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Holding a Bar of Soap to Banish Hand Cramps

Holding a bar of soap in the hand for a few minutes is an easy, inexpensive way to help relax painful hand cramps.

Almost everyone is familiar with a charley horse, a cramp in the calf muscles. Cramps in large muscles of the calves or thighs are not uncommon, especially during or after vigorous exercise.

Cramps in smaller muscles can also be troublesome. When a hand or a foot cramps, it can cause sharp pain and interfere with the function of the limb. What to do? One reader found a surprising remedy:

Soap for Hand Cramps:

Q. Just two hours ago, I had awful hand cramps that make the bones feel as if they are piling up in a heap on my hand. I’ve never found anything that would relieve them.

Not believing holding a bar of soap in my hand would work, but being desperate, I tried this soap-thing remedy. Lo and behold it actually worked–almost instantly! I will never doubt the soap trick for cramps again.

Home Remedy for Hand Cramps:

A. We know health professionals shudder when we describe this home remedy, but it is inexpensive and helpful for many people.

A professional fisherman was the first person who alerted us to this tactic for hand cramps. He worked for many hours each day reeling in large fish after large fish. By the end of the day he was in agony.

He had heard about using soap for leg cramps and figured it might work for hand cramps as well. He was thrilled with the rapid results.

A woman reported that her husband developed hand cramps while playing cards:

“I got a bar of soap and put it in his hand. Within a minute the pain subsided. He held the bar for about 10 minutes and the cramp never came back. Now we keep a bar of soap near where we play cards.”

To Try the Soap or Not:

We don’t know whether holding a bar of soap in the hand will work for anyone with hand cramps, but we do know that this remedy is easily available, inexpensive and without noticeable side effects. We have observed that home remedies are worth a try as long as they don’t interfere with appropriate medical attention for a serious problem. Since we don’t know of an effective conventional treatment for hand cramps, it shouldn’t hurt to try the soap approach.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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