Leg cramps are a common occurrence for everyone once in a while. Attributed to many possible causes, leg cramps typically go away on their own. However, leg cramps—especially when felt regularly—can be quite painful. Natural products and oils can provide soothing relief of leg cramps, helping to restore mobility and quality of life.
About Leg Cramps
Leg cramps occur when leg muscles suddenly and involuntarily contract. Also known as a charley horse, leg cramps can cause shooting pain and tightness in the lower or upper legs, depending on the affected muscles.1,2
Generally, leg cramps reach a peak soreness where the pain becomes extremely intense. During an intense leg cramp, you cannot use your muscles and must wait for the pain to subside before you can walk or move your legs again.
Leg cramps can be felt at any time, as they come on spontaneously. However, many people suffer leg cramps during the night while they’re asleep. Other times, leg cramps may come on during rest periods following intense physical activities.
Leg cramps have many possible causes. Dehydration can lead to severe muscle cramping, especially when accompanied by muscle overuse and intense exercise. Holding your leg muscles in one position for too long can also cause cramps. Many people who feel leg cramps, especially during the night, don’t actually know the underlying reason, but it’s typically not due to a severe medical condition.1,2
In some cases, leg cramps can be caused by a more severe condition, such as a lack of blood supply in people with poor circulation. Other times, people might feel leg cramps due to a compressed nerve in their spine that causes radiating pain. Deficiencies in potassium, calcium and magnesium can also cause severe muscle cramping—especially in athletes who don’t supplement adequately or in people with underlying health conditions.1
The primary leg cramp symptoms include:
- Sharp pain in the leg
- Sudden pain that subsides after a few moments
- Inability to use leg muscles during intense periods of pain
- Feeling tissue lumps under the skin
Depending on the case, muscle cramps may last only a few seconds or can last several minutes. Stretching regularly and making sure you stay hydrated are the best ways to prevent muscle cramps.
Top Natural Remedies for Leg Cramps
If you regularly suffer from leg cramps, there are some helpful home remedies that are good for leg cramps:
Apple Cider Vinegar - Rubbing cramped leg muscles with apple cider vinegar can help ease pain by reducing inflammation and healing tight muscles.
Coconut Oil - Coconut oil can be used as a massage oil on cramped legs because of its anti-inflammatory and soothing health benefits.
Potassium - Leg cramps can be caused by a potassium deficiency. Ensuring you have an adequate intake of potassium can prevent leg cramps.
Magnesium - Magnesium is another mineral that can cause leg cramps when there’s a deficiency. By supplementing with magnesium, you can help prevent leg cramps from occurring.
Blackstrap Molasses - Blackstrap molasses is an excellent source of potassium, which can help ease leg cramp caused by a potassium deficiency.