Home Remedies for Leg Cramps

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at home cures and remedies for leg cramps

While leg cramps usually affect adolescents, beginner exercisers and athletes, overweight individuals, and people over the age of 65 – nearly everyone will experience a leg cramp at some point in their life. They feel awful and sometimes scary to a first-time victim, which makes home remedies for leg cramps a good thing to become familiar with.

What are Leg Cramps?

A muscle cramp is a sudden, uncontrolled contraction of a muscle [1] that mostly affects the skeletal muscles in the calf (crossing the ankle and knee), the hamstring (crossing the knee and hip), the quadriceps, and arch of the foot. Sometimes, leg cramping is also referred to as a “charley horse.”

Causes and Symptoms

The exact cause of leg cramps is not completely understood, but there are risk factors that place some individuals in the line for suffering more discomfort. Muscle fatigue, heavy exercise, dehydration, high weight, imbalances in electrolytes, and certain kinds of medications can bring on leg cramps. The way you exercise can also contribute to leg cramping, such as increasing activity too fast or trying out a new routine that your body is not used to.

Usually, involved muscles experience abrupt, intense pain. When leg cramps strike, you may feel mild twitches and sudden throbbing. Muscles become harder than usual. They feel tense and some show visible signs of twitching [2]. The majority of cramps resolve on their own within a few seconds, but some can last for more agonizing minutes. A lot of people also battle leg cramps in the middle of the night.

Leg Cramp Home Remedies

To prevent and treat the muscle cramps that seem to strike at the most inopportune moments, it’s suggested to equip yourself with the knowledge of the following home remedies for leg cramps:

a) Rooibos Tea:

Before going to bed, try drinking a cup of rooibos tea. The vitamins and minerals in the beverage can help with leg cramping.

b) Honey:

Some swear that to prevent a recurrence of cramps in the legs and feet during the night, take two teaspoons of honey with your meals on a regular basis.

c) Apple Cider Vinegar:

High in potassium, a mixture of one teaspoon of honey and two teaspoons of vinegar added to a warm glass of water can help treat and prevent leg cramps.

d) Hot Shower:

The heat from a hot shower helps relax cramped leg muscles.

e) Mustard:

When you eat mustard, the body uses the acetic acid to make acetylcholine, which acts as a stimulant for your leg muscles.

f) Water:

It’s important to stay hydrated in order to fight leg cramps because a dehydrated body is more prone to muscle mishaps. Don’t forget to drink fluids at least 20 minutes before, during, and after exercise.

g) Stretching:

Before working out, relaxing the muscle fibers with a good stretch can help prevent cramps in the legs. Cooling down after exercising can also transition the body into recovery. If prevention does not work, try gently stretching a muscle to ease away a leg cramp.

h) Massage:

Cramped leg muscles respond to gentle massage. Some people apply the warmth of a heating pad to initiate relaxation.

i) Stretch Your Calf:

Before a calf muscle cramp increases in discomfort, stretch by standing about 2 to 2 ½ feet from a wall and lean into the wall. Place your forearms against the wall with the knees and back straight. Your heels should make contact with the floor.

j) Sports Drinks[3]:

The electrolytes (like sodium and potassium) and liquid offered in a bottle of Gatorade or Powerade helps replace the fluids loss after participating in a sport or vigorous physical activity.

k) Flex Your Ankle:

Soothe a leg cramp by flexing the ankle while pulling your toes up toward your head. This stretch is done while lying in the bed or on the floor. The leg should be as straight as possible.

l) Warm Bath:

Soaking in a warm bath can help relax leg cramps, as well as the rest of your body.

m) Vinegar:

Some people have found relief with their leg cramps by rubbing down with vinegar. Soak a cloth in vinegar and apply to the joints and other parts of the leg.

n) Lemon:

To treat leg cramps that emerge after a hard workout, drink a glass of lemon water with a pinch of added salt.

o) Epsom Salts:

The magnesium found in Epsom salts helps treat the pain of leg cramps when added to a warm bath.

p) Pickle Juice:

The acetic acid found in pickle juice leads to the production of acetylcholine, which is a stimulant for the muscles in your legs.

q) Green Tea:

Drink a cup of green tea with added healing herbs, such as cloves and ginger, to ease the pain of leg cramps.

r) Coconut Oil:

Thoroughly massage in coconut oil to treat severe leg pain caused by cramps.

s) Elevate the Leg:

When a leg cramp emerges, promote the flow of blood away from the limbs and towards the heart with elevation. When coupled with rubbing down the legs, gravity can encourage a quicker recovery.

t) Vitamin E:

If you frequently experience leg cramps in the middle of the night, you may want to increase your intake of vitamin E to prevent recurrences.

u) Magnesium:

Leg cramps associated with a mineral deficiency or hormonal imbalance may respond to an increase of magnesium in your diet. Include foods, such as fish (especially halibut and mackerel), tofu and spinach, in your diet. Dried pumpkin seeds also deliver a healthy dose of magnesium.

v) A Quick Pinch:

To gain instant relief from a leg cramp, try a little pinch that mimics an acupressure technique. Consider grabbing your upper lip between your thumb and index finger, and squeezing for about 30 seconds.

w) Up Your Mineral Intake:

When leg cramps are frequent, you could need a boost in your mineral intake. Some people suffer chronic cramping when they’re not getting enough calcium and potassium. It is suggested to increase your consumption of low-fat milk, yogurt, bananas, and potatoes.

x) Chamomile Tea:

The amino acid glycine that is found in chamomile tea helps to relax muscles. Drink five cups of the brew per day for two weeks to ease cramping of the legs.

Resources

[1] http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/sprainsstrains/a/legcramp.htm
[2] http://www.medicinenet.com/muscle_cramps/article.htm

[3] http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2009/02/03/what-the-eff-is-an-electrolyte-is-gatorade-the-real-deal/

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  • Len Crouse

    I suffered from leg cramps for years. I starting getting them weekly and it was pure hell! Usually in bed at night. That was 2 years ago. I haven’t had any since. My cure is Sport thigh/ calf supports I wear them at night and the cramps are gone! Amen!

  • sha-zam

    During my mentraul cycle the worst pain was in my back and in my legs. When I lived in new hampshire it was freezing cold and my body doesn’t take well to cold weather seeing how I’m short and have no body mass… Normally I walk constantly around (when I’m in florida, which I am now thank goodness!) The best things in the world were- Walking, water, massage, heat, elevation, and SLEEP. If the pain is hurting you so much you can’t sleep and if your like me and detested taking medication, Drink some sleepytime tea by celestial or if your lucky to find this like my mom did Natural sleep pills. I am an insomniac and have very hard time sleeping and I refuse to take meds. She brought this home I read the labeling and the ingrediants are naturally made things. I gave it a try and I fell asleep and woke up refreshed and not all drozy and this way you won’t think of the pain and you do most of your healing in your sleep.

  • Bettie Mae

    BANANAS. A banana a day will definitely help the leg cramps due to certain medications. I recently told this to a friend and was soon informed that the leg cramps stopped the very first day. He accidentally missed a day and felt the cramps again the next. So, he went back to the daily banana routine and immediately had relief the next day. It’s the potassium in the banana that does the trick.

  • john walsh

    For leg cramp use a bar of soap. Just open package of soap and put the bar down beside your toes.It really does work for most people no idea why but has worked for most people i have told