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Cramps under ribcage

For years, my brother has been experiencing what seem to muscle cramps under his lower ribs; he says people have thought he was having a heart attack because of the way the cramps make him clutch his stomach and lean backwards in pain. My father has suggested quinine, but it's unavailable nowdays. The doctor doesn't seem concerned; however, my brother is very incapacitated by these spasms. I read magnesium/calcium suppliments may help; also, tonic water containing any quinine, as well.

Please give me some ideas I may pass along to him. Thanks!

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Avatar universal
I have suffered for years from occassional cramping deep within my rib cage.  I thought it was because I am sedentary but exercise - yoga, strength training, etc. - did not help.  I tried calcium supplements but they didn't seem to work either.  

Over time, the cramping became more frequent, and I noticed that some days I would get cramps in my feet and in my legs.  I did not have to be doing anything strenuous to provoke the cramping.  I could just be bending over to tie my shoes or reaching down to pet my dog.  I even got cramps from leaning down to pull the covers over me in bed.  I was terrified that this mysterious condition would spread to my heart and eventually kill me.  

My doctor told me to do core-strengthening excerises which proved useless.  BTW, I am otherwise healthy - overweight and out of shape but no diabetes or other diseases or disorders.  I finally gave up because I could not find a remedy.  

Recently I decided to lose weight.  The only way that works for me is to use an online food planner to monitor calories.  The online calculator that I had used for years was no longer available so I reluctantly started the learning curve for using caloriecount.com.  One of the bonus features of caloriecount.com is the fact that it gives you an analysis of your nutrient intake.  I immediately noticed that my potassium and calcium levels were really low.  Further research told me that low potassium may be related to heart attacks and strokes and, yes, cramping.  

Around the first of the year, I started forcing myself to eat a minimum of 4700 mgs (recommended dietary intake) daily which isn't always easy on a restricted calorie diet.  It required that I eat foods that I would not have otherwise considered diet worthy - like potatoes and bananas.  Potassium is particularly a bugger because there isn't an OTC potassium supplement; it all has to come from food.  Calcium, on the other hand, was easy.  I watch the level that I am consuming from food and, if I need more on a given day, I take a calcium supplement.  

Bottomline is: I haven't had a cramp in 3 weeks!  I can bend over and twist - whatever I want - and I don't end up writhing in pain.  I have to believe that it is the potassium because calcium alone has not worked in the past.  (It hasn't been weight loss either because I have only lost 5 pounds so far, and I have been down more than that in the past and still cramping.)  I urge you to give this remedy a try.  

One tip:  Low sodium V-8 juice (which I loathe) has a TON of potassium.  I drink up to  two 11.5 ounce cans daily (as needed).  

Good luck!
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Avatar universal
Tonic water has quinine and can be purchased at Wal-Mart...it works when I get cramping anywhere...pickle juice also works...
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