Ever been startled from sleep by Charley horse in the dead of night? Leg cramps occur when your leg muscles contract without warning.The cramps can be felt as far as feet and thighs. Whilst the cramp is non-lasting and dissipating on its own, the pain can be tormenting and your legs may feel the tender for hours to come.
Most leg cramps incidences are known to occur during the night while sleeping. It is prominent among those who do strenuous task in warm conditions. It is usually treated with sufficient care and some home remedies. In this article on home remedies for leg cramps information has been given on the causes, symptoms and easy techniques by which you can get relief from the discomfort.
Causes Of Leg Cramps
Do not wait if you have experienced the following symptoms, visit a doctor immediately.
- Muscle weakness
- If you notice sudden swelling, redness.
- Reoccurring more frequently
- Worsens due to stressing exercises
- No improvement in the condition after acquiring the cramps.
- When the blood carrying arteries are constricted, the flow of blood to the leg is diminished and that will cause the cramps.
- When the nerves located in the spine are compressed, you will experience cramps in the leg.
- When critical minerals from the body are depleted, you could experience the cramps.
Causes Of Idiopathic Leg Cramps
Due to lesser known facts about the trigger for idiopathic cramps, the outline of the cause is built based on the assumptions and theories.
Here is a list of causes that are believed to be the reasons for idiopathic leg cramps.
- Unpredictable nerve behavior while sleeping that causes muscles to cramp.
- Consistent stress acting on the calf muscles during exercise will cause cramps.
- When the blood flow to the muscle ceases.
- When you age, your tendons become weaker. Thus, older people have a greater chance of developing leg cramps.
List of Home Remedies For Leg Cramps
Stretching will stimulate relief to your body. Stand on the edge of stairs, with the front portion of your feet in contact with the ground while the hind half of the feet hanging off the edge. Gently lower your soles a few inches lower than the normal height. Hold the pose for a few seconds and then retain the regular posture. Repeat the process for a few seconds and you will feel easiness.
Stretch sufficiently to gently exercise your soles that in turn stimulate the leg muscles. It will help you get relief from the pain. Stretching is best when you do it each night before going to bed.
2. Chamomile Tea
You can have five cups of chamomile tea in the duration for two weeks. Glycine, an amino acid in the urine can easily relieve the cramps and muscle spasms. It also contains proteins that can act as a natural muscle relaxant.
- Take two cups of water and add three spoons of chamomile flowers.
- Boil the mixture and let the combination stay for five minutes
- Strain the residue after ten minutes. You can drink the mixture after addition of honey (if needed).
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Did you know Apple Cider Vinegar is rich in potassium? Leg cramps can be caused due to low levels of potassium. ACV has high resources of potassium and this, when mixed with sodium, can regulate the fluid balance in the body.
- Add two teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of honey in a glass of warm water.
- Drink the mixture for three days continuously and give intervals of two days before continuing the procedure.
The powder of turmeric is widely used to treat wounds, muscle cramps and many more (shall we call body challenges?). Many of the medicinal properties of turmeric is because of the component, curcumin. It has the properties of anti-inflammatory and also displays antibacterial abilities.
- You can mix two tablespoons of this powder with oil (coconut).
- Make a paste and apply on the affected area.
- You can rub the paste in circular motion to enhance circulation of blood and reduce the symptoms of leg cramps.
The position of the leg should be upwards while doing this process.
5. Pickle juice
Similar to mustard and apple cider vinegar, pickle juice also contains acetic acid. Two ounces of pickle juice are enough to set the leg free from cramps. However, the duration might take half an hour.
6. Rooibos Tea
You can drink a cup of Rooibos tea to ward off cramps. The minerals in this tea are magnesium (vital for the nervous system), zinc (for metabolism), manganese and calcium (essential for manganese and calcium) and the most important one is iron (necessary to carry oxygen to all parts of the body). Magnesium is essential because it assists the body in absorbing calcium.
The polyphenols in this tea possess anti-inflammatory properties, and the two important components are nothofagin and aspalathin which assist the body to eliminate free radicals/unstable cells.
7. Clove Oil
A lot has been told and written about the anti-inflammatory properties of clove oil and it can be used to reduce swelling and inflammation. The oils present in clove are ‘eugenol’, vanillin, beta-caryophyllene, tannins (methyl salicylate, mainly known as a painkiller; gallotannic acid), flavonoids (rhamnetin, eugenitin, Eugenin and kaempferol), and triterpenoids (stigmasterol, campesterol and oleanolic acid). The magic component, however, is eugenol, known for its anesthetic properties and hence used in dental care treatment as well.
- Take a small cup of warm clove oil.
- Apply on the affected area and rub vigorously.
- Let the duration be for five minutes. You will get relief from symptoms of leg cramps.
The anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary can help in calming the inflamed muscle tissues as well reduce soreness and pain. The herb is rich in rosmarinic acid and several volatile oils such as borneol, camphene, cineol, a-pinene and bornyl acetate. All the mentioned compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and several health properties.
- You can boil one ounce of rosemary leaves in boiling water. Boil for ten minutes.
- Cover the lid and let the mixture remain for fifteen minutes.
- Soak a clean washcloth in the solution and apply on the affected area consistently for 10 to 15 minutes.
Alternate method: You can also drink the mixture to get relief from leg cramps. However, this method is for prevention of leg cramps.
Athletes have always used mustard as per the recommendation of sports trainers for escaping from leg cramps. Intake of one tablespoon of mustard (yellow) at the start of the cramp can give relief.
Mustards contain neurotransmitters that can stimulate the muscles to get free from cramps. They also contain selenium, and fair amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus and manganese. It also contains acetic acid similar to vinegar making the body produce more acetylcholine,the neurotransmitter that can make muscles work.
10. Pumpkin Seeds
If you are one who is suffering from lack of magnesium in the body, then you can get the painful symptoms of leg cramps because of electrolyte imbalance.
The pumpkin seeds are loaded with magnesium and you can include them as part of diet to prevent leg spasms that cause disturbances in your day-to-day activities. Some of the other beneficial components of pumpkin seeds are proteins, minerals such as copper, zinc; also unsaturated oils, antioxidants, and pantothenic acids.
11. Hot Compress
You can also try the alternate method with a heating pad. The heat enhances the circulation of blood and you get relief from cramps in leg. Although stretches are important, if you are unable to stretch, make use of a hot compress.
- Take a bowl of water and boil for five minutes.
- Dip a clean washcloth in the bowl and squeeze the extra water.
- Apply on the affected area, at least, five times.
- Continue the process after every five minutes for duration of quarter of an hour.
12. Raspberry Tea
You can prepare tea in the old fashioned way for raspberry also. It contains ample amounts of iron, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. Drink this tea twice a day to ward off leg cramps.
Similarly, there are other herbs such as Butchers Broom (which increases circulation of blood) and Passion Flower (known for its antispasmodic and sedative effects).
How To Prevent The Leg Cramps
If you’re prone to leg cramps at night, these 6 tips may help cramps from happening again:
- A lot of uphill walking/running or stair-climbing shortens the back muscles and the muscles and tendons at the back of the legs, making them more likely to cramp later. Focus attention on stretching these muscle groups after a hilly workout.
- Go for a deep-tissue therapeutic massage with an experienced practitioner. Ask her/him to teach you the techniques for the muscle groups in the legs and feet, so that you can work the knots out before they become disabling cramps.
- Loosen the bed covers so that they don’t press your feet down and shorten the muscles of your arches, encouraging them to cramp.
- Drink when you feel thirsty, especially after exercise. Don’t overdo it. Tea, coffee, smoothies, fruit, and vegetables all contribute to your daily fluid needs.
- Eat a variety of potassium- and magnesium-rich foods every day. Good choices: black beans, kidney beans, nuts and seeds, potatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy greens (especially beet greens), bananas, and other fruit.
Prevention Tips For Women During Pregnancy
Having cramps during this stage is normal for women. The best way to avoid is to flex slowly the leg muscles, release the foot ten times before sleep every night. In case of regular occurrence, you can wear a support hose, and avoid standing or sitting for long duration without break
Leg Cramp Home Remedies During Menstruation
Stay hydrated. Drink up to 8 glasses of water to stay replenished. Have coconut water and other juices that will replenish the lost minerals and help you remain hydrated.
Eat bananas to help the digestion during the menstrual cycle. Bananas will help balance the potassium and calcium in the body. It will also help replenish the electrolytes in the body. Hence, you will certainly find relief during the camping.
In 2 glass of boiling water add one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds. Continue boiling till it is reduced to one glass. Let the fenugreek be soaked for the night. In the morning, strain the illiquid and drink it. Repeat the process every alternate day to cure the cramps.