If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night with terrible leg cramps that keep you from sleeping, then this video is for you.
Charley horses are an incredibly painful and troublesome occurrence that can jolt you from your sleep and rob you of a good night’s rest. In this video by Dr. Larry Santora, he answers a patient’s question of “how do I deal with nocturnal leg cramps?” and you won’t believe what he suggests.
First, let’s understand what a charley horse and why it happens. Charley horse is another name for a muscle spasm. Charley horses can occur in virtually any muscle, but they are most common in the legs. These spasms are marked by extremely uncomfortable muscle contractions. The contracting muscles don’t relax for several seconds or more, and the pain can be severe. Charley horses that are severe enough can result in the muscle being sore for a few hours or even a day.
They occur for a number of reasons. The most common causes of charley horses include:
inadequate blood flow to the muscle
exercising in excessive heat or cold
overuse of a specific muscle during exercise
stress, most often in the neck muscles
not stretching before exercise
nerve compression in the spine
taking diuretics, which can lead to low potassium levels
mineral depletion, too little calcium, potassium, and sodium in the blood
So what does Dr. Santora recommend?
Stretches: By stretching your calves regularly, you can help prevent muscle spasms in this region.
Water: Staying fully hydrated is your best defense against muscle cramps throughout your body.
Bananas: Bananas are high in potassium and are a known combatant of muscle cramps. You can also stock up on other potassium rich foods such as squash, yogurt, fish, and avocados.
Magnesium supplement: Taking a daily supplement of magnesium or magnesium plus calcium will help prevent muscle spasms.
Quinine sulphate: This is a well known prescription solution to frequent and recurring muscle cramps. Talk to your doctor about using quinine sulphate.
Tonic water: If you don’t have quinine sulphate handy, you can drink a half cup of tonic water–which contains quinine–before bedtime to help ward off a charley horse.
Yellow mustard and pickle juice are also mentioned by Dr. Santora, though he is unsure of what ingredient in these condiments actually benefit people who suffer from muscle cramps.
But what is Dr. Santora’s secret weapon for treating leg cramps? He recommends placing a bar of soap at the foot of the bed, wrapped or unwrapped, and leaving it there for one to two weeks.
We found this to be quite the puzzling solution. First of all, Dr. Santora says himself that there is no medical reasoning behind this solution, just overwhelming patient response. Our thought is that one to two weeks is a long time to endure painful leg cramping and loss of sleep, especially when he offers many other faster acting home remedies above.
Have you tried this bar of soap in the bed solution? Has it worked for you? Please share your stories, anecdotes, theories, and more with us below in the comments section.