Growing up and then working in a rural area, I get quite a few home remedies for leg cramps.  Any PT will come across a patient with cramps sometime in their working career.  I typically see cramps in the middle age to elderly (mainly in the hamstrings but also the groin and calves). The following are my top 5 “treatments”:

5.  Bananas


Of course I have to include this in here for a day’s worth of potassium.  It is our typical go to guy. Some patients say they are turning into monkeys with all the bananas they eat, but I only find mediocre results.

4.  Limit sodium intake

Yes again nutritional advice.  You would be surprised how much sodium is in an American’s diet (and they do not know…which is the scary part).  Stay away from the Ramen Noodles; they are only good for college diets.

3.  Sleep with a bar of soap between your sheets

Night cramps can be horrible, and people do crazy things.  Not sure if a particular brand is recommended, but I have had patients claim it works!  Who needs evidenced-based practice right?

2. See a physical therapist

You know I would put this in here.  Leg cramps can be anywhere from a protective mechanism of the body to prevent injury or even nerve compression coming from the lumbar spine.  Manual therapy and exercises to aid in flexibility and ROM does work quite well.  Specific exercises pending on the patient presentation can usually dull the cramp(s) when the occur, but not usually immediate effects.  This will help in the long run.  When someone has a cramp, they need immediate help!

1.  To get immediate results, eat a teaspoon of mustard.

Sound appetizing?  It works, trust me.  No need to go further.

What are your remedies for leg cramps?  Have you tried mustard or soap between sheets?


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