Consume. Organic Facts. https://www.organicfacts.net/pickle-juice.html. Published March 4, 2019. Accessed May 22, 2019.