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Simple Remedy Eases Hand Cramps

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Q. I have horrible hand cramps, even when I am not gripping anything. Is there a home remedy I can try?

A. Many readers have found that soap is helpful against muscle cramps. Some keep a bar under the bottom sheet for leg cramps. One person wrote us: "A few days ago the fingers in both hands cramped up. I thought of the soap and held it in my hands. The cramps went away like magic."

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30 Comments

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Regarding hand cramps or cramping anywhere in the body, often an imbalance in magnesium is the culprit. An inexpensive homeopathic remedy, Mag-Phos (Magesium Phosphate) will often stop any cramps within 30 seconds. Place 4 tiny tablets under the tongue and let them melt for quick absorption.

To fortify your body and hopefully eradicate cramping altogether, you may want to consider researching a good and absorbable Calcium-Magnesium liquid to take daily. Many women find they could virtually eliminate uterine cramping during their cycle by taking 1000 mgs of calcium and 500 mgs of magnesium daily.

Pregnant and lactating women require twice that amount to nourish the baby without leaching calcium from their own bones, teeth, muscles and joints. And since humans don't have four stomachs like cows do, drinking milk, even raw, does NOT supply nearly enough calcium for women. However, a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and minerals helps.

I've also heard that Vitamin B-6 is helpful for hand cramps / carpal tunnel syndrome so you might want to try adding that to your vitamin regimen. And when you use a computer keyboard, make sure you are employing a wrist rest -- the gel ones work great and they aren't too costly. There are even finger exercisers you can get which could also help.

The way I've heard it, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by your hand(s) moving too fast for your brain to properly process it. So it definitely helps to add some ergonomic tools (including wrist wraps / gloves) to avoid anything invasive like surgery. And make sure you take plenty of breaks so your hands get properly rested. You might even want to try one of those voice-recognition interfaces for your computer to further reduce the typing activity load! (I would also vouch for the effectiveness of magnesium to relieve cramps but be careful not to overdo it).

I have used a bar of Dove and Ivory in a pillow near my legs to drastically reduce the number of leg cramps to an average of once every 2 months. My right ring finger has been diagnosed as a trigger finger or Stenosing tenosynovitis which has been injected with 20 mg methylprednisolone on the digit 8 months prior and on the palm 2 weeks ago. Both shots were ineffective so your article regarding soap for hand cramps works to lessen the pain and helps to un-cramp the finger after holding a small bar upon the area for barely a minute.

I had noticed before your article that my tightly cramped finger would be un-cramped in the morning after I awoke. I attribute it to the soap in the pillow in the lower part of my bed. I'm skeptical of the need for surgery that is recommended if the injections don't work.

My hands cramp like a birds foot drawn by a string. The hands from a scoop shape sand the pain although bearable lasts a long time. I tried the soap, it seems to have done the trick. JMD

How do you use the soap when you are up using your hands? My fingers separated out and I could not move them help!

my fingers get distorted and close up to the point of me having to pry them loose. The muscle between my thumb and my forefinger hurts all the way up to my elbow. Will the soap help that?

hi i have the same problem my fingers distort and i have to pry them open and it hurts up to the elbow any ideas please the cause and remedy i am male and 60 years old .thanks

My left hand was cramping badly, my fingers twisting and enduring a scarcely bearable pain. I googled "hand cramps" and found your page and just now tried the bar of soap "cure".
Amazing ........... it worked within 2 minutes and hasn't yet returned (quarter of an hour ago)
Used Imperial Leather.
What an indispensable tip.
Thanks to all contributors.

At night, the soap under my feet below my sheet seems to always help. But today I had to check this site because my hands were cramping badly and I couldn't hold my papers. But I held a bar of soap in my hands, and then my foot was a mess. Put the soap in my sock and forgot about it.... no more foot cramps!

Have been suggesting soap under the sheet since I first heard the Graedons talk about it on Chapel Hill radio in NC more than 10 years ago, and family has always thought I was a bit crazy.

Glad that I have all the previous comments to help me down the line. Thanks.
But I may try added calcium and magnesium down the road lest I get cramped up when I am on a plane....

Hi everyone,
Has anyone used tonic water to stop the cramping? It works like a dream for leg cramps less than 5 mins a bit slower for hands but really really works! It is the quinine.

Everyone is right about the dove soap. It really does work. I was really skeptical about that, until my mom was cramping in both her hands. She does dialysis three days a week and sometimes she cramps afterwards, so I was looking for something to help her with those hands and leg cramps and I couldn't believe it when she said that the cramps stopped. Thank you for the home remedy.

How do you actually use the soap for hand and leg cramps? Does any soap work? I need help now! Thanx

For the hands, you just hold the soap in each of your hands for two to three minutes or you can hold a bar in each hand. For your legs put the soap between your sheets where your legs are. And sleep with it there until the next morning. The soap that you use is dove or ivory soap. I hope that this help you and god bless you .

Hooray for the placebo effect. Soap has also been said to help with Restless Leg Syndrome, (I have both) which while not as painful as nighttime leg cramps, can make sleep impossible. Despite there being absolutely no scientific/medical reason this should work, I tried it. Looking forward to a good night's sleep, I was not surprised to find that it didn't work at all. From a good article on Medicinereport.com...

"The best way to make a leg cramp go away is to relax and hold still. This can seem almost impossible when you are awakened by a torturously painful charley horse in the middle of the night, but it's true. Lie there and focus on your breathing. My guess is that this is the real magic of the soap: it convinces you that you are doing something, so you lie still and relax, trusting the soap, and lo: the cramp ends.

A better question is, why are you getting leg cramps in the middle of the night in the first place? Any time I have suffered from leg cramps, it always turns out that I am lacking in potassium. The next time you are at the store, rather than buying an extra bar of soap, buy a bunch of bananas."

A lot of people get rid of cramps just by staying hydrated, so try drinking lots of water and orange juice, and get more potassium and Vitamin D into your diet.

Any doctor, will tell you that a bar of soap does nothing but make your sheets smell nice. That doesn't mean natural cures won't work (Like water, potassium, and vitamin D) Just use a cure that will actually DO something to eliminate your cramps. Again, while people have experienced "relief" with this folk remedy, it is not the soap that has done anything.

I always use any kind of bar soap for any cramps, hands, elbow, arms, legs and so does my daughter. It always works usually within a minute. I also eat bananas and calcium citrate.
But the soap always works. But soap is better.

I get the awful left hand cramp after eating acid fruits such as pineapple which is the worst culprit, strawberries, lemon tea, orange confit - on hour after eating any of these my hand spasms for a few minutes.

I think there is some temporary blocking taking place that causes the muscles of the left fingers to get two messages curl and straighten and so the fingers cramp up until the imbalance passes.

I think the VitC or citric acid is the real culprit but the spasms don't occur after eating apples or most other fruits so it may be quite specific to the listed fruit or maybe these fruits have too much VitC?

Wow!! It worked in mintues.

Hand and leg and foot cramps. Use ANY kind of soap! I keep one in each room and one in car and one in purse as I never know when I or my 23 yr old daughter will get a cramp. You don't have to have Dove or Ivory. If your hand is too cramped to hold it, put soap on table and put hand on top of it. It sometimes even works in 30 seconds. I also take magnesium and calcium and potassium chloride (need RX prescription for Pot. chloride) but even those I still get cramps and soap ALWAYS works.

I don't know why this works, but the cramps let up right away. I also popped a couple of tums with magnesium. I notice worse cramps when I don't get my bananas in. This is a great emergency fix, as I couldn't even move my fingers. Thanks!

Yes you can use any kind of bar soap. You don't need it to be ivory or dove. I even use an old bar of orange colored soap that I use to use in shower and I needed it one day for cramps so I have know idea what kind it was as it was half used up. It worked fine.

I also have used those tiny bars of soaps you get in hotels, they stop the cramps too. Just hold it on the part that is the cramp.

Yep. The soap really works. I get bad cramps in both hands. I held a bar of soap for a few minutes and the cramps went away.

I don't know what to do. Most all the time I always have cramps in my right hand and fingers, day and night. Please help me.

People's Pharmacy response: Some visitors report that holding a bar of soap helps with this. Others find pickle juice or a spoonful of mustard makes the cramps go away.

I have started holding soap when I get hand cramps it stops within few seconds giving relief.

soap Palmolive worked wonders for me. Thanks all.

I love soap--everyone has it and smells nice-is epitome of clean. I will try it and thank you. I've only found pickle juice to work for me-and only after awhile-also hard to carry all the time. Sometimes get them in car while driving---screaming "PLEASE!!" Ever since Quinine is not available except in tonic water, have been suffering when can't get to pickle juice or just want to sleep. I refer it to "The Howling" turning into the beast, bursting out of your body - it's just not supposed to bend that direction. Thanx again

My husband has recently been troubled with hand cramps. They seemed to follow steroid treatment .

I looked up ur site and read about soap being recommended. He laughed but I insisted he try.

He couldn't believe it. It worked right away. As he didn't believe I don't think placebo effect was the answer. Weird isn't it by the way we only had imperial leather soap.

I can't believe the soap thing worked. I was scraping paint off my window. My hand started cramping so bad. I couldn't move my 3 fingers. After reading I tried the soap. I was amazed it quit cramping within a few min. Thanks so much. Mary

Not to be the naysayer here, but does anybody have a scientific rationale for why a bar of soap would alleviate hand cramps? Seems a little too "old wives tale-ish" for me.

My hands have been cramping painfully... where I cannot pry my fingers to keep straight! I've read about everyone using a bar of soap however, I do not have bars only liquid soap. So I grabbed for a bottle of lotion here next to my computer & sure enough its working to stop the constant pulling!! I believe its the position of the hand that stops the spasm not the actual soap!? OK I'm afraid to let go of this bottle Haha tired of these episodes lately. Seems like they moved from my legs into my hand & arm! I use my hands a lot leaning on it from the computer replying to emails & I balloon twist for a living which doesn't help. I'm increasing my potassium & magnesium to help as well with more water. Sheesh this is painful & difficult to type wit one hand here to you all!

Having cramps in both my hands and arms so bad that I can't drive are even hold a glass are anything soap not working is there any one out there with any answers for me I need help thank you God BLESS YOU.

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