Week of Kona / Cramp Killers! Origins and Cures for Exercise-Induced Cramping

October 17, 2015

During this year’s annual Ironman Sports Medicine Conference, Dr. Bob Murray, FACSM, and Dr. Rod MacKinnon, a Nobel prize-winning neuroscientist, presented groundbreaking research on exercise-induced cramps, including work that’s years in the making and has led to a better understanding on the origin of cramps and, more importantly, how to cure them.

On this show, Dr. Bob Murray joins to share that exclusive information:

How bad is cramping in our population?
– How many of us cramp?
– Athletes vs general population

Background: Dr. Rod and Dr. Bruce Bean
– who are they and why did they take such an interest in exercise-induced cramping?
– they are athletes who’ve suffered from cramps!

Discussion of common cramp theories
– Electrolyte depletion/dehydration
– Going harder than you have in training
– Tight and stiff
– Theory that simply no one really knows
– Fatigue interferes with the spinal reflex control

Real life scenarios & sport-specific or situational cramping:
– Swimming
– Transition from bike to run
– Running – quads, etc
– Aren’t those highlighting deficiencies in the sport/training perhaps?
– What about another common situation: night cramps

Skeletal muscle vs. smooth muscle cramps
– i.e. what about side stitches

So, what actually causes cramps?
– It’s the nerves not the muscle
– Cramps are caused by an excessive firing of motor neurons, not by the muscle. Under normal circumstances, motor neurons control muscle contractions without incident. But when the nerves are destabilized, painful cramps can occur.
– How did they ultimately make this discovery…and how accurate is it?

The science of cramp cures
– Certain ion channels respond to certain spices (heat/pepper)
– Ion activates > nerves activate
– Nerves in mouth > brain > spinal cord > cramps cured
– In other words: stimulate ion channels in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach; enables the body to perform at its maximum without the fear of cramping
– Pickle juice and mustard – maybe not a myth after all?

The cure is in the spices!
– A special concoction of hot pepper, ginger, cinnamon
– Is a homemade concoction good enough?
– What is Flex Pharma offering?
– But, can we solve on our own? (training, diet, stress, etc)

What kind of athletes are being tested with this formula?
– Cramp-prone athletes (cramps common 2-3x a week or more)

Dosage of the concoction
– Swish and spit?
– TRP channels
– When and how to take it?
– 30 min ahead and/or at onset of cramps
– and more

Athlete recruitment for more testing!
– Leave comments if interested

More info:
Article in outside Magazine

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