Charlie Horse When Sleeping? (Question)

Many people experience charley horses during sleeping hours and are awakened because of them. Muscle spasms that cause charley horses while you sleep are common. However, why these nighttime spams occur isn’t entirely understood. It’s believed that lying in bed in an awkward position for a long time plays a role.

How do you stop Charlie horses while sleeping?

Nocturnal Leg Cramp Prevention

  1. Stretch during the day and before bed. Focus on your calf and foot muscles.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Move around during the day to exercise your feet and legs.
  4. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
  5. Sleep under loose covers, especially if you sleep on your back.

What deficiency causes Charlie horses?

A mineral deficiency or an imbalance of electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium is also likely to increase one’s odds of getting a charley horse. Electrolytes are certain minerals that play an important role in muscle function.

When should I worry about charley horses?

However, it’s important to get a medical check up if your cramps: Cause severe pain or discomfort. Are associated with swelling, redness, or skin changes. Cause muscle weakness or make it difficult to put weight on a limb.

Can Charlie horses be serious?

A charley horse or leg cramp is a common problem and does not usually indicate a serious health problem. Nevertheless, a charley horse can sometimes result from a medication or health condition.

Why am I getting Charlie horses in my legs at night?

Leg cramps at night, or nocturnal leg cramps, are common and can occur due to inactivity during the day, tired muscles, or certain medical conditions. Leg cramps, also called charley horses, are uncontrolled spasms in the muscles of the leg that may be painful.

What foods trigger leg cramps?


  • Refined carbs like white bread are devoid of nutrients.
  • Excessive red meat consumption is bad due to nitrates.
  • Fast food is full of trans fats.
  • Foods with refined sugar such as packaged muffins are full of artificial ingredients.
  • Salty foods can wreak havoc on the body.

Why am I suddenly getting charley horses?

Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. In many cases, however, the cause isn’t known. Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as: Inadequate blood supply.

What is the fastest way to get rid of a Charlie horse?

Massage, a bath with Epsom salts, or a heating pad can relax the muscle. To fight pain, use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or naproxen. In most cases, the charley horse will stop within a few minutes. But if you get them often and for no clear reason, tell your doctor.

Do bananas help charley horses?

You probably know that bananas are a good source of potassium. But they’ll also give you magnesium and calcium. That’s three out of four nutrients you need to ease muscle cramps tucked under that yellow peel. No wonder bananas are a popular, quick choice for cramp relief.

What causes cramps in your calf at night?

Nighttime leg cramps may be related to foot position. We often sleep with our feet and toes extending away from the rest of our bodies, a position called plantar flexion. This shortens the calf muscles, making them more susceptible to cramping.

What deficiency causes muscle cramps?

Common signs of magnesium deficiency include muscle twitches, tremors, and cramps.

What diseases cause muscle cramps?

Systemic illnesses like diabetes, anemia (low red blood cell count), kidney disease, and thyroid and other hormone issues are also potential causes of muscle spasms. Diseases of the nervous system, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injury, can be associated with muscle spasms.

What’s the difference between a Charlie horse and a cramp?

A sustained muscle spasm is called a muscle cramp. Leg muscles, especially the quadriceps (thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh), and gastrocnemius (calves), are most likely to cramp, but any skeletal muscle in the body can cramp. A “charley horse” is another name for a muscle cramp.

What causes muscle spasms in the legs while sleeping?

Most of the time, no apparent cause for night leg cramps can be identified. In general, night leg cramps are likely to be related to muscle fatigue and nerve problems. The risk of having night leg cramps increases with age. Pregnant women also have a higher likelihood of having night leg cramps.

Nocturnal Leg Cramps

A tight, knotted feeling in your legs that occurs during the night is known as nocturnal legcramps. They can last anywhere from a few seconds and several minutes. If the cramp is severe, your muscle may be painful for several days after the incident. Leg cramps are not to be confused with restless legs syndrome. Both occur most often at night, but restless legs syndrome is characterized by discomfort and a strong need to move rather than severe muscular cramping. Leg cramps are completely harmless, despite the fact that they are painful.

Nocturnal Leg Cramps Causes and Risk Factors

The specific reason of midnight leg cramps is unknown to medical professionals. They might occur as a result of your nerves sending the incorrect signals to your muscles. For example, your brain may incorrectly instruct your leg to move when you are dreaming. This causes yourcalfmuscles to get confused, causing them to contract. If you do any of the following, you are more likely to have a leg cramp:

  • Are over the age of 50
  • Excessive muscular contractions are harmful. Sit for an excessive amount of time without moving
  • You’re not getting enough water
  • Standing on hard surfaces for too long is bad for your health.

Other medical disorders, such as the following, might increase your chances of getting leg cramps:

  • Diabetes, neurological problems such as Parkinson’s disease, and other diseases Abuse of alcoholic beverages
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Some hormonal problems, such as hypothyroidism, are treatable. Specific chemical imbalances in your body, such as excess or insufficient amounts of calcium, potassium, and magnesium
  • Flatfeet
  • Pregnancy
  • Problems with blood flow
  • Nerve injury

Leg cramps are a side effect of several drugs. These are some examples:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) medications, high blood pressure medications, statins for high cholesterol, and other medications

Nocturnal Leg Cramp Diagnosis

If you get severe leg cramps on a regular basis, consult your doctor to ensure that they are not caused by another disease. They will inquire about your medical history as well as your current symptoms. They’ll also do a physical examination to rule out any other potential reasons. If your doctor feels that you have a concealed condition, you may be subjected to blood testing.

Treating Nocturnal Leg Cramps

When you get a leg cramp, try any of these methods the next time it happens:

  • Stretch the muscle by getting out of bed and standing with your foot flat on the floor for five minutes. Apply hard pressure to the area
  • Massage the muscle
  • Flex your foot
  • Grab your toes and bring them toward you. Take a warm bath to relieve the cramp.

Your doctor may prescribe drugs such as diltiazem (Cardizem), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or verapamil to help you sleep better (Calan,Verelan). However, they are not always effective, and they might have dangerous side effects as well. To provide an example, specialists used to recommend the anti-malariadrug quinine for the treatment of leg cramps. Doctors and the Food and Drug Administration no longer suggest it since it can also cause serious bleeding and difficulties with your heart’s beat.

Nocturnal Leg Cramp Prevention

Here are some basic things you may do to avoid cramping in the future:

  • Stretching should be done throughout the day and before bed. Concentrate on the muscles in your calves and feet. Drink lots of water, and move around during the day to keep your feet and legs active. Dress in shoes that are both comfy and supportive. Sleep with your blankets a little slack, especially if you sleep on your back.

Charley Horse

Charley horse (also known as Acharley) is a muscle spasm, which occurs when a muscle contracts up on its own without any external stimulus. Muscle cramps can occur anywhere on your body at any time. They’re rather frequent in the legs.

Charley Horse Causes

Among the things that might set off a charley horse are:

  • Excessive muscular contractions due to poor blood supply Notstretchingenough
  • Involvement in physical activities in hot heat
  • Dehydration
  • A deficiency in magnesium and/or potassium in your diet A spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in your neck or back are examples of such problems. Diabetic nephropathy

Muscle cramps are also a side effect of various medications, such as those listed below:

  • Diuretics (often known as “water pills”) are medications that remove fluid from your body, such as furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), and others. It is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Donepezil (Aricept) is a medication. Neostigmine (Prostigmine), which is used to treat myasthenia gravis
  • Nifedipine (Procardia), which is used to treat angina and excessive blood pressure
  • And other medications. Raloxifene (Evista), a drug used to treat osteoporosis. Medications for asthma, include terbutaline (Brethine) and albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)
  • Tolcapone (Tasmar), which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. cholesterol-lowering statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor)
  • Statins for diabetes
  • Statins for high blood pressure

Charley Horse Risk Factors

Certain persons are more prone to getting charley horses than others:

  • It has been observed that certain persons are more susceptible to charley horses than others.

Charley Horse Diagnosis

There is no need to visit your doctor unless you have a charley horse in addition to one of the following conditions:

  • A feeling of weakness or numbness
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive perspiration (which might result in dehydration)
  • Overindulging in alcoholic beverages

Your symptoms and medical history will be discussed with you by your doctor. They’ll also do a physical examination. They may conduct blood tests, muscle testing, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies to rule out a medical issue that is causing the cramping.

Charley Horse Treatment

If you get a charley horse in your calf or in the back of your thigh (hamstring), place your weight on the afflicted leg and gently bend your knees to relieve the discomfort. Alternatively, you can sit or lie down with your leg out straight and lift the top of your foot towards your head. Holding on to a chair while bending the knee of the afflicted leg will relieve a cramp in the front of your thigh (quadriceps). Pulling your foot up near your buttock will help you feel more comfortable. Massage, an Epsom salt bath, or the use of a heating pad can all help to relax the muscle.

To relieve discomfort, use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Most of the time, the charley horse will come to a halt within a few minutes. However, if you are experiencing them frequently and for no apparent cause, you should consult your doctor.

Charley Horse Prevention

Preventing cramps from occurring in the first place:

  • Eat more foods that are high in vitamin C and magnesium
  • Drink plenty of water
  • And stretch before and after exercise. Stretching beforeexercisecan help prevent tight muscles. Cramping caused by other factors can be alleviated by daily stretching.
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink
  • Ramp up yourexerciseslowly rather than all at once
  • Don’t exercise right after you eat
  • sDon’t smoke

7 Ways to Prevent Night Leg Cramps (Charley Horses)

Have you ever gone to bed and woken up with a terrible leg cramp? If so, you are not alone. If you suffer from night leg cramps, also known as nocturnal leg cramps, it can be a living nightmare. Cavernous calf spasms and thigh cramps are characterized by rapid, unpleasant (and often severe) spasms in the calf muscles and thighs, but they can also affect your feet. They can happen when you are awake, although they happen the most frequently at night.

Causes for Nocturnal Leg Cramps

Despite the fact that night leg cramps are sometimes referred to as “charley horses,” there is no Charley and certainly no horse responsible for their occurrence. You might be wondering what might be prompting these unpleasant admonitions to get out of bed in the morning. According to Dr. Joyce Lee-Iannotti of Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona, “No one really knows the exact cause of leg cramps at night, but there are some known factors that can increase your risk,” she said. “No one really knows the exact cause of leg cramps at night, but there are some known factors that can increase your risk.” These considerations are as follows:

  • Your chronological age is: The prevalence of nocturnal leg cramps in those over the age of 50 is thought to be close to 60 percent. Pregnancy: This may arise as a result of increased weight and changes in circulation. Individuals suffering from renal and thyroid disorders, as well as those suffering from peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the legs), may have leg cramps. Medications that may be used include: Leg cramps may be exacerbated by some drugs, such as diuretics, blood pressure meds, or statins.
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In addition, Dr. Lee-Iannotti stated that overexerting your muscles, sitting for extended periods of time without moving, dehydration, and standing and walking on hard surfaces all day are all risk factors for osteoporosis.

Could it be Restless Leg Syndrome?

According to Dr. Lee-Iannotti, other risk factors include overexerting your muscles, sitting for long periods of time without moving, dehydration, as well as standing and walking on hard surfaces for the most of the day.

7 Ways to Relieve and Prevent Leg Cramps at Night

The good news is that, despite the fact that they can be quite painful, nocturnal leg cramps are seldom life-threatening. There are seven home treatments you may attempt to assist ease discomfort and perhaps avoid uncomfortable wake-up calls, but some of them may require a little of trial and error.

  • You should stretch your hamstring and calf muscles many times during the day and before night
  • Throughout the day, drink lots of water and keep an eye on your alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Mild workouts, like as walking or riding a stationary bike for a few minutes, can be done before bed to help you relax. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating properly, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep
  • Take a warm bath or shower to relieve tension in your muscles
  • Wearing supportive shoes with enough arch and ankle support is recommended. Keep your sheets and blankets free around your feet so that you are not constrained in your movements during the night.

“If none of these therapies work for you, and you are still experiencing severe continuous cramping that is interfering with your sleep and everyday activities, see your doctor,” Dr. Lee-Iannotti said. “Nocturnal leg cramps should not have a negative impact on your overall health.” Nocturnal leg cramps, often known as charley horses, can be a genuine nuisance, but don’t let them get the better of you. By visiting, you may speak with a Banner Health professional about your symptoms.

How to ride out a nighttime Charley horse – Sleep Health –

Doctor Lee-Iannotti advises calling a doctor if none of the home treatments work and you continue to have severe chronic cramping that is interfering with your sleep and everyday activities. Leg cramps during the night should not have a negative impact on your overall health. If you suffer from nocturnal leg cramps, often known as charley horses, don’t allow them get the better of you! By visiting, you may speak with a Banner Health professional about your pain. Participate in the Dialogue.

Muscle Cramps

Charley horse is another name for this animal. On this page, you will find

See, Play and Learn

When you get a muscle cramp, it means that one or more of your muscles clench or spasm suddenly and without warning. They are quite prevalent and frequently arise as a result of physical activity. Muscle cramps, particularly leg cramps, can be a problem for certain people at night. They can be uncomfortable and can last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes. Cramping can occur in any muscle, although it occurs most frequently in the following:

What causes muscle cramps?

Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Overexerting or overstretching a muscle. This is the most prevalent reason for the problem. If you suffer from a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in your neck or back, you may experience compression of your nerves. Dehydration
  • Elevated amounts of electrolytes (e.g., magnesium, potassium, and calcium)
  • There is insufficient blood flow to your muscles
  • Pregnancy, certain medications, and other factors Gettingdialysis

Muscle cramps can have a variety of causes, some of which are unknown.

Who is at risk for muscle cramps?

Muscle cramps can occur in everyone, however they are more prevalent in certain individuals:

  • Athletes
  • People over the age of 50
  • Those who are overweight Women who are pregnant
  • Those who have specific medical issues, such as thyroid and nervous system abnormalities

When do I need to see a health care provider for muscle cramps?

Muscle cramps are normally mild and disappear after a few minutes of occurrence. However, you should consult your health-care practitioner if you have the following symptoms:

  • Are really harsh
  • This occurs on a regular basis
  • Stretching and consuming plenty of water will not help you feel better
  • Last for a lengthy period of time
  • These symptoms are accompanied by swelling, redness, or a warm sensation
  • These symptoms are accompanied by muscular weakness.

What are the treatments for muscle cramps?

Muscle cramps are typically not serious and do not require medical attention. You may be able to get some relief from cramps if you do the following:

  • Using gentle stretching or massage motions to relax the muscle Applying heat when a muscle is tight and ice when a muscle is painful will help to relieve the pain. If you are dehydrated, you should drink extra water.

If the cramps are caused by another medical condition, addressing that condition will most likely alleviate them. When it comes to cramp prevention, there are medications available that are occasionally prescribed by doctors, but they are not always helpful and may have negative effects. Consult with your healthcare practitioner about the risks and advantages of taking medications.

Can muscle cramps be prevented?

You may avoid muscular cramps by doing the following:

  • Stretch your muscles, especially before you engage in strenuous activity. If you get leg cramps at night on a regular basis, stretch your leg muscles before bed and drink lots of water. Using sports drinks can help you replenish electrolytes if you engage in strenuous exercise or exercise in hot weather

How to prevent a Charley Horse

Prevent muscular cramps by stretching your muscles before you exercise. Leg cramps are common at night; if this is the case, stretch your leg muscles before bed and drink lots of fluids. Using sports drinks can help you replenish electrolytes if you engage in strenuous exercise or exercise in high temperatures;

  1. If the cramp arises in the leg, place your weight on the limb that is afflicted. It is possible to relax the muscle by taking a hot bath with Epsom salts
  2. Ice can be used to alleviate discomfort. Nonetheless, NSAIDs may be beneficial if there is persistent discomfort after the cramp has subsided
  3. However, you should see your doctor before taking any medication.

Leg cramps at night: Causes, risk factors, and how to stop them

Leg cramps at night, also known as nocturnal leg cramps, are a typical occurrence that can be caused by inactivity during the day, fatigued muscles, or a variety of medical issues. Leg cramps, often known as charley horses, are uncontrollable spasms in the muscles of the leg that may be extremely painful if not treated immediately. Muscle cramps are most commonly found in the calf muscles, however they can also be found in the thighs or foot. Simple stretches can often alleviate the pain of constricted muscles in the short term.

  1. Anyone who suffers from leg cramps on a frequent basis should contact a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
  2. According to a survey published in the American Family Physician, leg cramps can affect as many as 60% of adults and 7% of children during night time.
  3. Because of the tensing of the muscle, it causes discomfort or moderate to severe pain and stiffness in the affected region.
  4. They have the potential to interrupt sleep and alter a person’s sleep cycle, causing them to feel weary or sluggish the following day.
  5. A common misconception is that nocturnal leg cramps are the same as restless leg syndrome.
  6. According to research, taking mineral supplements, such as calcium, magnesium, or vitamin B-12, may not be effective in relieving leg cramps at night in the majority of people.

Leg cramps throughout the night can be caused by a variety of conditions, and the following sections describe some of the most common causes and risk factors for experiencing them.

Tired muscles

According to a review of the studies on nocturnal leg cramps, the existing evidence reveals that muscular exhaustion is the most likely cause. Athletes are more prone than the general public to have leg cramps after engaging in intense physical exercise. Some people may have greater cramping later in the day if they overexert themselves, such as by exercising their muscles very vigorously for an extended period of time. Standing for lengthy amounts of time during the day, as is typical in many occupations, can cause muscular tiredness.

Inactivity during the day

Pin it to your Pinterest board. Leg cramps may be more likely to occur at night if a person has been idle for an extended amount of time during the day. According to another widely accepted idea, sitting for a lengthy amount of time, such as while working at a desk, may cause the muscles to shorten over time. This physical inactivity, especially when a person has not stretched their muscles for a long period of time, may raise the chance of cramps, which can occur most frequently at night when a person is sleeping.

People who are less physically active may have shorter muscles, which might increase the likelihood of cramping or spasms.

Body position

Cramping can occur when you sit or lie in a certain posture that restricts mobility or blood flow to the legs, such as resting one leg on the other or crossing your legs in front of you. People who suffer from midnight leg cramps may want to try with sleeping in more stretched-out postures to see whether this alleviates their symptoms.

Older age

It is possible that as people grow older, they will have more leg cramps at night. According to an analysis published in the journalBMC Family Practicenotes, up to 33 percent of persons over the age of 50 suffer with severe nocturnal leg cramps on a regular basis.


There may also be a relationship between pregnancy and leg cramps throughout the nighttime hours. It is possible that this is related to the higher dietary needs or hormonal changes that occur in the body while pregnant.

A side effect of medication

Muscle cramping is a common adverse effect of several prescription drugs. There are just a few of them that are directly linked to leg cramps, however there are others, including:

  • Intermittent intravenous iron sucrose administration
  • Naproxen
  • Teriparatide (Forteo) administration
  • Raloxifene administration
  • Levalbuterol administration (Xopenex)
  • Albuterol/ipratropium administration (Combivent)
  • Conjugated estrogens administration
  • Pregabalin administration (Lyrica) administration

Medical conditions

Some chronic medical disorders, such as the following, may increase a person’s chance of developing persistent leg cramps:

  • Cardiovascular illness, diabetes, alcohol use disorder, renal failure, liver failure, lumbar canal stenosis, flat feet, hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis, nerve injury, and nerve diseases are all possibilities.

Anyone who believes that one of these disorders may be the source of their leg cramps should consult with a doctor for further information or help on how to treat them. Leg cramps that occur in the middle of the night should be treated as soon as they arise to allow a person to obtain more sleep. Some viable home cures to try if you need relief right now are as follows:

  • Gently stretching out the muscle
  • Rubbing the region with your hands
  • Massaging the leg with a foam roller
  • Flexing and unflexing the foot to assist in stretching the leg muscles
  • Providing heat to a particular region

The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin to relieve cramps will not be effective since cramps are not associated with inflammation.

It may assist to alleviate the discomfort associated with a cramp, but it will not treat the cramps themselves. A variety of drugs, including the following, may be prescribed by doctors to treat persistent leg cramps.

  • Carisoprodol (Soma)
  • Gabipentin
  • Diltiazem
  • Verapamil
  • Orphenadrine
  • Carisoprodol (Soma)

A person should consult with a doctor in order to learn more about these medications and any potential adverse effects. Some people may find that preventing leg cramps on a long-term basis is the best solution, however this is not always achievable. Mild physical activity Some individuals believe that if they do some little workouts at the end of the day, they will not encounter as many cramps. Walking or riding a stationary bike for a few minutes before night are examples of activities that may be done to help you relax.

  • The consumption of fluids, particularly water, throughout the day can assist to prevent cramps by ensuring that the muscles are kept functioning properly.
  • When wearing more supportive shoes, some people may report that they experience less cramping as a result.
  • Pin it to your Pinterest board.
  • Leg cramps during the night may be quite unpleasant and might interfere with sleep.
  • In the same way, if the cramps extend to other muscles or become severe, individuals should consult a doctor for a more thorough evaluation.
  • Leg cramps that occur from time to time throughout the night are natural and typically do not warrant further investigation.
  • Anyone who has been having recurrent leg cramps at night for an extended length of time should consult with a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
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Night leg cramps

Involuntary contractions or spasms of the muscles in your legs that occur throughout the night, also known as nocturnal leg cramps, are a painful condition that generally occurs when you are sleeping. Leg cramps in the middle of the night are most commonly caused by the calf muscles, however they can also occur in the feet or thighs. The discomfort might be relieved by extending the constricted muscle forcefully.

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  1. Nocturnal leg cramps, according to Winkelman JW. Monderer RS, et al. (2015). Accessed November 28, 2015. Leg cramps that occur during night. The journal Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports published an article in 2010 titled Allen RE, et al. Leg cramps that occur during night. American Family Physician (2012) 86:350
  2. Wilkinson JM (2012) 86:350 (expert opinion). Garrison SR, et al., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, December 1, 2015. Nocturnal leg cramps, as well as the prescription medication usage that precedes them Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 172, no. 120, 2012.


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Muscle cramp – Symptoms and causes

When you have a muscle cramp, one or more of your muscles tighten in an unexpected and involuntary manner. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night or been stopped in your tracks by a sudden charley horse, you know that muscular cramps may be excruciatingly painful to deal with. Muscle cramps, though normally innocuous, can make it hard to utilize the afflicted muscle for a short period of time. Muscle cramps can occur after prolonged durations of physical activity or manual labor, particularly in hot temperatures.

The majority of the time, self-care procedures may be used to cure muscular cramps at home.


The majority of muscular cramps occur in the leg muscles, notably in the calf muscles. Besides feeling or seeing a mass of muscle tissue beneath your skin, you may also experience or notice a quick, acute discomfort.

When to see a doctor

Muscle cramps normally go away on their own and are not acute enough to necessitate medical attention in most cases. Consult your doctor if your cramps include any of the following symptoms:

  • Result in extreme discomfort
  • Are connected with leg edema, redness, or changes in the appearance of the skin
  • These conditions are connected with muscular weakness. This occurs on a regular basis
  • Self-care does not help
  • Instead, it makes things worse. Don’t appear to be related with a clearly identifiable cause, such as severe exercise


Muscle cramps can be caused by overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle tension, or just being in one posture for an extended amount of time. In many situations, however, the exact reason for the condition is unknown. Although the vast majority of muscular cramps are innocuous, some may be associated with a medical condition such as one of the following:

  • There is insufficient blood supply. When the arteries that supply blood to your legs become narrowed (a condition known as arteriosclerosis of the extremities), it might cause cramp-like pain in your legs and feet when you’re exercising. These pains normally subside after a few minutes of ceasing exercise. Compression of the nerves. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) can cause cramp-like pain in your legs as well as other symptoms. The discomfort normally intensifies as you walk for a longer period of time. If you walk in a slightly flexed stance, such as you would if you were pulling a shopping cart in front of you, you may find that your symptoms improve or are delayed in onset.
  • Mineral depletion is a problem. Leg cramps might be exacerbated if you consume too little potassium, calcium, or magnesium. Diuretics, which are commonly taken to treat high blood pressure, can also deplete these minerals in the body.

Risk factors

Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are as follows:

  • Age. Because older persons lose muscular mass, the residual muscle is more susceptible to being overstressed
  • Dehydration. Cramping is common in athletes who become weary and dehydrated when participating in warm-weather activities. Cramping is also common in pregnant women. Muscle cramps are also prevalent during pregnancy
  • However, they are less severe. Medical conditions are listed below. It is possible that you will be more susceptible to muscular cramps if you have diabetes, or if you have nerve, liver, or thyroid diseases.


Cramping may be avoided by following these steps:

  • Dehydration should be avoided. Drink enough of fluids on a daily basis. This varies depending on your diet, your gender, your level of exercise, the weather, your physical and mental well-being, your age, and the drugs you take. Fluids aid in the contraction and relaxation of your muscles, as well as keeping muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. Replace fluids at regular intervals while your exercise, and continue to drink water or other fluids after you’ve stopped
  • Make sure to stretch your muscles. Stretching should be done before and after using any muscle for a lengthy amount of time. Stretching before bedtime might help if you suffer from leg cramps at night. Light activity, such as riding a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before night, may also be beneficial in preventing cramps while you’re sleeping
  • For example,

3rd of March, 2021

  1. Muscle cramps are a painful condition. An acronym for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Winkelman JW (accessed November 18, 2015)
  2. Winkelman JW. Leg cramps that occur during night. Muscle spasms, last accessed on November 18, 2015. Professional Edition of the Merck Manual. On November 18, 2015, I was able to access

What You Can Do About a Nighttime Charley Horse

An occasional charley horse, that abrupt, acute muscular pain in the calf muscle, has happened to most of us at some point in our lives. Many people have experienced this agony in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason. Unfortunately, there is no definitive explanation for why this occurs at this time. In New York City, Dr. Jonathan Kirschner, assistant professor of interventional spine and sports medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, explains that leg cramps that occur during sleep are fairly prevalent but not entirely understood.

The researchers also discovered that we become more susceptible to the discomfort as we get older.

According to Kirschner, nighttime leg cramping is an involuntary spasm that is often the consequence of random impulses from the brain urging the muscles to contract during the time of sleep.

Many times, it does not imply that there is something wrong with the person “he explains. When cramps get more severe or interrupt your sleep to the point that it has an adverse effect on your waking hours, you should consult with your doctor.

What Causes a Charley Horse

A charley horse can be a symptom of a number of different illnesses. It is possible that the cramps are caused by spinal stenosis, which is a normal wear-and-tear condition that results in the narrowing of the open areas within your spine, putting pressure on the nerves that pass through it. Many people may not even be aware they have this problem until a clinician is able to link it to specific symptoms, such as nightly leg discomfort, that they are experiencing. It is also possible that overnight cramps are caused by dehydration, which is particularly common in hot weather and can result in an electrolyte imbalance as well as nutritional deficiencies, generally in the form of calcium, magnesium or potassium.

Charley horses that appear throughout the night might potentially be caused by peripheral artery disease, which is characterized by the constriction and hardening of the arteries that provide blood to the legs and feet.

Some people believe there is a relationship between nightly leg discomfort and restless leg syndrome, although the two disorders are unrelated.

How to Handle Nighttime Leg Cramps

There are a plethora of options for dealing with overnight leg cramps. If you look for “charley horse therapy” on the internet, you’ll find a variety of suggestions, ranging from self-massage to listening to classical music to eating mustard. While a number of these therapies have been tested, the outcomes have been inconsistent and inconclusive. According to Kirschner, because there is no apparent “rhyme or rationale” for the cramps, the best thing people can do to avoid them is to usually maintain a solid baseline level of fitness and be well hydrated, which he describes as the fundamental principle.

The following therapies, according to Kirschner, have helped his patients find relief when cramps strike and drive them out of their beds:

  • Cold The use of ice to a muscle can help to relieve stress
  • HeatA hot shower or bath might help to alleviate discomfort. Massage Firmly push on the inflamed muscle with your thumb or fist for several seconds, then softly massage the affected area
  • Exercising and stretching are recommended. Exercising first thing in the morning will help to loosen up the muscles. If you’re facing a wall, extend the afflicted leg backward and lean into the wall until you feel tension in the leg, then maintain the stretch for several seconds. Aromatherapy It is possible to use chamomile as a natural muscle relaxant by using a lotion, a scented candle, or even a cup of herbal tea.

Kirschner advises customers to avoid purchasing products that promise to treat cramps without first consulting with a doctor about their safety and effectiveness. “My concern is that some people will be exposed to potentially hazardous amounts of things like quinine, which can trigger cardiac rhythms.” Then there’s the soap-based solution. Those who believe in it declare that sleeping with a bar of soap beneath the bottom sheet, below the afflicted leg, would alleviate the discomfort. The results of a simple web search will provide a plethora of positive testimonies.

“At best, the data is anecdotal,” Kirschner claims of the findings.

Debra Wittis is a freelance writer living in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who specializes on health, fitness, and other aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

Leg Cramps at Night: Causes and Tips to Reduce Them

Leg cramps that are both sharp and severe might produce unpleasant sleep disturbances. Leg cramps throughout the night are reported by around 60% of the population. A painful, involuntary tightening of leg muscles during the night is referred to as nocturnal leg cramps (also known as charley horses). Despite the fact that nocturnal leg cramps usually subside within minutes, they are uncomfortable and can cause enough sleep disruption to cause issues.

What Are Leg Cramps?

Leg cramps are acute, painful spasms of the leg muscles that occur in the lower leg. Nocturnal leg cramps are the term used to describe leg cramps that occur while sleeping. The calves and feet are usually the most severely affected. Nocturnal leg cramps are more common in women and older persons, but they can affect anybody at any time of the day.

Nocturnal Leg Cramps vs. Restless Legs Syndrome

Nighttime leg cramps are a separate ailment from restless legs syndrome (RLS), yet they are sometimes misdiagnosed as such since both conditions entail unpleasant feelings in the legs. Despite the fact that the symptoms of these conditions are similar, there are some significant variances between them. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from nocturnal leg cramps:

  • Cramping in the legs or feet that occurs during the night
  • Cramping that produces significant discomfort
  • Sharp pain that lasts fewer than 10 minutes
  • Soreness that lasts for several hours or days
  • And The presence of cramps might cause sleep interruption. Having difficulty getting asleep
  • Feeling anxious about falling asleep

Despite the fact that restless legs syndrome causes leg discomfort at night, the symptoms of restless legs syndrome are distinct from those of nocturnal leg cramps. When you have RLS, you will have a strong desire or impulse to move your legs in the evening. Other signs and symptoms might include:

  • Leg discomfort characterized by unpleasant or painful feelings
  • Discomfort that develops in the evening or at night
  • Walking or stretching might provide some relief. Sensations that worsen as a result of a lack of activity or sleep
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The symptoms of nocturnal leg cramps and restless leg syndrome (RLS) are frequently comparable. Therefore, it may be difficult for your doctor to detect nocturnal leg cramps in your case. Keep track of your symptoms and bring thorough notes to your doctor’s visit to aid him or her in determining what is causing your leg discomfort.

How Long Do Leg Cramps Last?

Nocturnal leg cramps can occur for as little as a few seconds or as long as 10 minutes, but they are generally gone within 10 minutes. On the day following your cramps, you may have discomfort or decreased strength in your legs. Exercising your leg or foot while experiencing a cramp may assist to alleviate some of the acute discomfort.

Causes of Leg Cramps at Night

Leg cramps can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. Experiencing discomfort in the middle of the night might make it difficult to sleep. The specific origin of nocturnal leg cramps is still a mystery to researchers. There are, however, several circumstances that may enhance the likelihood of having leg cramps during the nighttime period. Medications: Some drugs, such as diuretics, steroids, and antidepressants, have been linked to nocturnal leg cramps in some patients. If you wake up with leg cramps in the middle of the night, tell your doctor about any drugs you are currently taking.

  • This leg cramping may be caused by pregnancy itself, or it may be related to reduced blood flow in the veins as a result of pregnancy.
  • It has been found that magnesium supplementation can help to alleviate leg cramps in pregnancy; nevertheless, you should see your doctor before starting any new supplements.
  • Muscle weakness and cramps are caused by dehydration.
  • The precise quantity of water you need to drink each day is determined on your body weight, level of activity, medicines, and the climate where you live.
  • Take breaks from standing and schedule time to elevate your feet if you are experiencing discomfort when standing.
  • Muscle cramping can occur when muscles are tired or overworked, making them more prone to injury.
  • The practice of stretching during an exercise-induced cramp has been demonstrated to be effective in relieving discomfort.

Alcohol: According to a study of persons over the age of 60, those who consume alcoholic beverages are more prone to experience nocturnal leg cramps. A possible explanation for this cramping is alcohol’s potential to destroy muscle fibers, although further investigation is needed.

How to Reduce Leg Cramps at Night

Despite the fact that the actual origin of nocturnal leg cramps is unknown, there are steps you may do to lessen the probability that you will suffer from the condition. The majority of the time, leg cramps do not signal a significant health condition. If, on the other hand, you are having recurrent leg cramps, you should consult your doctor. You may be able to lower your chances of suffering leg cramps by doing the following: Because dehydration can produce cramps, it is important to maintain constant hydration throughout the day to limit the frequency of muscular cramps.

  • There is additional evidence to show that drinking pickle juice during a cramping episode can assist to reduce the severity of the cramping.
  • Stretching and yoga can also help you relax before bed.
  • Baths: Some individuals report that taking a bath helps to ease their overnight cramps, but further study is needed to confirm this claim.
  • Magnesium sulfate is included throughout Epsom salt.
  • By relaxing the muscles in your legs, massaging your calves or feet before bed can help you sleep better at night and avoid nighttime cramps.
  • Walking on your heels: Some people have reported that walking on their heels helps to alleviate nighttime leg tightness.
  • When it comes to relieving leg cramps, this form of walking has been proven to be less beneficial than stretching during the period of time when the cramp is most severe.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

Consult your doctor if you are suffering cramping in your feet and calves often during the night that does not go away after making modifications to your lifestyle or food. No one knows what causes nighttime leg cramps in a large number of instances. Some leg cramps, on the other hand, may be indicative of a more serious underlying condition, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, kidney disease, osteoarthritis, narrowing of the spinal canal, nerve damage in the legs are all conditions that might occur. Disorders of the circulatory system

Discussing your symptoms and concerns with your doctor will assist you in determining the most appropriate course of therapy for your situation.

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Read This If You Get Charley Horses In The Middle Of The Night

Charley horse leg cramps may be excruciatingly painful if you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night suffering from them. In colloquial language, a charley horse refers to a rapid, powerful muscular contraction that most typically happens in the calf, thigh, or foot while sleeping. These spasms can last anywhere from a few seconds to many torturous minutes, according to more than half of individuals who have experienced them at night. When it’s only 10 seconds, it feels like it’s been twenty years until it goes away, according to Nicole Haas, who works as a physical therapist in Boulder, Colorado (US).

We spoke with an orthopedic surgeon and two physical therapists to discover more about the dreaded charley horse, which often occurs in the middle of the night.

What causes charley horses

Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post contributed to this illustration. A possible explanation for why you get charley horses at night might be related to your sleeping posture. It is not completely understood what causes charley horses, while it is possible that a variety of variables are at play. Experts believed that muscular cramping was caused by dehydration and a loss of electrolytes (which caused an imbalance of minerals such as magnesium and potassium in the body), but new study reveals that it may be caused more by muscle exhaustion and nerve dysfunction than they previously believed.

“The most typical reason is a strain or overuse of the muscle,” says the doctor.

The risk of such cramps is increased among pregnant women, athletes, elderly folks, and people who are overweight.

Why they happen at night

It’s also not entirely known why charley horses occur so frequently during sleep, although doctors do have some thoughts on why this happens. According to Jonathan Meltzer, a physical therapist at Rausch Physical Therapy in Laguna Niguel, California, “at the end of the day, muscular exhaustion due to poor posture, extended sitting, or improper biomechanics during workouts can cause the tightness or spasm.” Also, pay attention to how your body is positioned when sleeping, since this might be contributing to cramps.

The same is true for folks who like to sleep on their stomachs.

If you point your toes, you’re employing the muscles of your calves.

How to prevent charley horses

Milkos (photo courtesy of Getty Images) Fortunately, there are methods for preventing and alleviating the discomfort of charley horses, including stretching and other healthy living behaviors. According to the experts, there are a few things you may do to avoid or alleviate the discomfort of charley horses. They make the following recommendations:

  • Incorporating beneficial practices, such as stretching, foam rolling, or the use of a muscle roller stick, can help to loosen up tight muscles and improve overall health. “Muscles must be stretched on a regular basis in order to perform effectively,” Ebraheim explained. In the evenings, stretch your legs and feet, especially before you go to bed.”
  • Maintaining physical activity, but not to the point of exhaustion. Change your position frequently during the day to avoid being sat or standing for lengthy periods of time. “Make frequent adjustments to your posture at work and at home,” Meltzer said. “Sitting is not harmful in and of itself, but doing so for an extended length of time is. Make sure you rise up and stroll about every hour on the hour and maintain an upright sitting position.”
  • Despite conflicting findings in the studies on the relationship between dehydration and muscular cramps, there aren’t any negative consequences to making sure you’re getting enough water. According to Haas, “we don’t know for sure if it helps, but it certainly can’t hurt.” Change your sleeping posture. In order to create a tiny canopy of space over your feet if you like to sleep on your back with a blanket, Haas suggests rolling up a towel at the end of the bed. You may also rest the bottoms of your feet against the towel to ensure that your feet do not fully extend into a pointed position when walking. Is there another option? Sleep on your left or right side

How to relieve the pain if you get a nighttime cramp

Once a charley horse gets rolling, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to stop it.

You may, on the other hand, be able to shorten the length of your discomfort. The majority of the time, when individuals get a charley horse, they just sit there paralyzed – and, if you’re like me, on the edge of yelling an obscenity – not knowing what to do.

  • If this happens again, try flexing your foot (i.e. pulling your toes toward your body rather than away from it) to alleviate the discomfort. When you put a little strain on the calf muscle, it should loosen and let go, according to Haas. As an alternative, some people find it necessary to get up and perform a calf stretch. I believe it is beneficial to have your toes up on anything if at all possible, even if it is just a book or a towel folded up.”
  • You may notice some lingering discomfort in the muscle following the procedure. Ebraheim recommends using a heating pad, getting a massage, or using ice to alleviate the discomfort. If the discomfort persists, ibuprofen may be of assistance.

The occurrence of the odd charley horse is unpleasant, but it is rather harmless. However, if they’re occurring on a regular basis, you should consult with your doctor to rule out the potential of a more serious health problem.

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