Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic staff
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If you have a cramp, these actions may provide relief:
- Stretch and massage. Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax. For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly. If you're unable to stand, sit on the floor or in a chair with your affected leg extended. Try pulling the top of your foot on the affected side toward your head while your leg remains in a straightened position. This will also help ease a back thigh (hamstring) cramp. For a front thigh (quadriceps) cramp, use a chair to steady yourself and try pulling your foot on the affected side up toward your buttock.
- Apply heat or cold. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles. Taking a warm bath or directing the stream of a hot shower onto the cramped muscle also can help. Alternatively, massaging the cramped muscle with ice may relieve pain.
- Muscle cramp. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00200. Accessed Dec. 19, 2012.
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- Winkelman JW. Nocturnal leg cramps. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Dec. 19, 2012.
- Katzberg HD, et al. Assessment: Symptomatic treatment for muscle cramps (an evidence-based review). Neurology. 2010;74:691.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 21, 2012.