How do you handle muscle cramps during a match. One story

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by jchamilt, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. jchamilt

    jchamilt Rookie

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    I have been playing tennis for over 55 years and have had problems with muscle cramping since I was a teenager. About 3 weeks ago I had to retire when I was ahead 3-0 in the third set of the finals of the ******* Clay Courts Championships. When I went to the Tournament Director to tell him why I was retiring he said takes some Tums. Tums is a calcium carbonate tablet that is used for acid stomach. I took three Tums tablets and was surprised that the cramping went away in a few minutes. Last weekend I was playing in the semi finals of the ******* Hard Court Championships and won the first set 6-3. At 5 all in the second set I started to get hand cramps again. I said to my self if I do not win this set I will retire. Well I lost 7-5, but decided to start the third set, since after a 10 minute break I felt ok, but knew that I probably would get cramps again and have to quit. Luckily for me I sent my wife to the store to get Tums during the break between the second and third sets. I broke serve to go ahead 3-2, but during the change over my hand made a fist that I could hardly open. I took 3 Tums tablets. To make a long story short I went on to win 6-4

    As noted I have been fighting cramping for nearly 50 years. I have investigated this issue and found an article in a medical journal that related specifically to tennis:

    Bergeron MF. Heat cramps during tennis: a case report. [Case Reports. Journal Article] International Journal of Sport Nutrition. 6(1):62-8, 1996 Mar.

    In this article the patient needed to take more salt prior to playing. I was adding salt to my Gadoraid in the above matches and still got cramps. Maybe I didn’t add enough salt. My doctor is checking my magnesium levels since he said that could be part of the problem. I know that I perspire more than the average and probably loose electrolytes more than most due to more perspiration.

    What do you do if you get cramps during a big match? From now on I carry Tums in my tennis bag.
     
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  2. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    Wow..I had heard that about TUMS for cramps before but never tried it. It's great to hear another testimonial on the effectiveness.

    I also suffer from cramping more frequently than I'd like to admit no matter how hydrated and "balanced" I think I am. About 10 years ago, I suffered a severe case of cramps that required several IV's and prescription muscle relaxers. Prior to that my tolerance regarding physical exertion in the hottest of weather was near-superhuman. After that episode, my body will throw a cramp in 90-degree plus weather if I sneeze too hard. Like you, I perspire A LOT and when it dries I'm caked in salt. I may need to talk with my doc as well because throwing a case of severe cramps while driving is something fear in the extreme.

    I don't have any other potential remedies (other than to manage the intensity of matches but that can be difficult given the opponent). I'm definitely going to give the TUMS a shot.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
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  3. lkdog

    lkdog Rookie

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  4. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

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    Interesting thread -- you can bet that Tums are going in my bag too. In addition to relieving cramps they could sooth my stomach if its one of those days where my game is making me sick to my stomach :)
     
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  5. 10sfreak

    10sfreak Semi-Pro

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  6. Loco4Tennis

    Loco4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    well, here are my 2 cents,
    some say its lack of salt, electrolites, fitness, and provably many more reasons,
    since there are lots of people looking into salt tablets for this cure, i started thinking and searching for ways to get salt in your body without the tablets

    to get salt into my system, i tought:
    sunflowerseeds, salted kind, good for prematch time, watching tv, and what ever time you have until match time, i remember having to stop eating these because they were too salty, my blood presure rose too high, but hey, this will put salt in your body,

    while searching online i found:
    pickle juice - i read online some where that football players often drink pickle juice to prevent muscle cranks; i can't say why, maybe some one here has heard of this one

    finally for electrolite hydration:
    gatorade, good for electrolites
     
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  7. Vik

    Vik Rookie

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    Has anyone tried quinine? I cramp a lot and had some post match after I was already cramping. I didn't cramp later that night like I usually would and was able to make my match the next morning. Not sure if it would help pre-match?

    I'm gonna try the pickle juice and salt tablets next tournament.
     
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  8. Mike Cottrill

    Mike Cottrill Hall of Fame

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    Wow, would never have guessed you would be the cramping type. Pickle juice would make me sick to my stomach. Have you had your urine PH tested? I think that would be good indicator on what approach would be best (like diet with more fruits or more proteins).. I assume this is muscle cramps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
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  9. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You need to salt load (just like you fluid load) before play. Gatoraid and all other Sports drinks are for fluid loading. Their electrolyte content is way too low to contitute salt loading. The one exception to this is pickle juice, it has a much, much higher salt content than Sports drinks and is specifically for salt loading. However, salt loading is quite easy to do with common foods like pretzels, no need for fancy/pricey products. If you start salt loading during the match, you're too late. Start the night before.
     
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  10. Loco4Tennis

    Loco4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    if i were to go for the pickle juice, i think i would not like it like that either, I would instead buy one of those packaged pickles from like 7/11(local USA comvenience store) and eat it, that has some juice in it, i would drink that too, the pickle provably has enough of what you need
    again, this is just what i came across while locking for home remedies for severe atthletic cramping

    one other person also mentioned THUMs tablets, forgot if it was on this thread
     
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  11. Loco4Tennis

    Loco4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    ha, thanks for coming on board, i was looking for someone to come back me on this,
    and just like you suggested, i mentioned that normal foods could do the trick, salt tablets are suppose to be bad if not used properly and i beleive unavailable because of it
    i did not think of pretzels, but i suggested sunflower seeds as a way to introduce the salt into your body at a slower pace, either while watching tv or waiting for a match
     
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  12. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the Tums Tip! I don't cramp, but if I start doing it, I'll give that a try.

    I usually get cramps a few hours after I play, if at all, when sitting down.

    -Robert
     
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  13. animasian

    animasian New User

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    I just got back from a tournament in Memphis, TN and it was VERY VERY hot! I met a trainer there named Cicero who supposedly worked with Andy Roddick. He told me that my cramps were probably mainly due to the severe heat and some advice on handling cramps:

    Before the match: Be prepared the night before - Roddick would drink 6 bottles of sports drink before going to bed! By the day of the match it may be too late to hydrate.

    During the match: According to Cicero, upon getting cramps (and also as a precaution) one of the best solutions is to put on some ice. This worked very well - for the rest of the tournament I used ice at every changeover and didn't cramp even though I played three matches a day, mostly three-setters, in 90-degree weather and very high humidity.

    After the match: If you got cramps one day and have to recover in time for your matches tomorrow, take an ice bath at night: fill the tub with cold water and add two-three bags of ice (from grocery store) and stay in for 12 minutes. At first I was skeptical and afraid of immersing myself in freezing cold, but it didn't turn out to be so bad and made my muscles feel a lot better.

    I hope this helps! Best of luck.
     
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  14. Vik

    Vik Rookie

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    It's bad man. I think you're more susceptible each time you cramp. And it happened several times when I was younger. That coupled w/ my first time playing tennis in the summer heat in 10 years....

    I eat lots of bananas leading up to/during tournaments, drink plenty of water/G2/pedialyte, but no luck. I've also heard chicken broth (very high sodium) may help. Although that will be weird to drink. We'll see next weekend if the extra sodium does the trick.
     
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  15. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    This is really stange, I am the kind of person that sweats a lot, and I mean a lot, however i never ever have cramps, actually never in my life have had an actual cramp, sometimes when i dance to much on a party i get some "kind of cramps" but inmediately i move my foot until it stops.

    I have done all kind of sports, always sweat a lot, never a cramp.

    The funnt thing is that I eat a lot of salty things, just because i like it, right know i am eating a whole can of pickles by myself, Do you think it may has something to do with my "crampless life".
     
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  16. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    I sweat very little compared to most, but cramp pretty badly, worse in cooler weather.

    J
     
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  17. Loco4Tennis

    Loco4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    i would say yeah
    i am not plagued by cramping, but sweat a lot also, i do get the occasional cramp when i dont hydrate my normal does now, play or no play, a litter of water is my required ammount daily, 2 litters easy when i am playing
    my salt intake and lots of it comes from the latin foods i eat at home
    this reminds me of the time i had to stop eating sunflower seeds because it messed with raised my blood pressure too much, too much salt, my lips would also get num from all the salt; so wgen i heard my cousin having this issue and his parents talking about having to special order salt tablets (even tought stores stopped carrying them), i immediattly suggested the sunflower seeds
     
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  18. Vik

    Vik Rookie

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    Mike - thanks for stringing the racquet. It was needed for 4 more matches. Unfortunately, I lost in the finals.

    My cramping problems are solved. LuckyR has given the best advice on this thread. It's not a matter of fluid loss for most of you.
     
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  19. Mike Cottrill

    Mike Cottrill Hall of Fame

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    Glad I could be of some help. Good news about the cramps. If you were going to cramp last weekend would have done it. 105 in the shade was a good test. Finals is a good run.
     
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  20. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Don't get hbp.
     
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  21. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Salt doesn't promote high BP in those without a diagnosis (it can, naturally in those who do).
     
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  22. jchamilt

    jchamilt Rookie

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    Question about ice and muscle cramps

     
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  23. jchamilt

    jchamilt Rookie

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    What is bhp?

    What is bhp?
     
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  24. jgn1013

    jgn1013 Semi-Pro

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    what did you do to solve your cramp issues??
     
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  25. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    hbp = high blood pressure

    bhp = brake horsepower
     
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