Nighttime leg cramps are the sudden and involuntary contractions of muscles in your leg. Generally, night cramps occur in your calf muscles, but muscles in your feet or thighs may cramp also. So what do you do when you find yourself suffering from leg cramps? Many health forums suggest unwrapping a bar of soap and leaving it under the sheets.
According to Andrew G. Kowal, MD, a pain management specialist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts, the theory behind this home remedy is that a bar of soap will give off the chemical magnesium, which will relieve you of leg cramps.
Additionally, it is also rumored soap can relieve pain in restless leg syndrome (RLS). RLS is a disorder where an individual has a sudden urge or need to move his or her legs to stop unpleasant sensations. In another popular medical television show, The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Mehmet Oz stated placing a bar of lavender soap under the sheets can alleviate RLS. He believes the scent of lavender is relaxing and may be beneficial for the health condition.
Symptoms of RLS include crawling, creeping, pulling, throbbing and itching sensations. RLS is a condition that can develop at any age. It can be due to a variety of causes such as heredity, kidney failure or iron deficiency. Both nighttime leg cramps and RLS can be associated with pregnancy.
As strange as this tale sounds, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to back it up. Many people posting to online health forums swear by this home remedy, claiming that unwrapped soap bars cured them of their nightly leg cramps. The soapy cure has gained such a following that it was even brought up on the daytime talk show, “The Doctors,” where Dr. Jim Sears conducted a Twitter poll and 42 percent of his responders said they’ve successfully used soap to relieve nighttime leg cramps.
So if you’re suffering from nightly leg cramps or RLS, perhaps you should try placing a bar of soap under your sheets near your feet. Even though science has yet to show that these treatments work, what have you got to lose? Just don’t try Dove or Dial — those soaps don’t work, according to many online testimonies. Try lavender soap and see how that works for you.
If you are a more conventional person who needs scientific evidence visit your health care provider and discuss your ways to increase your magnesium intake or other options.