Muscle Cramp Remedies

Sep 08, 2016

Treating muscle cramps requires a multi-tiered approach that includes lifestyle changes, dietary changes and nutritional supplements. Regulating the activity level and eating a balanced diet with plenty of water supports effective functioning and eliminates many symptoms of muscle cramping. Additionally, specific supplements deliver important nutrients to the body and prevent cramps.

What is a Muscle Cramp?

A muscle cramp is defined as the sudden, involuntary contraction of one or more of the muscles. This contraction typically renders the muscle useless and can be quite painful. A hard lump of muscle tissue may also develop beneath the skin following a muscle cramp.

Several factors contribute to muscle cramps. Overuse, dehydration, muscle strain and inactivity are several of the primary causes of cramps. Inadequate blood supply, mineral depletion and nerve compression may also contribute to the condition.

Natural Remedies for Muscle Spasms and Cramping

With a variety of causes, muscle cramps also have a variety of treatments. Effective treatment regimens often incorporate increasing or possibly even decreasing exercise, increasing daily water intake and balancing the diet. Additionally, supplements including potassium, magnesium and sodium are also important for regulating cramps.

Critical Electrolytes for Muscle Spasms


Potassium is an important factor in the function of the muscles and nerves. Potassium is an electrolyte that aids in the electrical exchanges in the body. Adding additional potassium to the diet reduces the risk of cramping by facilitating the effective functioning of the muscles.


Magnesium functions in much the same way as potassium. Magnesium is an important electrolyte that helps regulate nerve signals in the body. When taken in the appropriate proportion, magnesium helps prevent and even reduce the risk of cramps.


Sodium is actually the electrolyte of most concern when it comes to muscle cramps. Sodium helps regulate and promote the balance of the body’s natural fluid levels. Taking sodium or adding sodium to the diet helps maintain an appropriate level of fluids in the body and, in turn, prevents cramping.

Muscle cramps range in intensity and can elevate to a medical emergency fairly quickly. As such, maintaining an effective balance that prevents cramping is important. Natural treatments can help establish and preserve this balance.

Blackstrap Molasses

A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses is full of important nutrients and a great natural treatment for muscles cramps. If you experience a muscle cramp and take a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses, you will often experience relief in a short while. If you are prone to waking up at night with a muscle cramp, taking a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses before bed will help to prevent those cramps.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be taken in a glass of water (1 tablespoon per glass of water) for muscle cramps. It can also be massaged into a muscle cramp for fast relief.

Magnesium Oil

Magnesium oil, found in a spray, can be applied topically to a muscle cramp. The magnesium quickly absorbs into the skin and then muscle. If the oil stings, rinse it off after 20 minutes.  Magnesium oil is not actually an oil. It is magnesium chloride and water, but it feels somewhat oily.


Muscle cramps can come upon you quickly when you are dehydrated. You can get stomach cramps when you have a stomach virus or diarrhea because your body loses so much water and electrolytes during purging. If you are outside in the heat you can also get dehydrated due to excessive sweating. Even if you drink a lot of water, the electrolytes lost in sweating are not replaced with the water you drink. This is why football teams have coolers full of Gatorade to drink. Gatorade is replacing electrolytes and fluids. Oral rehydration solutions, also are better than plain water for severe dehydration.  Coconut water is an excellent natural rehydration drink.

Do you have a natural remedy for muscle cramps? Please send us some feedback!


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Posted by Donna (Ontario) on 07/18/2016
5 out of 5 stars

For leg cramps - acupressure on the opposite leg, at the same spot as cramp is in affected leg. Always works for me. eg. I will have a cramp in the right calf but no pain in that spot on the unaffected (left) side; but when I find the exact spot, deep, on the left side, it will be very painful to rub there. Left sided pain subsides when rubbed in a minute or two and then the cramp in the right leg subsides shortly thereafter.

Replied by Mary
Arcadia, California

Dear Donna, I use 1 tsp of yellow mustard to get rid of cramps anywhere on the body. It works like a charm I just put it in my mouth drink a little water and let it go down. You don't even feel the pain from the cramp on your muscle afterwards. Peace, Mary

Posted by Alfred (Bangkok, Thailand) on 04/05/2010
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Health #1,

Replied by Gottasmyl
Dundee, Scotland Uk
5 out of 5 stars

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!!!

Replied by Bill
Calgary, Alberta, canada

Another acupressure technique is to gently bite your lower lip.

Apple Cider Vinegar  

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Posted by Stan (Las Vegas, Nv) on 10/18/2013
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Ky Mama (Clinton, Ky) on 02/21/2013
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Ruthes (Holland, Ma USA) on 02/01/2013
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Ben (Albany, New York, Usa) on 05/26/2012
1 out of 5 stars

I've been having a pretty nasty back spasm for the past 10 hours, so I figured I would try some ACV. I diluted it with a glass of water and drank it, but nothing happened... Does this just not work for a back spasm, or am I doing something wrong?

Posted by Ronnie (Oak Island, North Carolina) on 07/07/2011
5 out of 5 stars

For leg cramps or back cramps apple cider vinegar will eliminate them within seconds, almost imediately

Replied by Asg01
Ventura, Ca

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.

Replied by Timh Donate

Louisville, Usa

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.

Replied by Veropie13
Reche Canyon, California

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.

Posted by Kortni (Sonora, Ca) on 05/09/2011
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Housemouse (Dover, Oh, Usa) on 02/25/2011
5 out of 5 stars

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

Replied by Crampless
Pittsburgh, Pa
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Harriet (Federal Way, Wa) on 10/15/2009
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Posted by Redhen (Euclid, OH) on 07/10/2009
5 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Lori (Victoria, KS) on 06/30/2009
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

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.

Replied by Connie
Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA

Try mixing the vinegar in some apple juice or tomato/vegetable juice.

Replied by Bobeena
Los Angeles, Ca

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.

Replied by Palaminolady
The Woodlands,texas

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.

Replied by Dave
Friend, Ne

ACV is actually easy to drink, easy to get used to. But everyone is different. Just keep reading posts on this great site!

Replied by Kerri

Yes, it most likely is the ACV. ACV erodes tooth enamel. When taking ACV it is best to mix it in water and sip through a straw.

Posted by Robert (Barnegat, NJ, USA) on 01/11/2009
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Sleepless Sac
Sacramento, Ca

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.

Replied by Viola
Hampton Bays, N.y.

reply to David of Chicago, Ill. -- You tell a Doctor

Replied by Stevebb1
Stilwell, Usa

You won't see common sense cures made known by doctors because they go by what the pharmacies tell them and they will never support a cure that can't be patented so they can make more money.

Posted by Mary (Grand Forks, North Dakota) on 06/02/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Ellensue
Denver, Colorado U.s.
5 out of 5 stars

Leg cramps getting worse over the last week, and very painful aching yesterday. So, I ended up here and with great hope and some skepticism I drank 2 Tblsp ACV with Mother in a cup of hot water and the relief was immediate! Aching was in both legs... I'm guessing it was drinking more coffee than usual? The pain is not worth it! ACV does hurt my teeth... I sprinkled in some baking soda this morning and that helped to buffer it. I brushed my teeth right after as well. Any other suggestions appreciated. I encourage you to try this if you feel even a twinge. I wish I had looked for it and implemented it a week ago. Many blessings to all!

Posted by Jamal (Phoenix, AZ) on 02/10/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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!!