Your muscles cramp when they involuntarily contract. This usually feels like a painful knot on your leg muscle and renders it momentarily immobile. Leg cramps are most common in the calf muscle, but they can also happen in the thighs or feet.
- Summary 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.
How do you know if u have a charley horse?
Charley Horse Diagnosis
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or severe sweating (which can cause dehydration)
- Drinking too much alcohol.
Why do charley horses happen?
Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. In many cases, however, the cause isn’t known. Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as: Inadequate blood supply.
What happens during a charley horse?
Scientists understand that a charley horse occurs 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 is often brief, but it can last up to 10 minutes.
Can a blood clot feel like a charley horse?
A similar sensation of cramping can occur when you have a blood clot in your leg. This condition is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and it does require medical treatment. The symptoms of DVT are similar to those of a charley horse at first. The pain can be quite sudden, and your muscle might feel tight.
Why does it feel like I have a constant Charlie Horse in my calf?
Leg pain and cramping is common and often due to muscle spasms. While this pain can feel severe, it is usually not serious. But, sometimes, what feels like a leg cramp may actually be something more serious: a blood clot, also called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Why do charley horses happen at night?
Many people experience charley horses during sleeping hours and are awakened because of them. Muscle spasms that cause charley horses while you sleep are common. However, why these nighttime spams occur isn’t entirely understood. It’s believed that lying in bed in an awkward position for a long time plays a role.
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.
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.
What are 5 common causes of muscle cramps?
What causes muscle cramps?
- Straining or overusing a muscle.
- Compression of your nerves, from problems such as a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in the neck or back.
- Low levels of electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, or calcium.
- Not enough blood getting to your muscles.
- Certain medicines.
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 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 are the 10 signs of a blood clot?
- Swelling. This can happen in the exact spot where the blood clot forms, or your entire leg or arm could puff up.
- Change in color. You might notice that your arm or leg takes on a red or blue tinge, or gets or itchy.
- Warm skin.
- Trouble breathing.
- Lower leg cramp.
- Pitting edema.
- Swollen, painful veins.
How can you tell the difference between a blood clot and a charley horse?
Typically, it’s a charley horse that strikes at night and only lasts a few minutes. A DVT blood clot can cause a calf cramp that feels a lot like a charley horse. Like leg pain, the cramping sensation with DVT will persist and even worsen with time.
How can you tell the difference between a Charlie horse and a blood clot?
A Charlie Horse is a nickname for a muscle spasm or cramp. This cramping or contraction of a muscle or group of muscles can be incredibly painful. Depending on the duration of a Charlie Horse, pain can be quite severe and soreness may exists for hours or even up to a day afterward. A blood clot is known as a thrombus.
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.
When a person seeks medical attention for a charley horse condition, the doctor may inquire about their symptoms, which may include:
- 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.
- 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:
- Relaxation, massage, and heat therapy are all available. switching to a different pair of shoes
- Keeping the amoderate weight stable 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.
Muscle cramp – Symptoms and causes
When you have a muscle cramp, one or more of your muscles tighten in an unexpected and involuntary manner. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night or been stopped in your tracks by a sudden charley horse, you know that muscular cramps may be excruciatingly painful to deal with. Muscle cramps, though normally innocuous, can make it hard to utilize the afflicted muscle for a short period of time. Muscle cramps can occur after prolonged durations of physical activity or manual labor, particularly in hot temperatures.
Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including drugs and medical problems. The majority of the time, self-care procedures may be used to cure muscular cramps at home.
The majority of muscular cramps occur in the leg muscles, notably in the calf muscles. Besides feeling or seeing a mass of muscle tissue beneath your skin, you may also experience or notice a quick, acute discomfort.
When to see a doctor
Muscle cramps normally go away on their own and are not acute enough to necessitate medical attention in most cases. Consult your doctor if your cramps include any of the following symptoms:
- Result in extreme discomfort
- Are connected with leg edema, redness, or changes in the appearance of the skin
- These conditions are connected with muscular weakness. This occurs on a regular basis
- Self-care does not help
- Instead, it makes things worse. Don’t appear to be related with a clearly identifiable cause, such as severe exercise
Muscle cramps can be caused by overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle tension, or just being in one posture for an extended amount of time. In many situations, however, the exact reason for the condition is unknown. Although the vast majority of muscular cramps are innocuous, some may be associated with a medical condition such as one of the following:
- There is insufficient blood supply. When the arteries that supply blood to your legs become narrowed (a condition known as arteriosclerosis of the extremities), it might cause cramp-like pain in your legs and feet when you’re exercising. These pains normally subside after a few minutes of ceasing exercise. Compression of the nerves. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) can cause cramp-like pain in your legs as well as other symptoms. The discomfort normally intensifies as you walk for a longer period of time. If you walk in a slightly flexed stance, such as you would if you were pulling a shopping cart in front of you, you may find that your symptoms improve or are delayed in onset.
- Mineral depletion is a problem. Leg cramps might be exacerbated if you consume too little potassium, calcium, or magnesium. Diuretics, which are commonly taken to treat high blood pressure, can also deplete these minerals in the body.
Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are as follows:
- Age. Because older persons lose muscular mass, the residual muscle is more susceptible to being overstressed
- Dehydration. Cramping is common in athletes who become weary and dehydrated when participating in warm-weather activities. Cramping is also common in pregnant women. Muscle cramps are also prevalent during pregnancy
- However, they are less severe. Medical conditions are listed below. It is possible that you will be more susceptible to muscular cramps if you have diabetes, or if you have nerve, liver, or thyroid diseases.
Cramping may be avoided by following these steps:
- Dehydration should be avoided. Drink enough of fluids on a daily basis. This varies depending on your diet, your gender, your level of exercise, the weather, your physical and mental well-being, your age, and the drugs you take. Fluids aid in the contraction and relaxation of your muscles, as well as keeping muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. Replace fluids at regular intervals while your exercise, and continue to drink water or other fluids after you’ve stopped
- Make sure to stretch your muscles. Stretching should be done before and after using any muscle for a lengthy amount of time. Stretching before bedtime might help if you suffer from leg cramps at night. Light activity, such as riding a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before night, may also be beneficial in preventing cramps while you’re sleeping
- For example,
3rd of March, 2021
- Muscle cramps are a painful condition. An acronym for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Winkelman JW (accessed November 18, 2015)
- Winkelman JW. Leg cramps that occur during night. Muscle spasms, last accessed on November 18, 2015. Professional Edition of the Merck Manual. On November 18, 2015, I was able to access
Charley horse 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 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
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. In certain cases, the discomfort may rise or intensify during the contraction. 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.
Why You Should Never Ignore Leg Cramps: Clement Banda, MD: Dermatologist
It happens to the best of us: we’re working out hard at the gym, finishing a walk around the block, or even sleeping like a baby when all of a sudden we’re bent over in excruciating leg agony that seems to come out of nowhere. Say hello to the discomfort of a leg cramp. A cramp, often known as a “charley horse,” happens when a muscle contracts without the person’s consent and is unable to release. Muscle cramps are most commonly experienced in the calves and thighs, although they can also occur in the hands and arms as well as the belly and feet.
Leg cramps can affect anybody, although they are most frequent in the very young and elderly, as well as in persons who are overweight or who are active in sports like running.
Dr. Clement Banda, medical director of MD VeinSkin Specialists, is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of leg cramps, as well as any underlying problem that may be present. Continue reading to find more about some of the causes of leg cramps.
Overuse and Dehydration
Overusing or straining the muscle is the most prevalent cause of muscular pain, with inadequate stretching before to usage also being a significant factor in many cases. Being dehydrated, whether as a result of working out in the heat or for other causes, can irritate muscle cells and result in cramping and other symptoms. In most cases, self-treatment is sufficient, such as increased stretching (even before bed with or without mild exercise if leg cramps wake you) and making sure to drink enough fluids each day.
Medical Conditions and Medications
Leg cramps are more common during pregnancy, and certain medical diseases such as diabetes and nerve, thyroid, or liver problems can make them more often. Low electrolyte levels, such as potassium, magnesium, or calcium, can also make them more frequent. Aside from dialysis and certain drugs such as diuretics, painful muscular spasms can also be a side effect of dialysis. A compressed or pinched nerve in the back or neck can cause discomfort similar to that of a leg cramp, with the intensity of the agony rising as the distance walked increases.
Insufficient Blood Supply
Cramping in the legs can sometimes indicate the presence of something more serious, such as a lack of blood supply to the muscles. There are a variety of reasons why the free flow of blood may be obstructed, including: If you have arteriosclerosis, you may potentially experience complications. When you’re young and healthy, your arteries are elastic and flexible; but, as you become older, your arteries might become rigid, thick, and restricted. It is possible to suffer pain in your legs and feet when exercising due to the reduced ability of the blood to move through your arteries.
- There are, fortunately, remedies available for this condition.
- Banda often does a color duplex ultrasound to check the quality of your veins when he feels that your blood flow is impaired.
- Following a thorough examination of the data, Dr.
- As a last resort, he can conduct one of many minimally invasive treatments to correct the issue if the previous efforts are insufficient.
- To schedule an appointment with Dr.
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 minor tic 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.
To avoid recurring cramping, aim toward higher overall fitness. 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.
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.
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.
To relieve discomfort, use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Most of the time, the charley horse will come to a halt within a few minutes. However, if you are experiencing them frequently and for no apparent cause, you should consult your doctor.
Charley Horse Prevention
Preventing cramps from occurring in the first place:
- Eat more 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 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.
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.
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.”
Coping with Muscle Cramps
alleviation of discomfort
Coping with muscle cramps: Why you don’t have to live with this common pain
Learn how basic self-care practices, such as moderate stretching, can help to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because of a muscular cramp? In the middle of anything you were doing, it halted you in your tracks. The condition known as muscular cramps, or “charley horses,” as it is commonly referred to, is exceedingly prevalent and occurs when muscles tense involuntarily and are unable to release. Cramping is particularly common in the calves, thighs, and arch of the foot, which are all sensitive areas.
osteopathic physician Carolyn Quist, DO, of Fort Worth, Texas, says that cramps may affect any muscle under your control.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, when a person suffers from a muscle cramp, the muscle in question feels tougher to the touch than usual and may even display obvious symptoms of muscular twitching.
They will listen to you and work with you to help avoid damage and support your body’s natural capacity to self-repair in order to help you heal.
Muscle cramps may strike anybody, at any time, and from any location. “There is no one who is immune,” Dr. Quist adds. When it comes to developing a muscle cramp, it doesn’t matter if you’re young or elderly, active or inactive; you might be doing just about anything. Dr. Quist, on the other hand, points out that newborns, the elderly, the obese, and athletes are at the highest risk of developing muscular cramps. According to Dr. Quist, the following are some of the most prevalent causes of muscular cramps:
- Stretching insufficiently before to physical activity Exercising in the sweltering heat
- Muscle exhaustion
Athletes who become weary and dehydrated while participating in warm-weather activities are more likely to have muscular cramps than others. As Dr. Quist explains, “Imbalances in the levels of electrolytes in the blood,” such as the amounts of sodium and potassium in the blood as well as chloride, calcium, and phosphate, can also cause muscular cramps.
Treating muscle cramps
Fortunately, muscular cramps normally subside within minutes and do not necessitate seeking medical assistance in most cases. Here are a few things you may do to alleviate your symptoms:
- Put an end to whatever it was that caused the cramp. Keep your cramping muscle in a stretched posture for as long as possible, then gently stretch and massage it until the cramping ceases. If you have a calf cramp, place your weight on the leg that is affected and gently bend your knee. Try bringing the top of your foot on the afflicted side toward your head while your leg is in a straightened posture if you’re unable to get up. A back thigh (hamstring) tightness will be alleviated as a result of this. Try to move your foot on the afflicted side near your buttock when sitting in a chair to alleviate a front thigh cramp (quadriceps spasm). Heat should be applied to tense/tight muscles, while ice should be used to sore/tender muscles.
As Dr. Quist points out, if your cramps are severe, occur frequently, do not react well to basic therapies, or are not associated with apparent reasons such as intense activity, you should visit a doctor right once. It’s possible that they’re an indication of a problem with the circulatory system, nerves, metabolism, hormones, drugs, or diet, according to the expert. Muscular cramps may be avoided by performing flexibility exercises before and after your workout to stretch the muscle parts that are most prone to cramping, as well as by drinking lots of fluids throughout the day.
Quist. Despite the fact that muscle cramps are frequent, they are nevertheless a source of discomfort. If you believe your muscle cramps are too frequent and severe to be normal, it’s recommended to consult with your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment options.
What Is a Charley Horse? – Pain Management Center – Everyday Health
It’s possible that you’re going to fall asleep or that you’re about to wake up. Your calf muscle goes into spasm and won’t let go — it contracts into a rock-hard mass, and you’re trapped in the grip of intense pain. This happens without any apparent reason. Experiencing a muscle cramp, often known as a Charley horse, can be terrifying and devastating for those who have never had one before.
What Is a Charley Horse?
The term “charley horse” refers to an involuntary muscular cramp, spasm, or contraction that occurs without the use of voluntary muscles. Although the word is typically used to refer to a muscular spasm in the back of the calf at night, it can occur in any muscle in your body at any time of day. It is possible to have a Charley horse because neurons from your spinal cord encourage the muscle to continue contracting. After all, who exactly is Charley, and what exactly is the big deal about his horse?
One legend is that the grounds crew in Chicago utilized a lame horse named Charley at some point in the late 1880s or early 1900s.
Another legend has it that a pitcher called Charles was given the nickname “Old Hoss” because of his age.
A fellow player approached him as he staggered near home plate and said, “What’s up with you, Charley Hoss?”
What Causes a Charley Horse?
The actual reason for a Charley horse’s appearance is not always known. However, muscular damage and overuse are two of the most prevalent causes – for example, you may not have stretched correctly before working out or you may not be adequately hydrated. Leg cramps can also be caused by low blood levels of important minerals such as potassium, calcium, or magnesium, and somediuretic drugs that deplete the body of potassium might make you more prone. An inflamed nerve anywhere in your body may be the source of your Charley horse in some circumstances.
Additionally, as you grow older, you are more prone to experience cramps since your muscles are no longer accustomed to working as hard or as quickly as they once did.
Treating a Charley Horse
Charley horse cramps normally subside on their own, without the need for medical intervention. Stop doing whatever you’re doing as soon as you notice a cramp coming on. Massage your muscle and stretch it slowly, holding the stretch for as long as it takes to relieve the cramp. In the case of calf cramping, bend your foot (with the toes directed toward you) and maintain it flexed until the spasm is relieved. Applying heat to your muscles might assist to relieve muscle tension. Your muscles will be sore for a few days after you’ve survived your adventure.
What is the best way to avoid becoming a Charley horse?
Also, remember to stay hydrated at all times, but especially when engaging in vigorous physical activity.
On rare circumstances, they may, however, be a symptom of a more serious problem that necessitates medical intervention and treatment.
Seeing a doctor if your Charley horses are accompanied by significant discomfort or weakness, are becoming more frequent (even if they are not unpleasant), are not getting better with self-care, and do not appear to be caused by overuse or effort is highly recommended.