First you need to be sure that the pain is purely of a muscular source. If the pain feels more like a tightness or you have any challenges breathing you should visit your family medical doctor for a couple of simple heart related tests to rule out anything that may be more serious. A stress test would be ideal. If the pain extends into your neck, into your jaw, down either arm or if you experience dizziness with the pain, you should get to an emergency room. If the source is strictly muscular, there are a few things you can try for cramping and spasms. First is to ensure you are well hydrated. Make sure you are getting 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day (and if you drink caffeinated drinks, look at reducing the amount of these you are having as they will dehydrate you). As cramping is often caused by an electrolyte imbalance in the body, look at increasing your intake of a few key ones such as potassium and magnesium. Potassium is found in coconut water, Swiss chard and spinach. Magnesium is also found in Swiss chard and spinach but is also relatively high in sunflower seeds and nuts. It is also relatively safe to supplement with magnesium but I usually recommend getting a supplement combining both calcium and magnesium together in a 1:1 ratio or, if possible, a 2 part magnesium to 1 part calcium supplement (take with food to help with absorption). If too much magnesium is taken it can lead to loose stools/diarrhea. Seeking the help of a registered massage therapist can also be very beneficial as they can help to relax the muscles, promote proper circulation within the muscles and help to reduce lactic acid levels held within the muscles which can contribute to spasms.
Hope this helps!
Jeff Appelmann, BSc, ND
Menen Centre For Optimum Health/Canadian Integrative Cancer Centre
Oakville and Toronto, Ontario
Response by Jeff Appelmann BSc, ND