Muscle cramps happen when a muscle involuntarily contracts on its own. Usually, you feel a hard lump at the point of pain — that’s the contracted muscle.
There are several remedies you can try yourself.
Stretching: Relax the cramping muscle. Stop any activity that may have induced the cramp and lightly stretch the muscle, gently holding the stretch. You may even massage the muscle while you stretch or after you finish.
*Consider applying a heating pad to the area, as described below, after stretching. If your calf muscle cramps in the middle of the night, stand up and slowly put weight on the affected leg to push the heel down and stretch out the muscle.
Magnesium: If you regularly have leg cramps that aren’t related to a more serious condition, you might try adding more magnesium to your diet. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of magnesium.
Magnesium has been suggested for treating pregnant women’s muscle cramps, but more studies are needed. Talk to your doctor before taking any magnesium supplements if you’re pregnant.
Heat: Try applying this old-school remedy to a wet cloth and pressing it onto a cramped muscle, or add some to a hot bath for a soak.
In fact, a hot soak provides relief for many, with or without Epsom salts.
*Dry heat in the form of a heating pad may even help. There are a variety of options available online.
Start the pad on the lowest setting and only increase heat if you’re not getting any relief at all.
If you have diabetes, a spinal cord injury, or another condition that might prevent you from feeling heat, a heating pad isn’t a good option.
Hydration: Another possible way to stop leg cramps is to hydrate. It might take a little longer to ease your pain, but once you’ve had water or a sports drink with electrolytes, you could prevent another cramp.
Get moving: Walking around may help ease leg cramps by sending a signal to the muscle that it needs to relax after it contracts.
If all else fails, and you continue to have regular muscle cramps, consider getting regular massages to help the muscles relax.