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.
How to prevent Charlie horses in legs?
- 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.
How do I get rid of a cramp in my thigh?
For a front thigh (quadriceps) cramp, use a chair to steady yourself and try pulling your foot on the affected side up toward your buttock. Apply heat or cold. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles. Taking a warm bath or directing the stream of a hot shower onto the cramped muscle also can help.
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.
How do you stop Charlie horses at night?
Nocturnal Leg Cramp Prevention
- Stretch during the day and before bed. Focus on your calf and foot muscles.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Move around during the day to exercise your feet and legs.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
- Sleep under loose covers, especially if you sleep on your back.
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 is your body lacking when you have leg cramps?
Mineral depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — also can deplete these minerals.
Why does vinegar stop leg cramps?
Acetic acid is postulated to mitigate cramping by decreasing alpha motor neuron activity through oropharyngeal stimulation and inhibitory neurotransmitter production, while aiding in the role acetylcholine plays in muscle contraction and relaxation.
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’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 foods trigger leg cramps?
WHAT FOODS CAN CAUSE MUSCLE 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.
Does drinking water help with charley horses?
The best treatment for charley horses is prevention. You can take steps to prevent them by: Drinking plenty of water. Stretching before and after exercise or before bed if you experience cramps at night.
How can I relax my legs at night?
Lifestyle and home remedies
- Try baths and massages. Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs can relax your muscles.
- Apply warm or cool packs. Use of heat or cold, or alternating use of the two, may lessen your limb sensations.
- Establish good sleep hygiene.
- Avoid caffeine.
- Consider using a foot wrap.
What is the best vitamin for leg cramps?
A significant body of research has found that increasing your magnesium intake can help with the frequency of night time leg cramps, especially for pregnant women. Health experts recommend getting at least 300 milligrams of magnesium each day.
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.
Does mustard help leg cramps?
The body uses acetic acid to produce acetylcholine, which is essential for leg muscle contractions. This is why mustard is effective for leg cramp relief. Mustard contains acetic acid. Yellow Mustard is the only kind of mustard documented to relieve nighttime leg cramps.
How does pickle juice stop leg cramps at night?
An interesting study in 2010 actually found that drinking pickle juice during the onset of a leg cramp can almost immediately reduce symptoms. This is thought to be because pickle juice triggers a reflex to reduce the firing of neurons involved in cramping.
How to get rid of muscle cramps in your legs
To move your legs, you must contract and extend the muscles in your legs, which are made up of bundles of fibers that alternately contract and expand to create movement. The contraction (tightening) of one of these muscles, usually in the calf, occurs suddenly and involuntarily. It is possible for cramps to last anywhere from a few seconds and many minutes. Their intensity might range from light to severe enough to rouse you from a sound slumber. A charley horse is a painful muscular spasm in the leg that occurs suddenly and without warning.
There are occasions when there is no clear reason for a cramp.
Causing cramping is more likely to occur when muscles are fatigued or dehydrated.
Cramping is more likely to occur during pregnancy, presumably as a result of changes in the circulatory system and greater tension on the muscles caused by a developing abdomen.
Muscles that are older get more quickly fatigued, and they become more sensitive to changes in fluid volume in the body.
Symptoms of muscle cramps
They can include the following:
- Pain and stiffness in a muscle that occurs suddenly, usually in the calf
- A firm lump or twitching under the skin that is only transitory
Diagnosing muscle cramps
The majority of cramps are mild to moderate in severity, but if your cramps are severe, you get them frequently, or you are experiencing other symptoms (such as numbness or weakness) in addition to them, visit your doctor. Crampings are a symptom of a problem with the spine, blood vessels, or liver in rare cases.
Treating muscle cramps
The majority of cramps will subside on their own within a few minutes. Relaxing the muscle by massaging it or gently extending it will aid in its recovery. Heat is a great way to relax stiff muscles. Massage the muscle with a heating pad or a warm damp towel to aid with the relaxation process. Ensure that you drink lots of fluids before and throughout exercise to avoid leg cramps in the future. Muscles require fluid in order to contract and relax correctly. Warming up your leg muscles before you start out with either walking in place or a gentle jog will help prevent tightness.
If you have a tendency to experience cramps while sleeping, perform another round of stretches before bed.
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7 Ways to Prevent Night Leg Cramps (Charley Horses)
Within a few minutes, the majority of cramps will subside on their own. Muscle relaxation can be achieved by massaging or gently stretching the muscle. When muscles are strained, heat is quite calming. Massage the muscle with a heating pad or a warm damp towel to help release it. Drink enough of water before and during exercise to prevent leg cramps in the future. In order to contract and relax correctly, muscles require fluid. Prepare your leg muscles for exercise by doing some gradual walking in place or jogging before you begin your workout.
If you have a tendency to experience cramps while sleeping, do another round of stretches before bed.
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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.
Specify your age in the field below. The prevalence of nocturnal leg cramps in those over the age of 50 is thought to be close to 60%. Due to the increased weight and changes in circulation that occur during pregnancy, this condition may arise; Leg cramps can occur in people who have renal or thyroid disorders, as well as those who have peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the legs). Medications that are available include: Leg cramps may be exacerbated by some drugs, such as diuretics, blood pressure medications, or statins
Could it be Restless Leg Syndrome?
Your current age is: It is believed that approximately 60% of people over the age of 50 suffer from nighttime leg cramps. Due to weight growth and changes in circulation, this may develop during pregnancy. Leg cramps can occur in people who have renal and thyroid disorders, as well as those who have peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the legs). Medications that may be prescribed include: Leg cramps may be exacerbated by drugs such as diuretics, blood pressure meds, or statins.
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 bannerhealth.com, you may speak with a Banner Health professional about your symptoms.
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.
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:
- Cramping may be avoided by taking the following procedures.
3rd of March, 2021
- Muscle cramps are a painful condition. An acronym for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Winkelman JW (accessed November 18, 2015)
- 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
Charley Horse: Causes, Risks, and Treatments
We feature goods that we believe will be of interest to our readers. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links on this page, we may receive a small commission. Here’s how we went about it. What is a charley horse and how does it work? Amuscle spasm is referred to as “charley horse” in some circles. Charlie horses may affect any muscle, although they are most commonly found in the legs and thighs. These spasms are characterized by uncomfortably tight muscular contractions in the affected area.
When charley horses are severe, they can cause muscular discomfort that can last anywhere from a few hours to a day.
Charley horses are often curable at home, especially if they occur on a regular basis and are mild.
Your doctor can assist you in determining the source of your recurring charley horses.
Additionally, you can put treatments and preventative measures in place to improve your comfort. Cramping or spasming of a muscle can be caused by a variety of circumstances. The following are the most typical causes:
- Exercising in extreme heat or cold, overusing a specific muscle during exercise, and tension (which is most commonly felt in the neck muscles) are all possible causes of muscle injuries. not warming up before a workout session
- Using diuretics, which can cause low potassium levels
- Mineral depletion, or having too little calcium, potassium, and sodium in the blood
- Nerve compression in the spine
Numerous people report having charley horses during their sleeping hours and being roused as a result of them. Muscle spasms that create charley horses as you sleep are a typical occurrence in the population. However, the exact reason for the occurrence of these evening spams is still a mystery. It is considered that laying in an uncomfortable position in bed for an extended period of time contributes to this condition. Muscle spasms can occur at any age and in any situation. As well as occurring at any time of day or night, a charley horse can occur at any location.
- Athletes, newborns, elderly persons, those who are obese, people who are taking certain medications such as diuretics, raloxifene (Evista), orstatin treatments, and people who smoke are just a few examples of who should avoid smoking.
Because of poor circulation in their legs, people who are fat are more prone to develop charley horses than other people. Athletesoften suffers from charley horses as a result of muscular exhaustion or excessive usage. The occurrence of the odd charley horse does not necessitate a formal medical diagnosis. Your doctor, on the other hand, should look into the frequency and recurrence of muscular spasms. This would apply if a charley horse appeared more than once a week without a satisfactory explanation for the occurrences.
- In order to determine whether nerve compression is the source of repeated charley horses, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans may be performed.
- It may also be necessary to do laboratory tests to rule out the presence of low potassium, calcium, or magnesium levels.
- The therapy for charley horses is determined on the underlying cause of the problem.
- Heating pads can assist to speed up the process of relaxing, while an ice pack can aid to dull the discomfort.
- A more forceful approach is required for recurrent charley horses.
- In extreme circumstances, your doctor may prescribe an antispasmodic medicine to alleviate the symptoms.
- In extreme circumstances, your doctor may recommend that you have surgery performed.
- If your spasms are caused by nerve compression, this may be of assistance.
- In order to ease the discomfort associated with a charley horse, you can apply pressure to the region of the cramp with your hands during the procedure.
You may also try applying pressure to the spot of the cramp with both of your thumbs, gradually increasing the pressure until the pain subsides. If you have a charley horse in your leg, you can try the following stretches to see if they help to alleviate the discomfort:
- Standing up and lunging forward on the front leg of the leg that is not experiencing muscular cramping
- Straightening the back of the leg that is experiencing the cramp and lunging forward on the rear leg of the leg that is experiencing the cramp
For a few seconds, you can also stand on the tips of your toes in order to stretch out your calf muscles. The symptoms of the occasional charley horse are often straightforward to avoid after the underlying cause has been identified and addressed. Take the following actions to reduce your risk of future muscle spasms:
- You may also stretch your calf muscles by standing on the tips of your toes for a few seconds. The symptoms of the occasional charley horse are often straightforward to prevent after the underlying cause has been identified and addressed. Consider taking the following strategies to reduce your risk of future muscle spasms:
For a few seconds, you can also stand on the tips of your toes in order to stretch your calf muscles. Once the source of the odd charley horse has been identified, the symptoms are usually simple to avoid. Take the following actions to help prevent future muscular spasms from occurring:
How to Stop Leg Cramps: Treatment and Remedies for Relief
We feature goods that we believe will be of interest to our readers. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links on this page, we may receive a small commission. Here’s how we went about it. What exactly is going on? Muscle cramps occur when a muscle contracts on its own without the consent of the person who is contracting it. Most of the time, you will feel a hard lump at the site of the discomfort – this is the tightened muscle. Cramps almost always arise for a specific reason.
- Alternatively, it’s possible that you’re not receiving enough electrolytes, such as potassium or magnesium.
- The majority of episodes of muscular cramps do not signal the presence of a concerning underlying ailment.
- It is possible that Cramps are caused by drinking, hypothyroidism, or diabetes.
- Meanwhile, there are a number of home cures you may experiment with.
- Stopping any activity that may have triggered the cramp and gently stretching the muscle while softly holding the stretch are the next steps.
- After stretching, you might want to consider putting a heating pad to the affected region, as suggested below.
- If you get leg cramps on a frequent basis that are not caused by a more serious ailment, you may want to consider increasing your magnesium intake.
Magnesium has been recommended as a possible treatment for muscular cramps in pregnant women, but additional research is needed.
In addition, many personal trainers, coaches, and physical therapists recommend that you apply magnesium to the exterior of your body in the form of Epsom salts.
Try putting some of this old-school cure to a moist towel and pressing it against a tight muscle, or try adding some to a hot bath for a relaxing bath.
Dry heat, such as that provided by a heating pad, may even be beneficial.
Start with the smallest heat setting and only increase the temperature if you aren’t receiving any relief from the pad.
Another option for relieving leg cramps is to drink plenty of fluids.
Walking about may be beneficial in relieving leg cramps because it sends a signal to the muscle that it needs to relax when it contracts, which can help it relax.
If all else fails and you continue to suffer from recurrent muscular cramps, you might want to consider receiving regular massages to assist the muscles relax and recover.
Charley horse is another name for this animal. On this page, you will find
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Charley horse is another name for this animal. This article contains information on
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:
- 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?
Elderly people, those who are overweight, athletes, and those with physical disabilities Those who are pregnant or nursing; those who have specific medical issues, such as thyroid or nervous system diseases; and
- 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
The Best Ways to Get Rid of Cramps in Your Legs
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;
What causes a charley horse?
You would think that experts would be able to pinpoint exactly what is causing your leg cramps, given that they are so terrible. There is no single solution, but there are a few hypotheses to consider. Cramping is frequently attributed to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance, which is not entirely correct. They might have a part in some way, but it’s unlikely that they are the primary perpetrators. Does this imply that you should avoid eating bananas in order to fight off a charley horse? Consuming them is unlikely to be your primary approach, despite the fact that they include potassium, an electrolyte that you should always have plenty of on board, and that they contain potassium.
The importance of having enough cannot be overstated, yet stocking up on extra supplies will not spare you from the dreaded charley horse alarm clock call.
According to current understanding, a charley horse is more of aneuromuscular condition, in which your skeletal muscles over-fire and bunch up into what you recognize as a cramp for whatever reason.
Again, cramps haven’t revealed their secrets yet, but experts believe that there is a good chance that they are caused by more than one factor. There are a variety of probable reasons why your muscles are over-firing and causing you leg cramps, including:
- Muscles that have been overused or tired, or that have been pushed in novel ways
- A structural or mechanical reason, such as flat feet or circulation difficulties, may exist, according to Christopher Hogrefe, M.D., an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Northwestern Medicine and expert in sports medicine. Leg cramps have also been linked to extended sitting or sitting in an uncomfortable position, which may be interfering with the circulation in your legs
- Your medications may be causing a charley horse to appear. In addition, Dr. Hogrefe believes that several prescription drugs, such as diuretics and asthma treatments, as well as statins for cholesterol, may be responsible for the condition. The presence of leg cramps may indicate the presence of more serious conditions such as muscle illness (myopathies), nerve disease (neuropathies), motor neuron disease (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease, according to the expert.
Muscles that have been overused or tired, or that have simply been taxed in new ways; According to Christopher Hogrefe, M.D., an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Northwestern Medicine, there might be structural or mechanical factors, such as flat feet or circulation difficulties. Leg cramps have also been linked to extended sitting or sitting in an uncomfortable position, which may be interfering with the circulation in your legs; your medications may also be causing a charley horse to appear in your legs.
Hogrefe believes that several prescription drugs, such as diuretics and asthma treatments, as well as cholesterol-lowering statins, may be responsible.
How to stop leg cramps fast
Even though professionals are baffled as to why you get a charley horse, they do have some suggestions for how to avoid them so that you may ease the agony and get on with your life as quickly as possible (or sleep).
Stretch it out.
In spite of the fact that doctors are baffled as to why you get a charley horse, they do have some suggestions for how to avoid them so that you may ease the agony and move on with your life (or sleep).
Take a bath.
A change in temperature, such as taking a hot shower or an ice bath, can aid in the removal of a charley horse from the body.
Consider pickle juice or capsaicin.
According to a 2010 research, drinking pickle juice within 35 seconds of the onset of leg cramps decreased them by 40 percent more quickly than drinking water did. Nicole Nelson, adjunct instructor in clinical and applied movement sciences at Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida, explains that while many people believe that the sodium in that juice is responsible for the effect, she believes that relief comes too quickly for sodium to have been absorbed into your system.
When it comes into contact with your mouth and throat, capsaicin (the chemical that gives spicy peppers their heat) may have a similar effect.
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Charley horse: Causes, symptoms, remedies, and more
Leg cramps were decreased 40 times faster when pickle juice was consumed within 35 seconds of the onset of the cramps, according to a research conducted in 2010. Nicole Nelson, adjunct instructor in clinical and applied movement sciences at Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida, explains that while many people believe that the sodium in that juice is responsible for the effect, she believes that relief occurs too quickly for sodium to have been absorbed into your system.
Because pickle juice causes a reaction in the region of your throat where cramping muscles occur, it is possible that pickle juice is lowering the neurons responsible for cramping.
However, science has discovered that none of these foods nor beverages is ideal for a middle-of-the-night snack or drink.
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- Nocturnal leg cramps may be caused by vigorous daily exercise, electrolyte imbalances, or the use of certain drugs
- Nevertheless, there is no definitive cause for them. Muscle cramps during pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors, including weight growth, blood flow disturbance, and peripheral nerve compression. Cramping can occur during or after exercise due to a variety of factors including neurological changes, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances, particularly in the arms and legs.
Crampings, particularly those that afflict the leg, are referred to as “charley horses.” Despite the fact that some individuals use the term “charley horse” to describe muscular spasms or twitches, these are two very distinct events. In general, clinicians understand the need of distinguishing between cramps and other disorders that appear to be the same as cramps, such as the following:
- Dystonia is a movement condition characterized by involuntary movements
- Myotonia is the process of muscles tensing, which includes both voluntarily flexing and involuntarily contracting
- And dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary movements. Tetany, which is an electrolyte imbalance caused by low calcium levels
- Myalgia, which is muscular soreness
Scientists have determined that a charley horse arises when muscles abruptly spasm or constrict, resulting in pain and discomfort. The ailment most commonly affects the calf muscle, which is located towards the rear of the lower leg. The abrupt and uncontrolled spasm is usually short, but it can linger for up to ten minutes in certain cases. The majority of people have unpleasant muscular contractions that do not result in long-term difficulties. Others, on the other hand, may have excruciating agony and suffering that lasts for several days.
Painful leg cramps, for example, might make it more difficult to move about and get around.
Additionally, the timing of a cramp might have an impact on its significance.
According to an analysis published in 2021, there are various risk factors for leg cramps:
- Being above the age of 60: A total of 37 percent of Americans over the age of 60 suffer from nocturnal leg cramps
- Being pregnant entails a number of changes. Cramping of the muscles occurs in around 50% of pregnant women, especially at night. If you have chronic renal failure, you may have the following symptoms: People suffering from chronic renal failure account for around 50% of the population. Muscle cramps, particularly in the legs, are experienced
- Having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) means you have the following symptoms: Muscle cramps are common in people with ALS, with a 95 percent risk of having them. Having diabetes is a medical condition. Muscle cramps are experienced by around 60% of persons with type 1 diabetes. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is around 80% in the general population.
Acute calf discomfort can occur for a variety of reasons that are unrelated to cramping. These are some examples:
- Trauma, deep vein thrombosis, a burst Baker’s cyst, to name a few conditions.
Following a review of publications published in 2017, researchers discovered that the following categories of sickness are frequently associated with leg cramps:
- A number of diseases and treatments are available for cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and uremia
- Neurological conditions such as motor neuron disease and polio
- And musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis. Metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and thyroid dysfunction are also available.
Drugs and muscle cramps
Leg cramps are a common side effect of several medications. Staminoids, which assist decrease cholesterol levels, and diuretics, which help lower blood pressure levels, are examples of such medications. Some stimulants, such as amphetamines and caffeine, may also cause a charley horse or a leg cramp if taken in large quantities. Anyone who experiences leg cramps after taking prescription medications should consult with a doctor or pharmacist, who can provide advice on whether or not the medicine should be changed.
When the frequency or severity of muscular cramping increases, it is important to see a doctor since it might indicate an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.
- It is important to know what the cramping feels like and where it occurs
- When and how often the cramps occur
- How severe the cramps are
- Whether they have started recently
- The person’s exercise habits
- Whether the person has any other symptoms, medical problems, or is taking any medications
- And whether the person is pregnant.
According to the 2021 study, a doctor may also instruct the patient to conduct stretches around the area afflicted by cramps or to move muscles in the surrounding area. This information can assist the doctor in determining the likely reason. In accordance with current research, quinine appears to be the only medicine that can help lower the intensity and frequency of leg cramps.
Doctors, on the other hand, are reluctant to suggest this medication since its usefulness is questionable, despite the possibility of major adverse effects. When a person is suffering from a charley horse, the following actions may be of assistance in alleviating their symptoms:
- According to the 2021 study, a doctor may also instruct the patient to conduct stretches around the area that is experiencing cramps or to move muscles in the vicinity of the cramping location. If the doctor can see this, it will be easier for him to establish the likely problem. It appears that the only prescription that appears to be effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of leg cramps is quinine, according to research. But doctors are reluctant to give this medication since, despite the possibility of major side effects, its usefulness is questionable. Taking the following steps will assist people who are suffering from a charley horse find some comfort:
A massage of the tight muscle has been shown to be effective by some persons. Depending on whether there are evidence of an underlying disease that may be causing the cramping, a doctor may recommend more tests. If a person is taking a medication that increases the likelihood of cramping, a doctor may decide to modify the medication or the dosage. A person may want to attempt the following methods to avoid getting a charley horse or a muscular cramp:
- A massage of the tight muscle has been shown to be effective for some persons. Dr. A can recommend further testing if there are any indications that an underlying issue is the source of the cramping. It is possible for a doctor to adjust the dosage of a medication if it is known to raise the likelihood of cramping in the patient. One might attempt the following remedies in order to avoid getting a charley horse or muscular cramp:
Some people find that massaging the tight muscle helps them feel more comfortable. Depending on whether there are indicators of an underlying condition that might be causing the cramping, a doctor may recommend more testing. If a person is taking a medication that increases the likelihood of cramping, a doctor may decide to alter the medication or the dosage. A person could attempt the following methods to avoid getting a charley horse or a muscular cramp:
- The use of relaxation techniques such as massage and heat treatment, as well as the use of alternative footwear, are all recommended. for people who lead a physically inactive existence, physical activity
Although the exact origin of the phrase is unknown, sources claim that the term charley horse, which is used to describe a muscular cramp, dates back to casual American athletic discourse that began in the 1880s and continues today. One explanation holds that the name originated from a baseball player who was referring to a lame horse. Horses were formerly employed to assist with groundskeeping duties in baseball. The name was allegedly derived from a baseball player named Charley, who had muscular cramps while pitching during a game in 1880, according to a tale that published in the Washington Post in 1907.
A charley horse, often known as a leg cramp, is a frequent ailment that does not generally signal the presence of a major medical condition.
Charley horse can be difficult to cure or avoid, with the exception of warming up before physical activity and staying hydrated throughout the process.
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.
- Anyone who suffers from leg cramps on a frequent basis should contact a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
- 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.
- Because of the tensing of the muscle, it causes discomfort or moderate to severe pain and stiffness in the affected region.
- They have the potential to interrupt sleep and alter a person’s sleep cycle, causing them to feel weary or sluggish the following day.
- A common misconception is that nocturnal leg cramps are the same as restless leg syndrome.
- 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.
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. Known as charley horses, leg cramps are uncontrollable spasms of the muscles in the legs that can be extremely painful. Muscle cramps are most commonly found in the calf muscles, however they can also be found in the thighs and foot. Simple stretches may often alleviate the pain of constricted muscles in a matter of minutes.
- A doctor should be seen by anyone who has frequent leg cramps in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
- Approximately 60 percent of adults and 7 percent of children suffer from leg cramps at night, according to a research published in American Family Physician (AFP).
- Tension in the muscle results in discomfort or moderate to severe pain and tightness in the affected region.
- These substances can cause sleep disturbances as well as disruptions in a person’s sleep cycle, causing them to feel fatigued or sluggish the following day.
- Nocturnal leg cramps and restless leg syndrome may be confused by some individuals.
- Most people, according to the findings of research, do not benefit from taking mineral supplements such as calcium, magnesium, or vitamin B-12 in the evening.
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.
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.
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
Another possibility is that pregnancy is associated with leg cramps at night. These changes might be caused by the body’s higher dietary requirements or by changes in hormone levels that occur during pregnancy.
- Intermittent intravenous iron sucrose administration
- Teriparatide (Forteo) administration
- Raloxifene administration
- Levalbuterol administration (Xopenex)
- Albuterol/ipratropium administration (Combivent)
- Conjugated estrogens administration
- Pregabalin administration (Lyrica) administration
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:
- People suffering from leg cramps who believe one of these disorders may be the source of their discomfort should consult with a doctor for more information or help. Leg cramps that occur at night should be treated as soon as they arise in order to maximize sleep. In the short term, the following are some potential home remedies:
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.
- Due to the fact that cramps are not caused by inflammation, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin will not alleviate them. The pain from a cramp may be relieved, but the cramps will not disappear as a result of using this remedy. For persistent leg cramps, doctors may give drugs such as the following in some cases:
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. They may recommend medication or other therapies to assist a person manage nocturnal leg cramps and have more restful sleep at night.
What Causes Leg Cramps and How Can You Treat Them?
If a person has any questions about these medications or any potential adverse effects, they should consult with their doctor. It may be feasible for some people to avoid leg cramps entirely in the long run, however this is not always attainable. Exercising on a low level People who undertake some light workouts at the end of the day report that they have less cramps as a result. Walking or riding a stationary bike for a few minutes before night are examples of exercises that may be done. Hydration is essential.
- The consumption of fluids, particularly water, throughout the day can assist to avoid cramps by ensuring that the muscles are well hydrated.
- Consult a podiatrist if you have any doubts about how supportive your footwear is.
- It is recommended that people consult their doctor if their leg cramps spread to other muscles of the leg.
- They should consult with a doctor about the probable reasons and treatments if they occur regularly, if they interfere with everyday activities, and if home remedies do not alleviate them.
- After ruling out other conditions with comparable symptoms, a doctor will proceed to test for other probable explanations, which will take some time.
- Simple home treatments, such as flexing the foot, extending the legs, or massaging the strained muscle, may be effective in the short term to alleviate the discomfort.
- When it comes to managing nocturnal leg cramps and helping a person sleep better, doctors may recommend medication or other therapies.
Coping with Muscle Cramps
alleviation of discomfort
Coping with muscle cramps: Why you don’t have to live with this common pain
Learn how basic self-care practices, such as moderate stretching, can help to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because of a muscular cramp? In the middle of anything you were doing, it halted you in your tracks. The condition known as muscular cramps, or “charley horses,” as it is commonly referred to, is exceedingly prevalent and occurs when muscles tense involuntarily and are unable to release. Cramping is particularly common in the calves, thighs, and arch of the foot, which are all sensitive areas.
osteopathic physician Carolyn Quist, DO, of Fort Worth, Texas, says that cramps may affect any muscle under your control.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, when a person suffers from a muscle cramp, the muscle in question feels tougher to the touch than usual and may even display obvious symptoms of muscular twitching.
They will listen to you and work with you to help avoid damage and support your body’s natural capacity to self-repair in order to help you heal.
Muscle cramps may strike anybody, at any time, and from any location. “There is no one who is immune,” Dr. Quist adds. When it comes to developing a muscle cramp, it doesn’t matter if you’re young or elderly, active or inactive; you might be doing just about anything. Dr. Quist, on the other hand, points out that newborns, the elderly, the obese, and athletes are at the highest risk of developing muscular cramps. According to Dr. Quist, the following are some of the most prevalent causes of muscular cramps:
- Stretching insufficiently before to physical activity Exercising in the sweltering heat
- Muscle exhaustion
Athletes who become weary and dehydrated while participating in warm-weather activities are more likely to have muscular cramps than others. As Dr. Quist explains, “Imbalances in the levels of electrolytes in the blood,” such as the amounts of sodium and potassium in the blood as well as chloride, calcium, and phosphate, can also cause muscular cramps.
Treating muscle cramps
Fortunately, muscular cramps normally subside within minutes and do not necessitate seeking medical assistance in most cases. Here are a few things you may do to alleviate your symptoms:
- Put an end to whatever it was that caused the cramp. Keep your cramping muscle in a stretched posture for as long as possible, then gently stretch and massage it until the cramping ceases. If you have a calf cramp, place your weight on the leg that is affected and gently bend your knee. Try bringing the top of your foot on the afflicted side toward your head while your leg is in a straightened posture if you’re unable to get up. A back thigh (hamstring) tightness will be alleviated as a result of this. Try to move your foot on the afflicted side near your buttock when sitting in a chair to alleviate a front thigh cramp (quadriceps spasm). Heat should be applied to tense/tight muscles, while ice should be used to sore/tender muscles.
As Dr. Quist points out, if your cramps are severe, occur frequently, do not react well to basic therapies, or are not associated with apparent reasons such as intense activity, you should visit a doctor right once. It’s possible that they’re an indication of a problem with the circulatory system, nerves, metabolism, hormones, drugs, or diet, according to the expert. Muscular cramps may be avoided by performing flexibility exercises before and after your workout to stretch the muscle parts that are most prone to cramping, as well as by drinking lots of fluids throughout the day.
If you believe your muscle cramps are too frequent and severe to be normal, it’s recommended to consult with your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment options.