Q. I suffer from muscle cramps in my fingers and toes. It happens often during the day. I sometimes have cramps in other muscles as well. Please help!
A. Many readers tell us a bar of soap can ease muscle cramps almost anywhere on the body. Here is one such story: “My left hand was cramping badly. My fingers were twisting and the pain was unbearable. I searched ‘hand cramps’ on the web, found your suggestion and held a bar of soap. It worked within two minutes and the cramp hasn’t returned.”
Another reader offered an unusual soap story: “I am neither a liar nor a fool. I worked for 45 years in the medical profession. When I first read about the soap treatment I thought to myself ‘what crap.’
“Then one night when I couldn’t sleep because of numbness, not pain, in my toes (idiopathic neuropathy), I decided to try the soap thing. I took two small round bars of soap, the ones I collect when I go to hotels. I took off the plastic wrappers and stuck a bar into each sock.
“I slept like a baby! I recommended soap to a friend who gets leg cramps at night but it didn’t work for her. Instead she takes a small quantity of magnesium.
“Each of us is unique. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. I don’t know how or why the soap works and I don’t care. There are no side effects and it doesn’t cost me a cent. I’m trying my best to keep away from prescription medication for as long as I can.”
There is some controversy among People’s Pharmacy readers as to the best brand of soap for this purpose. (We offer a special flat bar for the bed, but can’t claim it works better than other brands.) In addition to muscle cramps and nerve discomfort, many people report that soap can ease restless legs syndrome. Although it does not work for everyone, it is simple, inexpensive and has no side effects.