Q. I experienced leg cramps that started in my toes and went up almost to my diaphragm. I tried sublingual homeopathic tablets without success.
My son, a handball player, told me the professional handball players use pickle juice for cramps. I tried it when I was ready to call 911. (The pain under my diaphragm made it hard to breathe.)
The pickle juice worked almost instantaneously. I now keep a bottle of it in my refrigerator at all times in case of an emergency.
A. Many doctors find such anecdotes silly and hard to believe, but there are no FDA-approved drugs for easing leg cramps.
Home remedies are rarely tested, but scientists at Brigham Young University performed an experiment with 10 college students. The young athletes exercised and then had a mild electrical current applied to induce a muscle cramp. The volunteers were given water or pickle juice. Pickle juice relieved the cramps about 40 percent faster than water (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, May, 2010).