Monday, March 2, 2015
Everyone knows the agony when a muscle abruptly cramps and goes iron hard. It really is agony. Worse still when you wake up in the night with your leg cramped when you have stretched your toes in your sleep. Or that over-use of the mouse-holding hand that seizes up your wrist and lower arm just as you are falling asleep. With your hand and wrist all you can do is sit up, massage like mad, and wait, while with your leg you are best to stand up and stamp down hard on the affected foot. Warm towels or rubbing with a lump of ice are also often effective. Too often, however, you fix one leg, and the other one promptly cramps.
I thought of this because a friend said to me, "Have you noticed I haven't been drinking coffee? Well," she went on, "I was so dead tired after trying to fix leg cramps all night that I was desperate enough to try anything. So I gave up coffee, and the relief was immediate. I haven't had leg cramps since."
Well, that is unusual. Though maybe not as unusual as my dear stepfather's remedy of a cork in his pyjama pocket, or under his pillow. My husband, Ron, swears by a cork, too. He keeps one in his pocket if we are going to a movie or a concert, to stave off cramps caused by lack of leg room.
What other home remedies are there? A simple google search yielded interesting results.
Vinegar is popular. Sip a tablespoon of bread and butter pickle juice, says one correspondent. Organic cider vinegar at the ratio of two tablespoons to a quarter teaspoon of baking soda, says another. But how about keeping a bar of soap at the bottom of the bed? That's definitely unusual!
Low thyroid levels could be the problem. If you get frequent cramps in the legs at night, you should definitely consult your physician.