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What are Home Remedies for Muscle Cramps?

Massages may help relieve muscle cramps.
Stretching may help to relieve muscle cramps.
Mustard may help prevent muscle cramps.
Chamomile tea may help to relax muscles.
Eating bananas may help with muscle cramps.
Honey may prevent foot and leg cramps during the night.
A hot shower or bath may help ease muscle cramps.
An ice pack can help with muscle cramps.
Foot cramps could point to a potassium deficiency, in which case potassium-rich foods like bananas might help.
Apple cider vinegar can ease muscle cramps.
A heating pad may help soothe muscle cramp.
Foods high in calcium, like milk, can help relieve cramps.
Prolonged periods of inactivity or sitting in the same position for too long can cause muscle cramps.
Staying hydrated helps prevent cramps.
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  • Written By: Aniza Pourtauborde
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2014
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Everybody experiences muscle cramps at least once in a lifetime. Your back hurts as you bend down to lift a heavy box, or your arm tightens when you stretch up to reach for something placed high on a shelf. During these moments, the muscles contract, leaving you breathless with pain and unable to move.

Muscle cramps occur most often in the legs, arms and back. They happen due to muscle overuse or strain, injury or dehydration, or after a prolonged period of inactivity, such as sitting in the same position for too long. If you suffer from muscle cramps, here are a few self-care methods that you can apply at home:

1. Gentle massages. Rub the tightened knots in your cramped muscles slowly and gently in the natural direction of the muscles. This relieves the contracted muscles by improving blood circulation in the affected area.

2. Hot showers. Take a hot shower or a warm bath. Let the hot water flow longer over the cramped areas. Make sure the water temperature is as hot as you can bear, as this helps to relax the muscles.

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3. Stretching. For muscle cramps in your calf, stretch your leg with toes pointing upwards and towards the head. Hold this position for 30 seconds. This also eases cramps in the back of the thighs. For muscle cramps in your front thigh, pull your foot on the affected side towards your buttocks and hold for 30 seconds. Plan a good stretching regimen and follow it regularly to prevent future muscle cramps.

4. Cold or heat treatment. Rub an ice pack over the cramped area for ten minutes or until it turns red, an indication that the blood cells are heating the muscles. Alternatively, you can use a heating pad to relax and stimulate blood circulation to the muscles.

5. Healthy diet. If you have muscle cramps often, your body may be lacking certain minerals such as calcium and potassium. Consume high-calcium foods like skim milk and yoghurt. Additionally, include potatoes and bananas in your diet to increase your potassium levels. Consult your doctor or nutritionist for advice on a balanced diet plan.

6. Hydration. Dehydration is a common cause of muscle cramps. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to continuously replenish lost fluids.

7. Folk remedies. Chamomile tea contains glycine, an amino acid that relaxes the muscles. Drink five cups (1.2 liters) daily for two weeks to relieve muscle cramps. Honey can prevent recurring foot and leg cramps during the night. Regularly take two teaspoons (10 ml) of honey with meals.

Mustard and pickle juice have acetic acid, which helps produce acetylcholine, a stimulant for your leg muscles. Take a spoonful (15 ml) of mustard or a few ounces (grams) of pickle juice to prevent leg cramps. Apple cider vinegar is rich in potassium. Mix one teaspoon (5 ml) of honey and two teaspoons (10 ml) of vinegar in a glass of warm water and drink this mixture.

An Ayurvedic solution is to saturate a tub of hot water with a homemade teabag of brown or black mustard seeds. Immerse your feet in this tub for 20 minutes to relieve your muscle cramps. Herbal massage oil contains one cup (237 ml) of extra-virgin or almond oil and herbs in tincture form such as ½ ounce (14.2 g) of lobelia, 1 ounce (28.3 g) of cramp bark and 1¼ ounce (35.4 g) of willow bark or wintergreen. Store this massage oil in a jar and use it to massage your cramped muscles.

These self-care methods are useful to overcome muscle cramps. Nevertheless, if you are doing everything right and still experiencing cramps, consult your doctor immediately.

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anon931281
Post 14

I take 3 tablespoons of plain apple cider vinegar (in 1/2 cup of vegetable or orange juice) at bedtime prevent my calf/foot cramps. Tart, tasty, healthy. An altogether beneficial drink.

billcrain
Post 12

I have been a long term sufferer of intense, spontaneous calf cramping and knotting-up that would wake me up at night and last for up to ten minutes before gradually subsiding. I would awake in pain (often severe)and my calf would feel like there was an egg-sized rock embedded in it. These episodes usually occurred once or twice a week, although there were weeks when they were more frequent and other weeks when they were absent. I had not gone a month without a serious episode for many years. Although the knot would always go away, when the knotting was particularly painful or prolonged, I always worried that "this time" it would not go away on its own. I developed a self test that involved gently tensing my calf muscle before getting out of bed to see if whatever was causing this problem was finally gone. Unfortunately, every time I performed this self-test, the knot started to form and I abruptly stopped the test. I am the president and CEO of a company that patents, manufactures and sells dietary supplements. Our first product, Endorphinate®, is intended to help relieve physical and emotional distress. I have now been using Endorphinate® for over 3 months and have had no calf knot and no positive self-evaluation. We are offering Endorphinate free of charge to anyone who suffers from night-time calf knots to try. Just Google "nighttime calf knot", go to our web site and and fill out our Leg Knot Survey to get the coupon code for your free sample of Endorphinate®.

anon233573
Post 11

I have been a long term sufferer of intense, spontaneous calf cramping and knotting-up that would wake me up at night and last for up to ten minutes before gradually subsiding. I would awake in pain (often severe)and my calf would feel like there was an egg-sized rock embedded in it. These episodes usually occurred once or twice a week, although there were weeks when they were more frequent and other weeks when they were absent. I had not gone a month without a serious episode for many years. Although the knot would always go away, when the knotting was particularly painful or prolonged, I always worried that "this time" it would not go away on its own. I developed a self test that involved gently tensing my calf muscle before getting out of bed to see if whatever was causing this problem was finally gone. Unfortunately, every time I performed this self-test, the knot started to form and I abruptly stopped the test. I am the president and CEO of a company that patents, manufactures and sells dietary supplements. Our first product, Endorphinate®, is intended to help relieve physical and emotional distress. I have now been using Endorphinate® for over 3 months and have had no calf knot and no positive self-evaluation. We are offering Endorphinate free of charge to anyone who suffers from night-time calf knots to try. Just Google "nighttime calf knot", go to our web site and and fill out our Leg Knot Survey to get the coupon code for your free sample of Endorphinate®.

anon170424
Post 10

I am curious if anyone has taken any antibiotics like Cipro and has had spasms in their stomach, back and arms. I had a allergic reaction and every since been having spasm. Have been tested for tons of stuff but they everything is normal that my body is still reacting to the dislike for the drug. I did hear the Slow Mag was good.

anon147288
Post 9

Of course the article falls into the same groove, a completely wrong advice - drink milk. milk has been proven to lower calcium in your body, but everybody mindlessly repeats the same old mantra.

anon145952
Post 8

I sometimes suffer with bad muscle spasms. they occur in my rib area under my left and right breast, back, arms and sometimes in the calf of my legs. Shat is causing me to have these mostly all the time? i don't even have to be doing anything to get them! At times they are so bad I've almost come close to calling an ambulance to come and take me to the hospital.

anon142788
Post 7

For the type II diabetic, take two teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar three times a day. This will alleviate the cramps and also help to stabilize blood sugar levels as well. It needs to be the cloudy kind you only find in the natural foods section of your grocer. The regular processed apple cider in the vinegar section has been cooked and filtered and has lost 90 percent of its healthy benefits.

anon112629
Post 6

Try Slo Mag; it's slow release magnesium. Take two tablets daily. I swear that it will work! I buy Mag 64, a generic brand, and it's only around $4 at Sams club. I promise it works.

amarellis
Post 5

I am suffering from foot and leg cramps so badly. Last night I woke up crying it hurt so much. I tried to walk it off and the other foot cramped! It also was turning outward! I had a blood test today to determine if there is a circulation problem.

I am type 2 diabetic. I was recently put on Crestor and my diabetes doctor changed my metformin to another drug. Maybe that's it. I don't know. I bought tonic water and gatorade and am drinking it now and took 160 mg of St. Josephs baby aspirin because I did not have asprin in the house.

Any suggestions? I can't use the bar of soap as my puppy will eat it!

anon53510
Post 4

I had severe feet, leg, and ankle cramps for about 3-4 years that would occur as often as 5-6 times a night. I tried vitamins, yoga, Tai Chi, potassium, exercising, massaging muscles, applying heat, and drinking more water, none of which helped. I did two things that quickly and dramatically decreased the onset and severity of my muscle cramps: 1) consulted with a foot specialist which resulted in doing feet exercises and purchasing athletic shoes that support my feet, and 2) (most importantly) worked on improving and strengthening my posture. I've found that a good measure of posture is to stand with your back against a wall. Your heels, seat, shoulder blades and head should touch the wall. Your shoulders should be pulled back and chest lifted up. For the past two months or so, I've been walking (at a good pace) about five days a week for at least 30 minutes a day, while making sure that I am walking tall and in good posture.

I also use hand weights at least once a week (every other day), to help strengthen the muscles that support a good posture. This has made a dramatic difference for me. I've recently met with a personal trainier and am developing a weight lifting plan to help me strengthen my body and improve my muscular-skeletal system in a manner that is safe for me. If your muscle cramping appears to be muscular-skeletal in nature, I strongly suggest that you consult with your doctor to determine the best way for you to strengthen your body and improve your posture. I hope this helps!

anon39324
Post 2

I tried the bar of soap and my feet smelled good but the cramps stayed all night.

anon5050
Post 1

This is new and different but I swear it works. I am prone to muscle spasms very badly and I read about and tried putting a bar of soap under the covers when you sleep, I know, that's what I thought too. But it's working so far and it's been a month. If I get a spasm I put a bar of travel soap (don't use anti-bacterial, don't know why) and it really works. Now this is one thing that you can't dream is working, it really works. I put the little bar on my worst one in my back and it helps tremendously. The rest either don't come or go away immediately. You don't even have to wait for it. I rubbed one on my foot, you know how bad those are, and it went away, not from the rubbing either. This works. I hate drinking vinegar, prefer orange juice. Works just as well but not as well as the soap. Nobody knows why it works and I want to know how they found out.

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