How to get rid of Charley horses?
- Thankfully, there are ways to prevent and ease the pain of charley horses through stretching and other lifestyle habits. There are a few ways you can prevent and ease the pain of charley horses, according to the experts. They recommend: Incorporating good habits, like stretching, foam-rolling or using a muscle roller stick to loosen tight muscles.
What is the fastest way to get rid of a charley 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.
What causes Charlie horses feet?
Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. In many cases, however, the cause isn’t known. Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as: Inadequate blood supply.
How do you stop Charlie horses in your legs?
How do I stop a leg cramp? Try forcefully stretching the affected muscle (for example, stretch your calf muscle by flexing your foot upward). Jiggle your leg, massage it, or force yourself to walk. It might also help to apply ice or heat – use a heating pad or take a warm bath.
How do you pop a charley horse?
Gently stretch out the muscle by standing or moving the limb or foot. Firmly but gently pull the toes and the foot upward to the front of the leg. Repeat these movements until the cramping eases and stops.
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.
Does pickle juice help with charley horses?
While pickle juice may help relieve muscle cramps quickly, it isn’t because you’re dehydrated or low on sodium. It is more likely because the pickle juice sets off a reaction in your nervous system that stops the cramp, according to recent research.
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 foods help charley horses?
Here are 12 foods that may help with muscle cramps.
- Avocado. Avocados are creamy, delicious fruits that are packed with nutrients that may help prevent muscle cramps.
- Watermelon. One possible cause of muscle cramps is dehydration.
- Coconut water.
- Sweet potato.
- Greek yogurt.
- Bone broth.
- Beet greens.
How do you stop a foot cramp?
Stretch your foot gently, but forcefully to relieve the cramp by flexing your foot and pressing down on your big toe. Walking around and jiggling your leg may also help with both foot and leg cramps. Taking a warm bath or shower, or using ice may ease any lingering pain. Deep tissue massage may help in the long term.
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.
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.
How does pickle juice stop leg cramps?
The science behind why it works While it hasn’t been proven yet, researchers posit that pickle juice may help cramps by triggering muscular reflexes when the liquid contacts the back of the throat. This reflex shuts down the misfiring of neurons in muscle all over the body, and “turns off” the cramping feeling.
Does salt help charley horses?
Another way to relieve a Charley horse is to take an Epsom salt bath. For the best results, relax your whole body with a 20- to 30-minute soak. Ambient lighting and peaceful music also add to the experience.
Why is a charley horse so painful?
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.”
Does apple cider vinegar help charley horses?
Natural solutions to nighttime leg cramps Some athletes and health gurus swear by apple cider vinegar as a solution for muscle cramping. It is rich in potassium, which can help prevent leg cramping.
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.
Cramping or spasming of a muscle can be caused by a variety of circumstances.
- 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:
- Because of poor circulation in their legs, people who are overweight are more likely to develop charley horses. Athletes who abuse their muscles or who are fatigued may get charley horses. There is no need for a formal medical diagnosis when a charley horse shows up every now and again. If you have regular, repeated muscular spasms, your doctor should look into it further. This would apply if a charley horse appeared more than once a week without a satisfactory reason for its occurrences. The majority of the time, your doctor can determine a diagnosis based on your medical history and a physical examination. Nerve compression may be the cause of repeated charley horses, and MRI scans may be useful in diagnosing the problem. To generate a detailed image of your interior structures, an MRI scanner combines a magnetic field and radio waves in conjunction with a computer. To rule out low potassium, calcium, or magnesium levels, additional laboratory tests may be required. If your doctor detects nerve injury or other complex causes, you may be referred to a physical therapist or another expert. Because there are several possible causes of charley horses, the therapy will vary. Simple stretches and massages can help relax the muscle and prevent it from constricting if the charley horse is caused by activity. In addition to promoting relaxation, heating pads and ice packs can also be used for pain relief. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) such as ibuprofen may be prescribed if your muscle is still painful following a muscular spasm. More intensive therapy is needed for recurrent charley horses. If ibuprofen does not relieve your discomfort, your doctor may prescribe pain medicines. Medications to relieve spasms may be prescribed by your doctor in extreme situations. Additionally, physical therapy might assist you in coping with muscular spasms and avoiding future difficulties from arising from them. You may be advised to have surgery if the situation is severe enough. Surgical enlargement of the area around a nerve can be used to alleviate pressure when other therapies fail. If your spasms are caused by nerve compression, this treatment may be beneficial to you. In the case that you suffer from a charley horse, there are several massages and stretches that will give instant comfort and avoid possible suffering. To alleviate the discomfort associated with a charley horse, you can apply pressure to the location of the cramp using your hands. Another option is to apply progressive pressure to the place of the cramp with both of your thumbs until the discomfort subsides completely. It is possible to try to alleviate the pain caused by the charley horse by performing some of these stretches:
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:
A frequent occurrence, Charley horses can arise in any muscle and at any moment. They’re typically curable, and in certain cases, they can even be prevented. Pain induced by a spasm is usually temporary, lasting no more than a day or two. However, if you are experiencing charley horses on a regular basis, you should consult your doctor about possible remedies.
How to Get Rid of a Charley Horse – 4 simple fixes
Skip to the main content How to get rid of a charley horse in the following ways: This is a condition that affects both athletic and inactive people. Amuscle cramps are excruciatingly painful, and if you’ve ever been awakened out of sleep by a searing ache in your leg that left you gasping for air, you understand how awful they can be. If you’ve never had the pleasure of riding a charley horse (also known as a Charlie Horse, depending on who you ask), consider yourself fortunate. In this post, we’ll go over four of the most effective strategies for dealing with or preventing muscular cramps.
What is a charley horse?
It is most commonly referred to as a “charley horse” because it is an involuntary reflex in which the neurons controlling a muscle (typically the calf muscle) misfire, causing the muscle to freeze and lock into a contracted posture. A charley horse can be quite painful, and it can leave you limping around for many days after it occurs. In addition to the calf muscles, the muscles in the soles of the feet can also cramp, which can be quite painful as well. Cramps can develop in any region of the body if muscles are overworked and fatigued.
Here’s a fun piece on the subject: The Origins of the Expression “Charley Horse”
What causes muscle cramps?
There is substantial controversy in the scientific community regarding what causes a charley horse because they frequently occur in healthy persons and can strike at any time of day or night, seemingly for no discernible reason. Muscle cramps, for example, can occur in middle-aged and older adults, but they are also prevalent in athletes (such as long-distance runners and cyclists) and those who lead physically active lifestyles. Certain populations are known to be more susceptible than others, and certain circumstances are known to enhance the likelihood of contracting the disease.
People at Risk to Get a Charley Horse
Here is a brief list of the people who are most at risk of getting muscular cramps:
- Intense exercisers, those who are dehydrated, or people who utilize muscle power in hot conditions People who have specific medical diseases, such as nerve abnormalities, cirrhosis, an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), or who take certain drugs
- People who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- Women who walk around in high heels
- Those who are elderly
- Women who are pregnant
Significant hazards of low magnesium levels during pregnancy are discussed in another article. Cramping is common among long-distance runners and cyclists, as well as other persons who engage in frequent physical activity. Although it is possible that this is due to overuse, it is also possible that these individuals have electrolyte shortages or imbalances as a result of losing vital electrolytes through perspiration. Another risk related with acquiring a charley horse is dehydration, which, as you can expect, has an impact on athletes.
Women who wear high heels may develop muscular cramps as a result of the posture of their feet and legs in high heel shoes, which puts them in a cramp-prone position.
1. How to Get Rid of a Charley Horse – Maintain Electrolyte Balance
Mineral deficiencies or electrolyte imbalances, such as those resulting from lack or excess of magnesium, potassium, calcium, or sodium, are also known to increase the likelihood of contracting charley horse. Natural electrolytes are essential for life, health, and peak performance, according to a related article. A class of minerals known as electrolytes play a crucial role in the function of the muscles. Mineral imbalance, according to some studies, can impair blood flow to the muscles by allowing them to contract but not relax.
So, if you want to get rid of a charley horse or avoid getting one in the future, try adding electrolytes to your diet.
- The mineral potassium can impair the muscles’ capacity to utilise glycogen, a sugar that serves as the muscles’ primary source of energy when they are deficient in potassium. SODIUM: This is a vital electrolyte
- Nevertheless, the majority of individuals obtain adequate of it from their daily diet. Sodium should only be a dietary issue if your intake is insufficient or if you perspire excessively when working or participating in physical activity. If any of these two scenarios applies to you, replacing sodium should be considered
- Otherwise, it should not. Magnesium: Magnesium is a necessary element for muscular function, since it aids in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Chloride is an electrolyte that helps your body balance the amount of fluid that is present in your system. Since of chloride’s involvement in maintaining fluid balance, it is particularly significant because dehydration can be a contributing reason to muscular cramps.
Visit this page to learn more about the elete electrolyte add-in, which contains all four of the electrolytes listed above and more.
2. Supplement with Magnesium
Researchers in the United Kingdom discovered a few years ago that supplementing with 300 mg of magnesium (in the form of magnesium citrate) decreased overnight or nocturnal leg cramps in people who suffered from chronic leg cramps. Potassium, like magnesium, is an electrolyte that may be found in your muscles. As a matter of fact, when your muscles contract, they cause potassium to be released into the surrounding tissue. A class of minerals known as electrolytes play a crucial role in the function of the muscles.
- As previously said, muscle cramps are common among pregnant women, and it’s not surprising considering that expecting moms have a high requirement for magnesium, and a lack of magnesium is one of the most compelling explanations about why pregnant women have muscle cramps.
- Both are necessary.
- Given this, as well as the importance of magnesium in muscular function, it seems sense to begin by addressing the underlying cause of a charley horse by addressing magnesium deficiencies.
- Although it is possible that a deficit is not the root problem, this simple remedy may make all the difference.
3. Correct Dehydration
Maintaining enough fluid intake is a third preventative approach, which is particularly important if you sweat a lot in hot weather, exercise for lengthy periods of time, or work in hot settings. Dehydration can be life-threatening, but did you know that even slight dehydration can cause your blood volume to decrease, which, in turn, can lower the amount of oxygen delivered to your muscles? It is possible for muscles to go into spasm when the oxygen supply to the muscles is restricted. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day, with electrolytes thrown in for good measure.
However, you should not rely on traditional sports drinks to keep muscular cramps at bay. Many sports drinks can contain as much sugar as a glass of fruit punch, yet they often offer only salt and potassium as nutrients. By clicking here, you can purchase the elete Electrolyte add-in.
4. Stretch Properly
If a cramp does arise, try extending the muscles that are being cramped. Calves may be stretched by bringing your toes towards your knees while keeping the afflicted leg extended straight, for example, to alleviate calf cramps. After that, soak in a warm bath or take a hot shower (allowing the water to reach the afflicted area) to aid in the relaxation of the muscle. Third, gently massage the afflicted region, taking care not to apply too much pressure to the skin or muscles. Use an ice pack on the injured muscle to minimize the discomfort and swelling associated with the injury.
Finally, if you are experiencing persistent or severe leg cramps, you should consult your doctor.
Related article: Liquid trace minerals – How to Determine the Quality of a Mineral Supplement.
- Leg cramps in the middle of the night. Prevention Magazine has an electronic edition that may be accessed online. The Complete Book of Vitamins and Minerals is a reference book that has a comprehensive list of vitamins and minerals. New York, New York: Rodale Press, 1998, pp. 319-325
- C. Roffe, S. Sills, P. Crome, and P. Jones. It was determined that magnesium citrate was effective in treating chronic leg cramps in a randomized, cross-over, placebo controlled experiment. Med Sci Monit. 2002
- 8(5): CR326-30
- Med Sci Monit.
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Whoa! 7 Natural Charley Horse Cures
The most recent update was made on February 8, 2021. Have you ever wondered why a discomfort in your leg is referred to as a “Charley horse”? This is an all-American word, and no one seems to be able to explain why Americans have such a unique name for a leg cramp. Did you know that getting a Charley horse is twice as common in the summer as it is in the winter? So, what is the best way to get rid of them when they appear?
Why Are They Called “Charley Horses”?
Some think that the name comes from a lame horse named Charley, who drew the roller on the Chicago White Sox ballpark in the 1890s, when the team played in Chicago. Those who believe it has anything to do with baseball pitcherCharley Radbourn are not convinced. His nickname was “Old Hoss,” and legend has it that he had cramps while playing baseball in the 1880s. Whatever the origin of the term, these excruciating leg cramps are not enjoyable. Check out these seven natural cures for Charley horses:
7 Charley Horse Home Remedies
- Make contact with a chilly floor with your bare foot. According to some, pulling your toes up near your knee can help to alleviate a leg cramp
- As soon as a leg cramp occurs, draw your toes up toward your knee and it may go away
- Magnesium oil is a natural cure for muscular cramps that works well. It just takes a few minutes to massage the oil into the cramp and it will be relieved
- To drink, take a sip of dillpickle juice. A spoonful of vinegar and a teaspoon of honey should be mixed together and drunk immediately. Elevate the surrounding surroundings. Try to elevate the afflicted region by placing cushions beneath it or supporting it up on an armrest
- Ice the area if necessary. Ice may be beneficial in reducing muscular spasms. Apply an ice pack or a cold compress wrapped in a towel to the area that is being affected by the Charley horse. Keep it on for 10-15 minutes at a minimum.
To Prevent Future Charley Horses:
- Make contact with a chilly floor with your bare feet. A leg cramp may be alleviated by pulling your toes up toward your knee as soon as it occurs
- Nevertheless, it is possible that the leg cramp will not be alleviated. When it comes to muscular cramps, magnesium oil is an excellent natural cure. Within minutes of massaging the oil into the cramp, it will be alleviated. To drink, take a sip of dill pickle juice. A tablespoon of vinegar combined with a teaspoon of honey should be consumed. Raise the elevation of the surrounding environment. Raise the injured part by placing cushions beneath it or supporting it up on an armrest
- Ice the area if necessary. Muscle spasms may be relieved by icing them. To treat the Charley horse, apply an ice pack or a cold compress wrapped in a towel to the affected region. For 10-15 minutes, leave it on.
Charley horses are a minor and infrequent inconvenience for the majority of individuals. In the event that you suffer from leg cramps on a frequent basis, see your doctor. Muscle spasms on a regular basis may be an indication of a more serious underlying disease requiring medical treatment. Do you have any home cures for dealing with a charley horse when it comes knocking? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! a little about the author
Have you ever had a paralyzing tightness in your leg or foot when you first woke up? Cleveland Clinic is a not-for-profit academic medical facility located in Cleveland, Ohio. Advertising on our website contributes to the success of our mission. We do not recommend or promote any items or services that are not provided by the Cleveland Clinic. Policy Cramping of the foot or the leg (also known as “charley horse”) is a frequent and rather unexplained type of discomfort that occurs when a muscle becomes reflexively rigid and can’t be allowed to relax.
Caitlin Lewis, MD, a sports medicine expert, believes that as we get older, “they seem to arise more frequently.” They are seldom hazardous, despite the fact that they can be unpleasant.
7 common causes for cramps
Spasming or cramping of the foot and calf muscles can occur at any time of day or night. Likewise, a variety of other muscles in your body might be affected. Why? The following are the most typical causes of muscular cramps:
- Cramping due to dehydration: “If you’re feeling cramping, it’s vital to check your hydration first,” Dr. Lewis advises patients. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. Complications arising from poor nutrition: While a proper electrolyte balance (a balance of calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium) is necessary for the contraction and relaxation of a muscle, it is not recommended that you self-treat with supplements. As an alternative, Dr. Lewis recommends consuming a range of meals, including lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens and bananas, in order to ensure that your diet has a balanced amount of electrolytes. Leg cramps are a side effect of several drugs, including statins and diuretics, which can be quite uncomfortable. When cramps appear unexpectedly after you begin taking a new drug, this is a red flag to look out for. If this occurs, notify your healthcare practitioner immediately. Not stretching enough: Taking a few minutes each day to stretch might be beneficial. Physicist Dr. Lewis explains that you want your muscles to be as powerful and supple as possible. In order to do this, adequate stretching following a brief warm-up time or after a shower is essential.” Exercise too hard: If you exercise too hard or have muscular exhaustion, this might result in cramping. Poor circulation: If you are experiencing cramps that grows worse as you walk, it is possible that you have a circulation problem. “Cramping discomfort is a symptom of several circulatory disorders.” According to Dr. Lewis, “If the pain grows worse as you walk, or if you get cramps that won’t go away, you should visit your primary care physician immediately.” The improper shoes: One of the lesser-known causes of muscular cramping is the shoes you are wearing. Doctor Lewis advises checking your shoes, especially if you’ve switched from flats to heels, because this can also induce cramping.
How to stop leg and foot cramps
Leg and foot cramps can be treated in a number of methods that are straightforward:
- Try just standing up and putting some weight on the afflicted leg or foot if it occurs while you are laying down if possible. This might be sufficient to alleviate the tender stiffness in certain cases. Warmth/heating pads can be used to enhance blood circulation to the muscle and help it relax at the same time. It might also be beneficial to soak in a warm pool of Epsom salt to relieve tension. If the pain is really tenacious, you might try taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.
Easy stretches to keep calves and feet happy
The following are some easy stretches that may be used to relieve discomfort and perhaps prevent it.
Basic calf stretch
Runners frequently utilize this calf stretch to improve their performance. Here’s how you go about it:
- Stand with your palms against a wall and your arms spread out in front of you
- Taking a step back with the leg that has been injured, lean forward on the other leg and press up against the wall You should feel a stretch in your calf muscle and the back of your leg after doing this exercise.
While you’re sitting, do this stretch:
- Extend the length of your legs out in front of you
- Draw your afflicted foot’s toes upwards toward the ceiling, ensuring that the leg is engaged. To wrap your foot, use a towel or a neck tie and hold it in place with both hands
- You should slightly lift the leg till you feel a decent stretch
Leg or foot cramps are a common occurrence, although they are usually manageable by the individual experiencing them. However, if they occur regularly, are severe, or if you have reason to believe one of your drugs is to blame, you should consult with your doctor. They might indicate the presence of a medical concern that necessitates care.
The Best Ways to Get Rid of Cramps in Your Legs
Image courtesy of Sergey Borodin / EyeEmGetty Images The experience of having your leg or calf seize in the middle of the night is a particularly unpleasant way to wake up. Of course, a charley horse can be quite painful at any other time of the year. According to Michael Jaffee, M.D., a neurologist at the University of Florida Health, the pain of a charley horse, which refers to any cramp or involuntary spasm of a muscle, is caused by the spasm and balling up of your muscles, which causes the discomfort.
A recent survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians found that over 60 percent of Americans suffer from nighttime leg cramps.
Here’s what some of the best doctors have to say about it.
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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.
Strangely enough, charley horses appear to be more prevalent during certain seasons: Leg cramp symptoms increased by twofold in the summer, according to a 2015 study from the University of Alberta. Remains Photographs courtesy of Getty Images
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
A charley horse is a muscular spasm that occurs suddenly and is extremely painful. It is more common after physical activity and at night. A calf muscle strain is most usually associated with lower leg pain, although it can also manifest itself in the foot and, on rare occasions, the thigh. These muscular spasms may also be experienced by pregnant women and persons suffering from certain medical disorders. Leg cramps afflict around a third of the population over the age of 50. According to a paper published in 2021, experts are unsure about the actual cause of muscular cramping.
Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including the following:
- 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:
- 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.
Charley Horses Make Your Legs Want to Die. Here’s How to Stop Them.
Photograph by Daniel Fishel for Thrillist When you wake up at three o’clock in the morning, you feel something at the back of your leg that feels like a knife. When you come to, you’re half-conscious and wondering, “What the heck just struck me?” It’s a classic charley horse, despite the fact that neither a horse nor a person by the name of Charley exists. So, what precisely causes these moments of torment, and how can you avoid them from occurring in the first place?
What the hell is a charley horse?
It is a painful, involuntary cramp – a muscle spasm in other words – that occurs in the leg. You will experience the most acute (and often excruciating) tightness for anything from a few seconds to many minutes when this occurs. It’s impossible to predict how painful you’ll be after that. For those who had more than 30 seconds of the charley horse, the symptoms may remain for up to a day after the incident. A charley horse is most commonly associated with the feet and legs (particularly the calves), but because your muscles are located throughout your body (duh), a charley horse can occur anywhere on your body.
While there is no universally recognized explanation for why it is referred to as a “charley horse,” it appears to have anything to do with baseball.
claims it was called after a real horse that hobbled across a baseball diamond with a brush trailing after it in the 1800s.
A different version of the story claims that it was called after Charley “Old Hoss” Radbourn, a man who suffered from cramps during a time when people had much cooler names. It doesn’t matter where they come from; when you get one, it’s a pain in the neck.
Why do people get charley horses?
These lovely shooting sensations usually come just before you wake up or shortly after you fall asleep. They can be really painful. Because your body isn’t moving, and your blood isn’t flowing properly, this is most likely the cause of your symptoms. A charley horse can also be obtained when exercising – but this should not be used as an excuse to skip the gym! Unfortunately, these aren’t the only reasons why a charley horse may attack. Some of the other factors are as follows:
- Dehydration or low potassium, sodium, calcium, or magnesium levels are among the causes of kidney failure. You’re taking a number of prescription drugs
- Overuse, excessive activity, or keeping a muscle in the same posture for an extended period of time can cause muscular fatigue or strain. Shoes that aren’t very good
As a result, your days and nights of lounging and imbibing on the sofa while binge-watching Netflix are putting you at risk for a charley horse infection. Please accept my apologies for delivering awful news. Because counting minerals is probably not something you want to add to your already overburdened to-do list, follow these guidelines to prevent becoming a charley horse instead:
- Drink additional water and supplement with electrolytes as necessary to combat excessively high temperatures when outside. After an exercise, it’s important to replace electrolyte storage. Take good care of your muscles (stretch, perform yoga, soak in epsom salt baths – this is quite normal, man). Stop sitting for long periods of time
- Take frequent breaks. Leave the heels at home and go for flats instead
What to do when a charley horse strikes
The good news is that there are a few tactics you can use to fend off the beast if you find yourself in the unpleasant predicament of being trapped in charley horse hell. First and foremost, if you’ve just woken up and are lying in bed with shooting agony in your leg, get out of bed. In order to improve blood flow and reactivate circulation, you should do the following: The same is true if you’ve been sitting for an extended period of time. Take use of the foam roller or begin extending your muscles after that!
- However, bathing in an epsom salt bath – especially after a strenuous or lengthy workout – helps prevent charley horses from occurring in the first place, and can give relief if you’re in the middle of an attack and happen to have an epsom salt bath on hand to relieve your symptoms.
- If everything else fails and you are still experiencing lingering soreness after a few hours or over a day, you may want to consider taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate the discomfort.
- It is possible that you may need to increase your potassium or electrolyte consumption in order to tackle the problem.
- Once you find it out, you may relax and enjoy your sleep.
- In order to avoid riding the charley horse wave of discomfort, Devan Ciccarelli is a writer and marketing professional who would rather get some beauty sleep than ride it.
Follow her on Twitter and share your best charley horse prevention advice with her at @DevanCiccarelli if you want to be included.
Charley horse (also known as Acharley) is a muscle spasm, which occurs when a muscle contracts up on its own without any external stimulus. Muscle cramps can occur anywhere on your body at any time. They’re rather frequent in the legs.
Charley Horse Causes
Among the things that might set off a charley horse are:
- Excessive muscular contractions due to poor blood supply Notstretchingenough
- Involvement in physical activities in hot heat
- A deficiency in magnesium and/or potassium in your diet A spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in your neck or back are examples of such problems. Diabetic nephropathy
Muscle cramps are also a side effect of various medications, such as those listed below:
- Diuretics (often known as “water pills”) are medications that remove fluid from your body, such as furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), and others. It is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Donepezil (Aricept) is a medication. Neostigmine (Prostigmine), which is used to treat myasthenia gravis
- Nifedipine (Procardia), which is used to treat angina and excessive blood pressure
- And other medications. Raloxifene (Evista), a drug used to treat osteoporosis. Medications for asthma, include terbutaline (Brethine) and albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)
- Tolcapone (Tasmar), which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. cholesterol-lowering statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor)
- Statins for diabetes
- Statins for high blood pressure
Charley Horse Risk Factors
Certain persons are more prone to getting charley horses than others:
- Overweight or obese people over the age of 50
- Athletes, pregnant women, and pregnant women Those who suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, thyroid, liver, or nervous system problems
Charley Horse Diagnosis
There is no need to visit your doctor unless you have a charley horse in addition to one of the following conditions:
- A feeling of weakness or numbness
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive perspiration (which might result in dehydration)
- Overindulging in alcoholic beverages
Your symptoms and medical history will be discussed with you by your doctor. They’ll also do a physical examination. They may conduct blood tests, muscle testing, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies to rule out a medical issue that is causing the cramping.
Charley Horse Treatment
If you get a charley horse in your calf or in the back of your thigh (hamstring), place your weight on the afflicted leg and gently bend your knees to relieve the discomfort. Alternatively, you can sit or lie down with your leg out straight and lift the top of your foot towards your head. Holding on to a chair while bending the knee of the afflicted leg will relieve a cramp in the front of your thigh (quadriceps). Pulling your foot up near your buttock will help you feel more comfortable. Massage, an Epsom salt bath, or the use of a heating pad can all help to relax the muscle.
Most of the time, the charley horse will come to a halt within a few minutes.
Charley Horse Prevention
Preventing cramps from occurring in the first place:
- Eat more meals that are high in vitamin C and magnesium
- Drink plenty of water
- And stretch before and after exercise. Stretching before exercise can assist to prevent tense muscles throughout the workout session. Cramping caused by other factors can be alleviated by daily stretching.
- Put on a pair of comfy shoes. Limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you consume
- Increase your physical activity gradually rather than all at once. Don’t exercise straight after eating
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t drink alcohol right after eating.
Charley horse is another name for this animal. On this page, you will find
See, Play and Learn
When you get a muscle cramp, it means that one or more of your muscles clench or spasm suddenly and without warning. They are quite prevalent and frequently arise as a result of physical activity. Muscle cramps, particularly leg cramps, can be a problem for certain people at night. They can be uncomfortable and can last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes. Cramping can occur in any muscle, although it occurs most frequently in the following:
What causes muscle cramps?
Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Overexerting or overstretching a muscle. This is the most prevalent reason for the problem. If you suffer from a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in your neck or back, you may experience compression of your nerves. Dehydration
- Elevated amounts of electrolytes (e.g., magnesium, potassium, and calcium)
- There is insufficient blood flow to your muscles
- Pregnancy, certain medications, and other factors Gettingdialysis
Muscle cramps can have a variety of causes, some of which are unknown.
Who is at risk for muscle cramps?
Muscle cramps can occur in everyone, however they are more prevalent in certain individuals:
- 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 exercising. If you often get leg cramps at night, stretch your leg muscles before bed
- s Drink plenty of liquids. If you do intense exercise or exercise in the heat, sports drinks can help you replace electrolytes
The Mysterious Pain of ‘Charley Horse’
1st of April, 2008 – Almost everyone has had some sort of encounter with it. You’re delightfully going off to sleep, your body completely relaxed and comfortable. Your calf is suddenly gripped by a painful spasm, as if your leg had just been stabbed with a butcher’s knife. Nightime leg cramps, also known as charley horses, are an annoying but frequent ailment that has us and our physicians scratching our heads in bemusement as to why the hell it happens and how we may stop it happening again in the near future.
- One thing is certain: these cramps are excruciating.
- Boggess, who added that the discomfort of having your uterus contract so forcefully “could be akin to that.” Nancy Gatlin, 77, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, reports that she suffers from midnight cramps on a regular basis.
- Despite the fact that Gatlin can perform splits, “it’s pretty unusual; it’s impossible to stretch out unless you can do splits,” he explained.
- The vast majority of patients who visit doctors’ offices admit to having had a charley horse, when asked whether they have.
Doctor Neil Porter of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Department of Clinical Neurology says that even for something as simple and common as migraines, it can be difficult to comprehend. “It is not something that will need extensive medical intervention. For a cramp, the question is how much research you are willing to have done about yourself. A muscle biopsy is not something that most people want to have done. If you ask them, they will answer “no way.”” Doctors don’t have a good explanation for why nighttime cramps occur because they are short-lived and relatively harmless; instead, they have a collection of educated guesses, according to Dr.
Electrolyte imbalances and dehydration are considered to be the root causes of cramps.
Exercise and sitting in certain positions for an extended period of time can also be harmful.
Another hint is the fact that pregnant women and the elderly appear to experience charley horses at a far higher rate than the general population, despite the fact that people of all ages and conditions do experience them.
Cells Gone Haywire
In the end, experts believe that the many physical triggers are all responsible for the same thing. A number of important minerals — sodium, potassium, and calcium — all contribute to the contraction of muscles. It is possible for muscular contraction to be disrupted when the levels of one or more minerals are reduced or altered, for example, as a result of dehydration or excessive perspiration. Exactly what is going on in the muscle and nerve cells is a little more difficult to determine, according to the medical community.
- Doris K.
- The intense discomfort is caused by the continuous contraction.
- “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.
- In addition, “older folks just have fewer reserves,” according to Cope.
- Javad Parvizi, an associate professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at Thomas Jefferson University, concurred with the statement made.
- Elderly folks have a more difficult time reestablishing the regular functioning of their bodies.
Soothing the Spasms
In the absence of a fail-safe remedy for charley horses, medical professionals provide a variety of preventative measures, including drinking lots of water, eating plenty of potassium, and stretching before to and after physical activity in order to reduce the likelihood of cramping at night. A charley horse is a painful condition that can be treated with massages, stretching, warm baths, and ice, among other things (although none are scientifically proven to work). Vitamin B12 supplements are available for those who choose to take their medication.
Quinine was widely prescribed as a cure for cramps until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about its potentially fatal cardiac adverse effects.
John Spangler, professor of family medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a “last option.” The advantages must outweigh the dangers, in my opinion, and I must be convinced of this.
It is precisely this mentality that will ensure that this physiological event remains a mystery for some time to come.
According to Parvizi, “I think it’s probably simply a result of the way we’ve been put together.” “There isn’t a solid purpose for it, and it isn’t likely to produce any long-term consequences.” Besides, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be considered for it.” The reality is that this is something that has to be accepted as part of life and accepted as something that must be accepted as part of one’s existence.”