NSAIDs are OK for muscle pain, but may hinder training progress in the long run (eg, Shoenfeld 2012 and Mackey 2013). The electrolyte theory of muscle cramps has been kinda debunked in some contexts (eg, Braulick et al., 2013, Miller 2014, and McKenney et al., 2015)… although I still recommend all the broths & stocks (homemade, store-bought, chicken, beef, seafood, etc.) for just about everything.
But even when pickle juice works (eg, Miller et al., 2010), it kicks in way sooner than if it worked via replenishing electrolytes – more likely works via the acidity activating specific ion channels.
What do we have left?
Google Image Search came through pretty epic for this…
The TRP theory is pretty interesting and goes something like this:
We have sensory nerves that go from the periphery (eg, skin, tongue, GI tract, etc.) to the spinal cord & brain, to convey specific sensory information (eg, pain, heat, cold, etc.).
We have motor nerves that go from the brain & spine to the periphery (eg, muscles).
In some contexts which require a rapid response, like touching a hot stove, there is a very rapid feedback:
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