Monday, January 29, 2007

Leg Cramps



Have you ever had leg cramps at night? Leg cramps so bad that you have to get out of bed and walk around to relieve them?

The People's Pharmacy (Joe Graedon, Ph. D.)


has an old wives cure for you. Several people have written him in support of placing a bar of soap under your bottom bedsheet, at the area where your calves lie when you are in bed. No reason has been given as to why this will work, but it does for some people.

The first time I tried it, I kept feeling the bar of soap and waking up. Several days ago I placed a smaller, thinner bar of soap (hotel soap) under the bedsheet, but also under my feather-bed topper. I have not had any foot or leg cramps since then, and because the bar of soap is thinner, it doesn't wake me when I turn over. I take potassium pills daily, but I am still prone to foot and leg cramping.

Since the FDA recently pulled all quinine over-the-counter preparations, I thought some of you might want to try this, if you are plagued with cramps.
Addendum: I did this 6 nights ago and I have only had a small cramp, and only that one, since.

30 comments:

Blitz Krieg said...

I had them for years in my calves after tearing my hamstring. I also got them when standing when urinating. (Being a man, that happened quite a bit.)

Finally built an angled board to stretch them and my achilles out twice a day. No cramps since.

Mildred Garfield said...

I've had those leg cramps at night and what works for me is, I get out of bed and walk on a cold floor. That usually works.

A friend of mine drinks "tonic water" every day. " that contains quinine."That helps her.

Next time I stay at a hotel, I'll take those small bars of soap and try that.

Shephard said...

Hmm. That's really perplexing and interesting.

Judy, I had to tell you... I not only love Emmet Otter, but I sang "When the River Meets the Sea" for my sister's funeral. She and I both shared a love of the Muppets.

~S :)

Shephard said...

I also meant to tell you... tomorrow is Gratitude Tuesday, if you're interested. Link on my blog, etc.
~S

colleen said...

I've never had that but I've had charlie horses in my feet mostly. Is that the same thing? OW!

I don't know why bloglines doesn't say when my post is new. Was it always that way? Or just since you changed your blog over? I don't understand much about bloglines. I'd need someone to take me through step by step. I pretty much post everyday but one day....usually Sunday but I post late on Sunday so it looks like Monday.

margalit said...

Those of us unfortunate enough to spend our lives on Lasix (a dieuretic) know the aches and pains of leg cramps. And foot cramps. And hand cramps, abdominal cramps, neck cramps, and pretty much every other kind of cramp. That's what the dreaded pee pill does for you.

So, we not only take potassium, but magnesium. That combination works wonders. If you are getting a lot of leg cramps, you might want to ask your doctor to check your magnesium levels. Or take some extra magnesium and see if it helps.

Oh, and I tried the soap thing. No it didn't work for me. Sob.

claude said...

I have been sleeping with my bar of soap for years! But it has to be really ordinary soap, none of your fancy scented bars.

Peter said...

Hi Judy, I get foot/leg cramps mainly when it's hot and I leave the ceiling fan on overnight, I'll try the soap trick out.

Jay said...

I used to get them all the time when I was a kid, and my mom would tell me to walk on a cold floor too, sometimes I would just press against my footboard. I seem to have mostly grown out of them now though.b

Alan G said...

I use to get excruciating cramps in my calves at night almost weekly and sometimes several times a week. I would also get them for several nights after mowing the lawn or raking leaves. This went on literaly for years. Then....after I retired in September of 2003 would you believe I have not had another leg cramp...not one mind you.

Now how strange is that? But....I will definitely be mindful of the "soap" remedy.

sage said...

Dr. Judy! I have occassionally had leg cramps but often after working out very hard--the worst was once after a hard day of mt. climbing with a full back, coming down really did my legs in--I've never heard of this "treatment"

Peggy said...

I am sure that tonic water will still contain quinine if you need to get some into your system. Why have they pulled the OTC quinine? Can you still get prescriptions for it?

bluemountainmama said...

that's very interesting....i love hearing about "home remedies". i really believe most work, too. cute comment on my site! maybe you have long lost relatives in that county, too. :)

Bob-kat said...

Wow, I have never heard that one. I guess it massages the muscle while you sleep or something?

I go through periods when I seem to get them quite a bit but I have no idea why.

Terri said...

Thankfully, I only had those leg cramps years ago during my pregnancies.
Many times the cause of them are a low potassium level and increasing one's potassium intake (OJ, potatoes, tomatoes, etc.) eliminates the cramps.
Have to admit...never heard of using a bar of soap, but hey, whatever floats your boat, I say.

Seamus said...

I'm getting them a lot lately - have to give this a try! :D

PI said...

My mother used to hold a cork in bed. Sometimes I stretch as I'm waking and get the most awful cramp that feels as if the muscle is tearing. I usually fall out of bed in agony and try to put my weight on the leg. I'll try the soap.
BTW I heard once that quinine can cause gout.

srp said...

I have never heard of this remedy before... whatever works for you though! I only get the charley horse type muscle spasm once in a while. Most of the time I can feel the twinge just before it starts so I stop the stretch and stay still and it usually gets nipped in the bud.

Did I miss a Muppet post? I love Emmet the Otter and that song mentioned in one of the comments. My favorite song from the Muppets Christmas album with John Denver was "The Peace of Christmas Day", a duet with Denver and Kermit. The melody was haunting, the words grab your heart.

Again I have to put in the word verification twice to get it to go. Blogger is mad because I haven't switched.

vicki said...

Drink more gin and tonic- that will get your quinine levels up. A bar of soap??? I'm a real princess/pea kinda gal- I even notice wrinkles in the bedding.

The kids used to get them and wake up wailing. We called them growing pains. Are you growing, Judy?

vicki said...

P.S. There are many people over here I don't know. Who invited all these people to this party? You are too good as a hostesss.

Angie said...

I only know about vinegar. Never heard of the soap trick.

Greg Finnegan said...

I heard that lack of potassium is involved, so I eat a banana a day. Some say nonsense, but when I skip the bananas for a while, the cramps return. Stretching also helps.

Tammy said...

Ouchie!!
I hate leg cramps...I got them years ago while preggers...no fun...I wonder what it is about the bar of soap?? I'll tell my MIL who is prone to these...
:-D

Laura said...

I get those once in a while. I'll have to try this out!
I really like the People's Pharmacy column in our daily paper as well.

Hope y'all are staying warm up there!

Beverly said...

I have terrible cramps every now and then. I'll have to try the bar of soap. I need to buy some bananas too.

Anonymous said...

Three corks from wine bottles on your mattress,tied together or in an old sock will end your leg cramps. Haven't had a cramp in years. Six months ago I felt a slight cramp in my leg and the next night it was a little worse. I checked my corks and they were on the floor.Put them back in bed and no more cramps. Don't know why it works. George Smart

Star said...

On GMA today they had a bit about a pressure point midway on your calf. Pressing it is suppossed to relieve leg cramps. I could have used that info last night. My Mom also espoused the cod metod. She used to put her leg against the cold porcelain bathtub.

James said...

I've read about putting a soap bar under your mattress for leg cramps but personally I feel its just another old wives' tale.
There has been no study done yet to prove this theory.

Judy (kenju) said...

James, see my comment (made today) on the other post you left a comment on. The soap works!

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