The main causes of leg cramps are not warming up before exercising and/or doing so in overheated environments and pinched nerves, cases in which the problem goes away in minutes (which might feel like hours). Nevertheless, if you are prone to getting leg cramps and don’t have circulatory issues, you might have a calcium, magnesium, or potassium deficiency. We gathered the best leg cramps remedies, a collection of infallible recipes that will help you get rid of leg cramps without expensive prescription pills. Some of these will work instantly, while others are meant to prevent leg cramps from reappearing.
1. Stretching and Bending
As mentioned before, one of the main causes for leg cramps and charlie horses is insufficient stretching. This can be helpful both when having a leg cramp and as a preventive method.
To get rid of a leg cramp: Put all your weight on the affected leg, as painful as it may be at first. Bend your knee to the point where you can feel the muscle stretching and release. Alternatively, sit and straighten your leg. Stretch it out and massage the calf or affected area while pulling the toes upwards. When the quadriceps is affected (the front part of the thigh), pull the foot backward and stretch.
To prevent leg cramps: Always stretch in the morning and before exercising or practicing sports using a healthy routine.
2. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salts are rich in magnesium which promotes the good functioning of the muscles and muscle relaxation. This home remedy can get rid of leg cramps fast and also to prevent them.
For this leg cramps remedy to work, fill the bathtub with warm water and add plenty of Epsom salt. Warm water will also promote better blood circulation and relieve the pain.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best remedies for leg cramps because it is high in potassium (electrolyte) and other nutrients which can prevent cramps by relaxing and revitalizing the muscles.
Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water, stir, and drink this mix half an hour before bedtime.
Alternatively, you can mix apple cider vinegar, honey and calcium lactate with a glass of warm water. This is a stronger alternative to the previous mix and works almost immediately to relieve sudden leg cramps.
4. Clove Oil
Clove oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and, therefore, a potent leg cramps remedy.
Warm two to three teaspoons of clove oil. Rub the warm clove oil on the affected area. This home remedy for leg cramps will reduce the leg muscle inflammation and make the swelling go back.
Due to the high content of acetic acid, mustard is a great remedy for leg cramps: one teaspoon can take the pain away in a matter of minutes. Mustard promotes the production of acetylcholine in high amounts. The neurotransmitter is key for the good functioning of muscles in the body.
- Warm milk.
Provided you don’t like the taste of plain mustard that much, have a glass of warm milk after taking a teaspoon of mustard. This will also help the stomach absorb the active ingredients and work against the pain faster.
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary, inflamed muscles are soothed almost immediately.
Simply rub the essential rosemary oil on the affected area and gently massage it. If you want to use rosemary leaves, add one ounce of them to a jar, then fill it with boiling water. Let the leaves steep for 30 minutes, then soak a cloth in it and apply the cloth on the leg cramp. Let it sit for 15 minutes tops – the pain should give in sooner. When you feel the muscle relaxing, add a cold water compress.
7. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is rich in potassium, an electrolyte, and calcium. Both have a crucial role in the processes behind muscle contraction and relaxation.
- Blackstrap molasses.
- Warm milk (optional).
Onee tablespoon of blackstrap molasses mixed with one glass of warm milk or warm water helps alleviate the pain. If taken for one week, this leg cramps remedy helps to maintain healthy muscles and prevent muscle cramps.
8. Ginger & Garlic
This Amish leg cramp remedy is an old recipe said to be brought from the Netherlands: a ginger and garlic mix. It can be used topically to soothe the muscles thanks to its anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties, or internally to provide nutrients and minerals through the bloodstream.
- Fresh ginger root.
- Fresh garlic.
- Apple cider vinegar.
Extract the juice of 5 garlic cloves and half of a medium-sized ginger root, pour it in a glass, and add 5 spoons of apple cider vinegar. You can use this mixture either internally or externally. Take one teaspoon of the drink before going to bed to prevent Charlie horses and leg cramps during the night, or you can massage the solution onto the skin for instant pain relief. This is one of the most potent leg cramps remedy.
9. Hot and Cold Compresses
This leg cramps remedy is one of the oldest in the book: hot compresses relax tightened muscles, while cold compresses soothe the pain in no time.
- Ice cubes.
While in a comfortable position, dip compresses in ice-cold and hot water and alternate between them every 1-2 minutes.
If you don’t have compresses, a hot shower or warm bath is also a highly effective remedy for leg cramps. Just make sure to apply a cold compress on the affected area afterward, or alternate between hot and cold water when rinsing the area.
A banana has 12% of the recommended daily potassium intake, and as leg cramps can be a symptom of potassium deficiency, eating one or two bananas per day is a great way to fight leg cramps.
- Banana snacks.
Proper hydration is key to the good functioning of our body overall. Make sure that you drink the recommended amount of water or liquids each day. Fluids help our muscles function properly and promote the health of muscle tissue. This may not be a bulletproof leg cramps home remedy, but it’s a precious piece of advice.
Another old leg cramps remedy is eating half a teaspoon of salt at once. Salt is the ideal means to replenish electrolytes which are essential to the proper functioning of the muscles, as well as other bodily systems.
Just add Himalayan salt in pure water up to the point of saturation. Let it rest in a closed-lid jar for one week and have a spoonful of the sole each morning afterward.
13. Wintergreen oil
Wintergreen oil is rich in methyl salicylate, a powerful anesthetic and anti-inflammatory substance with the added benefit of promoting blood circulation. However, the use of wintergreen oil is not recommended for children; in fact, even adults should be careful when using this powerful leg cramps remedy as methyl salicylate is quite toxic if ingested.
This remedy works great for leg cramps at night. Mix one part wintergreen oil with four parts of carrier oil and have the mixture ready by the bed. When a cramp occurs, massage the resulting blend into the muscles, then thoroughly wash your hands.
14. Pure Pressure
Applying pressure directly on the strained muscle is one of the most efficient leg cramps remedies.
Some cannot withstand the initial spasm of the leg muscle, but if you can overcome the first painstaking moments, applying pressure with your thumb on the affected area will prove its benefits. Repeat the procedure a couple of times to feel the pain go away and the muscle starting to relax.
15. Vitamin E
Vitamin E can be found in a host of fruits and vegetables and improves blood flow. This ensures the muscles function smoothly, thus preventing cramps.
- Almonds, hazelnuts, and other raw seeds.
- Leafy greens.
16. Dandelion & Magnesium Oils
This leg cramps remedy may take longer to prepare, but it is worth the wait. Dandelions are known for their analgesic and anesthetic properties which makes them great at soothing sore muscles, muscle cramps, and other aches. Magnesium oil provides the essential metal and acts as a carrier oil.
- Dandelion-infused oil.
- Magnesium oil.
- Emulsifying wax.
- Lavender essential oil, Aloe extract, or other aromatic and therapeutic ingredients (optional).
Mix the dandelion-infused oil and wax in a heatproof clean container, and the magnesium oil and water in another container. Place both over low heat for 10 minutes, then mix the two together, and stir until they’re fully incorporated. You can now add aloe extract, lavender oil, or other essential oils as well. You can also mix the aloe extract with the magnesium oil in the beginning.
Before the lotion thickens, place it in the containers you wish to use for packaging, then store in the fridge. Take note that the dandelion-magnesium oil leg cramps remedy doesn’t last longer than two weeks, so use it in due time.
17. Carrot Juice
One of the best home remedies for leg cramps is a delicious juice you can easily prepare. Since leg cramps or charlie horses are partly due to magnesium and calcium deficiency, the best way to address these deficiencies is to increase the calcium and magnesium intake naturally.
- Vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, celery, and broccoli.
Have one glass of the carrot or vegetable juice per day to relieve muscle pain and prevent leg cramps from happening.
These home remedies for leg cramps can be used both to prevent and to address leg cramps and charlie horses on the spot. Nevertheless, don’t take these instead of going to the doctor, since cramps can also be a sign of a serious health issue. That being said, our favorite remedy has to be the ginger & garlic cure thanks to its effectiveness when applied topically; what’s yours?