Muscle Aches and Cramps
You might experience back soreness after a long day playing with the kids, have aching shoulders after overdoing it in the swimming pool, or feel calf pains during the night. Occasional muscle aches and cramps often just accompany the rigors of life. They are rarely a cause to worry.
Muscle aches can affect an active child, as well as a sedentary child who sits in front of the television playing video games and watching programs. The pain often occurs when muscles are overused and pulled or strained, particularly after a vigorous workout that didn’t follow a warm-up or stretching session. The pain can range from
The following tests help assess possible reasons for chronic muscle cramps and aches:
Hormone testing (thyroid, DHEA, cortisol, testosterone, IGF-1, estrogen, progesterone)—saliva, blood, or urine
Vitamin and mineral analysis (especially magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc)—blood, hair
Digestive function and microbe/parasite/candida testing—stool analysis Food and environmental allergies/sensitivities—blood, electrodermal Toxic metals—hair or urine
mild to severe and usually dissipates after a few restful days. Lingering or recurrent pain, especially when accompanied by a fever, decreased muscular strength, or joint swelling, could suggest a severe strain, possibly injury.
The feeling of a muscle turning into a knot indicates a muscle cramp. Muscle cramps could afﬂict any child, regardless of ﬁtness or diet. Heat cramps, which are common to the calves, the thighs, and the abdomen, can strike a person who exercises in hot weather or a hot gymnasium and who needs water. Night cramps often knot up the muscles of the calves, the feet, and the thighs, causing sharp pains and tightened muscles, which commonly awaken people from a sound sleep.
Nutritional deﬁciencies of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and the B vitamins are often the root cause of muscle aches and cramps. Lack of sleep can also contribute to this problem.
Eat foods that are high in calcium: kelp, cheese, collards, kale, turnip greens, almonds, yogurt, milk, broccoli, and calcium-enriched rice and soymilk.
Also eat foods that are high in magnesium: whole grains, nuts, legumes, soy, and green leafy vegetables.
Foods that are high in potassium are beneﬁcial as well: fruits and vegetables, espe- cially apples, bananas, carrots, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupes, peaches, plums, strawberries, meat, and ﬁsh.
Electrolyte drinks can help you quickly restore lost minerals. We recommend these drinks only on a short-term basis, though. Many contain artiﬁcial colorings and large amounts of sugar, although more healthful alternatives are available.
Drinking water on hot days or after physical activity is important.
Food to Avoid
Avoid products that lead to the loss of minerals, such as soda pop, candy, and reﬁned breads and pastas.
Super Seven Prescriptions—Muscle Aches and Cramps
Super Prescription #1 Magnesium
Take 250 mg twice daily. Magnesium is a muscle relaxer, and a deﬁciency con- tributes to cramping, aching, and tightness.
Super Prescription #2 Calcium
Take 500 mg twice daily. Calcium is required for muscle and nerve relaxation. It works in tandem with magnesium to relax muscles.
Super Prescription #3 Potassium
Take up to 300 mg daily. A potassium deﬁciency can lead to muscle cramping. Note: If you are on blood pressure medication, use under the guidance of your doctor.
Super Prescription #4 Homeopathic Magnesia Phosphorica
Take 3 pellets of a 6x potency three to ﬁve times daily. This remedy is speciﬁc for muscle cramping.
Super Prescription #5 High-potency multivitamin
Take a high-potency multivitamin and mineral formula daily, as it will contain a strong base of the nutrients that protect against muscle cramping.
Super Prescription #6 Super green food supplement
Take an organic super green food, such as chlorella or spirulina, or a mixture of “supergreen foods” each day. Take as directed on the container. It contains a vari- ety of minerals for muscle relaxation.
Super Prescription #7 Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
Take 500 mg three times daily. This nutrient has natural antispasmodic properties. It is especially good for muscle cramps and aches related to an injury. Reduce the dosage if diarrhea occurs.
B vitamins can become depleted, due to the effect of stress, thus causing muscle cramps and aches. Take a 50 mg complex twice daily.
Protease enzymes reduce muscle aching and inﬂammation. Take 1 capsule three times daily between meals.
Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) reduces spasms of the muscles. Take 40 mg of a 2.5 percent triterpene glycoside extract twice daily.
Arnica (Arnica montana) oil relieves muscle pain and tenderness. Apply the oil to painful areas twice daily.
Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is helpful for spasms in the legs due to poor circulation. Take 300 mg twice daily.
Pick the remedy that best matches your symptoms in this section. Take a 6x, 12x, 6C, or 30C potency twice daily for two weeks to see if there are any positive results. After you notice improvement, stop taking the remedy, unless symptoms return. Consul- tation with a homeopathic practitioner is advised.
Arnica (Arnica montana) is the top choice for pain that feels deep and bruised and for all-over tenderness. The symptoms are worse after exertion.
Calcarea Carbonica is for people who get muscle cramps and soreness from exertion and from cold, damp climates. They are usually chilly, with clammy hands and feet. They crave sweets and eggs. They often feel anxious, overwhelmed, and easily fatigued.
Causticum is helpful when the muscles and the joints become stiff and sore from overuse and from the cold or in dry weather. The symptoms are improved with warm applications. The muscles and the joints feel contracted.
Cimicifuga is for muscles that feel sore, bruised, and worse in the cold. The back of the neck is sore and stiff. The person is prone to depression and hormone imbalance.
Ignatia Amara is for tight, spasmodic, or cramping muscles or for muscle spasms and cramps that begin after an emotional upset or stress.
Magnesia Phosphorica is for cramping or spasming muscles that feel better from warm applications.
Nux vomica (Strychnos nux vomica) is for tight muscles that spasm. The person is chilly, and the symptoms are worse in cold weather and better with warm applica- tions. Digestive problems, such as stomach ache or heartburn, are often present. The person is irritable and fatigued.
Rhus Toxicodendron is for pain and stiffness that are worse in the early morning or after resting and in cold, rainy weather. The symptoms ease with continued move- ment and warm applications. The person feels restless.
See pages 668–675 for information about pressure points and administering treatment.
• To relax cramped muscles and soothe your nerves, use Liver 3.
Massage is excellent to work the cramps out by improving the circulation.
Add 1 drop of lavender and 1 drop of peppermint to a carrier oil and massage onto the muscle. If the muscle aches or cramps occur at night, use black pepper, instead of peppermint.
Other Bodywork Recommendations
Stretching is important to relax the muscles and prevent overtightening.
Spinal alignment by a chiropractor, an osteopath, or a naturopathic doctor can be helpful for cases of chronic muscle spasm and aches.