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What is the Fastest Way to Stop Leg Cramps?

Anna T.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Some of the fastest ways to stop leg cramps may be to use calcium and magnesium supplements, take a hot bath, and massage. Some people also use topical pain-relieving creams on the area of the leg that is cramping to stop cramps. Even though doctors don't fully understand why it works, a bar of soap placed toward the foot of the bed at night, near the leg that is prone to cramping, may help to prevent and ease leg cramping that occurs during the night. A person who suffers from persistent leg cramps that are not alleviated by any traditional methods to stop leg cramps should most likely see a doctor to be sure there is no underlying medical problem causing the cramps.

Many people report success with stopping leg cramps by taking calcium and magnesium supplements. Both of these supplements are typically effective for relaxing the muscles, which is why they tend to be useful in stopping leg cramps. Calcium and magnesium can be purchased in individual supplements or in the form of vitamins that contain the recommended daily allowance of each. Negative side effects could result from taking too much calcium or magnesium, so it might be a good idea for a person to check with his doctor to determine how much he can safely take, particularly if he is on any type of prescription medicine. Taking extra calcium and magnesium in addition to various prescription medicines could be harmful.

It may be useful to take a hot bath for getting rid of leg cramps. Hot water can often relax the muscles, which might ease cramping in the legs. Some people add Epsom salts to their bathwater as well. Epsom salts contain magnesium, which may soak into the skin during a hot bath to help relax leg muscles and ease cramping. Most doctors recommend soaking in hot bath water containing Epsom salts for at least 30 minutes to stop leg cramps.

Massage and pain-relieving creams are also frequently recommended methods of dealing with leg cramps. Deep tissue massage on the area that is cramping can help to loosen muscles that are drawn up and tight in the legs. After massage, the application of a topical pain reliever might help to ease any pain that resulted from the cramping. Topical pain relievers are widely available over the counter, but there are stronger varieties that are only available through prescription. Many people might be skeptical of using a bar of soap in the bed while they sleep for stopping leg cramps at night, but the method is typically inexpensive and simple enough to implement that it may be worth a try.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By Cageybird — On Feb 05, 2014

@pollick, I get bad leg cramps in bed, but I think they're triggered by cold air suddenly hitting my bare leg. The pain is just about unbearable for the first few minutes, then the spasms start to calm down and I can try to stretch out my leg. I'll have to try your pressure point idea, if I can remember to do it while my leg muscles are seizing up.

I've tried the soap bar thing mentioned in the article and I think it's more of a psychological trick than anything else. I'll keep bananas around for the magnesium, but maybe I should look into some supplements, too.

By pollick — On Feb 04, 2014

This is going to sound totally crazy, but one thing I do whenever I get a bad leg cramp is pinch the area between my nose and upper lip with my thumb and forefinger. Sometimes I'll just put pressure on that area like I'm trying to squelch a sneeze. I'll hold my fingers in a tight pinch until the cramp starts to subside.

It won't stop the calf muscles from seizing up, but for some reason the nighttime leg cramps won't last nearly as long as they could. It must be some sort of pressure point that makes it work.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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