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In my mid fifties, I started to get agonizing leg cramps in my calves and feet at night. I tried different remedies but could not eliminate them. I like to watch Korean Dramas, so I tried eating the Korean staple food, kimchi for fun. I noticed that when I ate a little kimchi, I did not get leg cramps.
Now I just eat two mouthfuls of kimchi each day and I am leg cramp free. Works like a miracle for me. Kimchi is very hot and spicy so you need to eat it, like you would a relish, with something. You can eat it with rice, eggs, meat, fish, tofu, or chicken or whatever, at any time of the day. Kimchi is is usually made with cabbage fermented with hot pepper. It is very high in nutrients, and can be easily absorbed in the stomach. I don't know why it works, it just does.
My legs tend to cramp at night. I tried elevating on a pillow but I always lost it at night. So I started putting my heavier reading pillow, the kind that fits behind you and props you up, under my legs at night. I never lose my pillow, and it has really helped with the leg cramp.
By ann from Climax, NC
This may sound crazy but it actually works. My sister told me she had bad leg cramps that prevented a restful night's sleep. She put a bar of soap, any soap, under the top sheet. That's right, a bar of soap! For whatever reason, it works.
I really couldn't believe it until I tried it myself. You have to do it to believe it but it works! Just sharing for anyone else that has leg cramps.
After much puzzlement, it occured to me that my night cramps happened most often when I have been eating foods like eggs, tomatoes and proteins (meat, dairy, etc.). I went online and looked for a list of acidic foods and found a website that gives a good idea of what foods are acidic and therefore should be eaten less often. It also lists which foods are more alkaline and therefore should be eaten more of.
I hope that others who suffer night cramps will benefit from a change to their diet, it is helping me. Fair warning, night cramps can be so strong they'll break your legs, so do be careful about what you eat. I'm fortunate to have very dense bones, so mine didn't break, but they would have on someone who's bones are porous. Hard lesson learned, for me.
Source: an online search which led me to this website (there are others): http://rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm
By Cornelia from OR
I use to wake up at least 4 times a night with 1 to 5 charlie horses in my legs. They were so painful I would be screaming. Then a nurse told me what to do. Buy a brand new bar of soap, it must be white, like Ivory or Dove. Put it at the foot of the bed under your bottom sheet.
I have been having painful leg cramps, particularly at night, for years. I had tried just about everything and decided to try drinking apple cider vinegar, about a tablespoonful, just before bed and on rising.
I had been getting a great deal of cramps in my hands and this tip has worked very well for me as . It is very simple, chew 2 Tums, or any antacid that is taken for an acid reflux or upset tum.
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Is there something you can take to help prevent leg cramps?
By doris from MI
My mother suffers from night leg cramps and says drinking tonic water really helps her. It is usually found in the pop section of the grocery store.
You should have a diet that has adequate potassium (potatoes, bananas, milk, oranges, prunes, spinach, tomatoes are a few). If you are starting a new exercise regimen or newly active then it may be that your body is depleted of potassium. This may be just a symptom of a serious malady, which means it may be time to ck with your MD.
Have you tried increasing your calcium intake? I take calcium supplements, and whenever the leg cramps start up, I know that I have been skimping on the calcium!
Hylands Leg Cramp Remedy, available at Walmart. I suffered from leg cramps for years until I found this product.
For several years I had terrible leg cramps almost nightly. After trying all the "folk" remedies and my doctor's suggestions (I'm on several prescription medications and can't use some of the supplements), I discovered that doing some leg stretches before going to bed have eliminated the cramps. All I do is stand on one foot, raise the other leg behind me, grasp that ankle with my hand and pull up until I feel the muscles stretch. Be sure to keep the bent knee perpendicular to the floor. Hold the stretch for 20 - 30 seconds, then do the other leg.
If you have trouble balancing on one foot as I do, just hold onto something to steady yourself.
I have been getting awakened 3 or 4 times a night with cramps at the front of my right leg at the shin bone, then it travels down to my foot and toes. Anyone else have this trouble?
Try calcium, Magnesium, zinc.
That was happening with my mom, she found somewhere that it could be caused by lack of potassium, so now she eats a banana every night. Sounds weird, but it works. If I were you, I'd go to the doctor to rule out anything more serious.
I learned, while working in home care nursing, that night cramps can be caused by lack of calcium in the muscles. They begin to contract from this. Try taking calcium before bedtime. Warning: if this helps, stopping the calcium will bring them back again.
Leg cramps are also caused by dehydration. Be sure you are drinking enough water. Not soda, coffee, or tea. Those do not count. You must drink water.
My husband has kidney disease and is at about 11 percent right now. He's been suffering from severe leg cramps at night and hurting. He has a history of high potassium so they put him on meds to help keep it under control. I'm just wondering if any body else knows anything on this subject, or has any ideas.
By sensible fromKnox, TN
I had leg cramps nearly all my life, well before I had kidney disease and I buy the homeopathic remedy, Hylands Leg Cramp Remedy, at Walmart. It has a small amount of quinine which relieves leg cramps quickly for me, hope it works for you. I also eat bananas for the potassium.
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If you have leg cramps at nighttime, while trying to sleep, keep a salt shaker on your nightstand. Once your leg cramp sets in, pour some salt into the palm of your hand and lick it. Your leg cramps should subside soon.
A friend read somewhere about a bar of soap keeping leg cramps away. Just put the bar of soap (NOT Dial and NOT Dove) between your bottom fitted sheet and the mattress, and leave it there. I didn't really believe it, but my husband insisted I try it anyway. He put a bar of Yardley's English Lavender soap in our bed, and I have not had a
single leg cramp (Charley Horse) since. I had them every single night of my life, but none for over a
month now. It's wonderful. I wish I understood the chemical reason for this working. It must be some kind of chemical which prevents the cramps.
I'm telling everyone I know about our experience, and I hope that they all have the same results. Leg cramps can be one of the most painful things and once they start, it's very difficult to relax which you must do in order for them to quit entirely.
Julia in Orlando, FL (03/28/2005)
I have awful leg cramps, but also have high blood pressure. Therefore, I am supposed to have LITTLE
salt. Don't know which is worse.
My husband has used the bar soap suggestion when he has a leg cramp and it works for him. He just puts it right under his knee on the leg that is cramping - this may not be clear. Also it has to be wrapped in a cloth. He keeps this in his bedside table.
I'm checking with my doctor to see if mine is caused by one of the medications I use. Thanks for all the suggestions. (03/28/2005)
Leg cramps can be a sign that your body is low on potassium, so eat potatoes or bananas are also good too. Also, if you drink a lot of milk each day that can also cause them so try cutting down on the amount of milk you drink. (03/28/2005)
The body needs a proper BALANCE of potassium and sodium (salt). So, if you eat too much potassium; ie: bananas, potatoes, even milk, and not enough sodium in the body, it could cause the cramps, too. But please check with your doctors, not good to begin using extra salt or potassium without advise. How long does it take for the soap to ease the cramp, could it just be mind over matter type of thing? Thankfully I don't often suffer night leg cramps, but would love to know how/why this works. (03/28/2005)
I drink Tonic Water, with quinine and it helps a lot. I use the diet kind. (03/28/2005)
This sounds very strange,but in the Fresno Bee Newspaper some time ago a Doctor wrote;"If you have leg cramps, put a bar of soap in your bed. Not anything like Dove or Oil of Olay but plain soap." It works for me. (03/29/2005)
Salt works because it means you're not getting enough in your diet. Just add a little more at night before you go to bed. If your legs are twitching just as you start to fall asleep too, this is another sign of a deficiency. Prevention is better than pain! (05/03/2005)
I have tried everything. I had my blood work done, I took natural pills, prescriptions, drank 'nasty' tonic water, stretched my legs, I have done it all. The soap WORKS!! If you try it and still have cramps, add another bar of soap. I have 2 bars of Safeguard in their own sock. They are pinned to my mattress pad out of my way, I don't even sleep under the covers some nights. I don't care why it works I am just thankful that it does. Tell everyone you know. (07/31/2005)
By Donna Williams
My brother-in-law insisted that I try putting soap in my bed for the terrible leg cramps and foot and toe cramps I get all night and day. After four days they have totally disappeared. His mother won't try it and neither will his wife so I hope they will after my experience. (04/30/2007)
I don't understand the thing about soap. How do you use it. What do you do with the soap when you have a leg cramp. I have leg cramps and they are very painful. I am losing sleep because of them and I am very sore the day after any help I can get will be appreciated. Thank you (10/23/2007)
My husband suffers from occasional leg cramps, but nightly RLS. He twitches constantly, so much so that it moves the entire bed and I can't sleep. Without telling him, I placed a small bar of soap between the sheets near the bottom of the bed on his side. It has been three nights of stillness, with hardly any restless leg syndrome. I hate to even tell him about it, as he would not believe it. But that seems to disprove the psychological effect, as he does not even know that the soap is there. (01/04/2008)
I have no clue why - but the bar of soap thing works. I tried one night out of total desperation. I constantly get the toe/foot cramps at night. I've tried the quinine water (doesn't always work for me)I wear socks to bed at night and I have a small hotel size bar of soap in each of of them. Sounds totally weird but it has worked for the past three weeks. The only other thing that works (but it takes about 15-20 minutes to kick in) is to take an Advil. I would love to know how it works - anybody have an answer for that one. (04/15/2008)
I have been using the soap in the bed for more than a year, and it works 100%, I started with Ivory Soap, but have switched to Irish Spring as the smell is better. The soap would fall out of the bed sometimes, and a cramp would come, so I now place the plain soap in a plastic bag (poly bag) and pin it to the sheet with a safety pin. Works like a charm. You do not need to buy any of the advertised remedies, and one cake of soap will last indefinitely. Sometimes I get a cramp while driving, and for this I take a quarter of a quinine tablet. Stops the pain almost immediately. Been using the quinine for more than 35 years. Just get a few tablets and divide each tablet into four parts (12/11/2008)