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Old 05-06-14, 10:41 AM   #26
Carbonfiberboy 
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Originally Posted by onthenickel View Post
This thread is about the only piece of info pertaining to my condition I can find, so anyone with any additional information would be most helpful.

Bit of background: Cat 4 racer, do about 250-350km per week. Eat fairly well (cake!), hydrate well, although could probably drink more during a ride, but hydrate a lot pre-and post-ride. I get these cramps, starting in quad, radiate out to glutes etc depending on how bad it is, always following 3/4 or more days off the bike. Like the others, I'd then have residual pain for about a day after the ride. If I didn't ride long enough on the first ride, I'd get the same pains on the next ride - it seems the cramps continue until I do enough cycling to get them out of my system - after that, I get on the bike with no pain at all until the next time I take >3 days off. On the rides themselves, it's a matter of stopping to relieve the pain, then after another 1/2km, pain comes back, stop....repeat.

I do a bit of trans-atlantic travel with work, and used to get it when I came back and got on the bike (or occasionally, milder episodes when walking). I initially put it down to being tall and in economy for long periods of time, so tried to avoid caffeine, alcohol, long periods of sitting down when on the plane, including waking and walking during overnight flights.

I went to a physician who thought it might be back related, so put me on a program of back strengthening exercises, and I did pilates in January and February, but due to work/kids/bike training this has taken a back seat (my fault, I know). Anyway, I thought I had cracked it, as I did 2 transatlantic trips in April with no pain, at all. I did do some 30 minute gym workouts on the bike on both occasions while I was away. But last week, I fractured a rib, so was off the bike from Monday to Friday. On Friday, when I tried to do a slow ride. I had the worst episode ever. It was as sore as I can ever remember, and took 3 rides for the pain to abate - even on the 4th ride I could feel a little pain that receded after 10/15km.

I have gone to a number of physicians about this. It may well be that I need to continue to work on strengthening my back and core, but I can't help feeling that this latest episode must be due to more than that, particularly after having no issues the month before. My urine is usually very clear, I haven't noticed anything odd there. Any ideas? Is there any value in having a blood test now, or should I wait til the next episode?

Thanks in advance, especially if you read all the way to the end of this post!
I doubt it's rhabdo, since the more you ride the better it gets. Rhabdo would be the reverse. You briefly experimented with back work and I think you're saying that may have made it better? If so, that's the only positive result you've had, it makes sense, and IMO is worth pursuing. You haven't mentioned stretching routines you may or may not have done.

Then there's the question of why cycling makes the cramps go away, and if it's back related, why cycling loosens up your back. Most folks it's the reverse.

Have a look at these links:
Aetiology of skeletal muscle 'cramps' during ex... [J Sports Sci. 1997] - PubMed - NCBI
A promising approach to effectively reduce cramp su... [PLoS One. 2014] - PubMed - NCBI

The results in the above studies are in line with known current best practices. Going with that second link, have a look at this gadget:
Compex Electrical Muscle Stimulation | Hammer Nutrition

That looks promising, considering your peripatetic lifestyle.

Looking at it from the core strengthening approach, I've had a "bad back" for many years and am now 68. The best thing I've ever found has been this book: Core Advantage.
One can do the routines anywhere there's a floor with some room and take 20-25 minutes a few times/week.

So, two possible palliatives.
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Old 05-06-14, 01:34 PM   #27
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Great, thank you, very helpful.
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Old 06-03-14, 10:23 AM   #28
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Sounds like DOMS.
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Old 08-15-15, 07:59 PM   #29
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This is the only place I've been able to find this. Everything else is about overworking and getting cramps while riding, not getting cramps because I didn't ride. I ride cramp free all year long, then if I miss 4 or so days, my legs start getting random cramps without any real exertion (think typical lazy weekend). I wonder if I am just pumping out the bad the rest of the time and not getting cramps, but when I stop that pumping it builds up and hurts. Rhabdomyolysis doesn't sound like what I based on the other symptoms, but the idea that it is caused by the breakdown of the muscles (like not using them for a period) makes sense. I guess I need to get that checked just in case (sounds pretty scary).

DOMS most definitely doesn't fit the bill unless somehow my riding hold it at bay for months at a time until I take a vacation... That doesn't make sense. Like I said, I do 80-100 miles a week, biking every work day, all year.
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Old 08-15-15, 11:34 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by AstroEng View Post
This is the only place I've been able to find this. Everything else is about overworking and getting cramps while riding, not getting cramps because I didn't ride. I ride cramp free all year long, then if I miss 4 or so days, my legs start getting random cramps without any real exertion (think typical lazy weekend). I wonder if I am just pumping out the bad the rest of the time and not getting cramps, but when I stop that pumping it builds up and hurts. Rhabdomyolysis doesn't sound like what I based on the other symptoms, but the idea that it is caused by the breakdown of the muscles (like not using them for a period) makes sense. I guess I need to get that checked just in case (sounds pretty scary).

DOMS most definitely doesn't fit the bill unless somehow my riding hold it at bay for months at a time until I take a vacation... That doesn't make sense. Like I said, I do 80-100 miles a week, biking every work day, all year.
This is typical ideopathic cramping. My guess is that it's a circulation or electrolyte thing. Circulation because that's less when you're not riding. Electrolyte because . . . Anyway, take a Tums and an electrolyte pill or try a cal/mag cap or sometimes one then the other. Gotta experiment.
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