When the muscle is contracting on its own, it leads to cramps. The end sensation is not severe, although it can be quite painful. There is a magic drug we have often come across for relief – “mustard for cramps.”
Although the cause of the cramps in the legs is often not understood, dehydration, muscle fatigue, and low levels of electrolytes are the common theories that are mainly considered when these cramps take place during physical activities.
Several people would be turning to sports drinks, juice, and massage therapies for preventing leg cramps as it is one remedy that would be familiar with the help of mustard.
It is mainly used as a condiment for sandwiches and burgers where people would claim that mustard would aid in relieving the cramps. But, the primary science behind it is completely understood.
Today, our articles will be reviewing the research about every role of mustard as an effective remedy for leg cramps and when to take mustard for cramps.
Mustard For cramps?
There is no evidence supporting mustard’s ability to reduce and prevent leg cramps in recent times.
Still, there are several theories on why some individuals report experiencing relief after ingesting it.
There are various theories behind why people are reporting after ingestion. A few would have theorized that the electrolytes in mustard, mainly potassium and sodium, prevent leg cramps after the exercises.
But, studies have shown that nine healthy adults consume mustard after a 2-hour bout of exercises that did not completely replenish the loss of electrolytes due to dehydration or sweating.
There is the other theory that turmeric in mustard would aid in relaxing the muscles and relieving leg cramps with the help of the spice’s anti-inflammatory properties. But, there is no research currently existing for supporting this theory here.
In recent times, researchers have suggested that mustard would aid with leg cramps by activating the sensors at the back of your throat. Mainly, molecules known as isothiocyanates in mustard are causing these varied kinds of activations.
It would result from signaling sent out in bodies to prevent the nerves in your muscles from causing muscles to cramp or get over-excited.
Research is required to prove that mustard is quite effective for this kind as it works with the help of the mechanisms.
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How are leg cramps caused?
There are leg cramps that occur without any apparent reason. It is known as idiopathic leg cramps as a symptom leading to complications of the health conditions, known as secondary leg cramps.
The following are the primary causes of secondary leg cramps:
- certain types of medication, including the stains
- liver disease
The muscles would suddenly contract during cramps as it causes pain in the leg. It is known as the spasm as you will not be able to control the affected muscle.
The cramps can last for about a few seconds to about 10 minutes. Once the spasm passes, you can control the affected muscle again.
Things you should know about the effectiveness of mustard
There is always a lack of scientific evidence on the efficacy of using mustard for treating and preventing muscle cramps in recent times.
A few people would swear that it is a prominent condiment that supposedly works.
It is, however, not proven, while there are a few health professionals who might be warning that mustard would worsen with dehydration. In its entirety, mustard is mainly considered safe for people to consume.
There are no sufficient studies that can prove its effective dosage as it is quite not clear about the amount of mustard required for preventing or treating the cramps. But, several anecdotal reports would claim that about 1-2 teaspoons are enough for checking out the results.
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How can cramps be prevented?
FDA approves no medications to treat leg cramps, along with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has not issued any guidelines to treat them. But, the American Academy of Neurology AAN has given the following advice on the common therapies backed by scientific evidence of their effectiveness.
According to AAN, there are no sufficient data that mentions the effectiveness of stretching to help reduce the frequency of cramps in muscle. It does not mean that the exercises are harmful or ineffective, and getting them done helps contribute to the flexibility of the legs.
There is robust evidence that quinine and quinine derivatives effectively reduce the frequency of muscle cramps, although the magnitude of the benefits is quite small. But, quinine is considered to be out of bounds for several people. The FDA has issued continued warnings against the use of quinine to prevent and treat leg cramps since it causes some serious side effects that include kidney damage and bleeding. It is recommended only when the cramps are disabling and when a person can carefully monitor the side effects, although the doctors still prescribe quinine.
Vitamin B complex
Few pieces of evidence taking a daily capsule containing eight B vitamins can help prevent cramps.
Evidence indicates that a single calcium-channel blocker or diltiazem is quite effective.
AAN found sufficient evidence indicating that magnesium supplements and gabapentin are not likely to aid.
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Other remedies For Cramps
There are no massively accepted treatments that are unproven remedies that would be worth trying in situations like nighttime leg cramps.
You should wish in trying to secure one under the bottom sheet near places where the legs rest if you do not mind sharing the bed with a bar of soap. None have offered a hypothesis for how soap would work despite scores of testimonials for its effectiveness in letters to the news and comments. It is therefore harmless and inexpensive.
Mustard or pickle juice
There are enthusiastic advocates for swallowing a teaspoon of mustard and an ounce of pickle juice before bedtime. The pickle juice is quite preventive that has become a staple among sportspeople who wish to avoid being sidelined through cramps. But, you may wish to inspect with your doctor before trying this kind of approach if you have gastroesophageal reflux disorder or cut back on the salt. Some scientists think that food would stimulate ion channels in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. It helps to send signals to the central nervous system that inactivates the overexcited neurons.
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The reason why mustard works
Others speculate that cramps can happen due to the imbalance of electrolytes, sodium, and potassium contained in a condiment that helps to rebalance your body, stopping the cramps in their tracks. There is no single study pointing out that this is why several individuals find mustard to be quite helpful. Mustard has higher levels of electrolytes, as it is important to note that if you do not try any remedies for the cramps, you should drink sufficient water to stay hydrated.
There is not much research done on the effectiveness of mustard to aid with the cramps, while people have witnessed it as relieving muscle cramps, and it is relatively safe to be tried. There is no cure or an answer for a reason behind the cramps; therefore, testing different remedies for most individuals is quite necessary. Some gentle stretching and staying hydrated can aid as you can consider trying a teaspoon of mustard when you have cramps in muscle.
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Below we share some FAQs related to the Mustard for Cramps
1. Which is the main reason behind the cramps?
Dehydration, muscle strain, overuse of muscle, and holding a position for an extended period can lead to muscle cramps. The cause, however, is not completely known. Some of the cramps may be related to underlying medical conditions such as inadequate blood supply, although most of the cramps are harmless.
2. Why do I have leg cramps at night?
Generally, leg cramps at night are likely related to muscle fatigue and significant nerve issues. The risk of leg cramps happening at night increases with age, and even pregnant women are likely to have leg cramps.
3. Is lack of salt the cause of cramps?
The biggest driver for muscle cramps during exercises is low sodium. Cramps are likely an occurrence if sodium is lost through sweat that is not replaced and if the athletes over-hydrate with the plain water.
4. The deficiency caused by muscle cramps?
Muscle twitches, cramps, and tremors are the common signs of magnesium deficiency.
5. What causes toes to curl up and cramp?
Shoes too pointy, too loose, have high heels, or too tight would place excess pressure on the toes. The pressure causes the toe to cramps mainly if the toes are not in their natural position, and your toes can cramp up without proper hydration.
6. Note the difference between a cramp and a spasm?
The sudden contraction or tightening of the muscle that usually lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes leads to cramping. Cramps are mainly caused due to muscle spasms that are involuntary contractors of one or more muscles. The spasms and muscle cramps are often experienced in the leg.
7. How is apple cider vinegar good for leg cramps?
One of the commonest causes of frequent muscle cramps is low potassium. Apple cider vinegar also has sufficient nutrients to control fluid balance in bodies, thereby preventing dehydration. Also, mix one tablespoon in a glass of warm water for drinking this tonic once daily to prevent muscle cramps.
8. Can muscle cramps be caused by acid reflux?
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, often causes heartburn, and it might not be related to the muscle cramps and joint pains that can be present at the same time due to the other conditions. Speak to your doctor once you believe that you have reflux disease or when you have any kind of concerning symptoms.
The bottom line
Evidence supports the use of these currently lacking purposes, while several people claim that ingesting mustard will help inward off or treat leg cramps.
However, recent studies have suggested a mechanism that would indicate that this is a popular condiment that has the potential to aid in preventing leg cramps.
The occasional use of mustard for cramps can prevent or get rid of the post-exercise muscle cramps that are likely safe for most people despite the lack of any scientific proof of the effectiveness of this purpose.
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