Jul 22, 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.
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, 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!
Remedies for Muscle Cramps
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
Posted by Alfred (Bangkok, Thailand) on 04/05/2010
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.
Replied by A
Replied by Gottasmyl
Dundee, Scotland Uk
Replied by Bill
Calgary, Alberta, canada
Posted by Stan (Las Vegas, Nv) on 10/18/2013
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
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
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.
Replied by Asg01
Replied by Veropie13
Reche Canyon, California
Posted by Kortni (Sonora, Ca) on 05/09/2011
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.
Replied by Crampless
Posted by Harriet (Federal Way, Wa) on 10/15/2009
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
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
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
Replied by Bobeena
Los Angeles, Ca
Replied by Palaminolady
Replied by Sleepless Sac
Posted by Mary (Grand Forks, North Dakota) on 06/02/2008
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.
Posted by Jamal (Phoenix, AZ) on 02/10/2008
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!!
Posted by Robbie (Laurel, MS) on 01/15/2008
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!