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Does Caffeine Cause Leg Cramps

Do I Need To Have Any Testing Done To Diagnose My Leg Cramps

Night Time Leg Cramps Causes and Cures

Blood, urine and other routine tests are not helpful in diagnosing leg cramps but they may help identify previously undiagnosed medical conditions that have leg cramps as a symptom. For example, your healthcare provider will likely perform typical tests such as taking your blood pressure, and that can reveal cardiac and vascular risks.

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Muscle Spasms

  • Do you recommend that I see a physical therapist, sleep specialist, massage therapist or other specialist?
  • Do you think that my muscle spasms are a symptom of a disease?
  • Can you show me the best exercises I can do to stretch my muscles?
  • How can I help my child when they have a muscle spasm?
  • Can you show me the best massage techniques I can use to help with my muscle spasms?

Expert Offers Tips To Alleviate Avoid Muscle Cramps

“A muscle cramp is an involuntary contraction of the muscle so much more powerful than you can actually do on your own,” said Andrew Pritikin, a doctor of physical therapy, Pritikin Physical Therapy.

Pritikin says a prime example is a foot cramp. Most people try to stretch out their toes, but that’s not the correct way to fix it.

“The actual muscle is located back here . And so when you get those foot cramps, what you do is you have to physically put your fingers on the back side of that tibia, and you push in,” said Pritikin.

A “charley-horse” can happen in any of the four muscles of the hamstrings.

“The natural reaction is to bend the knee to make it shorter to get rid of the pain, but that’s only going to prolong it. You actually have to force yourself to elongate it and then keep the toes pointed up and stretch out,” said Pritikin.

No one knows for sure what causes painful muscle cramps, but there are theories. The first is muscle fatigue.

“It shortens up the joint and the muscle gets shorter and shorter, creating a lot of pain,” said Pritikin.

The second possible cause is dehydration. Pritikin says caffeine could cause cramps because it robs your body of water.

“For every one cup going in, a diuretic will have one-and-a-half-cups going out,” said Pritikin. “And so coffee and soda, those really don’t count as rehydration.”

One electrolyte replenisher many elite athletes use: Low-fat chocolate milk, a tasty way to keep muscle cramps at bay.

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Curing Cramping Through Caffeine Regulation

There are many causes for cramps:

  • Lack of conditioning
  • Electrolyte deficiency
  • Heres how to track down your source, and how to prevent cramps from reoccurring.

    I train hard everyday and maintain a clean diet, and still I suffer from the onset of cramps in my calves and stomach. They are painful, and worse then that when my muscles seize up my soccer game, skiing venture, or exercise bout is over.

    Perhaps I wasnt getting enough water?

    So I tried cutting out coffee for a month. If you are like me and drink a few cups a day, going cold-turkey will royally suck. I basically had flu-like symptoms for the whole weekend. Headaches I expected, but I literally felt ill for a few days. Well I recovered. It is well known that coffee is a diuretic, and so by eliminating coffee, I would increase intracellular water, and decrease cramping. Well such was my theory.

    Cutting out coffee stopped my Cramping

    Of course, that sucked because I love coffee. So I stayed off it, and I got far less cramps. However every now and then I would still get cramps the same cramps as before just not as often. Maybe, coffee wasnt the cause or maybe it was a catalyst my research continued.

    Your Heart Feels Like It’s Beating Out Of Your Chest

    5 Easy Ways To Treat Leg Cramps On Keto At Home

    It may come in the form of jitters or feeling your heartbeat in your throat, or even feeling like your heart is going to beat out of your chest.

    According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the consumption of energy drinks leads to “atrial fibrillation with high ventricular response ” in young people.

    Basically, those who consume energy drinks might experience their heart beating much more rapidly and irregularly than usual, which can increase your risk for stroke and heart failure.

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    Caffeine Adenosine And The Brain

    Most of the biological effects of caffeine results from antagonizing adenosine.

    Adenosine is a natural compound present in high levels in the body. It is found in every part of the body because it is a component of ATP , the energy molecule for cells.

    It is especially found circulating the nervous system where it plays other roles. Adenosine reduces brain activity and it is known to induce the lethargy necessary for some animals to hibernate.

    To produce its effects, adenosine reduces the activities of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, acetylcholine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

    Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the nervous system. Because it is soluble in both water and lipids, caffeine can cross the blood-brain barrier.

    Once it crosses over, it behaves like a non-selective adenosine receptor antagonist.

    Because caffeine is structurally similar to adenosine, it can easily bind to adenosine receptors. However, it does not activate them but prevents adenosine from binding to them. In this way, caffeine can increase the levels of the neurotransmitters normally suppressed by adenosine.

    Of the different classes of adenosine receptors discovered, the A2A class is the one with some relation to the dopaminergic pathway. These adenosine receptors are found all over the brain but mostly in the basal ganglia.

    Because caffeine blocks all adenosine receptors, it can maintain alertness by preventing adenosine from binding to A2A and causing sleepiness.

    When Should I Get My Leg Cramps Treated At The Emergency Department

    Go to the emergency department if a leg cramp lasts longer than 10 minutes or becomes unbearably painful. Also go if a leg cramp happens after you touch a substance that could be poisonous or infectious. For example, if you have a cut in your skin that touches dirt, you could get a bacterial infection like tetanus. Exposure to mercury, lead or other toxic substances should also be reason to go to the emergency department.

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    How Do I Stop A Leg Cramp

    Try forcefully stretching the affected muscle . Jiggle your leg, massage it, or force yourself to walk. It might also help to apply ice or heat use a heating pad or take a warm bath.

    Unfortunately, there are no pills or injections that instantly relieve a leg cramp when its happening. There are, however, ways that may prevent the cramp from happening in the first place .

    Do Bcaas In Energy Drinks Help With Muscle Cramps

    Night Time Leg Cramps Causes and Cures

    Yes, branched-chain amino acids do help with muscle cramps in certain individuals.

    This study of 8 individuals with cirrhosis of the liver found that BCAA supplementation had a significant impact on the frequency of muscle cramps.

    Healthline also notes that BCAAs can help reduce cramping for people with liver disease.

    There isnt much information available online about the impact that BCAAs have on the frequency of cramping for individuals that dont have liver disease or cirrhosis. This is a potential area for further clinical trials and testing that I would certainly be watching with a keen eye.

    If youre interested in conducting such a study, please contact me!

    Another study in the journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that BCAAs dont improve athletic performance, but can help with muscle recovery and the immune system.

    What all of this means is that BCAAs certainly help with cramps if you have cirrhosis of the liver, and they probably dont make cramps worse for you if you dont have liver problems, although more research is needed on that.

    Interestingly, the minimum effective dose of BCAAs is 91mg per pound of body weight, per day .

    This means that an adult male that weighs 175 pounds would need about 16,000mg of BCAAs to get the advertised benefits from taking them.

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    How Are Leg Cramps Diagnosed

    Your healthcare provider will need to know your medical history, medications and a description of what youre experiencing. Be specific. Report your symptoms to your healthcare provider and include the following information:

    • When the leg cramps started happening.
    • What your pain feels like.
    • When the cramps happen .
    • How long the cramps last.
    • Any other symptoms youre experiencing.

    Your healthcare provider will need to tell the difference between your leg cramps from other conditions that may resemble them:

    • Claudication.

    To distinguish those differences, your healthcare provider may:

    • Check the palpation of pulses.
    • Evaluate physical sensations such as pinpricks.
    • Test deep tendon reflexes.
    • Test the strength of your leg.

    When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About My Muscle Spasms

    See your healthcare provider if the spasms are unbearably painful, happen frequently or last for a long time. Also, talk to your healthcare provider right away if you have the following symptoms in addition:

    • Significant pain.
    • Swelling or numbness in the leg.
    • Changes in the skin of your leg.
    • Waking up over and over again with leg cramps.
    • If your leg cramps are stopping you from getting enough sleep.
    • If you have fluid abnormalities or electrolyte imbalances that youre aware of.

    See your healthcare provider immediately if youre concerned that your muscle spasms are a symptom of an underlying serious medical condition.

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    Magnesium Deficiency May Be A Problem For Many

    Some researchers believe that most leg cramps arise because of a magnesium deficiency.4 However, there is a lack of quality evidence to support this theory.5

    Magnesium is a crucial mineral that the body needs for more than 300 enzymatic reactions, including muscle contractions and neuro-muscular conduction of signals.6

    Magnesium calms muscles , nerves and the brain. When magnesium levels fall in these organs, they get twitchy, explain Dr. Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek in their book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.7

    As they note in their book, cramps during or after exercise or at night may be a sign that your body has a magnesium deficiency.8 However, that has been difficult to prove in scientific studies.

    In part, this may be because testing for magnesium deficiencies can be challenging and unreliable. Standard blood tests measure serum magnesium, but experts suggest what really matters is cellular magnesium levels, and those may be low well before it shows up on a blood test.9 Therefore, it is possible that someone may test normal for their magnesium level but still be deficient on a cellular level.

    In addition, subclinical magnesium deficiency meaning the deficiency is not yet showing outward symptoms may be a significant issue in the population at large. It is estimated that almost 50 percent of the US population does not meet the daily dietary requirement for magnesium.10

    Causes Of Leg Cramps In Seniors

    2. Drink More Water

    Aging causes a natural shortening of tendons and result in leg muscle cramps. It is estimated that about 75% of leg cramps occur at bedtime or during the night and can disturb the sleep pattern.

    Statistics indicate that most adults above the age of 50 will experience leg cramps at least once while adults over 60 years of age are 33% more likely to have a leg cramp at night at least once every two months . Night leg cramps in seniors are not uncommon.

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    When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About My Leg Cramps

    See your healthcare provider if your leg cramps are unbearably painful, happen frequently or last for a long time. Also, talk to your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms in addition to leg cramps:

    • Muscle cramps in other parts of your body.
    • Significant pain.
    • Swelling or numbness in the leg.
    • Changes in the skin of your leg.
    • Waking up over and over again with leg cramps.
    • If your leg cramps are stopping you from getting enough sleep.
    • If you have fluid abnormalities or electrolyte imbalances.
    • See your healthcare provider immediately if youre concerned that your leg cramps are a symptom of an underlying serious medical condition.

    When To Call The Doctor

    Pro Tip

    If you have leg cramps and theyre not going away with at-home treatments, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor to see if any other tests need to be done to determine the cause of the leg cramps and what can be done to treat them. Dr. Gimbel

    • You wake up several times a night or are not getting enough sleep because of cramps.
    • The cramps are very painful.
    • You have cramping in other parts of your body.

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    What Are Leg Cramps

    Leg cramps are painful and involuntary contractions in the calf muscles, but can also occur in the foot or the thigh.

    The pain often lasts for a few seconds or minutes before the muscles relax but they can sometimes last much longer. These may interfere with sleep or daily activities.

    Leg cramps can happen any time of the day, although some people mostly experience these muscle spasms at night.

    Leg cramps can be caused by medications, dehydration, a muscle strain from over-exertion, or pregnancy. But they can also be caused by a medical condition like restless leg syndrome or the more serious deep vein thrombosis. Identifying the cause is important to finding the right treatment or avoiding certain triggers.

    Most cramps will go away with at-home treatments like massaging the leg, gentle stretching exercises, light walking, or applying ice.

    Can Energy Drinks Help When I Have A Cramp

    Does salt prevent leg cramps? Or is salt actually causing you to cramp when you run?

    Energy drinks probably wont help you when you have cramps.

    Energy drinks contain caffeine, which is likely to contribute to increased cramps.

    Many energy drinks also contain sugar, which is also bad for cramps.

    Therefore, when you are suffering from cramps, its probably a good idea to give energy drinks a miss for a while.

    This Harvard study mentions that sports drinks might be a better choice than energy drinks with regard to reducing cramps because they contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium.

    I cant argue with that.

    However, Ill mention the same study that I mentioned above again because I find it so interesting.

    According to this study, the level of electrolytes doesnt have any impact on the frequency of cramps during exercise.

    Thats certainly interesting and I would like to see further studies on this in the future.

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    Leg Cramps In Seniors A Seriously Painful Experience

    Leg cramps in seniors tend to increase in frequency with aging. They are usually quite painful involuntary contraction of a muscle or a group of muscles in the thighs, calves or feet. If this contraction occurs for longer than a few seconds, it moves from being a muscle in spasm to a leg cramp. This article discusses the causes, symptoms, tips for relief and preventive measures for leg cramps in seniors.

    Leg cramps are quite common but generally come as a shock to an aging senior the first time they occur and can throw them into a panic. This article seeks to educate the aging senior about this unexpected occurrence.

    What Can I Do To Make Leg Cramps Go Away If They Happen

    You want to get rid of a leg cramp the moment it strikes. You might be finishing up an exercise routine, or you might be awakened in the middle of the night. In moments like that there are, unfortunately, no magical injections that can instantly relieve your pain. However, there are eight steps to take to possibly get rid of a leg cramp:

  • Stretch. Straighten your leg and then flex it, pulling your toes towards your shin to stretch the muscles.
  • Massage. Use your hands or a roller to massage the muscles.
  • Stand. Get up. Press your feet against the floor.
  • Walk. Wiggle your leg while you walk around.
  • Apply heat. Use a heating pad or take a warm bath.
  • Apply cold. Wrap a bag of ice in a towel and apply it to the area.
  • Pain killers. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with the pain.
  • Elevate. Prop up your leg after the cramp starts to feel better.
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    Does Red Bull Cause Cramping

    Red Bull may be a slight risk factor to increased cramping, but the impact it has is likely to be fairly small.

    Red Bull contains a moderate amount of caffeine, with 80mg per can. This amount of caffeine is unlikely to cause you much of a problem.

    However, as outlined above, almost all studies of caffeine and cramps suggest that caffeine does contribute to increased frequency of cramps. With that in mind, Red Bull may contribute to increased frequency of cramping.

    Also, regular Red Bull contains 27g of sugar per can.

    Also mentioned above, sugar can increase cramping frequency. Therefore, due to the presence of caffeine and sugar, Red Bull may increase the chance of you suffering from cramps.

    I personally would not suggest drinking Red Bull just for the high amount of sugar and calories, 27g and 110 respectively.

    Ive written extensively about Red Bull, including this very detailed post about whether or not Red Bull is bad for you which you should check out after reading this article.

    Fun fact, did you know that Red Bull was once banned in France?

    Also, if youre wondering what the difference is between Red Bull and Monster, I covered everything you need to know in my other article which I recommend you check out if you want to learn more about how these two leading brands are different.


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