Muscle Spasms --- Causes and Top 10
Natural Remedies
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Latest update April 19,2017, originally published March 16, 2013
By A. Turner, Contributing Columnist

5. Pickle Juice for Muscle Spasms.

You buy a jar of pickles, you eat the pickles, you dump the juice down
the drain – wait!  Experiments from a few years ago recommend that
we waste not our pickle juice, and want not for remedies for muscle

In 2010, researchers in Utah and North Dakota, including Kevin Miller
with the Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences at
North Dakota State University  had some fun with pickle juice.  They
induced muscle cramps in dehydrated males, who then ingested pickle
juice.  Cramp duration was around 49.1 seconds shorter after pickle
juice ingestion (when compared with water), so that pickle juice
“inhibits electrically induced muscle cramps in hypohydrated humans”
(hypohydrated means dehydrated).

For those of us who can’t seem to appreciate the twang that comes
with a mouthful of pickle juice, the first step we can take against
muscle cramps in the above situation is to stay hydrated.  If, however,
we end up in a long, hot day with nothing to drink, you might want to
store up jars of pickle juice for when you get home and the cramping


Be aware, however, that pickle juice can contain high amounts of
sodium and is ill-advised for people with high blood pressure or on a
low salt diet.]

Treadmills Can Help Relieve Muscle Spasms.

Spinal cord injury, shortened to SCI by specialists, can lead to
permanent motor and sensory problems because of damage done to
fiber tracts.  Sometimes these problems can lead to pain and muscle
spasms,  which can require complicated recovery methods – or, for
some people, all that is needed is a spin on the old treadmill.

In 2010, experts in Zurich, including Dr. Roman Gonzenbach with the
Brain Research Institute at the University of Zurich,   investigated how
blocking a certain growth inhibitor called “Nogo-A” and locomotor
training could reduce the frequency of muscle spasms after spinal cord
injuries.  Results showed that “anti-Nogo-A antibody treatment and
locomotor training, started early after injury, permanently reduced the
development of muscle spasms.”  

More relevant to those of us wanting to reduce muscle spasms in the
short term, was that “treadmill training early after SCI also has a
beneficial effect” on muscle spasms.

If you have suffered from a spinal cord injury and now use your
treadmill as a coat rack, it’s time for some spring cleaning.  Find a new
place for your junk, and start tread-milling towards a spasm-free future.

Malaria, Tetany, and Muscle Spasms

Malaria is a parasitic disease that the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention reports is responsible for up to 1 million deaths every year.  
Malaria is passed from the bites of infected mosquitos, and manifests as
high fevers, shaking chills, anemia,  and many other symptoms.  In
2011, scholars in India found an “unusual presentation of malaria as
tetany,” a neurologic syndrome presenting as twitching, cramping, and
convulsions in the muscles of the wrists and ankles.  Tetany usually
occurs because of extracellular calcium, which could occur from vitamin
D deficiency, low parathyroid functioning, or other conditions.

In 2011, P.S. Singh and colleague at the Medical College in Saifai in
India  encountered a 37 year old male who had experienced fever from
malaria for six days, as well as “painful, intermittent muscle spasm of
the right leg” for two days.  During examination, “intermittent muscle
spasm of the right leg calf was seen,” which “did not respond” to
calcium supplements.  The patient was given intravenous magnesium
and showed “symptomatic improvement within four days of
admission,” and was then discharged after ten days.  

If you have contracted malaria, hopefully you are able to seek
treatment immediately.  If you are suspicious of malaria but have not
been diagnosed, watch out for muscle spasms: they could be a painful
warning sign that you do, indeed, need to seek professional help.

Spider Bites Can Cause Muscle Spasms

They’re way too big, way too hairy, and have way too many legs:
tarantulas give many of us the creeps, but in most cases, according to
specialists, “their bites are considered harmless.”  However, in 2009 a
team of UK experts found that the bite from one type of tarantula, the
Old World tarantula, could be as scary as it looks.

In 2009, David Warrell with the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine
at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, as well as researchers from the
Milton Keynes General Hospital,  reported on two men “bitten on their
index fingers by pet Old World tarantula spiders,” who “developed
intense local pain, swelling and episodic, agonizing, generalized muscle

The two spider bite victims “mentioned muscle spasms after bites by
these and other genera of Old World tarantulas.” The team concludes
that “bites by several genera of African, Asian and Australasian
tarantulas can cause systemic neurotoxic envenoming,” and that if
there is no antivenom available, “severe persistent muscle spasms” can
be a “serious therapeutic challenge.”  The team wisely advises that
“tarantula keepers should be warned of the danger of handling these
animals incautiously.”  

Odds are, if you’re not a “tarantula keeper” you don’t have to worry
too much about being bitten by a tarantula.  If, however, an incident
did occur, you may want to prepare yourself for muscle spasms.

Liver Problems May Cause Muscle Spasms

When our livers are scarred and cannot fully function, we are in the last
phase of chronic liver disease, a phase known as cirrhosis.  In the
United States, cirrhosis is most often caused by Hepatitis B or C
infections, or the abuse of alcohol, though the disorder can arise from
certain medications, hereditary diseases, and other medical conditions.  
Some people with cirrhosis show no symptoms, while others may
experience loss of energy, weight loss, belly pain, easy bruising, fluid
build-up of the legs,  and, according to research out of Indianapolis,
muscle cramps.

In 2012, Dr. Raj Vuppalanchi with the Department of Medicine at
Indiana University School of Medicine, along with colleagues from the
same institutions as well as the Indiana University School of Nursing,  
gathered data from 150 adult patients with cirrhosis.  101 of these
patients (67%) reported muscle cramps in the previous three months,
and questionnaires revealed that side effects from these cramps
“significantly diminished quality of life in patients with cirrhosis.”

If you have cirrhosis, you are most likely already undergoing treatment
with a professional.  If you experience muscle cramps, first of all know
that you are not alone: more than half of everyone else out there with
cirrhosis feels the muscle pain, too.  Furthermore, consider talking to
your caretaker sooner rather than later about treatment for these
cramps, before they “significantly diminish” your quality of life.

Magnesium Can Relieve Severe Muscle Spasms

Doctors from South Africa have reported success in using magnesium
to treat severe muscle spasms. In 1985, for example, Drs. C.W. Claude
and B.M. Braude reported the case of a 25 year-old paraplegic with
severe muscle spasms in his calf that lasted over 2 hours and were so
severe that they made his foot touch his buttocks.  The doctors injected
the man with 2 grams of magnesium sulfate which produced immediate

Try adding  magnesium to your diet if you suffer from muscle spasms.
Here is a list of
foods high in magnesium.

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