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Home Remedies to Help Leg Cramps

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Q. What can I do to halt or prevent leg cramps? I get them regularly at night and even during the day. They occur only in the inner thigh of my left leg and occasionally in the left groin area. My friends have suggested eating more bananas. How many bananas a day would I need? What else can I do to prevent them? I'm becoming sleep deprived and need any advice you can offer.

A. Leg cramps can be excruciating and frequently interfere with sleep. We have collected dozens of remedies over the years to prevent or stop such cramps. They include low-sodium V-8 juice for extra potassium (an alternative to eating more bananas), a glass of tonic water at bedtime, a teaspoon of yellow mustard, vitamin and mineral supplements or a bar of soap under the bottom sheet.

We offer details on these and many other approaches, including instructions on how to stretch leg muscles before bed in our Guide to Leg Pain.

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Because of the location of your cramps, you may want to research the psoas muscle. There are ways to stretch and relax this muscle, which runs on both sides of the body and empties into the groin area. A tight (shortened) psoas can cause pain which runs down the inner thigh. Good luck!

Been using the small bar of soap under my bottom sheet and I haven't had leg cramps in over 9 months. Crazy? You bet it is, but it worked so I don't question it.

Magnesium did it for me. I take 250 mg twice a day.
If that's too much for you, you can adjust the dose downward--you'll know it's too much if you get loose stools.

I too suffered from cramps for many many years. My cramps however were all over my body, my fingers would cramp eating dinner holding a fork and going to bed was always a nightmare. I would ask my doctors to look into this every year at my annual physical and always nothing out of the ordinary would show. This year I insisted on a deeper look. After many tests that showed nothing unusual I was sent to a Rhumatologist. He asked for a test to show my level of vitamiine D.

I was low and was given a prescription for vit D in far greater amounts than are available normally. I take two tablets a week due to the amount as I was advised by my physician and pharmacist that high levels of vit D can be dangerous. I am happy to state that I have not had a single cramp since beginning this regimen 4 weeks ago.

I used to get terrible leg cramps until someone told me to drink milk. I drank mild every day and I didn't have any more leg cramps. I missed several days without drinking milk and the cramps returned. Now, I drink milk every day and I haven't had leg cramps for several years.

A heating pad will relieve a muscle cramp. I have shoes that seem to set me up for repeated cramping in the evening and night. I find that if I leave the heating pad on the affected muscle for 10 or 15 minutes, it will not cramp again later.

The yellow mustard works so well I keep packets in my vehicle as part of my first aid kit. I have never had it fail to stop a Charlie Horse in a minute or two. Occasionally I need to consume a second teaspoon. ~ C

I didn't mention it, but you are right; I found that using a heating pad, particularly during the winter months, was a tremendous help with cramps. I could feel the tension ebb away when I put the pad in the bed. I stumbled upon this I think in February and was very very pleased that I came across this discovery.

I never tried the mustard, but will add it to my list of things to try. I have tried the pickle juice, had to get up in the middle of the night and drink the stuff and eat pickles, before I started using a heating pad. The heating pad for me has been a tremendous help.

I was having multiple leg cramps during the night and occurring mainly on the lateral side of the shine bone. Went to the doctor, told me to decrease my diuretic and after two weeks noticed no difference, and then heard about the soap! For the first week, I had none! Now I have occasional cramps, but have started yoga and the muscles may be reacting to that stretching.

I have been having excruciating leg cramps at night in my inner thigh on my right leg for about 2 years now = and they started out after having knee surgery = I'm not connecting the 2, but it seems strange that I only have the cramps in my inner thigh on the right leg = they have been so bad = I have had to get my husband to get up to get me a hot wet washcloth and change it 3 or 4 times in a 2 minute period = then when it subsides, the next day my leg is so sore I can hardly walk.

I take Vitamin d, Calcium and drink a glass of milk EVERY night- I've tried the mustard, pickle juice, is it possible that it may be associated with a blood clot, or poor circulation in that leg? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated =

Really - try the heating pad. Go ahead and use it in the evening before you get a cramp. Then have it set up to use in bed.

Can identify with everyone out there who is shocked out of sleep or anything else I may be doing with excruciating pain in inner thigh or outer lower leg. Pain so severe that it is almost impossible to describe. A charley horse in the calf doesn't come close to the pain of these, maybe because these are much harder to stetch against when they occur.

I too had blood tests run, thinking electrolytes were out of whack. Nothing showed up. First time it happened, six years ago, I'm sure dehydration was a factor, but not anymore. Doesn't happen often, but just did this evening and the fear that it may at any time is very disconcerting; that little twinge that sometimes occurs gives warning that I need to get up immediately and try to work it out. I don't always get that warning.

Like many of you, I have been in tears screaming out with the pain, when the muscle seems to fight against the bone wanting to flex and curl up, but the bone won't let it do so. I too have drank pickle juice with some success and hot water bottle against the muscle helps after the spasm has passed. Sure wish anyone would have some answers; doctors don't seem to know. Something's not right but don't know what.

muscle cramps in both inner thighs at the same time-- I heard to drink some water--it will make it stop. You can't walk when this is happening. I thought it would never stop last night. any suggestions?

Amen RW-we sound just alike. I have no words to explain the intense pain that these cramps bring. A pain scale of 1-10 is just NOT high enough. I have tried to explain all this to my doctors-to no avail. It happens so suddenly-with the exception of a fleeting twinge as you describe... When mine happen I am usually screaming from the pain. I am offered help from others in the house but NOTHING helps. You just have to wait it out. Mine often take 15-20 minutes to subside.

There is no way to stretch them out or relax. It's impossible to stand. If one can call it LUCK I will only get one on one thigh at a time. I was SUPER LUCKY last night as I was blessed with one in each thigh at the same time. I was screaming and writhing in pain and my poor dogs were howling and they got the coyotes who live in our woods howling. It's a good thing I don't have close neighbors or they may have called the police for a disturbance.

Good luck hunting for a solution as all I do now is look at the clock and time my cramps as if I were in labor and waiting for it to be over.

Hi everyone

I have had inner thigh cramps and indeed they give the most scary-excruciating pain imaginable and it gets worse.

I found that drinking saline solution immediately helps relieve the cramps. Have saline solution ready (salt and water) next your bed if you have this problem after excessive exercise during the day and of course dehydration. I presume Tissue Salts help as well but not as fast as salty water.

If anyone knows how to prevent it for ever, please write. DZ

At last I have heard about people having those same inner thigh cramps that I get far too often. I have fainted from the pain of those cramps and had to be hospitalized. My sodium and potassium were severely low, even though I am a person who gets criticized for oversalting my food and I take potassium every day. My doctor did remove the diuretic pill that I was taking along with my blood pressure medication.

The strength and duration of the cramps slowed down, but they keep coming back. Using a heating pad really helps, and I do drink plenty of water. I know that when I overdo any hard physical work, the cramps will come back with a vengeance. There are times when a person just has to be that kind of work. I just hope that some great researcher will someday find a cure for those cramps.

I did a search to iChat after experiencing yet ANOTHER inner thigh cramp. I completely understand the twinge, which will come on at times when I'm doing nothing but moving my leg, usually in a seated position. Rarely can I jump up fast enough to stretch and try to stop the muscle from spasming. I've been dealing with this for years. It started when I was 22 or so and suffering from electrolyte imbalance. Then they went away until I became pregnant when I was 36. The doc then felt it was calcium related.

But since then, they never quite went away. They get more frequent when I'm on an exercise regimen. They come on during sex quite often. I've tried to focus on stretching and I had gastric bypass surgery so I know my B-12 is often low but I do take supplements.

I also take calcium, magnesium, and vitamin e. I eat bananas like they are going out of style but I still haven't found a root cause for these cramps. It's affected both thighs over the years but most often my right. I read something about varicose veins maybe being a catalyst and I do have them in my right leg. Has anyone else been told this?

Hey thanks DBS, sharing that it's the psoas muscle that may be at the root of the problem. That should be the most helpful piece of information posted here so far. I'm 57 year old male and experienced leg cramps all my life but nothing like the inner thigh cramps that started last year. Hopefully knowing the name of the muscle will help more than the bananas, vitamin D, or massive quantities of water.

I have had a heart attack, a kidney stone....and other procedures done....I am a 59 yr old male and absolutely nothing is as painful as a cramp in the thigh....the only thing worse.....is both legs at the same time.....which is totally debilitating.....

I've been getting these lately, if I do too much "fixing up" around the house. My wife gets them also and hers seem to be even worse than mine. The best thing we've found is to avoid diet drinks (they are a diuretic and will dehydrate you), keep hydrated, and if you do get one, the best immediate relief we've gotten is from drinking Gatorade. Propping my leg on a pillow seems to help alleviate the cramp also, but that didn't work for my wife at all.

For muscle cramps in the back of the thigh, a friend told me to walk BACKWARDS. Seemed foolish but I was in such pain with both thighs that I was willin to try anything, even though I was in a pubic place and got some very strange looks. It works! Maybe because it forces you to apply weight on you toes first, instead of your heels.

I have just started getting an inner thigh cramp in my left leg. I feel the spasms. I started a new job, & have to stand for several hours at a time. I'm wondering if this is the cause. I also, stopped drinking milk recently. Well this is not fun! Why does it seem there is no clear answer for what really is the cause for this pain!!

I suffer from these inner leg cramps and it is absolute agony. I have got to the point that I am scared to go to bed at night to sleep. I have tried drinking lots of water, this works somewhat, so I am now going to try tonic water, mustard and bananas as suggested.

I have also spoken to my doctor about this problem and he looks at me as if I have two heads and I am making the symptoms up. I also have a varicose vein in the leg I have cramps in and I also thought they may be related as someone else has mentioned. Any more suggestions would be gratefully received.

If the soap under the sheet is not strong enough, wet a bar of soap and rub it on the area that is cramping or may cramp.

I did the milk thing, like you, and found that it stopped the cramps. I happen to live in a state where we can get raw milk. And, like you experienced, I recently went for several days without it and WHAMMO, back came the cramps, so it seems there may be some component of mineral balance.

The problem, however, is that drinking milk should NOT have to be the solution; it should, however, indicate that a causative factor needs to be further sought. For example, why, with all the fruits and vegetables I eat in a very balanced and supplemented diet, and with the additional betaine hydrochloride I take to assist digestion, might I still be deficient?

There is something else going on here. Someone had stated low Vitamin D levels, yet I've been out in the sun so much this summer.

Keep a couple of 20 oz bottles of plain water by the bed. When the cramp starts, drink as much of the water - at least 20 oz - as fast as possible. I have found that the excruciating cramps go away within one to two minutes. I think the secret is getting the water in your system fast.

I have also found that if I can stand, it works even faster, as if gravity takes the water to the spasm or charlie horse. This never fails to work. I had a spasm in my inside upper thigh last night that was so bad I could not move to get to the water. I had it handed to me; I literally guzzled it; and I was okay in a couple of minutes. I went from burning pain to relief.

I get these all of the time. Sometimes, it wakes me out of my sleep. The only thing that works once I have them is to lick a bit of table salt. The cramp goes away immediately!

Put a capful of apple cider vinegar in sports bottle full of water. It works. When I get them I think back to the day before and , as a rule, I wasn't hydrated enough . Massage the offending muscle before you stand up too. The soap trick also works.

The pain of an inner thigh cramp is excruciating. I was just woken up by one 20 minutes ago. For immediate relief I use bengay and it seems to be pretty effective.

I too get these inner thigh cramps sometimes both legs at once. It is the only time I scream and swear and cry. A heated wheat pad works a little but sometimes cannot move to get it and heat it up. Some say quinine works. My doc will not give me any. And if you have to drink tonic water (which has quinine in) you would have to drink vast amounts for it to have any effects. I would say I would rather give birth to all my kids at once than get this cramp..

Omgosh, I have been having one of these cramps off and on for days now. I had one the other night and was able to get it stopped enough to get out of bed, if it hits too hard I cant get out of bed or move.

The twinge threat of another one coming has lingered. I have slept two nights sitting straight up on the couch, I am too scared to go to bed. I thought it was getting better but then tonight bam there it goes again. I am at my wits end, I took a muscle relaxer and all that did was fog up my brain, didn't do nothing for the tight feeling in my thigh.

I told someone today I would rather give birth to all 3 of my children and have a gall bladder attack all at once rather than ever go through this again.

I have tried pickle juice, I take calcium, potassium, and vit D. I backed off on the magnesium, as it constantly sent me to the bathroom and with a cramping inner thigh that is not good.

I do drink diet tonic water with quinine, it seems to help me get it under control. I have to work tomorrow and I am too scared to try to go to bed. I am a cashier so I stand on concrete all day long in one spot. I hate this and I hate being afraid it will happen and this is all so depressing.

I have wondered if it could be attributed to the sciatic nerve, I sometimes get horrible pains and aches in my lower right back in the hip area.

I just don't know what to do.

Put a jar of yellow mustard and a spoon near your bed. Eating a tsp of mustard will stop a cramp quickly. Mustard does not need refrigeration.

Put a jar of yellow mustard and a spoon near your bed. Eating a tsp of mustard will stop a cramp quickly. Mustard does not need refrigeration.

I usually can cope with pain, but the pain with Thigh Leg Cramp is unbelievable,I feel I'm on the verge of fainting.

My way to help relieve the pain is to jump in the shower, grab the hose then run hot and cold water alternately as hot and cold as you can bare onto the thigh.

I return to bed eventually with a hot bean bag (put it in the microwave) lay it over your thigh. I find it all very frightening and it comes with no warning..

Wow, I am at my wits end with these inner thigh spasms! The pain is beyond belief, and I start to panic when I feel that twinge that means one is coming. I have woken and terrified my whole family. I can't find a common cause, my electrolytes are fine. I do have varicose veins, I don't smoke. I would take any med, change any routine I have, anything to get them to stop. The only thing I can hopefully help others with is a what I have been doing to minimize them.

As soon as I feel the "quiver" sensation come I get up immediately and stand up, putting the foot of the affected leg down hard and press my foot to the floor. Sometimes this works if I catch it early enough, otherwise I just pray for them to end and hold onto whatever is available. If anybody finds out the definitive answer, it would be worth a million bucks!

There are a lot of good suggestions on the "home-remedies-to-help-leg-cramps" page. Definitely try prevention by using a heating pad on the areas before bed.

I know these cramps are so painful but when I speak to my doctor about them he looks at me as if I am making them up. I have tried nearly everything except for the mustard. That will be my next experiment. If anyone has any other suggestions or ideas to help with these very painful inner leg cramps then I would be eternally grateful

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