Severe charley horses can result in muscle soreness that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a day. This is normal, so long as the pain isn’t prolonged or recurring. Charley horses are generally treatable at home, especially if they’re infrequent.
- A charley horse happens when muscles suddenly cramp or tighten, resulting in pain. The condition most typically happens in the calf muscle at the back of the lower leg. The sudden and uncontrollable spasm can often be brief, but it can last for several minutes or up to 10 minutes.
How do you make a charley horse go away fast?
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.
Will a charley horse go away on its own?
Usually, a charley horse will pass on its own. You can prevent them by staying hydrated and by making sure you treat your muscles kindly. Stretch after working out, and don’t spend too long sitting in one position.
Should you rub a charley horse?
Poor diet, dehydration, and use of medications such as diuretics can all be associated with mineral depletion. A charley horse will usually go away after a few hours or days. However, gentle massage or holding the muscle in a stretched position will help resolve the cramp more quickly.
Why do charley horses hurt so much?
The extreme pain comes from the continued contraction. “The contraction goes beyond what you want to do,” said Porter. “The muscle fatigues, it starts hurting, you say, ‘all right stop,’ but it’s doing it on its own — it’s not your idea, it’s an involuntary action.”
Can a charley horse hurt for days?
Severe charley horses can result in muscle soreness that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a day. This is normal, so long as the pain isn’t prolonged or recurring.
Can a muscle cramp hurt for days?
They can last several seconds to several minutes. If the cramp is severe, your muscle may be sore for days.
How long do leg cramps last?
Leg cramps happen when a muscle in the leg shortens and causes a sudden pain that can make it hard to move. The cramps can last from a few seconds to 10 minutes. They can affect the: calf muscle, below the knee at the back of the leg.
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.
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.
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.
Why is it called charley horse?
We know that the term charley horse originated when American baseball players were describing the cramps. Possibly, the players named the painful cramps in reference to a lame horse named Charley that worked at the Chicago White Sox playing field in the late 1800s.
What is the point of a charley horse?
Some spasms occur because the nerve that connects to a muscle is irritated. One example is when a herniated disk irritates the spinal nerves and causes pain and spasm in the back muscles. Spasms in the calf often occur while kicking during swimming or running.
How do you stop a Charlie horse at night?
7 Ways to Relieve and Prevent Leg Cramps at Night
- Stretch your hamstring and calf muscles during the day and before you go to bed.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day and watch your alcohol and caffeine consumption.
- Try mild exercises before bed, such as walking or riding the stationary bike for a few minutes.
What is the most painful muscle cramp?
A charley horse refers to a muscle cramp that is sudden and painful. It often occurs during exercise and at night. It commonly affects the calf muscle at the back of the lower leg but can also occur in the foot and, occasionally, the thigh.
What can I drink for leg cramps?
Drink Water Dehydration often plays a part in muscle cramps, so drinking enough water throughout the day can help keep them at bay. Drinking fluids while you have a cramp helps the muscles contract and relax. When you keep hydrated, your muscle cells also stay hydrated and are less irritable or uncomfortable.
Charley horse: Causes, symptoms, remedies, and more
Morgan horses have only one genetic disease, type 1 polysaccharide storage myopathy, which is an autosomal dominant muscle disease caused by a gene mutation that affects primarily stock horse and draft horse breeds. This disease has only been identified in the Morgan breed, and it is caused by a gene mutation. A total of over a dozen breeds have been identified as having the allele for the ailment, and its incidence in Morgans looks to be very low compared to the prevalence of the problem in other stock and draft breeds, according to the study.
Otherwise, Morgans have a very low incidence of medical issues.
Fortunately, this problem may be diagnosed with easy tests conducted by a veterinarian service, and the disorder can often be treated with medications.
The American Morgan Horse Association has further information, which you may find here: Canada’s Morgan Horse Association is a non-profit organization that promotes the ownership, training, and breeding of Morgan horses in Canada.
- 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. For example, if leg cramps occur regularly at night, sleep disturbance may be the outcome of the condition. 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 review, a doctor may also instruct the patient to perform stretches around the area affected by cramps or to move muscles in the surrounding area. This information can assist the doctor in determining the potential cause. In accordance with current research, quinine appears to be the only medication that can help reduce the intensity and frequency of leg cramps. Doctors, on the other hand, are reluctant to recommend this medication because its efficacy is uncertain, despite the possibility of serious side effects.
- Standing or moving the leg or foot will help to gently stretch out the muscle. Pulling the toes and the foot up and to the front of the leg should be firm but not harsh. Continue to perform these exercises until the cramping subsides and disappears.
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:
- Leaving enough time between eating and exercising
- Warming up before and after exercise by gently stretching muscles
- Drinking fluids and eating a small amount of food after exercise to replace fluid and minerals lost during exercise
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water at all times
- Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants Keeping an eye out for any potential adverse effects of prescription medicines
A number of individuals take magnesium supplements to try to ease muscle cramps. However, evidence shows that magnesium supplements are ineffective in alleviating either pregnancy-related leg cramps or nocturnal leg cramps in women. Changes that may be beneficial, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support them, include the following:
- 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.
It is recommended that a person get medical attention if their cramps are severe and they are experiencing additional symptoms such as altered level of awareness or fever.
Leg Cramp or Something More?
A lot of individuals attempt to strike a balance between the question of their health and the question of whether or not this is bad enough to warrant seeing a doctor. Sometimes you’re not sure whether or not you should be concerned about certain symptoms, especially if all you actually need is a little rest or fluids. Leg cramps can be excruciatingly painful, but the majority of the time they do not require medical attention beyond what you can provide yourself at home. Leg discomfort, on the other hand, might occasionally signal the need for medical attention.
Muscle cramps or spasms are the most common cause of the extreme discomfort you experience in your legs most of the time.
The muscle contracts and may not fully relax for some seconds after it has been contracted.
A variety of factors can contribute to the development of charley horses, but the most prevalent are as follows:
- Dehydration. When your body is dehydrated, it has a more difficult time maintaining the proper balance of electrolytes in the blood, particularly potassium, which is essential for proper functioning. As a result, your muscles may become spastic. It is possible that diuretics such as coffee can make muscular spasms worse. Minerals have been depleted. Potassium, sodium, and magnesium can be lost as a result of poor dietary choices or excessive physical activity. In order for your nerves to correctly connect with your muscles so that they may contract, you must have certain minerals. Overuse. Sometimes, incorrect exercise habits, such as overuse or not properly warming up or cooling down after a workout, might cause your muscles to respond adversely. Blood flow has been reduced. If you stay in bed for an extended amount of time or if you keep your leg at an unusual angle, your muscle may cramp as a result of insufficient blood supply to the muscle.
Charley horses are usually harmless and will pass on their own. You may avoid them by staying hydrated and making sure that your muscles are treated with care and respect. After working out, stretch and avoid sitting in one posture for an extended period of time. However, it is possible that abrupt leg discomfort is not caused by a charley horse, as you might expect. When you have a blood clot in your leg, you may have cramping that is similar to what you are experiencing. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the medical term for this illness, which necessitates medical intervention.
The discomfort might come on suddenly, and your muscle may feel tight as a result.
However, certain additional symptoms may appear, and you should get medical attention as quickly as possible if you experience any of these.
- Redness. When you have a blood clot in your leg, it might cause irritation and swelling on your skin. It is possible to have swelling in the leg as a result of a clot blocking a major blood artery in the leg, when blood flow becomes restricted. The leg may also feel heated to the touch
- There may be lingering discomfort. Even after the acute agony has subsided, you will continue to have discomfort in your leg, particularly while applying pressure or walking. The discomfort will not normally go away on its own and may feel like a deep muscular ache
- However, there is a chance that it will.
If you observe any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. An ultrasound may typically be used to detect DVTs, and you will be prescribed drugs to aid in the resolution of the blockage. In addition, DVT is serious because it has the potential to cause heart attack, stroke, or other complications if further clots form or if the clot travels from your leg. Responses to Urgent or Emergency Situations When you have blood clots or even leg cramps, you should visit the hospital as soon as possible.
Visiting hours for Stellis Health Urgent Care are Monday through Thursday from noon to 8pm, Friday from noon to 5pm, weekends and most holidays from 8am to 4pm. Stellis Health Urgent Care is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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
- A number of medications
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?
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
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
- 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.
American Blood Clot Association
This is something we’ve all experienced: that teeth-grinding muscle spasm in the arch of your foot, the back of your calf, or the back of your thigh (hamstrings). When do you know whether a Charlie Horse is more than just a muscle cramp, and how can you tell? What if you get them on a regular basis? What is the best way to detect the difference between a Charlie Horse and a potential blot clot? Charlie Horse vs. Blood Clot is a battle between two horses. A Charlie Horse is a term used to refer to a muscular spasm or cramping episode.
- Pain can be fairly strong and discomfort can last for several hours or even a day following a Charlie Horse, depending on how long it lasts.
- Blood clots are often formed as a result of a damage to a blood vessel.
- The brain then sends a signal to the blood vessels, causing a surge of platelets and clotting factors to rush to the spot.
- Which one is it, then?
- Charlie Horses can be caused by a variety of circumstances, including the following:
- An damage to a muscle
- Poor blood flow (blood delivers oxygen, hence poor blood flow reduces oxygen to the body’s cells in the afflicted location)
- Inadequate oxygen delivery to the body’s cells Exercise in extremely hot or extremely cold conditions
- Overuse or straining of the muscles
Several of the circumstances listed above that might result in a Charlie Horse can also raise the chance of blood clot formation, including dehydration and insufficient blood flow, which can occur as a result of being sedentary for extended periods of time. Dehydration causes the blood to thicken and the blood flow to diminish, causing the blood to become sluggish as it passes through the veins and arteries. There is an increased chance of blood particles adhering together and forming blood clots when blood flow is reduced or stopped.
Massage, stretching, and ‘walking it off’ are all effective treatments for many of these conditions. A Charlie Horse, on the other hand, should not be experienced more than once a week, and it is advised that you arrange an appointment with your doctor to establish the root reason.
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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Please include a note of the date of the most recent review or update for each article. No information on this site, regardless of when it was published, should ever be considered as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained healthcare professional.
Although the specific origin of Charley horse during pregnancy is unknown, it is believed to be connected to changes in the body’s circulation, weight, and iron levels that occur during pregnancy. When it comes to pregnancy, charley horses are more common during the second or third trimester, and they are more common at night. Preventing Charley horses during pregnancy may be accomplished in a number of ways, including drinking enough of water throughout the day, performing stretching exercises, and remaining physically active.
According to a Cochrane study review, your doctor may offer a magnesium supplement to help avoid Charley horses in certain cases.
When you get a Charley horse, you should stop whatever you are doing and massage the leg for a few minutes (or foot). If you are able, you may try to do light exercises or walk about the room to stretch the leg and foot muscles, which will help to relieve the pain. Apply a heating pad to the spasm, which helps relax the muscles by providing greater blood flow to the area. If the Charley horse is caused by inflammation in a previously overused muscle, an ice pack may be more effective in alleviating the discomfort.
Depending on how frequently they occur in the same muscle areas and whether or not they are eased by over-the-counter drugs, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or prescribe stronger pain medications.
- Pain treatments such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Muscle massages containing camphor or menthol
- And, in certain situations, prescription pharmaceuticals such as muscle relaxants.
After stretching and taking drugs, if your pain does not improve at all within 1 to 2 hours, consult your doctor for further instructions. If your risk factors indicate that you should be assessed by urgent care or the ER, they may recommend that you be tested to rule out a more serious problem such as a blood clot.
Muscle Cramps: Is There Anything To Worry About?
Carmen Fookes, BPharm, was in charge of the medical review. The most recent update was made on March 5, 2021.
Hands Up If You Suffer From Charley Horse
Muscle cramps are referred to as “Charley Horses” in colloquial language. Know what I’m talking about: those terrible spasms that cause you to stop in your tracks or push you to spring out of bed like Superman! Is it ever the case that a muscle cramp is more than just a muscle spasm? What signs and symptoms should you be concerned about? When should you schedule an appointment with a doctor? To help you understand your cramps a little better and get back on your horse as fast as possible, we’ve put together some information for you.
The Hard Working Life Of A Muscle
The muscles in our body number more than 600 in number. Muscles allow us to walk, talk, kick a ball, and generally exist as humans because they pump our blood around our bodies, aid in digestion, focus our vision, and allow us to walk, talk, kick a ball, and basically exist as humans.
Our skeletal muscles are the muscles that we can control with our thoughts. We have smooth and cardiac muscles, which are those that are found in our digestive tract and heart, that are completely independent of our conscious control.
Any Muscle Can Cramp
Muscle cramps can occur in every muscle, in any portion of the body, according to the scientific literature. Stomach cramps can be caused by conditions such as diarrhea, period discomfort can be caused by cramps in the uterus, and asthma can be caused by the spasming or cramping of our breathing passages. However, for the sake of this presentation, we will concentrate on cramps that occur in the muscles of our musculoskeletal system. They are the ones that move our joints and collaborate with our bones to provide us with power and endurance.
We’re talking about the ones who are presumably under our free control.
When A Muscle Normally Under Our Control Behaves Badly
Consequently, if we have control over these muscles. What causes them to cramp? Our muscles, on the other hand, are extremely sensitive. When electrical impulses from our brain travel down nerves in our spinal cord to a muscle, this is known as normal muscular contraction or contraction. When the nerve signal reaches the muscle, it induces the release of calcium and other chemicals, which causes proteins within the muscle to glide past one another, resulting in contraction. Muscle cramps can be caused by anything that interferes with either the electrical signaling mechanism or the release of calcium or other substances from the muscles.
Certain Conditions Make Muscles More Vulnerable to Cramps
In the aftermath of a stroke, with multiple sclerosis, after trauma or spinal cord injury, and after amputation, damage to nerve pathways can develop. Salt balances in our bodies are quickly upset by excessive perspiration, dehydration, and other factors, such as in seniors and sportsmen, as well as during pregnancy. Cramping is a side effect of several medications, such as diuretics, which regulate bodily fluids, and statins, which treat excessive cholesterol. Muscles that have been overworked, stretched, or kept in a fixed posture for an extended period of time, as well as those with insufficient blood flow, are more susceptible.
When Should I Be Worried?
A visit to the doctor is rarely necessary because most muscle cramps subside on their own within 10 minutes of occurrence. However, it is critical to get medical attention if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Cause significant pain or suffering
- Are linked with swelling, redness, or changes in the appearance of the skin. Make it difficult to bear weight on a leg or cause muscular weakness in the affected limb This occurs on a regular basis
- Take no action in response to self-help initiatives
- Have no evident cause, such as dehydration or exercise, and do not appear to be related to one another.
Self-Help Measures to Lessen the Pain
Stretching and massaging the afflicted muscle might aid in the relaxation of the muscle. When you get calf or hamstring cramps (back of the thigh), put weight on the afflicted leg and lift the toes off the ground. If you are unable to stand, take a seat with your legs stretched out before you. Causing cramping in your quadriceps, try sitting in a chair to keep yourself steady and pulling your foot up towards your buttock to alleviate the pain and stiffness. Heat can also be used to relax and relieve tight and strained muscles.
Some persons who have frequent cramps may benefit from regular calf stretching (3 times a day for 5 minutes each time). Put your feet level on the ground and bend forward to lean against the wall until you can feel the stttttttttttttchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Repeat this numerous times and hold for as long as you are able to maintain your balance.
Avoid sleeping on your back if you are prone to night cramps by using a pillow to hold up your feet in bed, and keep blankets free so that your feet don’t become confined while sleeping.
Athletes: Avoid Being Sidelined By Cramping
Cramping is a common occurrence among athletes in particular. Those who are “salty sweaters” are particularly vulnerable to a charley horse because of the combination of salt loss, fluid loss, and muscular exhaustion that occurs throughout the process. Diets should contain enough salt (sodium) to compensate for this loss, but they should not be excessive. It is also a good idea to replenish salt and other electrolytes during a race or longer training session with some sports drinks, but avoid ingesting sports drinks that are heavy in sugar.
Natural Remedies And Other Treatments
It is possible to maintain the balance of salts in your body by eating foods that are high in potassium (such as bananas, dried fruit, mushrooms, apple cider vinegar), calcium (such as dairy products, leafy greens, sardines), or magnesium (such as beans, almonds, and green vegetables). Some persons, such as athletes, lose a significant amount of salt from excessive perspiration and may require a little increase in salt in their diet in order to avoid hyponatremia, which can result in cramping.
Medicine For Cramps
Quinine has been used to cure cramps in the past, but due to its toxicity, it is no longer approved by the FDA for the treatment of nighttime leg cramps. If your cramps continue to bother you despite your best efforts, consult your doctor. It is possible to use different medications, and pain killers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil,Motrin) may be beneficial. Other medications to consider include: Your doctor can assess if you require a mineral supplement, such as magnesium, and may also undertake other examinations to attempt to discover the origin of your symptoms and discomfort.
Finished: Muscle Cramps: Is There Anything To Worry About?
- Muscle cramps are a painful condition. Hand or foot spasms, according to the Mayo Clinic in 2021. 2021
- Medline Plus
- Don’t let foot cramps and Charley Horses get in the way of your progress. Foot cramps and charley horses are caused by seven different factors, each with a different treatment. Updated on September 10, 2020. Cleveland Clinic
- Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Always check with your healthcare practitioner to confirm that the information contained on this page is accurate and applicable to your specific situation. Disclaimer of Medical Importance
Muscle Cramps – OrthoInfo – AAOS
The contraction of a muscle that happens suddenly and does not allow the muscle to relax is known as a “muscle cramp.” The quick, tight, and excruciating agony that comes with an immobilized muscle is likely still fresh in your mind if you have ever been the victim of a charley horse attack. Cramps can affect any muscle that you are able to control voluntarily (skeletal muscle). They might include a single muscle or numerous muscles in a group, or they can involve half or all of a muscle. The following muscle groups are the most often affected:
- The gastrocnemius muscle is located at the back of the lower leg/calf
- The hamstrings are located at the back of the thigh
- And the quadriceps are located at the front of the thigh.
Cramps in the feet, hands, arms, belly, and along the rib cage are also highly prevalent in those who have high blood pressure. Some researchers believe that insufficient stretching and muscular exhaustion are the root causes of muscle cramps, which are characterized by anomalies in the processes that govern muscle contraction.
Other variables, such as poor conditioning, exercising or working in extreme heat, dehydration, and depletion of salt and minerals, may also be implicated (electrolytes).
Inadequate Stretching and Muscle Fatigue
Muscles are a bundle of fibers that contract and extend in order to generate movement in the body. Muscle fibers get longer as a result of a regular stretching regimen, allowing them to contract and tighten more fiercely as you exercise. You are more prone to suffer muscle tiredness if your body is not in good shape. Muscle fatigue can cause changes in the spinal neural reflex activity. Overexertion depletes the oxygen supply of a muscle, resulting in the accumulation of waste products and spasm.
Heat, Dehydration, and Electrolyte Depletion
When you exercise in hot weather, you are more prone to have muscle cramps because perspiration depletes your body’s fluids, salt, and minerals (i.e., potassium, magnesium and calcium). Muscle spasms can also occur as a result of a lack of certain nutrients.
Some persons are susceptible to muscular cramps and experience them on a frequent basis after engaging in any physical activity. Infants and young children, as well as individuals over the age of 65, are at the highest risk of cramping and other diseases associated with excessive heat exposure. Other variables that increase the likelihood of experiencing muscular cramps are as follows:
- Inability to work because of illness or obesity
- Overexerting oneself at work or during exercise
- Certain drugs are being taken
Caffeine-induced muscle cramps are extremely prevalent among endurance athletes, such as marathon runners and triathletes, as well as elderly persons who participate in rigorous physical activity.
- Athletes are more susceptible to cramping during the preseason because their bodies are less conditioned and consequently more susceptible to tiredness. In older persons, muscular cramps are more likely to occur at the conclusion of a vigorous or protracted exercise session, or 4 to 6 hours afterwards. This is due to normal muscle loss (atrophy), which begins in the mid-40s and accelerate if a person does not engage in physical activity. As you get older, your muscles are no longer able to function as hard or as swiftly as they once could. The body also loses part of its capacity to detect and respond to changes in temperature, as well as some of its sensation of thirst.
Pain from muscle cramps can range in intensity from a little twitch to excruciating agony. A cramping muscle may feel rigid to the touch and/or seem visually deformed or twitch beneath the skin, depending on the severity of the cramp. Cramping can last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes or more. It is possible that the problem will repeat several times before it is resolved. Cramps are frequently self-resolving and do not necessitate seeing a doctor.
- Put an end to whatever it was that caused the cramp. Using gentle stretching and massage, stretch and massage the cramping muscle, maintaining it in the stretched position until the spasm stops
- Heat should be applied to tense/tight muscles, while ice should be used to sore/tender muscles.
Work toward improving your general fitness in order to avoid recurring cramping. Pre and post-workout flexibility exercises should be performed on a regular basis to stretch muscle regions that are prone to cramping.
Stretching should always be preceded by a warm-up. Warm-up exercises such as gently running in place or walking briskly for a few minutes are both excellent examples of what to do.
Calf Muscle Stretch
Leaning forward against a wall, one leg in front of the other, perform this exercise. Straighten your rear leg and press your heel firmly into the ground. Repeat on the other side. Your front knee is bent at the hip. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Don’t forget to keep both heels level on the ground! Make a pointing motion with your rear foot’s toes toward the heel of your front foot.
Hamstring Muscle Stretch
As you sit, keep your back straight and your legs stretched straight in front of you. Your feet are in a neutral position – they are neither pointed or flexed. Placing your palms on the floor and sliding your hands toward your ankles is an excellent exercise. Hold for a total of 30 seconds.
Do: Keep your chest open and your back as long as possible. Make a reach with your hips. When you feel the strain, you should stop moving your palms forward. Don’t do the following: Make an effort to bring your nose to your knees or to round your back. Keep your knees from locking.
Quadriceps Muscle Stretch
Holding on to a wall or the back of a chair will help you maintain your equilibrium. Elevate one foot and bring the heel of that foot up toward your buttocks. Grip your ankle with one hand and draw your heel closer to your torso to complete the movement. Hold the stretch for a total of thirty seconds. What to Do: Keep your knees together as much as possible. When you feel the strain, stop pushing your heel closer to your toes. Avoid arching or twisting your back. Hold each stretch for a brief period of time before releasing it.
Although the majority of muscle cramps are harmless, they can occasionally signal the presence of a significant medical issue.
It is possible that you will experience difficulties with your circulation, nerves, metabolism, hormones, drugs, and nutrition.
Leg cramps are a regular occurrence that are typically innocuous and only last a brief period of time. They can occur at any time of day or night, although the majority of people experience them during night or while sleeping.
Check if it’s leg cramps
Leg cramps occur when a muscle in the limb shortens, resulting in a sharp discomfort that might make it difficult to move the affected leg. Cramping might last anywhere from a few seconds to ten minutes. They have the ability to influence the following:
- The calf muscle is located behind the knee at the rear of the leg
- Muscles in the foot or thighs (less frequently) are also affected.
After the cramp has passed, the muscle may be uncomfortable for up to 24 hours after it has ceased.
Things you can do about leg cramps yourself
Stretching and massaging the muscle during a cramp may help to alleviate the discomfort, however most cramps will go away on their own. While paracetamol and ibuprofen can assist to relieve muscular discomfort after a cramp, they will not aid when a cramp is in progress because they take too long to begin working.
Regular calf-stretching exercises may help to lessen the frequency of cramps, but they may not be able to totally prevent them from occurring. The best way to stretch your calf muscles
- Regular calf-stretching exercises may help to minimize the frequency of cramps, but they may not be effective in entirely eliminating them. Calves should be stretched in the following ways:
Regular calf-stretching exercises may help to lessen the frequency of cramps, but they may not be able to totally prevent them. Stretching the calf muscles
Non-urgent advice:See a GP if:
- It is causing sleep disruption
- You also experience numbness or swelling in your legs
- The cramps persist more than 10 minutes
- You have any additional symptoms or concerns
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: how to contact a GP
It is still critical to get medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms. To make contact with your primary care physician’s office, dial: Learn more about utilizing the National Health Service (NHS) during COVID-19.
Treatment for leg cramps from a GP
A general practitioner will evaluate you in order to determine the source of your leg cramps.
They will recommend a course of therapy based on the underlying problem. This may be anything like:
- Exercises to stretch the muscles
- Quinine pills if stretching does not assist
Quinine is not suited for all people and should be avoided if possible. The doctor will go through any dangers and side effects that may be involved with you.
Causes of leg cramps
Leg cramps can be brought on by a variety of factors, including:
- Exerting too much force on muscles during exercise, which can be exacerbated in hot or humid conditions
- Pregnancy (typically in the latter stages)
- Certain medications, such as cholesterol-lowering statins or diuretics
- Not drinking enough fluids (dehydration)
- And a variety of other factors. alcoholic liver damage caused by excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
The cause of certain cramping is still unclear. The page was last reviewed on December 16, 2020. The deadline for the next review is December 16, 2023.
How Long Do Charley Horses Last?
How Long Do Charley Horses Last in the Wilderness? When charley horses are severe, they can cause muscular discomfort that can last anywhere from a few hours to a day. This is okay as long as the discomfort does not last for an extended period of time or is recurrent. Charley horses are often curable at home, especially if they occur on a regular basis and are mild. Is it possible for a charley horse to disappear on its own? Charley horses are usually harmless and will pass on their own. You may avoid them by staying hydrated and making sure that your muscles are treated with care and respect.
- However, it is possible that abrupt leg discomfort is not caused by a charley horse, as you might expect.
- Treatment for Charley Horses Pulling your foot up near your buttock will help you feel more comfortable.
- Use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or naproxen to alleviate the discomfort.
- How long does a charley horse in calf have to be kept alive?
- The ailment most commonly affects the calf muscle, which is located towards the rear of the lower leg.
How Long Do Charley Horses Last – Related Questions
Mineral depletion can be caused by a variety of factors, including a poor diet, dehydration, and the use of drugs such as diuretics. A charley horse will normally vanish within a few hours or days of being discovered. A moderate massage or keeping the muscle in a stretched posture would, on the other hand, aid in the resolution of the cramp more swiftly.
Can a charley horse hurt for days?
The discomfort might be severe if the contracting muscles are not allowed to relax for many seconds or longer. When charley horses are severe, they can cause muscular discomfort that can last anywhere from a few hours to a day. This is okay as long as the discomfort does not last for an extended period of time or is recurrent.
Why is a charley horse so painful?
The intense discomfort is caused by the continuous contraction.
“The contraction extends beyond what you want to achieve,” Porter explained. “The muscle becomes fatigued, it begins to ache, and you tell it to stop, but it’s doing it on its own – it’s not your idea, it’s an involuntary activity,” says the author.
Why do I keep getting Charlie horses at night?
Leg cramps throughout the night: everything you need to know. 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.
What Vitamin Are you lacking if you get Charlie horses?
Step 1: Make sure you are getting enough vitamin D-3, magnesium, potassium, and calcium (get tested for your blood levels of these and iron, too). Cramping is associated with nutritional deficiencies. Aim for a daily intake of –1,000 IU of D-3 from food and supplements.
What is your body lacking when you have leg cramps?
If you get regular leg cramps, it’s possible that your body need more magnesium than it is getting from your diet. Approximately two-thirds of the population in the United States is magnesium deficient, according to a 2017 research. Mineral magnesium is the fourth most prevalent mineral in the body and is critical in the regulation of your body’s function and health.
How does pickle juice stop leg cramps?
The science behind why it is effective. Researchers believe that pickle juice may alleviate cramps by stimulating muscle responses when the liquid comes into touch with the back of the throat. While this has not been verified, it is a possibility. This reaction prevents the misfiring of neurons in muscle cells throughout the body, thus “turning off” the cramping sensation.
Can a charley horse cause a blood clot?
Several of the circumstances listed above that might result in a Charlie Horse can also raise the chance of blood clot formation, including dehydration and insufficient blood flow, which can occur as a result of being sedentary for extended periods of time.
How do you stop leg cramps fast?
Heat or cold should be applied. Warm a towel or heating pad and apply it to stiff or tight muscles. Swimming in warm water or spraying the tight muscle with hot water can also help relieve itching and discomfort. Alternatively, applying ice to the constricted muscle may help to alleviate the discomfort.
What can you rub on a Charlie horse?
Magnesium oil is a natural cure for muscular cramps that works well. It only takes a few minutes to massage the oil into the cramp and it will be alleviated. Take a gulp of dill pickle juice to start the day. To make the drink, combine a tablespoon of vinegar with a teaspoon of honey and consume immediately.
Can you pull a muscle from a charley horse?
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.
How can you tell the difference between a Charlie horse and a blood clot?
A charley horse may cause tremendous agony, and if you’ve ever been woken up in the middle of the night or stopped in your tracks by one, you know how painful muscular cramps can be. Cramping can make it momentarily unable to utilize the muscle that is cramping, even though it is normally non-lethal.
Can a charlie horse leave a bruise?
It is likely that you have experienced the excruciating pain of muscle spasms or cramps at some point in your life.
In certain situations, a muscle may spasm with such energy that it causes a bruise to appear on the skin.
Can a charley horse cause nerve damage?
When Should You See a Doctor? MRI scans are useful in diagnosing nerve abnormalities that may be causing the charley horses to occur again.
Why does vinegar stop leg cramps?
Interestingly, vinegar appears to be able to outsmart this reaction. It is hypothesized by scientists that the sour taste of pickled cucumber water induces the receptors in the mouth to produce a neurological signal to the brain when consumed. After that, the muscles are governed in a different way, and cramps either fade completely or do not occur at all.
Why does putting a bar of soap in bed prevent leg cramps?
Interestingly, vinegar appears to be able to circumvent this response. Science believes that the sour taste of pickled cucumber water causes neurological signals to be sent to the brain through taste receptors in the mouth. Cramping disappears fast or does not occur at all as a consequence of a change in how the muscles are governed after that.
What can I drink to stop cramps?
Vinegar appears to be able to outsmart this reaction. The sour taste of the pickled cucumber water, according to scientists, triggers the receptors in the mouth to transmit a neurological signal to the brain. Cramping disappears fast or may not occur at all as a result of this change in muscular control.
Does vitamin D cause leg cramps?
People of all ages might suffer from muscular pains, weakness, and bone discomfort as a result of a vitamin D shortage. Tetany (muscle spasms) in neonates may be the initial indication of rickets in some cases. Patients suffering from severe vitamin D deficiency get these symptoms as a result of a low calcium level in the blood.
What can I drink for leg cramps?
Drink plenty of drinks to keep your body hydrated. Leg cramps are frequently alleviated by sports beverages such as Gatorade.
Does mustard stop leg cramps?
Yellow mustard is the only type of mustard that has been shown to be effective in relieving evening leg cramps. Take a spoonful or two of yellow mustard if you are experiencing overnight leg cramps. The mustard should begin to work nearly quickly, helping you to drift off to sleep with no difficulty.
Is salt good for leg cramps?
Solutions with a salty taste Cramping may be avoided for the majority of players by eating a well-balanced diet that includes certain salty foods and staying hydrated with a sports drink. The above may not be sufficient for people who suffer from severe muscle cramps or who have a salty sweating problem.