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6 Cheap, Easy Home Remedies For Cramps
Whether you’re experiencing muscle cramps in your hands while playing guitar, abdominal cramps as a reaction to eating some spoiled food or just having menstrual cramps as a part of your monthly cycle, cramps are no fun – not just because of the pain they cause, but because the pain is often so intense that it brings your life to a screeching halt for several minutes, hours or even for a few days at a time. Fortunately, there are a variety of home remedies for cramps that can make that pain go away in a matter of minutes or possibly even within seconds.
If you’re looking for more info on what exactly cramps are and what causes them, you can find some additional information . But if your main concern is to just how to get rid of the painful cramps you’re experiencing right this moment, then below you’ll find six cramps home remedies that you can use immediately to relieve your symptoms.
1. Hot/Cold Compress Combo (For All Cramps)
The use of heat and cold for pain relief is one of the most common home remedies for cramps and for any kind of pain in general. Hot and cold compresses are also great because they don’t require any special ingredients or equipment to perform, making them extremely convenient and cost-effective.
Application is very straightforward, but instead of using cold first and heat second – as you would in the case of an injury – for cramps you’ll reverse the process, using a heat compress to increase blood flow to the affected area, and then following up with a cold compress to restrict blood flow and more fully relieve the discomfort caused by the cramp in the first place.
To maximize their effectiveness, make the hot compress as hot as you can without causing discomfort, and make the cold compress as cold as you can without it becoming unbearable. If the towel is too thick for the icepack’s coldness to penetrate, then rinse the towel in cold water first.
Note: Some experts recommend applying the compress to the lower back, since some patients experience nausea when hot and cold compresses are applied to the abdomen.
- apply a hot pad or a clean towel soaked in hot water directly to the affected area
- apply moderate pressure to the hot compress for 5-10 minutes
- remove hot compress
- apply icepack wrapped in clean towel directly to affected area
- apply moderate pressure to cold compress for 5-10 minutes
- repeat for another cycle if desired
What kind of cramps are you experiencing right now?
2. Yellow Mustard (For Muscle Cramps)
Yellow mustard is one of those home remedies for cramps that medical experts have tried to debunk for years, many claiming it to be just a myth. But if you’re experiencing a major cramp in your calf in the middle of the night, there’s probably no better remedy than a spoonful or two of yellow mustard to bring nearly instantaneous pain relief.
Some experts believe mustard is effective because it contains vinegar. The acetic acid in the vinegar stimulates your body to produce acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that helps muscles function properly.
Others believe it has more to do with magnesium or other electrolytes, and some just chalk it up to the placebo effect. But whatever the reason may be, this remedy really does work, and you can’t beat the price. Grab a handful of mustard packets the next time you eat out, or just keep a little bottle of it next to your bed for easy access.
Yellow mustard can also be applied directly to your skin to help relieve cramping symptoms.
- Consume 1-2 teaspoons of yellow mustard for immediate cramp relief
- Alternative: apply 2-3 teaspoons of mustard topically to the affected area and leave on the skin for 5-10 minutes before washing off with soap and warm water
3. Carbonated Water With Lime (For Abdominal & Menstrual Cramps)
One very common cause of stomach cramps is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If you suspect that IBS is to blame for your stomach cramps, then some type of carbonated water with lime may give you some relief. You can use plain, unflavored carbonated water, club soda, seltzer water with lime or even just a 7-Up, Sprite or other lemon-lime flavored soda pop.
The reason it works is that many cases of stomach cramps are actually just caused by a buildup of gas, causing indigestions, bloating and abdominal pain, and the carbonation in the soda water can make it easier for you to belch, which helps to bring out the excess gasses.
The acidity of the lime also helps to create hydrochloric acid in the digestive tract, which helps to break down food faster and move it through your system, making this one of the easiest home remedies for cramps out there.
- Pour an 8 oz. glass of carbonated water, seltzer water or club soda
- Squeeze 1/2 lime directly into the water and drink
- Add ice if desired
4. Peppermint Tea (For All Cramps)
Peppermint has long been used in herbal medicine for soothing sore stomach and menstrual cramps, but it has also been found to be a useful cramps home remedy for muscle cramps too. Peppermint has a relaxing effect on muscles, and since cramps are really nothing more than continuous muscle spasms, the herb can help relieve discomfort from all sorts of cramps.
You can chew on peppermint leaves to release their oils if you like, but most people prefer to use the leaves to make a delicious peppermint tea. You can use the dried leaves or a peppermint tea bag, but most natural health practitioners recommend using fresh peppermint leaves for maximum effectiveness.
Be sure to cover the tea as it’s steeping, as this helps to retain the natural oils.
5. Hot Bath (For All Cramps)
“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.” – Sylvia Plath
Sylvia nailed it.
A hot bath can go a long way to temporarily relieve all types of cramps. It’s one of the best known and most used home remedies for cramps out there. Plus, it’s just a good idea to take away all those daily stresses, whether you’re cramping up or not.
The key is to ease into a warm bath and then bring up the temperature gradually. You want that bath water as hot as you can stand it without burning your skin.
Some people like to add Epsom salts or peppermint essential oil to boost the cramp-busting effects, so go ahead and experiment with those as well.
- Pour a cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of fresh peppermint leaves or 2 teabags
- cover and steep for 10 minutes
- drink 1 cup immediately
- drink 1 cup before meals for additional pain relief
- Fill your bathtub with moderately hot water
- Get in and add more hot water
- Optional: add 2 cups Epsom salt while filling tub
- Optional: add 4-6 drops peppermint essential oil while filling tub
- Soak in hot bath for at least 12-60 minutes
6. Blackstrap Molasses (For Menstrual Cramps)
Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of the sugar cane refining process. It’s a dark, sticky syrup that is loaded with all kinds of minerals and electrolytes like iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
You lose a lot of blood during your period, and along with that blood you’re losing all the nutrients that your blood contains. This can put your body’s nutritional profile out of balance, and that’s where blackstrap molasses comes in as a powerful cramps home remedy. This is one of nature’s best cramps home remedies for restoring your body’s nutritional deficiencies during menstruation.
There are many ways to take blackstrap molasses for cramp relief, but this simple warm drink recipe below might just become your favorite.
If you suffer from IBS or lactose intolerance, just use your favorite milk substitute or even just hot water.
- 8 oz. warm milk
- 1-2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses
- Stir vigorously for a sweet, creamy treat
- Alternative: substitute almond milk or soymilk for regular dairy milk
- Enjoy sipping on a second cup if you like
If you’re suffering from menstrual cramps, abdominal cramps or muscle cramps, there are many DIY home remedies for cramps available that are affordable, convenient and completely natural. You don’t have to turn to concentrated prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications with their various side effects. These six cramps home remedies can work wonders to reduce your levels of discomfort and help you get back on your feet.
Have you tried any of the home remedies for cramps above? Which one has brought you the best results? Please share in the comments section below.