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Updated on June 30, 2012

Causes of Muscle Spasms

Most people at sometime in their life will experience muscle spasms (cramps). For those that do, I can tell you the pain is unbearable. It will stop you instantly from anything you are doing at the time. I have been bothered by them throughout my life.

Most doctors will agree that deficiency in calcium, potassium, sodium or magnesium can cause muscle cramps. But these factors do not stand alone. Things like over working or over exercise can leave muscles aching and bound to cramp. If you stand long periods of time on your feet like I have over the years, leg and feet cramps will most likely bother you sometime. It is important to wear properly fitting shoes and if you are flat footed like I am, a good inter-sole for support can be very important.

Medications like anti-psychotic drugs, steroids, statin drugs, diuretics, birth control pills, calcium channel blockers and asthma medicine can add to the increase of muscle spasms. Each one could be responsible for taking out much needed water, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

As the only prescription drug I take is Simvastatin to help with my cholesterol problems. I believe this one is causing me to have muscle cramps along with standing all day for hours at a time over the years. If I am persistent in taking a calcium supplement I have fewer occurrences. But, too much calcium can cause other discomforts like constipation. I believe it can increase the problem with inherited thick toenails that I was so lucky to receive from my grandmother. And I even wonder if it didn’t contribute to the huge gall stone I had requiring me to have my gall bladder removed after an attack which lasted for many hours. I backed off taking the calcium for awhile. But the cramps are back in full force and I decided I must add more calcium to my diet again. I also try to eat a banana everyday to give me more potassium. Potatoes are another good source of potassium, but they are loaded with starch. The banana would be less fattening.

Other things which lead to muscle cramps are dehydration, an imbalance of electrolytes in the body, obesity and lack of sleep. People who have Addison’s disease, diabetes, alcoholism, chronic kidney failure or get themselves into a poor sleeping position are at risk for cramping as well.

Remedies Known to Help

I’ve been told many remedies to fight against muscle spasms over the years and with my recent encounter with them again I decided to research the topic some on the internet. Some of these remedies I am about to tell you are ones I learned from my parents, grandparents, and other family and friends while others are new to me.

My mom always recommended hot baths and showers along with rubbing alcohol with wintergreen in it to be either rubbed on or added to the bath water. My husband unwisely added a whole bottle of this to his bath once and claimed he cured his lameness for weeks later from trying it just once. My mom told him later that she never would have used that much.

My grandmother recommended a heating pad or hot water bottle to relieve the soreness of bulging muscles which stay for days after a severe muscle cramp. She sometimes would use muscle rubs like Ben-gay. I never much cared for the smell of it, but I have often applied the blue therapeutic ice gel products to a cramping muscle for quick relief even if it was only a temporary solution.

I visited some web sites recently to find out other home remedies and to see what people were recommending. These sites were:,,, and

Here are some recommended remedies their readers told them about: For fast relief of muscle cramps they claim to have drank, dill pickle juice or consumed one teaspoon of mustard or one teaspoon of molasses. Others have drank tonic water to treat both muscle spasms and arthritis. Drinking a mixture of diluted vinegar with honey or adding vinegar to a hot bath on a regular basis has helped give comfort to some folks with cramping muscles. Things like drinking V-8 juice and chamomile tea has been known to bring relief. There are also herbal and homeopathic remedies.

Final Thoughts

Fighting muscle cramps remains a problem for many of us. If we can keep ourselves hydrated with drinking plenty of water and maintain a healthy diet to get all the vitamins and minerals our body demands perhaps it will help. As we are all individuals with different things causing our discomfort, we each must seek out our own remedies. There are many new ideas on the subject. Even the people that make sport drinks are addressing these issues for their athletes. Gatorade has a new one called G Series Pro which is formulated to deal with muscle cramps. There are even gadgets made to reduce tension which work somewhat like acupuncture. I have one of these gadgets, it is a trigger like device called a Magic Trigger and amazingly it does help. What will they think up next?

I hope I have helped with easing the pains of the dreaded Charlie Horse (muscle cramp).These remedies are only suggestions and although many have been recommended by professionals others may not be. If a chronic problem of any kind keeps you in pain medical help should be your top priority. Visit your doctor.


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    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, LongTimeMother. I'm sorry for not responding sooner. For some reason I must have missed the alert message showing me I had a comment here. I have heard of parsley for that problem. Thanks for adding it.

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      This is an interesting hub. May I suggest adding fresh parsley to your diet to avoid the constipation problem. :)

      Voted up.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, Kasman. I sure hope you find the right remedy for you.

    • Kasman profile image


      6 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Very good tips here. I work out regularly, so muscle spasms and I are very well acquainted. I will definitely be using some of the things listed here. Useful article, voting up!

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you for adding another remedy, mary615. I know simple things are most welcome. I seldom get these cramps anymore. I think it is because I eat more bananas now. I can't think of what else I'm doing different.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I agree: these cramps are crippling if they effect the feet. I will tell you a sore fire way to prevent them and make them stop once you have a cramp. You have to promise not to laugh! This is an old wives remedy. Sleep with a bar of soap (doesn't matter what kind). When my feet cramp, I hold a bar of soap to the bottom of the foot. After 10 min. or so, the cramp is gone.

      I enjoyed reading this, and voted it UP, etc.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      7 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, travel man1971 for stopping by. The mustard trick works. After I decided to use mustard more often on a sandwich than other things, my muscle spasms went away.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks for sharing this awesome tip to relieve muscle spasms.

      The unannounced attack signifies that there is something wrong in some parts of our body.

      Immediate first-aid will be the hot bottle but if there's a continuous attack, it will be a severe warning for sure.

      I, for one, will seek the doctor's advice regarding the trouble.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      7 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, peterjhon for your in put. I'm glad you stopped by.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Comtan (Entacapone) is used to treat Parkinson's disease. It is used together with other medications (such as Carbidopa and Levodopa) to treat muscle spasms, poor muscle control, stiffness and tremors, which are caused by wearing-off effects of Parkinson's drugs. for more information visit International Drug Mart

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      7 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, bingskee. I hope one of these remedies will help you.

    • bingskee profile image


      7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      oh, my, the muscle cramps! i dread each time they attack!

      this is truly useful, Diana. thank you. i was suffering from it the other day.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      7 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank-you, Dream On. Muscle cramps really are unbearable at times.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      7 years ago

      Great topic and you covered alot of ground.I hope the solutions and research continue to help solve an aching problem.My aunt had bad leg cramps in the morning she use to put her foot on the cold floor and it stopped the cramp that caused her unbearable pain.i will pass on some of your good tips and keep up the good work.Rated up.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      7 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you vikkijov and Mhatter99. While searching for relief myself I figured others would be interested.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      good info

    • vikkijov profile image


      7 years ago from Mystic, CT

      I am so glad to have read this because just recently, over the past 4 months or so I had gotten terrible leg cramps at night that distorted or disfigured my entire leg and was tremendously painful to me. I have tried everything, and now for some reason have ceased for a while. I heard drinking coconut water helped, so I tried that, really great tasting too. Your article was very informative to me.


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