Muscle cramps strike at the worst times, don't they? Waking us up in the middle of the night with a charlie horse or your foot cramping into a claw! Muscle cramping can be the result of intense physical activity, but even the most sedentary of us suffer this pain when our electrolytes are low or other nutritional imbalances impact our muscle health.
What Causes Muscle Cramps?
Your muscle will cramp when you are dehydrated, you lack certain minerals, blood isn't getting to the muscle cells in sufficient amounts, or when lactic acid has built up in the muscle after a strenuous workout; and the resulting muscle spasms may be momentary or endure painful minutes at a time until you massage them out or they quit on their own. And of course women regularly experience menstrual cramping and stomach cramps. Nutrient deficiencies in potassium and magnesium are often at fault, but nerve issues and injuries can be the issue as well.
Natural Remedies for Muscle Cramping
A quick cure for muscle cramps can sometimes be had with massage of the afflicted muscle, especially with leg muscle cramps and cramping feet, since this increases blood flow to the area. For long-term cramp relief, supplemental B vitamins can help, and the old standby home remedy is to eat a banana, for its substantial potassium supply. A heating pad and stretching may also reduce muscle cramps.
Table of Contents
- QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
- POPULAR REMEDIES
- A Bar of Soap
- Acupressure Points
- ACV, Baking Soda, Aloe, Apple Juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda
- Apple Cider Vinegar, Water
- Aspirin and Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc
- Baking Soda
- Bar of Soap
- Blackstrap Molasses
- Buffered Salt
- Candied Ginger Slices
- Cayenne Pepper
- Cold Showers
- Dietary and Herbal Suggestions
- Epsom Salts
- Horse Chestnut Root
- Hydrigen Peroxide
- Hydrocortisone Cream
- Hydrogen Peroxide Inhalation
- Hydrogen Peroxide Topically
- Ivory Soap
- Magnesium and Dill Pickle Every Day
- Multiple Remedies
- Pickle Juice
- Point Toes To Nose
- Quinine Water
- Remedies Needed
- The Cell Salt Magnesium Phos.
- The String Method
- Tonic Water
- Tonic Water with Quinine
- Tonic Water With Quinine
- Vitamin E, Calcium, Magnesium
- Vitamins C, D and E
- Wear Socks to Bed
- White Vinegar
A Bar of Soap
[YEA] 02/04/2013: Judy Mc from Springfield, Oregon: "I use a bar of soap to help from getting woken up by leg cramps, works great for that. Put it directly under bottom sheet and change every month or so.
I am still looking for something for my constant RLS. Will be trying a couple of things from this site."
[YEA] 04/05/2010: Alfred from Bangkok, Thailand: "Cramps in your legs
Crazy time to get cramps.. Usually when I am sleeping..Middle of night or just before dauwn,, thats when I stretch.. Most of the time if i stand up, right away.. they stop. BUT IF I do not. O sh_ _..The Best thing that works is to pinch your upper lip with two fingers, and hold..., Hold for a while even if the lip hurts, You can bite your upper lip that will work also..
I am told another remedy, but never tried it.. Pinch the Opening between your Big toe and the one next to it.. Pinch where the toes go into the foot. Pinch hard and hold.
[YEA] 06/05/2011: A from Toronto, Canada replies: "I tried a energy medicine technique called "one hand near one hand far" on leg cramp - it worked. One hand 5 or so inches from the leg cramp (hand palm facing the cramp) the other hand about 15 inches from and just below the belly button area (palm facing toward but just a few inches below the belly button). Imagine energy flowing from the cramp up the arm and down the other arm to go into just below the belly button area. Keep doing it for a minute or 2 until better.
2 chinese medicine doctors I know use this general technique. I cant say its safe or not for other body issues, but it worked for leg cramp for me."
[YEA] 10/09/2011: Gottasmyl from Dundee, Scotland Uk replies: "Acupressure by pressing the bone between your nostrils with your index fingers works to get rid of my leg cramps. I am 27 years old and had never suffered from this problem until about 2 weeks ago when I started a course of antibiotics to get rid of helicobacter pylori. Tried everything I could think of but nothing worked. Someone suggested I press the bone situated between the nostrils with my forefinger and it instantly went away. It's amazing!!!"
12/19/2012: Bill from Calgary, Alberta, canada replies: "Another acupressure technique is to gently bite your lower lip."
ACV, Baking Soda, Aloe, Apple Juice
[YEA] 10/18/2013: Stan from Las Vegas, Nv: "For muscle cramps, I use 2tbls apple cider vinegar (acv), 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2tbls aloe vera and 8 ounces of fresh pressed apple juice. it works every time for me."
Apple Cider Vinegar for Muscle Cramps
Home Remedy Ingredients:
- Apple Cider Vinegar - 1 Tablespoon
- Filtered Water - 1 Glass
Add about one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink this ACV Tonic in short time. The apple cider vinegar's potassium and other components relieve a cramped muscle in record time!
[YEA] 02/21/2013: Ky Mama from Clinton, Ky: "My husband gets leg cramps at night sometimes. Usually he takes Blackstrap molasses and that helps immediately. (1 T. ) Well, he was out of town and dind't have any Blackstrap. He woke up with a cramp. He thought... "Well, my wife would tell me to take Apple Cider Vinegar." So, her drank a glass of water with a T. or so of Apple Cider Vinegar in it. It worked! He wasn't surprised as he has seen how well it works for so many things."
[YEA] 02/01/2013: Ruthes from Holland, Ma USA: "Actually there is no need for drinking cider vinegar to stop acute muscle cramps. You can simly rub the vinegar on the affected muscle and in 5 minutes the cramping stops. I have used it for years and it works. severe calf cramps repsond well and there is no residual pain or achiness in the calf."
[YEA] 07/07/2011: Ronnie from Oak Island, North Carolina: "For leg cramps or back cramps apple cider vinegar will eliminate them within seconds, almost imediately"Replies
01/16/2012: Asg01 from Ventura, Ca replies: "After some years of severe leg cramps at night and, occasionally other odd times, I discovered that Pickled Ginger was not a cure for this sleep depriving problem, but actually a cure.
I acually eat about two or three ounces several time each week (three or four portions) and have virtually eliminated all muscle cramping. I now never awaken at night. In the past three years, when I have failed to remember or traveled without access, the problem returns until I can restart the regimen.
Unbelievably, for urgent relief of an acute cramp, a few ounces of Coca Cola work like magic. However, should I need quick relief in the future, I will certainly try ACV or Pickle Juice.
Ginger would probably work in any form. The pickled variety I discovered while eating lots of Sushi and have not bothered to try other forms of the plant. Good luck to all."
01/17/2012: Timh from Louisville, Usa replies: "Asg01, please accept my addendum as the phrases "leg cramps" and "sleep deprivation" are flashing light alerts for Magnesium deficiency, as the body very sorely needs this as well as many other minerals. As for the Ginger, it is quite possibly not really a cure but a simply a relief as there are no known Ginger deficiencies in the human body. The Coca Cola fix is another sign of mineral deficiency as Cola is loaded with phosphorous, (but causes calcium deficiency).
A few mo ago I started a good Ionic Trace Minerals (72 known bioavailable mins) from the Great Salt Lake in Utah, and immediately (within hrs) felt profoundly better. There are tons of studies and ongoing on the importance of Minerals alone in human and animal health. In Livestock Agriculture, almost all animals in the developed world are supplemented with Minerals as a rule because intensive productivity depraves the soil and foods."
11/11/2013: Veropie13 from Reche Canyon, California replies: "I agree with Timh, after taking trace minerals as well, I feel profoundly better. I haven't had consistant bed vacating episodes in weeks. When I do get one it isn't as painful and diminishes quickly. I have tried ACV in these times and it works too."
[YEA] 05/09/2011: Kortni from Sonora, Ca: "My grandma taught me this trick. Both she, my dad and I get horrible cramps (doubling over) and within minutes of taking a shot (or making a hot lemon, apple cider vinegar, honey tea) the cramps usually go away. Sometimes I have to do it every 30 min but my body is pretty out of whack because I have lyme and cirrhosis so I am just thankful to have relief. It helps my dad, he only needs to take it one time."
[YEA] 02/25/2011: Housemouse from Dover, Oh, Usa: "I noticed in the uses you list you omitted the fact it will take away leg cramps! Drink a shot of it straight.. Major leg cramps are gone pronto"Replies
[YEA] 04/08/2011: Crampless from Pittsburgh, Pa replies: "The vinegar works. I knew of this remedy from a friend whose son used get leg cramps. I got a Charlie horse last night. My husband massaged it out but everytime he stopped massaging, it would knot back up. He could feel the muscle knot up like a brick. I told him to get the vinegar. I was in so much pain I drank it straight and the muscle relaxed immediately. My husband could even feel it relax. Caution - stick to a tablespoon or 2. I gulped down so much, the vinegar messed up my stomach, but it was worth not having that pain."
[YEA] 10/15/2009: Harriet from Federal Way, Wa: "I am 55 and battle fibromyalgia. One of the problems is muscle cramps, mostly in legs and feet, that approximate the hard, long cramps common in the 9th month of pregnancy. I can cramp up at any time depending upon the position I get myself into, but it is common for me to get bad leg cramps maybe every 2-3 months. Those keep me up at night loading on Vit C, Magnesium and Potassium, slapping hot towels on one leg then the other as I hop around crying in pain.
Last week it happened again, but because ACV was on my countertop (due to this site) I swilled down 2 TBSP straight (when you are in that kind of pain you don't care what it tastes like) then chased with maybe 6 oz water. WITHIN 2 MINUTES THE CRAMP WAS GONE AND DID NOT RETURN! This is amazing. On nights when this happens I generally attempt to sleep on the couch so I don't wake my husband because IF I get any sleep at all it is in between spasms that wake me up violently.
I am grateful for this site. Thank you!"
[YEA] 07/10/2009: Redhen from Euclid, OH: "Thank you so much. I took two tablespoon of ACV and followed it with a cup of hot water.The cramps stopped immediately. The cramps start in my hands and feet and then my legs. I usually use mustard, it works but not as fast as the ACV"
[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS] 06/30/2009: Lori from Victoria, KS: "My husband has been taking 2 tsp of ACV 2 times a day for a couple of months for leg cramps. He takes the ACV with a medicine spoon and drinks it straight then chases it with water. Today he is experiencing tooth pain, not really sensitivity but pain. We are wondering if this could have anything to do with the ACV. He has been getting relief from his leg cramps so we hate for him to stop taking this. He was having such severe leg cramps that he wasn't able to get more than a couple of hours sleep at a time before being awakened with a cramp. He is carefull not to get the vinegar on his teeth and doesn't think that he can dilute it and drink it with water."Replies
08/13/2009: Connie from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA replies: "Try mixing the vinegar in some apple juice or tomato/vegetable juice."
08/18/2011: Bobeena from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "the tooth pain is a result of the acv. Vinegar will strip the enamel from your teeth very fast. you should try drinking it with a straw to minimize tooth contact."
08/21/2013: Palaminolady from The Woodlands,texas replies: "You don't have to swallow it, rub it where the cramp is and it will go away. Also any kind of vinegar will work."
[YEA] 01/11/2009: Robert from Barnegat, NJ, USA: "I take 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar dilluted with 4oz. water for leg cramps at nite. Works very well! I used to get leg cramps 3 or 4 times at nite, no more since I've been drinking dilluted APC."Replies
09/24/2012: Sleepless Sac from Sacramento, Ca replies: "I get arch cramps in my feet, wondering if doing the ACV just before bedtime is effective vs. waiting for the nocturnal cramp to occur and THEN doing the ACV."
[YEA] 06/02/2008: Mary from Grand Forks, North Dakota: "I had once read that APV helped Charlie Horses. So when my husband had one after a hard day on his legs, I gave him 2 Tbsp of ACV in a glass of water. I don't know which worked best, the ACV or the shock when he drank it. Since then, we have used it many times with almost immediate relief of the Charlie Horses or cramps in the legs or groin."
[YEA] 02/10/2008: Jamal from Phoenix, AZ: "I just tried the Apple Cider Vinegar and glass of hot water. I had overdone a workout and hadn't stretched. My quads and calves were cramping up really bad. (really painful). It really worked! It worked almost immiediately, I couldn't beleive it! I'm still sore, but that's an easy alternative to constant cramping. Thanks!!"
[YEA] 01/15/2008: Robbie from Laurel, MS: "I have found over the last few years something that has helped me tremendously that I would like to share. I am very susceptible to having cramps in my feet mostly at night but during the day as well. If a medication is prescribed to me and it has a side effect - even a 1% chance - of causing cramps, I will have them severely. I am so sensitive to cramping even by a slightest move at times.
I read somewhere a few years ago about ACV helping with night cramps. So I bought some and decided that the next time I had them, I would try it and see if it worked. It is the best solution I've EVER found. I take 1-2 Tbs. (depends on how often or severe the cramps are) and chase it with a glass of hot water from the faucet. It works every time! I can also attest - and some skeptics are going to think I am crazy, but - it works immediately! If I don't get relief fron 1 Tbs. with hot water within 10 minutes, I repeat this again. I've also found that if I am having trouble with a lot of minor cramping before I go to bed, I will go ahead and take 1-2 Tbs. with hot water. It seems to assure me of an uninterrupted night of cramps. The hot water seems to be the trick as I think it gets into my system quickly. Don't know about that. It also removes the taste from my mouth very fast. I don't know why nor do I care; I just know it works.
All I can say is that I will always keep a bottle on hand. It goes with me even when we go out of town or camping for a few days. I've not found any thing that is as effective and gives me such fast relief.
I've been told by others that I need to eat a banana. And I've also had my potassium checked and it doesn't show a deficiency (so they say). Therefore, doctors seem to toss this aside and take this terrible pain lightly. I got tired of this so I rarely, if ever, mention it to a physician any more. I really believe they do not know what to do. I use to take Q-Vel, which is quinine, vitamin e and lecithin in a capsule, until they took it off the market because of the quinine. It worked well but lost access to it. Since then, I've tried this and have found this is a quicker relief anyway. I'm telling you this is the best "drug" you can buy. Oh yeah, I forgot to say, I use the cheapest there is in my area. Therefore, I am not relying on an organic product or high-priced brand name ACV.
Thanks for letting me share and I hope this will help someone else. I've suffered all my adult life with this and am finally finding relief!"