Although not an illness, leg cramps can be extremely painful and debilitating, at least until the pain wears off. These spasm-like muscle contractions can appear at any time of day. The most common risk factors include muscle overstraining, dehydration, stress or fatigue. In fact, dehydration is the most common cause of leg cramps after exercising. However, if your calf cramps painfully while sleeping or a muscle constrains for no particular reason, then the root cause is electrolyte or mineral imbalance in your body.
Natural Home Remedies for Leg Cramps
1# Stay hydrated
If the reason for your leg cramp is exercise, try drinking more water, both during the day and thru the exercise. Also, warming up and stretching before an exercise is quite important.
2# Increase your potassium intake
One of the most common reasons for muscle pain and cramps, especially nocturnal ones, is an electrolyte imbalance. To be more specific, low potassium levels can trigger cramps. To get more potassium from your diet, make a tonic of 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey and a glass of warm water. ACV is abundant in potassium and drinking this daily can significantly relieve muscle cramping.
You can also increase your intake of potassium-rich foods, such as apples, bananas, dried fruits, avocado, mushrooms, yogurt, kefir, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked potatoes and cantaloupe. Be cautious that potassium and sodium work together to control the fluid balance in your body. In order for the two to function properly, it’s crucial that they are in the right proportions to each other. A diet high in sodium may significantly reduce the effectiveness of potassium. Apart from cutting down on sodium intake, it’s also recommended to stick to Himalayan salt when dealing with this condition.
3# Boost your intake of calcium and magnesium
As these two minerals are very important for proper muscle function, getting more of them through your diet can significantly reduce the appearance of leg cramps. There are many foods rich in calcium and magnesium that can help alleviate leg cramps. The best food that packs high amounts of both of these minerals is raw chocolate or raw cacao. Dark leafy greens like broccoli and kale are also abundant in these minerals. The best way to have a great calcium and magnesium supplement is by blending these ingredients in your morning smoothie. Ideally, make it with almond milk as the base; add dark leafy greens, and raw cacao powder.
Other foods rich in calcium include: salmon, sardines (with bones), green beans, turnip greens. Foods rich in magnesium include: raw chocolate (raw cacao, the #1 source of magnesium), nuts and pumpkin seeds, molasses, spinach, baked potatoes, bananas, wheat germ and seafood.
4# Vitamin E
Vitamin E is particularly beneficial for preventing leg cramps that occur during sleep. There are a number of studies which confirm that supplementing your diet with vitamin E can improve arterial blood flow thus prevent cramping.
5#Epsom salt bath
Epsom salt bath is another efficient way to relieve muscle pain owing to the high content of magnesium in Epsom salt, which allows muscles to relax more easily.
You can also treat muscle cramps topically. One of the most efficient methods is massaging the painful area with a mixture of 1 part wintergreen oil and 4 parts vegetable oil. Wintergreen oil is particularly beneficial because it contains methyl salicylate, which relieves pain and stimulates blood flow. If necessary, you can even use this mixture several times a day. However, make sure not to use it with a heating pad as it’ll be too hot and can easily burn your skin.