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A fix for those awful leg cramps.

sueopp
sueopp Member Posts: 238

This post might make me sound like the crackpot of the year, but I think I have stumbled on a fix for those wretched nighttime leg cramps that plague some of us. 

Since starting herceptin/perjeta/navelbine over a year ago, I have been awakened repeatedly, sometimes several times a night, by "charley horse" type cramps in the legs.  These require me to get out of bed and stand up, trying to stretch the knot out before trying to fall asleep again.  Frustrating, irritating, painful.

They became particularly bad last month, and in desperation I tried a solution that I read about in a newspaper column in our local called "The People's Pharmacy".  Folks had written in over the years to claim that putting a bar of soap in their bed stopped leg cramps -HUH?  I assumed that if by chance this weird solution did work, it was for people with restless leg syndrome or etc.  However I put a bar of Dove soap under the bottom sheet of our bed between the mattress and the sheet,  and ladies I kid you not:  I have not had a single cramp in my legs since.  I have waited for two weeks to see if anything changes, but nope, my leg thing seems to be fixed.

Why would this work?  I dunno, but Oh! What a relief it is -  Love to all,  SUE

Comments

  • heidihill
    heidihill Member Posts: 1,856
    edited November 2014

    Glad you've found a solution. I've heard other stories here about this. Someone started having cramps again and realized the soap bar had fallen off the bed. Magnesium tablets and bananas worked for me. But next time I won't hesitate to try this. If it stops working at some point, either buy a fresh bar of soap or score the old one to remove the older layer. One hypothesis is that the perfume/essential oil molecules in the soap cause blood vessels to enlarge. Maybe try unscented soap next time in the interest of science. Lol.

  • SonnyB
    SonnyB Member Posts: 33
    edited November 2014

    I've been using a bar of soap for years! Like you I was skeptical but was happily surprised when it worked. And yes - I know that the soap has worked its way out when I start having cramps again.

  • hawkeye
    hawkeye Member Posts: 34
    edited November 2014

    Count me in as another who will be putting a bar of soap in the bed tonight. Thanks for sharing!

  • goldie0827
    goldie0827 Member Posts: 6,825
    edited November 2014

    Can't wait to try this! Where abouts in the bed do you put the soap? Sort of in the middle, but on the edge?

  • sueopp
    sueopp Member Posts: 238
    edited November 2014

    Goldie - I put it in the far lower corner on the right side, between the mattress and the fitted bottom sheet. Weird but true! SUE

  • goldie0827
    goldie0827 Member Posts: 6,825
    edited November 2014

    Thanks Sue! Do you sleep on that side of the bed? I sleep on the left, so I'll try that corner. I wonder if the brand of soap matters? I have Irish Spring.

  • AmyQ
    AmyQ Member Posts: 821
    edited November 2014

    OMG, this belongs in the Alternatives thread...just kidding. I love this trick and will give it a try as well. Thank you!!!

    Amy

  • stagefree
    stagefree Member Posts: 360
    edited November 2014

    Dearest Sue,

    Of all people, the suggestion comes from you.. well I met your family!! ;) This is done right here & now. I hope it works for me as well. And I put not one but two!!! on each end of the bed ;)

    I was told to consume daily calcıum for it btw..

    hugs & love..

    Ebru


  • sueopp
    sueopp Member Posts: 238
    edited November 2014

    Goldie, yup I put it on "my" side of the bed. We usually use glycerin soap at home (no fragrance or additives) so I used a bar of Dove. Per Heidi (see above) fragrance might be the reason it works. Good luck - SUE

  • Zillsnot4me
    Zillsnot4me Member Posts: 2,122
    edited November 2014

    I used a bar of dial for my little boy. Thanks for reminding me! I need to do it for me. MO said tonic water but I can't stand the taste.

  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited November 2014

    I'm going to mention this because it's a potentially dangerous (even though I happen to be one of those crazy alties so often referred to). The reason the soap under the bed thing works for some is that may commercial soap contains magnesium sulfate. It's easily absorbed through the skin and even a tiny bit can ease the cramps.  If the soap works for you,  it's probably a sign that your electrolytes are out of balance,  more often than not, magnesium is the culprit. Usually not overly serious, and soap will do the trick, but if it gets too low, it's very dangerous. I thought it was important to mention that it could be a sign of a much bigger problem that should probably be checked out.  That's why you often see people getting chemo, getting a little bag of magnesium on the side.  Many chemos leach the magnesium out of your body.  

  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited November 2014

    Btw, doctors don't usually do a random electrolyte check to determine your levels.  You might be on your own.  You can Google magnesium deficiency symptoms and see if any of the others apply.  If so,  you might need a magnesium supplement. Soap won't be enough. Check with your doctor for the recommended dosage.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,730
    edited November 2014

    I don't have leg cramps but will keep this in mind if I ever do. I love the scent of the original white Dove bar soap. Tonic water? Only with a bit of gin and lime!

    Caryn

  • sueopp
    sueopp Member Posts: 238
    edited November 2014

    Thanks leggo, I'm going to check the electrolytes out- SUE

  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited November 2014

    Your welcome,  sueopp. Good you're checking.

  • hawkeye
    hawkeye Member Posts: 34
    edited November 2014

    Thanks for bringing up magnesium deficiency. I looked that up and remembered something I had in my arsenal during chemo days. Blackstrap molasses. It is very high in magnesium. I took a tablespoon in tea before bed months and months ago for constipation during taxotere. It knocked me right out! Maybe because of the magnesium relaxing my muscles? I'm gonna start with it again. I'll report back with an update.

  • ronniekay
    ronniekay Member Posts: 657
    edited November 2014

    SUE!!!! I can't believe I'm reading this now! I literally told my kids a couple days ago, one of the biggest "ahas" of no chemo is sleeping all night, without leg cramps. It got to where I would just lay there & clenching my jaw, eyes, fists, will them to go away...AND...I have a DH w/restless legs...and we use Dove! I'm seriously doing it tonight. Thanks, Buddy!

  • stagefree
    stagefree Member Posts: 360
    edited November 2014

    Side info for magnesium supplement users. It should be taken 12 hours apart if you are also on calcium supplement. Doc suggested magnesium in the morning & calcium at night..

    hugs

    Ebru

  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited November 2014

    Always a good idea, if you're doing chemo, to have some pedialyte on hand to guzzle in an emergency. I just read the sig in your post, Bon. That's scary. My hubby just found some in tablet form with an expiry date 5 years away. Up until now, I've been tossing bottles so I was happy to see these thingys.

  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited November 2014

    Or if you're taking any medication, for that matter. Should have mentioned that above.

  • tartie_pants
    tartie_pants Member Posts: 16
    edited November 2014

    Not sure if any of you are like me and need a fan on while you sleep. used to be for noise now its also for night sweats but my Dr. said to make sure the fan was never pointing to my legs a d that the top sheet should never be tucked in. And yup since I made those adjustments no more cramps from hell. I mean mine were to the point of the only way to stop them was pouring a hot bath in the wee hours of the am... Talk about sleep disruption.

  • usafmom
    usafmom Member Posts: 100
    edited November 2014

    Omg.. Sue that is pretty cool. I will be trying. I get the cramps in my feet. I'll try the soap tonite. I just wonder is it maybe aromatherapy possibly. I've upped my water intake and potassium to help combat it but when they hit they are so painful. My feet actually cramp up and my toes look like the good witches of the east all curled up. Here's to hoping this works

  • morwenna
    morwenna Member Posts: 204
    edited November 2014

    Not stage IV, but this is timely for me. Two nights ago I was just settling to sleep when the toes of my left foot went into such a weird spasm I had to leap out of bed and walk to straighten them out. Gave my poor dh a turn!!

    Then this morning I was looking forward to sleeping in but as I woke just after six I had a big cramp in the right calf and had to get up. Then I was wide awake with the pre-surgery hamsters on their wheels in my brain. Darn it!

    Soap: on todays shopping list!! Thankyou :)

  • justjudie
    justjudie Member Posts: 196
    edited December 2014



    Kept me nice and clean too!

    This really is fascinating! I have heard of this before, perhaps it was here on the board, not too sure just where I heard about it. Anytime I have had to go into the hospital within a day or two they inform me I need magnesium and Inave to take magnesium pills for awhile. Recently my onc went to work for a different group. He had been on his own for many years. The new group apparently checks for magnesium level because I got a call advising me to pick up Rx they were calling in for magnesium as level was way too low. At one time I thought this was sort of nit picking but since have found out that mag level and potassium levels are very important.if they are way off you can be in serious trouble.

    I'm going to ask them where my mag level is now. If pills are keeping it at an ok level that is fine. If not, I am definitely getting the soap I to the bed. I did u know that molasses helped with magnesium, but I did know it helps with constipation. When I was in a clinical trial at MD Andersoon in Tx, I became VERY constipated very quickly. They gave me a molasses enema (was definitely gross) but it absolutely worked and I was nice & clean too! Take care

  • newbie20111
    newbie20111 Member Posts: 22
    edited October 2015

    SickSickJust woke up with bad cramps of both calves early early this morning after a very sound sleep. Should have known better. Last night, had a whole beer and salty chips and CRS ( couch potato sysndrome..two many tv series taped) ...usually only have a 1/2 beer once in a blue moon and no chips....moderation please!

    What works for me..definately bar of soap....under bed...

    Also Boiron makes some awesome products for muscle cramps: Placed under the tongue, works fast...

    Comes in Homeopathic doses either 6 or 30 c follow directions on tube.

    Magnesium phosphorica,cuprum metallicum,zinc metallicum.

    oked by my onco doc...dont take on chemo days.

    ( I also walked my dog twice yesterday, did chair yoga, and also acupuncture. Maybe I did too much. Also went on vacation this past week, lots of walking, hiking, climbing stairs, came back home and swept the porch, laundry, raked the path....too much of a good thing!)

    Live life!

    Today is a "Die In" in DC....177 people will be reinacting the people who will die today of METS BC. There in spirit. Recently had two friends die of BC

    Not a Newbie anymore.

    NED at the moment....Had BC twice. Mets since Sept. '14 dx Jan '15. Scans in Nov.

    PS: Highly recommend the annual Johns Hopkins Couples retreat given in the fall. Just happened. They also have a spring version but with daughters and caregivers.Also check out their Ask the expert column..Lillie Shockney writes it. You will get a real person reply. Thousands of questions answered. Free


  • friends1
    friends1 Member Posts: 6
    edited October 2015

    Does.anyone.take Gabapentin? I just started taking it at night for my leg cramps but it makes me a little dizzy.

    I was drinking tonic water with a little juice but nothing else has worked for me.

    I also tried drinking Gatorade too!! I would love some other suggestions!!

    Thanks

  • nancyh
    nancyh Member Posts: 185
    edited October 2015

    The best thing I've found is Nuun. Electrolyte tablets that dissolve in water, you can buy them on line or in most sporting goods stores.

    I've tried the bar of soap thing, tonic water, and the homeopathic pills, but Nuun works the best for me, hands down. I keep some in my bedside table and carry some in my purse.

  • newbie20111
    newbie20111 Member Posts: 22
    edited October 2015

    Be careful with gabapentin..very strong stuff. I could not take it. caused me to be dizzy, could not write my name or compose a thought. Careful driving too. Falls risk as well.

    Have you tried magnesium/copper/zinc combos, chair yoga, etc. acupuncture...

    I too have tight calves...( recently climbed a lighthouse..very tight)

    I also do the soap in the bed thing.

    Too much sitting ( tv) is really bad. Have you tried an epsom salt bath?

    Hope this helps.

    It could be your chemo dose.... Good luck.

    Consider if NED to take a chemo holiday to see if leg cramps lessen...


  • stagefree
    stagefree Member Posts: 360
    edited November 2015

    Sue dear, I still have soap under my bed sheets and think of you each time my feet touch 'em :))

    Love

    Ebru

  • sueopp
    sueopp Member Posts: 238
    edited November 2015

    HA! Right back to you, dearest Ebru! What ever we have to do to get through...fondly, SUE