When I first started seeking a diagnosis for my issue a chiropractor recommended I start taking Magnesium pills. Right away my muscle tensions eased and I had fewer nights interrupted by painful calf cramps. Usually I would take the magnesium until I started to notice its side effects- basically if your GI system is a bit backed up, magnesium ought to do the trick 😉 Then I would take a break and start again or just reduce the dosage a bit.
Once I moved to the Albany suburbs I had more time to work out and with more intense exercise my night time Charlie horses increased. Once night I woke up with a burning cramping pain on one leg. I went through my normal trick of rolling out of bed and putting some weight on the pained leg to stretch out the calf. Just as I was trying to relieve tension in my right leg the fiery pain shot into my left leg and I collapsed to the floor. I had to pull myself up on to my bed because I could no longer use my legs. I flipped over, downed some water and few magnesium pills and waited. Slowly the pain subsided, but my legs were still cramping. I managed to get myself to the kitchen for a banana and a water refill. I ate the whole banana and drank another glass of water and waited again. Eventually the cramps subsided, and I was able to sleep.
And that’s when I started taking a banana to bed with me.
Fast forward to about a year ago when I was looking up more information on Magnesium and I found a magical liquid called magnesium oil. It is a mixture of magnesium salt with water and the solution it creates has the texture of an oil. You spray it on the area that you wanted “treated” – so in my case I spray it directly on the body part that is cramping, and let it soak into your skin. Once it has soaked in you will just have some leftover salt on your skin that you can wipe away with a wet cloth.
Anytime I have woken up in the middle of the night with a leg cramp, I spray my leg, rub in the oil, and in under a minute I start to feel relief. I no longer bother wasting time with stretching, or chugging water (that will only make me wake up later yet again to go to the bathroom). I grab my bottle of magnesium oil spray, rub, and get back in bed.
I get the oil from my local green grocer Honest Weight Food Co-op, but you can also get bottles from Amazon. There are a number of options online, but only one at my store. I have not experimented with different brands because I am happy with what I have.
A word of warning for anyone who wants to try magnesium oil: it is a SALT. You know what they say about rubbing salt into a wound? It is true. Don’t use magnesium oil on any open cuts and I also recommend not using it on freshly shaven legs. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
If anyone is curious I have tested it out when I have had cramps from my period and it works, for the most part. Some nights I have tried them and they worked the trick as fast as on a leg cramp and other nights even using ibuprofen and magnesium oil and I was waiting patiently for relief to kick in. Maybe it just took longer to soak into my skin? Maybe I have been less consistent with the amount of oil I use?
Magnesium oil + leg cramps = immediately relief
Magnesium oil + period cramps = inconsistent results