Home remedies for leg cramps may offer the relief you seek for the painful condition. Strategies include massage techniques, herbal remedies, and other preventative methods.
Home Remedies for Leg Cramps
Before using home remedies for any condition that causes discomfort or disrupts sleep, check with your physician. Your doctor may find that the painful cramping in the legs is related to a medical condition. Treating the medical problem can provide relief.
Once medical problems are ruled out, a natural cure for night leg cramps may be in order. Many of the ideas are quite simple and others are quite surprising. It is always a good idea to discuss with your doctor the different approaches which you would like to try.
Cramping in the legs is fundamentally a muscular problem that can be addressed using massage or pressure points. Some massage techniques for muscle cramps can work wonders, depending on the individual. Strategies to try include:
- "Walk off" the cramp. Gently put your weight on the affected leg and take a few steps to relieve the tension.
- Massage the leg muscle in a downward motion to counteract the spasm.
- Flex toes upward toward your knees to stretch the muscle.
- WebMD recommends a calf stretch with hands pressed against a wall for added support.
- "Acupinch" the area between your nose and your upper lip (philtrum). The philtrum is a pressure point in acupressure that may provide relief. Apply the pinching pressure for about 15 to 30 seconds.
- Apply pressure to the area between your big toe and second toe.
Do massage techniques work? Some people report immediate relief after pinching the area between the nostrils and the upper lip at the onset of the spasm. Others swear by walking the cramp away. In some cases, the massage and pressure techniques may seem to aggravate the cramping.
Herbal remedies for leg cramps should be used with caution and with consent from your doctor. It is important to keep in mind that some herbs can interfere with certain medications and some can disrupt sleep patterns. Homeopathic remedies for night leg cramps include:
- Ginger root - a natural remedy that can improve circulation.
- Gingko biloba - is also associated with improving circulation.
- Peruvian bark - is best known as a component of quinine used to treat malaria. The root has an anti-spasmodic quality that may help alleviate cramping.
- Cramp bark - has been used to treat menstrual cramps. Some swear that the bark is helpful in treating leg cramps as well.
- Bilberry - works like a muscle relaxant, like cramp bark.
The herbal remedies are not going to take immediate effect but they may be helpful as preventative measures. Vitamins and lifestyle changes may prevent nighttime leg cramps as well.
Preventing leg cramps from occurring in the first place is a considerable challenge for people who suffer from them regularly. In some cases, the periodic spasms are inevitable but you can take steps to lessen the chance that you will experience one. Preventative measures include herbs, vitamins, lifestyle changes and some unusual home remedies.
Nighttime leg cramping can be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Those who have recurring spasms may want to discuss the following vitamin supplement options with their physicians:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B
Vitamin supplements might help if you have a deficiency that leads to an imbalance of electrolytes or dehydration. Lifestyle changes may be beneficial, too.
Exercise usually tops the list of healthy lifestyle changes and it applies to muscle cramps as it does other aspects of health and wellbeing. However, the stress is on moderate exercise. Excessive workouts can lead to nighttime leg cramps.
- Stretch before workout
- Stretch after workout
- Drink a lot of water
Changes in diet can help prevent cramping in some cases. Try foods that are rich in potassium since a deficiency of this element can lead to muscle spasms and fluid imbalances:
- Sweet potato
- Winter Squash
Unusual Home Remedies
Some unusual home remedies for leg cramps may or may not offer relief. Some people swear by these old cures for spasms while others question their validity. They may be worth a try for some sufferers:
- Put a bar of soap under the sheets near the foot of the bed.
- Eat two tablespoons of yellow mustard before retiring for the night. Some believe that the turmeric in the mustard wards off muscle cramps.
- Soak in a warm bath before bed to relax muscles.
- Rub an ice pack on the cramped muscle.
- A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar either straight or disolved in water.
- Drink tonic water before bed.
Home remedies for leg cramps can offer relief. Taking preventative measures can alleviate the problem as well. The occasional muscle spasm is perfectly normal; but anyone experiencing the problem on a regular basis should talk to a doctor. Simply finding the cause can lead to a natural solution.