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Sat Jan 26, 2013, 04:40 PM

Anyone suffer from chronic leg cramps (Charlie Horses)? I've had this problem

for nearly 5 years and I've tried potassium supplements, calcium supplements, an OTC med called "Leg Cramps" (which worked for a while) and then talked to my doctor. He ordered a Doppler test on my legs (which revealed nothing) then said to continue with the Leg Cramps med as it contained quinine. I am about 10 lbs overweight and normally walk 3-5 miles a day (wearing good athletic shoes). I was awakened 2 days ago with the WORST leg cramp ever and my leg is still very sore and I'm at wits end.

I'd appreciate any advice from anyone who suffers the same problem!

44 replies, 15003 views

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Reply Anyone suffer from chronic leg cramps (Charlie Horses)? I've had this problem (Original post)
LibGranny Jan 2013 OP
Lionessa Jan 2013 #1
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #2
left-of-center2012 Jan 2016 #21
samnsara Sep 2017 #34
ProfessorGAC Feb 2013 #3
Nay Feb 2013 #4
samnsara Sep 2017 #36
The empressof all Feb 2013 #5
TDale313 Sep 2017 #35
Lilyhoney Sep 2017 #42
ohheckyeah Feb 2013 #6
hedgehog Feb 2014 #10
MuseRider Sep 2017 #33
MADem Feb 2013 #7
samnsara Sep 2017 #37
MADem Sep 2017 #43
arthritisR_US Nov 2013 #8
Herself Feb 2014 #9
wordpix Feb 2014 #11
Nay Feb 2014 #12
TeeYiYi Feb 2014 #13
oldwizard Apr 2014 #14
samnsara Sep 2017 #38
fadedrose May 2014 #15
Ineeda May 2014 #16
samnsara Sep 2017 #39
Ineeda May 2014 #17
Name removed Nov 2015 #18
akamushi Dec 2015 #19
fierywoman Sep 2017 #29
Dalai_1 Jan 2016 #20
samnsara Sep 2017 #40
RebelOne Sep 2016 #22
mackerel Nov 2016 #23
mackerel Nov 2016 #24
oppressedproletarian Sep 2017 #25
Eliot Rosewater Sep 2017 #26
tblue37 Sep 2017 #27
C_U_L8R Sep 2017 #28
WhiteTara Sep 2017 #30
Jane Austin Sep 2017 #31
samnsara Sep 2017 #32
samnsara Sep 2017 #41
PennyK Sep 2017 #44

Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:02 PM

1. Walk bare foot. The good athletic shoes turn out not to be so good for everyone

 

and are sometimes the cause of the problem. The heavily reinforced shoes apparently can force your feet into positions not normal for certain folks' feet to ankle ratio.

Additionally vitamin E is a big help with leg cramps.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8099931_problems-athletic-shoes.html

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:44 PM

2. I used to use full strength quinine and it worked

It is an off the book use of insurance will not pay for it and has some cardiac implications.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 10:56 AM

21. "quinine"

My dad was given quinine when he served in the Marines in Haiti around 1930, as a preventive against malaria.
Somehow he got the idea it was a cure for bad colds or the flu and we kids grew up using it for that,
although apparently it didn't work.

As an adult, around 1990, when I had a bad cold I went to a pharmacy to get some quinine.
The pharmacist refused to sell me any, saying it's used to cut heroin.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #21)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:06 PM

34. my hubby is a pharmacist and said the herion thing isnt the reason but...

....its only indicated for Malaria and the FDA put a stop to it because ppl were over using it for various things....and there are some serious side effects if its misused. Only one company did the mandated safety research on it to maintain their interest and now they are the only ones selling it but the cost went up from $60 for 30 pills to 600$ for 30.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:01 PM

3. Mine Comes From MS

But, there are very muscle specific stretching things that help me a lot. Don't need to do them all the time, only when i'm feeling the spasms. They work great. Some are good for calves. Some for the feet, some for the things, and some for the hips and butt.

My root cause may be different though.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:10 PM

4. For some cramps, it's a deficiency of magnesium. Also, from your name, I get that you are maybe

55-75 years old? I'm in that range and the doc told me that just getting older brings on cramps, and that stretching exercises every day might help.

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Response to Nay (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:08 PM

36. same age group and thats what my dr said...that and drink

..tonic water. (eww)

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 06:37 PM

5. Are you hydrating enough

My SO gets cramping when he forgets to drink enough water. If the doctor has ruled out any thing serious...try to drink 8 oz of clear water 6 to 8 times a day.

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Response to The empressof all (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:06 PM

35. I find I get them if I don't drink enough water.

Drinking more water's a simple thing to try with very little downside. I've found if I do wake up with one, drinking water helps relieve the symptoms. Works for me.

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Response to The empressof all (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:45 PM

42. Yes. I would start with dehydration. Good suggestion.

I'm not a doctor. I'm not dispensing medical advice. But my guess would be dehydration.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 12:56 AM

6. Magnesium and vitamin D

helped my leg cramps. I have fibromyalgia and have rods and screws in my back so I have a lot of leg and back pain.

Walking around barefoot all the time made my leg cramps worse. What works best for me is cowboy boots. I know, it sounds weird, but they support my feet and thus my legs and back better than anything else. I spent over $100 on a pair of New Balance shoes that were custom fitted and I've worn them once. I switched to cowboy boots (remembering how I used to wear them years ago) and my leg and back pain has decreased significantly.

I also drink some tonic water at night sometimes (it has quinine).



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Response to ohheckyeah (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 7, 2014, 12:59 AM

10. I second the Magnesium and Vitamin D

The mag helps me sleep better at night, too.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #10)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:02 PM

33. I too have found help with these.

Especially Magnesium for me. I buy Calm and mix it with water at night. It actually helps my CBD night dose taste better so .

It even works in the middle of the night if you wake up with cramps. You don't want to use too much so you have to be careful with that or you will be up in the bathroom all night instead of sleeping without leg cramps.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:11 PM

7. Do you get enough to drink? Particularly in winter it is easy to get dehydrated.

Over-hydrate, if possible, and see if that helps you. Do you take a diuretic for any condition?

Here's a Q/A article that might help:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/expert.q.a/05/25/leg.cramps.brawley/index.html

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Response to MADem (Reply #7)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:11 PM

37. actually i used to take water pills once in awhile and...

..I would get leg cramps at night so I quit taking those pills.

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Response to samnsara (Reply #37)

Wed Sep 20, 2017, 05:02 PM

43. Digging deep.....

This thread is four years old!

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 11:13 PM

8. Any problems with vertigo or dizziness ? If not

then try MBT footwear (www.mbt.com). They work by strengthening the core muscles and by doing so they increase the circulation to the extremities. Work wonders on neuropathy in the hands & feet of diabetics so the oxygen increase to the limb muscles is wonderful in getting rid of the leg cramps. I suffered for years and a month into wearing MBT's they were almost gone. Within the next month, gone completely, no more being woken up with excruciating pain.
Sketchers makes rocker sole shoes too but I would absolutely NOT get those. They don't have a carbon fibre plate in them so one ends up overpronating to the point where the knees and hips start having major issues (serious issues). I knew a gal who ended up cracking both of her femeral necks, so please stay away from Sketchers.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Thu Feb 6, 2014, 07:42 PM

9. wrestless legs, toes, calf cramps..

I take magnesium/calcium/zinc.

Not all supplements are legit. Don't buy them at walmart.

Go to Vitamin Shoppe on line, etc.

Everyone is told to take potassium. If you are low in magnesium, your heart can't "relax after it's contraction part of "pump' operation. Same thing for leg muscles.

Have doctor check your blood levels.

Always get copies of your medical tests performed.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Thu Feb 13, 2014, 03:27 PM

11. I also had this problem, which is now gone (?) b/c

recently I was diagnosed with cancer and I have done away with coffee, alcohol, most meat and dairy (unless a little free range/organic), and have very little sugar, except what's in fruit naturally. IOW, I am mostly now living on a vegan diet. Lo and behold, I have not had leg cramps since I started this diet in Dec.

The cancer is another story.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2014, 09:06 PM

12. If you take a statin, it may be the cause. I had horrible leg cramps

a few weeks after starting atorvastatin. I have taken other statins without having the problem.

One more possibility is that you are slightly dehydrated. I understand that will cause leg cramps. So drink your water even if you don't feel thirsty.

Finally, you may want to try leg stretches immediately after your walk. My physical therapist gave me three stretches that will lengthen/stretch your leg muscles, which contract after exercise. I have found these to be very, very helpful.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2014, 11:20 PM

13. Cuprum Metallicum made by Boiron...



My mother who has MS swears by it and has done for years. I've used it too and it stops a charley horse like nothing else will. I swear they're magic. I keep some close by at all times. Google it to find it online or buy it in your local grocery store health food department.

TYY

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Apr 14, 2014, 01:06 PM

14. The Internet can assist you in researching Answers

Dear LibGranny,

Research ALL advice on the internet, including your physician's.

1. Over hydration can KILL YOU. I know; by the time I was discovered unconscious and reached the ER, I was "within 2 to 3 hours of death", according to the ER physician who initially treated me .

I had taken the advice of drinking lots of water when working outdoors in high heat and humidity. What was not mentioned is that high intake of water can dilute your blood with a concomitant dilution of the electrolytes necessary in maintaining proper nerve function (heart), and not losing consciousness.

2. Electrolytes need to be in a balanced formula; read Wikipedia about both 'electrolytes' and then read about each of the electrolytes individually, i.e. enter "potassium", and read, etc. Having too much or too little (hyper and hypo) Potassium and Magnesium can cause serious medical problems. Too much calcium, in some individuals, can cause kidney stones, not life threatening, but painful (worse than childbirth, according to one woman who had had both a child and kidney stones).

After leaving the hospital, I went online to find a supplement that had all of the necessary electrolytes (and only electrolytes) in a BALANCED FORMULA OF SODIUM, POTASSIUM, MAGNESIUM, AND CALCIUM.

I found ONE such supplement. It's marketed to endurance athletes; the people who run 100 miles in the desert -- that sort of thing. I called their '800' number and explained I was not an endurance athlete but had terrible leg cramps after exercise and often leg cramps at night. The person told me about one of their customers (mid 60s) who had the same problem and after taking their balanced electrolytes the cramping stopped. I also greatly increase the dose of electrolytes when drinking large volumes of water to stay hydrated.

3. Proper hydration (NEVER, EVER, OVER-HYDRATION) with sufficient and balanced electrolyte intake is essential, particularly when it's cool and you don't think you need much in the way of fluid or electrolyte intake. You always need fluid and electrolyte intake, less when it's cool or even cold, but still critical.

4. Boiron"s "Cuprum Metallicum" (latin for copper metal), is a Homeopathic remedy, which means that it most likely won't harm you, since it contains virtually no copper at all, but most likely won't help you either. So take it if you want to, but only after water and electrolytes.

5. Quinine, Quinine Sulfate -- prescription tablet, probably cannot be obtained in the U.S. However, you might be able to obtain it from an online British pharmacy, where it is still prescribed for nighttime leg cramps at a dose of 300 mg. (see Wikipedia/quinine) The amount of quinine in quinine water is extremely small (see Wikipedia/quinine) and probably, but `not worth consuming.

6. I also STRONGLY RECOMMEND the website "Drugs.com". You can open an account, at no cost, where you can enter all the medications (both OTC and prescription) that you are taking, or are contemplating taking, and you will be given all of the interactions. The site also gives you access to information about similar medications and user reviews. You can also read both the manufacturer's and the FDA's information about any medication at either the consumer or 'professional' level (both OTC and prescription). If you open an account, or just go to the website, you can enter either "muscle cramps" or "hypertonicity", and you will get a list of prescription muscle relaxants.

7. If you see your physician and a blood test for electrolytes is ordered, it is extremely important, actually it's mandatory for determining the electrolyte levels that immediately precede your muscle cramps, to have exercised just as you normally would and without supplements, and then go to the lab as quickly as possible to have blood drawn to find out 'in real time' how your body reacts to exercise. If you don't, the results are more likely than not to show normal levels.

LibGranny, if you, or anybody, would like information on where I get my electrolyte supplements, or on one of the best (I think) labs in the country (apart from Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic) just ask. I'll monitor this thread every week or so.

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Response to oldwizard (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:15 PM

38. Canada still sells quinine and its OTC...

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Sun May 4, 2014, 11:30 PM

15. I get them pretty often

Usually from either bending or stretching leg muscles, and it happens when I'm standing as well as lying down. It helps if someone rubs the spot, but by the time I can call out to get help, the pain is gone just from keeping still for a few minutes, whether I can rub it or not.

Extremely painful, 10 on a scale of 10, but it's soon gone and forgotten. Very weird.

You must have twisted or overstretched your leg muscles while you were sleeping. I bet it won't happen again for a long time and you will never find the cause.

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #15)

Mon May 19, 2014, 11:53 AM

16. I had killer cramps, including torso cramps

and tried many remedies --tonic water, supplements, electrolyte drinks, Endurolytes capsules (meant for runners, cyclists). My cramps were occasionally so bad that I told my neighbors not to call the cops if they heard screaming (and I am not normally a screamer.) I found this product via Google and was desperate enough to give it a shot.

http://www.stopslegcramps.com/?gclid=CNy94pCnuL4CFbTm7Aod7SMAqA

{Sorry, can't post an image.}
Anyway, I took one dose -- it was the most vile-tasting stuff ever, BUT it seems to have worked and I'd have taken cyanide to stop the pain!! It's about $15 for 8 oz. (with unconditional money-back guarantee.) You only need a capful and it doesn't 'expire'. All natural ingredients of vinegar, ginger, garlic and does not need refrigeration so you can keep it on your nightstand.

I suggest you go to their website and read about it. Good luck.

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #15)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:15 PM

39. mine are never forgotten... the muscle in my leg stays sore for days after wards

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 11:56 AM

17. See my post #16

as I meant to direct it to you. <sorry>

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)


Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Thu Dec 24, 2015, 06:14 PM

19. spray cramp area with magnesium oil and you cramp will ease immediately-spray into your palm and rub

http://www.healthextremist.com/how-to-make-magnesium-oil/
How To Make Magnesium Oil

-What You Need

-1/2 cup of Magnesium Flakes
-1/2 cup of Water
-Jar or Spray Bottle to Store the Mixture

-Magnesium Oil Directions

Heat up cup of water (not to the point of boiling)
Pour the water over cup of magnesium flakes
Stir the mixture until the magnesium flakes are dissolved.
Let the mixture cool and store in a spray bottle or jar
You can apply the mixture to your skin after it has cooled enough to a comfortable temperature. You can also store the magnesium oil for future use

i spray onto my palms and rub into the cramp

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Response to akamushi (Reply #19)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 06:17 PM

29. Yes! Mag oil directly on cramps takes them away in like 2 minutes!

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Jan 11, 2016, 10:28 PM

20. For quick relief

Hold a bar of soap over the area cramping.Any bar of soap will work other than Dove.
Many keep a bar between top and bottom sheets on another health forum I belong to..
Apparently their is no scientific reason this works but it has for me.

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Response to Dalai_1 (Reply #20)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:19 PM

40. i have heard this too...didnt work for me...but the night i did it maybe

...I wasn't going to get a cramp that night anyway.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Fri Sep 9, 2016, 06:12 PM

22. I had been plagued with nighttime leg cramps for years.

Last edited Sat Sep 10, 2016, 05:31 PM - Edit history (1)

Then I was advised by a poster on DU to take Vitamin E before going to bed. It worked and I very rarely have leg cramps at night. So try taking a 1000 IU capsule of Vitamin E every night. It works for me and I hope it works for you.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #22)

Fri Nov 25, 2016, 09:01 PM

23. I'm gonna try it and I'll report back.

I get horrible legs pains and the last few days it's been so bad I can only get 2-3 hours sleep. I know hydration and stretching help too.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #22)

Sat Nov 26, 2016, 01:41 PM

24. While out yesterday I picked up a bottle of Vit. E

and took 1200 IU only because I couldn't split the pills as they were in gel form. Anyway, last I had zero leg problems. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been battling this problem off and on for the last year but it's gotten increasingly worse. I read somewhere that my symptoms are often associated with restless legs syndrome.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 06:10 PM

25. I used to get horrific charley horses

I discovered that drinking tonic water (available at any grocery) upon awakening with agonizing pain really helped. Different brands of tonic water contain different amounts of quinine and there is no way to tell how much is in any given brand. They may contain only a small amount of quinine but this used to help me.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 06:13 PM

26. Water, drink more. I have the exact same problem, exact same story

and on the nights that I drink 16 oz of water one hour or 2 before bedtime, i never have them.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 06:15 PM

27. Two common causes are insufficient potassium (eat bananas and tomatoes) and dehydration.

Since you have done the potassium thing, try increasing your water intake.

If you don't stay hydrated, your muscles will cramp up. I usually get my dehydration cramps in the arches of my feet, but I have a friend who gets them as Charley horses.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 06:16 PM

28. Bananas.

Cal Mag. Hydration. Fish Oil

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 06:19 PM

30. Drink more water

it's as simple as that. Start early in the day hydrating and continue until evening. But do drink more water. Your muscles can't work without it.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 06:23 PM

31. Make sure your potassium supplement is prescription strength.

The over-the-counter versions have hardly any potassium.

The prescription my doc gave me has been very effective.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:00 PM

32. i have had these for years and nothing stops them....

...but I don't know what starts them either!!

I tried different shoes, no shoes, exercise etc. I thought there would be a correlation with at least something.....but theres NO correlation to anything I do. Sometimes they happen after long flights or car rides sometimes not. Sometimes they are in exactly the same muscle in both legs.....sometimes in muscles I never knew I had! I tried leg cramp pills, potassium, bananas and my Dr said to drink tonic water (GAG!) I tried sugar free with lemon or lime and couldn't even gag the stuff down.

Now the one thing I do to at least help get back to sleep after being WIDE awake stomping, rubbing or messaging is a little pot.

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Response to samnsara (Reply #32)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 07:25 PM

41. also the one thing i have noticed from the posts is to do...

..something during the cramp that requires holding ones breath! Drinking water or taking pills. When I would wake up with a cramp I would sometimes take those otc leg cramp pills and then drink some water. In a cpl minutes (SOMETIMES) the cramps would stop.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Sat Sep 23, 2017, 03:22 PM

44. Just a thought here

Epsom salt baths. My very athletic daughter told me to try it. It's a way to absorb magnesium through the skin without any annoying side effects (diarrhea).
I have SOMETHING going on with one hip and leg...might be arthritis or bursitis, I still don't know...but the bath really seems to help. Two cups in a nice warm bath, soak for twenty minutes, then shower it off to avoid dryness. I feel wonderful afterward and the whole next day. And the stuff is cheap...$2.99 for four pounds at my market.

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