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Ask Dr. Gott 4/15
Reader cures cramps with B-6
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: The cures for leg cramps discussed in your column have been of interest to me because 50 years ago, my husband and I were troubled with them. At that time, I read an article written by a doctor who recommended vitamin B-6. We began taking one tablet a day, and a short while later, the cramps were gone.
    I am still enjoying life at 90 and still take one tablet every day. I've actually been afraid to stop for fear those pesky cramps will return. Vitamin B-6 seems to have other attributes as well, so I'll stick with the program.
    DEAR READER: Vitamin B-6 assists the body in producing antibodies to fight many diseases. It promotes red blood cell production, may fight cancer and fights the formation of the potentially toxic chemical homocysteine. I'm not surprised to hear it helps with your leg cramps, too.
    This water-soluble vitamin is readily found in milk, cheese, eggs, fish, legumes, carrots, spinach, peas and cereal grains. The body cannot store B-6, and excess is secreted through the urine.
    I continue to be informed of alternative cures to everyday ailments and will add yours to the list. Thank you for writing.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Vitamins and Minerals." Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: Recently, I began experiencing a burning sensation on my skin in a line that runs from my lower shoulder blade out to the midpoint of the back of my upper arm. That sensation has turned into an intermittent throbbing pain. I am wondering if I have stretched a nerve that would cause the pain, as I have recently added stretching to my exercise routine. The new exercise involves sitting on a seat while holding onto handlebars and rolling backwards to stretch my arms and back. I've also been hanging from a bar, allowing my 120 pounds of body weight to stretch me. If this is a nerve stretch, is there anything that can be done for the pain?
    DEAR READER: My initial response to your question is that you are overstretching during exercise, but there are numerous unanswered questions that should be addressed. What precedes the pain? Are you lifting your arms over your shoulders, reaching backward during exercise or eating dinner with repeated arm movement? Does the pain occur when you roll over in bed, shower or reach behind your back to scratch?
    You indicate your throbbing pain is intermittent. How long does it last? Does it only follow exercise workouts, or does a stressful drive across town trigger the pain? Could the pain actually be from your rotator cuff and travel to your arm? Do you play tennis or another racquet sport that could contribute to rotator-cuff aggravation? If this is the case, alter your exercise routine, whatever it is, to allow the muscles time to heal.
    Consider taking an anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen for pain relief. Once the pain disappears, you can reintroduce the activity on a limited basis, gently stretching muscles little by little until you reach a level of activity with which you are comfortable.

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