Pulling a muscle sucks, and figuring out if it’s an actual strain that needs attention sucks even more. We’ve all experienced strains, cramps, soreness, and general tightness, but it doesn’t help that these all seem to cause varying degrees of similar pain. Here’s how to tell if it’s really a pulled muscle and what you can do about it.
Recently, 10 healthy male college students filed into an exercise laboratory at Brigham Young University in Utah to drink pickle juice. Many people involved in sports are convinced that the briny fluid combats muscle cramping. In a 2008 survey, a quarter of the athletic trainers interviewed said that they regularly dispense pickle juice to cramp-stricken athletes. Many also report that, in their experiences, the stuff quickly brakes the cramping. The athletic trainers have told researchers that they believe the pickle juice must be replenishing the salt and fluids the athletes had lost to sweat. But no laboratory science had verified that theory.
Leg muscle cramping is a big issue for runners, and it particularly gets a lot of play in marathon and ultramarathon circles. When cramps hit, there’s really nothing you can do but walk. The traditional argument for the causes of cramping boils down to one or both of the following factors…
We don’t know what cramping is, but we’re ruling things out.
It’s been months since I had leg cramps. It was in the pool, and I can’t remember why it would have occurred. I remember it being more frequent, for myself and others, when swimming after running. Most often, the cramps would be triggered by pushing off the wall when swimming laps. This is part of why I only do two of the three events (swimming, cycling, running) in a day.