It’s the middle of the night, as you roll over in bed you stretch out your feet a little bit and, your calf is in spasm, a muscle cramp as taken over and you just want it to stop.
It can be very painful, and it’s not a normal function of the body for muscle groups to be in spasm, so what is going on? Often a spasm will occur when the muscle is overworked, but not all overworked muscles go into spasm. Pressing, rubbing or massaging the muscle doesn’t seem to affect the spasm while it’s occurring. There is another process occurring. This process begins in the spinal cord. Motor neurons control muscle activity. In order for the muscle to continuously fire, the signal has to come from the spine, muscles do not work on their own.
Knowing this information, the question of “What if there is a way to break the pattern by stimulating the brain?” came to a researcher after a long distance kayaking trip where he and his fellow traveller were both struggling from spasms. His specific niche of research was imaging ion channels in the tongue, esophagus and stomach. He theorized that a stimulus to the brain via these channels could shut down the pattern of firing in the muscle group.
His solution; A liquid tonic with spices like ginger and capsaicin, which in his research had a positive effect on muscle cramping, both in preventing them and helping alleviate them once they had begun.
After hearing about this for the first time this week, it reminded me of the Russian researcher A.D. Speransky, who was a student of Pavlov. In the 1920’s Speransky was also able to demonstrate that pathological states could be interrupted and health returned not fighting the irritant but by changing the state.
Not fighting the irritant, and stimulating the nervous system to return to a healthy state is a core concept of how I analyze the spine and nervous system. Instead of forcing an area that is tight, stuck or not flexible, the system can be coaxed to self-asses it’s own patterns and develop strategies to release the tension and return to a more sustainable pattern.
“’Don’t curse the darkness – light a candle.” – Chinese Proverb