10 Patient Solutions For Nighttime Leg Cramps
They attack without warning - often in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping. A sudden leg cramp in your thigh, calf or feet jerks you awake and soon has you hobbling around trying to find relief. It’s painful and the muscle is sore for a day or more afterward. Nighttime leg cramps are associated with vein conditions, and in their quest to find a solution, our patients have tried different methods at home to prevent them. Here are 10 home remedies shared by patients who say they’ve provided varying degrees of relief. While only stretching or walking makes the cramp stop quickly, these methods – when taken before bed – may help prevent nighttime cramps.
- Pucker up with pickle juice – Recent research indicates that the sour acetic acid in pickle juice stimulates a reflex shown to cause muscle relaxation. But, you don’t even have to swallow it! Just swish about 3 tablespoons of pickle juice in your mouth for a minute or two for quick relief.
- Vitamin E – While the exact reason isn’t known, studies indicate that taking 100 I.U. of vitamin E three times a day prevented nocturnal leg cramping in nearly all of the patients suffering from them.
- Stock up on nuts – Or lentils, or quinoa. These magnesium-rich foods can help reduce the frequency of nighttime leg cramps, especially if you’re pregnant. Not on your menu? Health experts recommend taking a supplement with a minimum of 300Mg of magnesium per day.
- Go bananas – Not only are bananas packed with calcium and magnesium, but they are also potassium-rich, meaning they boast at least three cramp-relieving minerals. Other fruits high in potassium include oranges and cantaloupe. Take it daily, and be cautious if you have kidney problems.
- Toss a salad – Well, if that salad has an Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) dressing! Apple Cider Vinegar (acetic acid helps the body make acetylcholine, which helps muscles function.) dissolve 2 teaspoons in honey. Patients swear by this, especially the version from the Amish community.
- Make water your BFF – According to Harvard Health, dehydration is one of the leading causes of painful cramps during the night. To avoid nighttime cramps, drink 3 ounces of water before bedtime and avoid dehydrating caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
- Mustard on your dog? - You don’t need the dog or bun, but according to research, the strong flavor of mustard provides neuro-stimulation and can get the misbehaving nerves that cause leg cramps to get back in line quickly. Try consuming 3 tablespoons for fast relief.
- Epsom Salt Bath - Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, and that will seep into your skin as you soak in the bath, and help loosen up those tense muscles. It is a great way to relieve stress, soothe your achy muscles, and detoxify your body.
- Stretching – Stretch leg muscles before bed to prevent cramps. Once a cramp has started, stretching the muscles releases the tension. Cramps only occur in muscles that are not stretched, so stretching seems to help with preventing them from starting and is the only remedy to break the cramp as it’s occurring.
- Sleep with a bar of soap between the legs/knees. Some patients swear by this, and I have heard from enough patients that there may be something to it. It may work from an effect due to magnesium from the soap.
And ultimately, if you’ve tried every home remedy and they all fall short, call us. A free vein screening may be all that’s standing between you and a good night’s sleep. With over 32 years of experience successfully treating thousands of patients, I can end your battle with nighttime leg cramps.