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An Effective Remedy for Leg Cramps

CalvesIf you are one of the 6 in 10 adults who have experienced leg cramps, you know how painful they are – and how difficult to prevent. You may have tired the mineral supplements, warm showers, Tylenol, electrolyte drinks, and stretching to no avail.

The deeper cause

After ruling out drugs such as birth control pills, diuretics, statins along with high heels, rigid shoes, or orthotics, you need to look at what is causing the muscles to continue to tighten and spasm.

If you are like many of my clients, the reoccurring cramps come from the soft tissue in your lower leg being extremely tense. I was one of those men who prided myself on how big, strong, and firm (tense) my calves were.   But calf muscles aren’t tight from strength; they’re tight from tension. Not walking naturally over years means your calf muscles never really get stretched out. It’s as if you were going to the gym and doing bicep curls where you only extend 30%. After a few months you biceps would shorten. From years of the leg not being extended behind you as you walk, the calves never get to fully lengthen.

If you are like every adult client I’ve seen over the years, you lean back when you walk. This is not only inefficient; it also causes you not to extend your calf out behind you. Learning to lean forward from your ankles as you walk or run will begin to stretch your calves better than stretching. It will also prevent future constriction.

A solution

Walking correctly will help, but you’ll have to release the chronic adhesions deep in your calves. Stretching at this point won’t do it. Your calves are too tight to stretch. You first must loosen the deeper calf muscles. This means more than the standard massage. You or a therapist needs to breakdown the fascial (connective tissue) adhesions.

It’s true that at first there may be some pain in doing this. But I assure you this pain is small compared to the pain of a leg cramp. I use to punch my legs when I had my cramps for just a little relief. The discomfort of getting chronic tension release actually can feel good because you feel something letting go – unlike my punching.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer, www.align.org, with 33 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

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