Muscular contractions

About the Disorder

Muscular contractions  are a very common problem occurring when certain skeletral muscles unvoluntarily contract, yet in a persistent way and causing intense pain.

 Hypertonia, rigidity and hardening of the muscle, perceptible by touch, which has gone out of control of the nervous system, are not the consequence of actual lesions of the muscle fibres, but are due to the occurrence of an unexpected and rapid movement, causing a stretching and distorsion of the fibres themselves.

 As a matter of fact, muscle contraction takes place as a form of defence of an overloaded muscle, stimulated beyond its physiological limits, and can last a few days (generally between 3 and 7 days). Predisposing factors can be of different nature: as regards sportsmen, muscular contractions can take place in the lack of proper warm-up or training; in daily life, the disorder can be the result of exposure to cold air, an abrupt and/or sudden and uncoordinated movement, and inadequate posture for prolonged periods.

 Typical examples of muscular contraction are lumbago, stiff neck, neck pain.

Whiplash is an acute form of lumbago (2 – 3 days), manifesting itself with intense pain in the lower back. It is accompanied by rigidity of the muscles, that can lead to immediate, though temporary, paralysis.

As for all contractures, causes of this traumatic event are to be traced in abrupt, sudden and not well controlled movements, for instance bending down or standing up suddenly, excessively straining   back muscles. Predisposing factors, that can potentially affect individuals of all ages, can be muscular fragility, lack of elasiticity, incorrect posture, traumatic events (accidents or falls), lifting excessive weights, cold, stress, herniated discs, dehydration, spinal arthritis.

Stiff neck is a contracture of the lateral muscles of the neck, therefore usually affecting one side of the neck which becomes painful; in many cases, the head can no longer rotate towards the affected side. It is a very common and unpleasant affection among the population, since the acute phase is characterized by intense pain that can propagate along the muscle bundles, extending down to the shoulders, arms and hands.

This type of contracture involves different predisposing factors and causes, such as: exposure of the neck to cold air, keeping hair wet too long, movements when muscles are “cold”, whiplash, inflammation, herniated cervical disk, overloading  muscles. Stiff neck can also be congenital due to a single-sided lesion of the sternocleidomastoid  muscle.

More specifically, cervical pain, also called cervicalgy, is a pain in the cervical spine. Patients typically say they have “neck pain”; it is very widespread among the populations and particularly painful, because due to the particular area where it occurs it can affect other anatomical areas, thereby altering their functionality.

Cervical pain is also due to simple contractions of neck muscles, or its onset can depend on degenerative diseases taking over with age, for instance cervical arthrosis. Cervical pain can crop up for short intervals during the day under particular conditions or it can continue persistently for several days, extending down to the arm.

 As regards temporary cervical pain, symptoms are abrupt, appearing rapidly and remaining stable, whereas when causes of cervical pain are imputable to the nervous system, symptoms tend to be slower to appear. In both cases, cervical pain implies: headache (on the forehead and above the eyes), nausea, stomach acidity, hot flushes, cramps, tachycardia, difficulty in swallowing, pain and rigidity in the neck, dizziness, loss of balance, weakness in the upper limbs, hearing impairments. Triggering factors in the case of cervical pain are: stress, intense lifestyle, whiplash, falls, work-related tension, remorses, incorrect posture, lack of physical exercise, excess of physical exercise, excessive strain on the neck muscles, unappropriate pillow, uncomfortable bed, bad posture while working at the computer or  sitting at a desk, incorrect posture while walking, stiff neck, compressed spine, compressed vertebrae, pulmonary or cardiac problems, arthritis, vertebral dislocations, fractures.

Cervical pain is therefore due to the triggering of an inflammation at the level of the rachis, but which can extend to the disks between the vertebrae and therefore pain extends down to the shoulders and arms, causing stitching pain, tingling, hypotonia as well as contractures of the trapezius and of the splenius, perceivable when touching the area.

Treatment of muscular contractions with conventional medicine

In case of muscular contractions, conventional medicine resorts to non steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIMS, an acronym standing for Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medicines), for instance those containing active constituents such as acetyl salicylic acid, ketoprofen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, nimesulide, etc., which are widely recommended and that act by inhibiting  synthesis of chemical mediators called “prostaglandins”: such action is at the origin of both the pharmacological activity as well as of numerous side effects.

That being said, it is clear that use of so-called NSAIMs, often turning into an “abuse” given their being easy to retrieve, is inevitably connected to several side-effects. Examples thereof are: inhibition of gastric protection, with consequences ranging from simple irritations to lesions, ulcera and gastrointestinal hemorrhage, inhibition of platelet aggregation, renal ischaemia, generic nephropathy and renal failure, etc.

This is why it is important to have a valid, natural alternative available that can provide relief to painful symptoms and rigidity connected to the problem of muscular contraction, without causing any side-effects whatsoever at the same time.

Nature can help you in case of muscular contractions

Our Approach

A natural and effective approach

BIOSTERINE® and muscular contractions

BIOSTERINE® not only combines the recognized, anti-inflammatory properties of phytocomplexes contained in Holy Basil and Salvia Officinalis, but actually amplifies and reinforces them, thanks to the high concentration of Rosmarinic Acid. Numerous studies have, in fact, confirmed the extraordinary properties of Rosmarinic Acid as an anti-inflammatory, investigating its potential mechanisms of action.

Rosmarinic Acid’s ability to inhibit inflammatory processes linked to the “complement system” (part of the immune system involved in the inflammatory process) is well-known; besides this specific mechanism of action, considered to be primarily responsible for the anti-inflammatory action of Rosmarinic Acid, it also acts by regulating cyclooxygenase, modulating  synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins (it has been pointed out that Rosmarinic acid contained in Ocimum sanctum exerts a 58% inhibiting action on cyclooxygenase).

The inflammatory efficacy of Ocimum sanctum extracts has turned out to be comparable with that of ibuprofen, of naproxen and of acetylsalicylic acid, yet without any side effects: in fact,  presence in the phytocomplex of other active constituents  enables the harmonization and modulation of the inflammatory action, with the typical harmful effects reported on synthetic medicines. This discovery confirms traditionally used Ocimum sanctum as a safe, reliable and effective anti-inflammatory.

The action of rosmarinic acid is also exerted through inhibition of hyaluronidase, an enzyme responsible for the degradation of hyaluronic acid, essential for the integrity of connective tissues, in particular cartilages. These properties in particular confer rosmarinic acid with a protective role on tissues, mostly joint tissues, and combines well with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Due to the above-mentioned considerations, BIOSTERINE® in association with specific plant extracts therefore represents the cornerstone of

a natural approach to eliminate inflammation and pain, day by day, alleviating typical symptoms related to muscular contractions, yet without any side-effects.

Nature can help you with…

BIOSTERINE®: as already highlighted, with its powerful health properties as an anti-inflammatory, BIOSTERINE® represents the starting point of our approach. Taken systemically, BIOSTERINE® exerts a marked anti-inflammatory action and reduces phlogosis of tissues affected. Its association with other specific, natural principles, makes it possible to reach even more remarkable results.

 Boswellia extract possesses recognised anti-inflammatory properties and is particularly effective in painful pathologies affecting the musculo-skeletal apparatus. Its activity is attributable to the presence, in its phytocomplex, of particular compounds called boswellic acids. Numerous clinical studies have confirmed its efficacy, comparable to synthetic medicines, yet without causing any side-effects whatsoever.

 The idea of including in the formulation both the dry extract with high titration in boswellic acids (75%) as well as the powder of the whole plant has proven to be a successful one. In fact, this association enables to obtain, on the one hand, adequate supply of the “nobler” forms of active constituents (boswellic acids), ensuring efficacy; on the other it makes it possible have the entire phytocomplex, for a synergistic and, at the same time, “smoother” effect on the organism, thereby ensuring that the produte will be totally  free from side-effects, also in the long run.

 Turmeric: turmeric is used in phytotherapy for the treatment of several pathologies involving inflammations, including ostheoarthritis. Its anti-inflammatory action is attributable to the presence of particular substances called curcuminoids. Research has pointed out that the efficacy of turmeric extract is linked to its activity on several physiological mechanisms involved in the inflammatory process.

Turmeric therefore acts on the inflammation with a 360° mechanism, without causing any side-effect whatsoever. Some of the fundamental mechanisms involved are as follows:

  1. a) inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 and lipoxygenase enzymes, with a resulting reduced production of prostaglandins and other inflammatory chemical mediators;
  2. b) inhibition of the release of numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines and interleukins;
  3. c) inhibition of the production of cell adhesion molecules involved in the early phase of the inflammatory cascade;
  4. d) inhibition of collagen degradation. The idea of including in the formulation both the dry extract, with high titration in curcuminoids (95%), as well as the powder of the entire plant has been a successful one: in fact, this association ensures maximum efficacy and lack of any side-effect whatsoever.

 Hyaluronic Acid: its physiological function is to maintain the right level of hydration in the connective tissue. It moreover acts as a cementing substance and as a kind of shock absorbing molecule, as well as being an efficient lubricant (synovial fluid/joints), preventing damage of the tissues. Its function is therefore fundamental for the health and functionality of skeletal tissue and of the joints.

For this reason, Hyaluronic Acid has been used since it was first discovered to treat joint disorders. Besides the excellent results obtained following its use in intra-articular infiltrations, it has recently been studied to verify its efficacy for oral intake.

Regarding the formulation, Hyaluronic Acid is therefore used in association with Biosterine®, Boswellia and Turmeric, to complete the anti-inflammatory activity of the product. Another activity of Hyaluronic acid has recently been identified, making it particularly useful within the formulation: as a carrier of active molecules to increase bioavailability, once ingested and hydrated, Hyaluronic Acid forms a bioadhesive matrix bringing the active constituents into the solution  and promoting their gradual release, saturating the mucosa and increasing contact time between active constituents and the intestinal mucosa itself.

It therefore ensures complete absorption of all constituents present in the phytocomplexes included (Biosterine®, Boswellia e Curcuma), optimizing their bioavailability and enhancing their efficacy.

The ideal form of intake of such plant ingredients is represented by swallowable tablets.

Lifestyle

Nutritional lifestyle adopted has a significant impact on all muscular-skeletal inflammatory problems. Even though often triggered by “postural factors”, Muscular contractions are no exception. Eliminating, or at least reducing foodstuffs that accentuate the chronic inflammatory state of the organism can led to remarkable benefits. In fact, certain foodstuffs act on our organism with a “pro-inflammatory” mechanism, contributing not only to trigger but to aggravate painful-inflammatory symptoms characterizing such disorders.

Primarily responsible in this sense are foodstuffs of animal origin, with the exception of fish (which, on the contrary, being rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, exerts an ant-inflammatory action); meat (in particular red meat) and eggs, instead are rich in arachidonic acid, a precurosor of numerous inflammatory mediators which are produced, in the so-called “inflammatory cascade”, by the activity of cyclo-oxygenase and lipo-oxygenase enzymes.

But the foodstuff mostly responsible for the insurgence of many inflammatory diseases, whether chronic or acute, is undoubtedly milk, together with all its derivatives. It is now certain that milk favours the increase of intestinal permeability and the introduction in the bloodstream of proteins – particularly casein, which trigger in the organism an immune stimulation, causing sensitization and a defensive, inflammatory response.

There is countless clinical evidence, as highlighted, for instance, in the book “Il mal di latte” (Milk sick) by Lorenzo Acerra (Marco ed.), mentioning cases in which arthritic patients, or subjects suffering from other kinds of muscular-skeletal problems, have improved their condition following the adoption of a diet that eliminated milk and dairy products; by contrast, reintroducing milk has led to the reappearance of symptoms.

In a natural approach aimed at solving osteo-articular and/or muscular problems, it is impossible not to recommend eliminating milk and its derivatives from the diet, as well as reducing the consumption of animal proteins.

 As a matter of fact, it is important to always remember that it is only by adopting a correct diet that the course of an illness can be changed, reducing the intensity and number of physical ailments present, extending periods of well-being and reducing relapse phases.

In brief, the following dietary programme is recommended:

 FOODS TO AVOID

  • Simple sugars (white sugar, glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, sorbitol, mannitol, lactose, galactose, maple juice, agave juice, honey, molasses)
    • Milk and dairy products
    • Packaged, preserved, refined food and drinks
    • Foods to which you are intolerant or allergic
    • Red meat

FOODS TO CONSUME WITH CAUTION

  • Refined cereals (white bread, pasta and glazed rice)
    • Whole cane sugar (only if necessary)
    • White meat and eggs (organic)

RECOMMENDED FOODS

  • Foods rich in fibres (preferably seasonal vegetables and legumes)
    • Seasonal fruit
    • Whole grain cereals and pasta (kamut, spelt, rye, oats, etc.)
    • Bluefish
    • Oleaginous seeds (nuts, almonds, sesame, sunflower)
    • Linseed and olive oil from first cold pressing

WATER

Drink at least two litres of water daily, at ambient temperature and away from meals, choosing water with fixed residue levels below 50 mg/L and with pH lying between 6 and 7.