Q. I am prone to very painful hand and finger cramps. When they strike, I massage them or run hot and cold water over the hands, but nothing works except time.
Today my left hand was in terrible pain that wouldn’t cease. I went to the Internet and looked up Home Remedies for Hand Cramps. I saw the suggestion on your website about holding a bar of soap and immediately opened a new bar. When I held it in my aching hand, POOF — the pain went away within seconds. It seemed like a miracle.
A. The idea of holding a bar of soap to overcome hand cramps grew out of the practice of preventing nighttime leg cramps with a bar of soap under the bottom sheet. Another reader reports:
“We swear by the soap in the bed, and have had no problem with leg cramps in years. A few days ago the fingers in both hands cramped up. I thought of the soap, held it in my hands and the cramps went away like magic.”
We don’t know why this remedy seems to work, but many people have had success with it. Some scientists insist that it is the placebo effect. Regardless of the mechanism of action, holding a bar of soap seems like an inexpensive, low-risk solution to a painful problem.