End Leg Cramps With Pickle Juice

If you’ve ever been jolted awake by a stabbing pain in your calf or hamstring, there’s something you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It turns out that taking a shot of pickle juice really can stop the spasms in their tracks, plus ward off future flare-ups. Cramps typically happen in the legs and feet and can sometimes feel like the muscles are “stuck.” In severe cases, you can actually see the muscle seize up. The spasms can last for a few seconds up to a couple of minutes. Fortunately, despite how painful they can feel, they’re unlikely to cause any damage. While the exact cause of overnight leg cramps isn’t always clear, research indicates they’re more likely to occur when you’re dehydrated. That’s because your body’s balance of electrolytes — minerals vital to muscle function such as sodium, potassium and magnesium — have been depleted. When you’re short on these minerals, it prevents nerves and muscles from functioning smoothly. Another common trigger is “weekend warrior syndrome,“ when you overexert your muscles. Overuse of your muscles depletes their energy stores, making them more prone to painful cramps when you finally turn in for the night. The reason pickle juice outsmarts leg cramps at night is because of the acetic acid that’s the in the pickle juice. When it comes in contact with the back of your throat, it calms down nerve cells. The cells then stop firing neurotransmitters that send pain signals, allowing leg muscles to contract normally. Fresh out of pickle juice? Spread mustard over a cracker and cheese before bed instead. Yellow mustard also contains high levels of acetic acid. Not a fan of pickle juice or yellow mustard? No problem. Another thing you can do is leave the end of the bed sheets untucked. Nocturnal leg cramps can occur when leg muscles are forced into a shortened position as you sleep, and a tucked-in top sheet wedges your feet into a pointed “ballerina” position known as plantar flexion. This shortens calf muscles, setting them up for cramping. Simply loosening the sheets allows ligaments and tendons in calves to maintain a naturally relaxed position that blocks leg cramps from happening as you sleep.