Massage, a bath with Epsom salts, or a heating pad can relax the muscle. To fight pain, use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or naproxen. In most cases, the charley horse will stop within a few minutes. But if you get them often and for no clear reason, tell your doctor.
How do 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 get rid of leg cramps fast?
If you have a cramp, these actions may provide relief:
- Stretch and massage. Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax. For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly.
- Apply heat or cold. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles.
What does it mean when you get a charley horse in your leg?
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.
Will a charley horse go away on its own?
Usually, a charley horse will pass on its own. You can prevent them by staying hydrated and by making sure you treat your muscles kindly. Stretch after working out, and don’t spend too long sitting in one position.
What is the fastest way to get rid of a Charlie horse?
Massage, a bath with Epsom salts, or a heating pad can relax the muscle. To fight pain, use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or naproxen. In most cases, the charley horse will stop within a few minutes. But if you get them often and for no clear reason, tell your doctor.
Do bananas help charley horses?
You probably know that bananas are a good source of potassium. But they’ll also give you magnesium and calcium. That’s three out of four nutrients you need to ease muscle cramps tucked under that yellow peel. No wonder bananas are a popular, quick choice for cramp relief.
What can I drink for leg cramps?
Drink Water Dehydration often plays a part in muscle cramps, so drinking enough water throughout the day can help keep them at bay. Drinking fluids while you have a cramp helps the muscles contract and relax. When you keep hydrated, your muscle cells also stay hydrated and are less irritable or uncomfortable.
Does pickle juice help cramps?
The same set of researchers also did a test on pickle juice for cramps earlier in 2010. They found that it did work to shorten cramp duration. On average, it relieved cramps in about 1.5 minutes, and 45 percent faster than when nothing was taken after exercise.
Will drinking water help with leg cramps?
Since muscle cramps are sometimes caused by dehydration (loss of water) and low levels of potassium, they frequently strike in hot weather, when your body loses water, salt, and minerals through sweating. Drinking plenty of water and eating foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, may help to ward off cramps.
How do you stop Charlie horses while sleeping?
Nocturnal Leg Cramp Prevention
- Stretch during the day and before bed. Focus on your calf and foot muscles.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Move around during the day to exercise your feet and legs.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
- Sleep under loose covers, especially if you sleep on your back.
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.
How do you get rid of cramp in the back of your thigh?
For hamstring cramps (in the back of the thigh), sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Slide your hands down your legs until you feel a burning sensation in the cramped muscle. Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly return to a sitting position.
Why are charley horses 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.”
What’s the difference between a Charlie horse and a cramp?
A sustained muscle spasm is called a muscle cramp. Leg muscles, especially the quadriceps (thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh), and gastrocnemius (calves), are most likely to cramp, but any skeletal muscle in the body can cramp. A “charley horse” is another name for a muscle cramp.
What deficiency causes Charlie horses?
A mineral deficiency or an imbalance of electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium is also likely to increase one’s odds of getting a charley horse. Electrolytes are certain minerals that play an important role in muscle function.
How to get rid of muscle cramps in your legs
To move your legs, you must contract and extend the muscles in your legs, which are made up of bundles of fibers that alternately contract and expand to create movement. The contraction (tightening) of one of these muscles, usually in the calf, occurs suddenly and involuntarily. It is possible for cramps to last anywhere between a few seconds and several minutes. Their intensity might range from light to severe enough to rouse you from a sound slumber. A charley horse is a painful muscular spasm in the leg that occurs suddenly and without warning.
There are occasions when there is no clear reason for a cramp.
Causing cramping is more likely to occur when muscles are fatigued or dehydrated.
Cramping is more likely to occur during pregnancy, presumably as a result of changes in the circulatory system and greater tension on the muscles caused by a developing abdomen.
Muscles that are older get more quickly fatigued, and they become more sensitive to changes in fluid volume in the body.
Symptoms of muscle cramps
They can include the following:
- Pain and stiffness in a muscle that occurs suddenly, usually in the calf
- A firm lump or twitching under the skin that is only transitory
Diagnosing muscle cramps
The majority of cramps are mild to moderate in severity, but if your cramps are severe, you get them frequently, or you are experiencing other symptoms (such as numbness or weakness) in addition to them, visit your doctor. Crampings are a symptom of a problem with the spine, blood vessels, or liver in rare cases.
Treating muscle cramps
The majority of cramps will subside on their own within a few minutes. Relaxing the muscle by massaging it or gently extending it will aid in its recovery. Heat is a great way to relax stiff muscles. Massage the muscle with a heating pad or a warm damp towel to aid with the relaxation process. Ensure that you drink lots of fluids before and throughout exercise to avoid leg cramps in the future. Muscles require fluid in order to contract and relax correctly. Warming up your leg muscles before you start out with either walking in place or a gentle jog will help prevent tightness.
If you have a tendency to experience cramps while sleeping, perform another round of stretches before bed.
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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:
- Standing up and lunging forward on the front leg of the leg that is not experiencing muscular cramping
- Straightening the back of the leg that is experiencing the cramp and lunging forward on the rear leg of the leg that is experiencing the cramp
For a few seconds, you can also stand on the tips of your toes in order to stretch out your calf muscles. The symptoms of the occasional charley horse are often straightforward to avoid after the underlying cause has been identified and addressed. Take the following actions to reduce your risk of future muscle spasms:
- You may also stretch your calf muscles by standing on the tips of your toes for a few seconds. The symptoms of the occasional charley horse are often straightforward to prevent after the underlying cause has been identified and addressed. Consider taking the following strategies to reduce your risk of future muscle spasms:
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.
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 at certain seasons: Leg cramp symptoms increased by double in the summer, according to a 2015 research 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.
“It is necessary to stretch the damaged muscle with force. While maintaining your knee fully extended, point the toes of the afflicted leg toward your head to relieve calf spasm or charley horse pain “Dr. Jaffee expresses himself in this way:
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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7 Ways to Prevent Night Leg Cramps (Charley Horses)
Have you ever gone to bed and woken up with a terrible leg cramp? If so, you are not alone. If you suffer from night leg cramps, also known as nocturnal leg cramps, it can be a living nightmare. Cavernous calf spasms and thigh cramps are characterized by rapid, unpleasant (and often severe) spasms in the calf muscles and thighs, but they can also affect your feet. They can happen when you are awake, although they happen the most frequently at night.
Causes for Nocturnal Leg Cramps
Despite the fact that night leg cramps are sometimes referred to as “charley horses,” there is no Charley and certainly no horse responsible for their occurrence. You might be wondering what might be prompting these unpleasant admonitions to get out of bed in the morning. According to Dr. Joyce Lee-Iannotti of Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona, “No one really knows the exact cause of leg cramps at night, but there are some known factors that can increase your risk,” she said.
“No one really knows the exact cause of leg cramps at night, but there are some known factors that can increase your risk.” These considerations are as follows:
- Your chronological age is: The prevalence of nocturnal leg cramps in those over the age of 50 is thought to be close to 60 percent. Pregnancy: This may arise as a result of increased weight and changes in circulation. Individuals suffering from renal and thyroid disorders, as well as those suffering from peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the legs), may have leg cramps. Medications that may be used include: Leg cramps may be exacerbated by some drugs, such as diuretics, blood pressure meds, or statins.
In addition, Dr. Lee-Iannotti stated that overexerting your muscles, sitting for extended periods of time without moving, dehydration, and standing and walking on hard surfaces all day are all risk factors for osteoporosis.
Could it be Restless Leg Syndrome?
Nighttime leg cramps are sometimes confused with another illness known as restless leg syndrome, or RLS, which causes tingling in the legs. Leg cramps, like restless leg syndrome, are most common while the person is at rest. Leg cramps, on the other hand, cause muscular tension, cramping, and discomfort, whereas muscle cramps do not. A odd and uncomfortable impulse to move your legs will occur while you are suffering from RLS in attempt to relieve discomfort, although there is typically no pain connected with it.
7 Ways to Relieve and Prevent Leg Cramps at Night
Restless Leg Syndrome, often known as RLS, is a medical disease that many individuals mistake with nocturnal leg cramps. Leg cramps, like restless leg syndrome, are most common when you’re not moving about or exercising. Leg cramps, on the other hand, cause muscular tension, cramping, and discomfort, whereas muscle cramps do not. A odd and unpleasant impulse to move your legs will occur while you are suffering from RLS in attempt to relieve discomfort, yet there is generally no discomfort connected with it.
- You should stretch your hamstring and calf muscles many times during the day and before night
- Throughout the day, drink lots of water and keep an eye on your alcohol and caffeine intake
- Mild workouts, like as walking or riding a stationary bike for a few minutes, can be done before bed to help you relax. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating properly, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep
- Take a warm bath or shower to relieve tension in your muscles
- Wearing supportive shoes with enough arch and ankle support is recommended. Keep your sheets and blankets free around your feet so that you are not constrained in your movements during the night.
“If none of these therapies work for you, and you are still experiencing severe continuous cramping that is interfering with your sleep and everyday activities, see your doctor,” Dr. Lee-Iannotti said. “Nocturnal leg cramps should not have a negative impact on your overall health.” Nocturnal leg cramps, often known as charley horses, can be a genuine nuisance, but don’t let them get the better of you. By visiting bannerhealth.com, you may speak with a Banner Health professional about your symptoms.
Charley horse: Causes, symptoms, remedies, and more
Doctor Lee-Iannotti advises calling a doctor if none of the home treatments work and you continue to have severe chronic cramping that is interfering with your sleep and everyday activities. Leg cramps during the night should not have a negative impact on your overall health. If you suffer from nocturnal leg cramps, often known as charley horses, don’t allow them get the better of you! By visiting bannerhealth.com, you may speak with a Banner Health professional about your pain. Participate in the Dialogue.
- Nocturnal leg cramps may be caused by vigorous daily exercise, electrolyte imbalances, or the use of certain drugs
- Nevertheless, there is no definitive cause for them. Muscle cramps during pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors, including weight growth, blood flow disturbance, and peripheral nerve compression. Cramping can occur during or after exercise due to a variety of factors including neurological changes, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances, particularly in the arms and legs.
Crampings, particularly those that afflict the leg, are referred to as “charley horses.” Despite the fact that some individuals use the term “charley horse” to describe muscular spasms or twitches, these are two very distinct events. In general, clinicians understand the need of distinguishing between cramps and other disorders that appear to be the same as cramps, such as the following:
- Dystonia is a movement condition characterized by involuntary movements
- Myotonia is the process of muscles tensing, which includes both voluntarily flexing and involuntarily contracting
- And dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary movements. Tetany, which is an electrolyte imbalance caused by low calcium levels
- Myalgia, which is muscular soreness
Scientists have determined that a charley horse arises when muscles abruptly spasm or constrict, resulting in pain and discomfort. The ailment most commonly affects the calf muscle, which is located towards the rear of the lower leg. The abrupt and uncontrolled spasm is usually short, but it can linger for up to ten minutes in certain cases. The majority of people have unpleasant muscular contractions that do not result in long-term difficulties. Others, on the other hand, may have excruciating agony and suffering that lasts for several days.
Painful leg cramps, for example, might make it more difficult to move about and get around.
Additionally, the timing of a cramp might have an impact on its significance. For example, if leg cramps occur regularly at night, sleep disturbance may be the outcome of the condition. According to an analysis published in 2021, there are various risk factors for leg cramps:
- Being above the age of 60: A total of 37 percent of Americans over the age of 60 suffer from nocturnal leg cramps
- Being pregnant entails a number of changes. Cramping of the muscles occurs in around 50% of pregnant women, especially at night. If you have chronic renal failure, you may have the following symptoms: People suffering from chronic renal failure account for around 50% of the population. Muscle cramps, particularly in the legs, are experienced
- Having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) means you have the following symptoms: Muscle cramps are common in people with ALS, with a 95 percent risk of having them. Having diabetes is a medical condition. Muscle cramps are experienced by around 60% of persons with type 1 diabetes. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is around 80% in the general population.
Acute calf discomfort can occur for a variety of reasons that are unrelated to cramping. These are some examples:
- Trauma, deep vein thrombosis, a burst Baker’s cyst, to name a few conditions.
Following a review of publications published in 2017, researchers discovered that the following categories of sickness are frequently associated with leg cramps:
- Leg cramps are frequently associated with the following illnesses, according to a review of research published in 2017.
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.
- 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:
- A massage of the tight muscle has been shown to be effective for some persons. Dr. A can recommend further testing if there are any indications that an underlying issue is the source of the cramping. It is possible for a doctor to adjust the dosage of a medication if it is known to raise the likelihood of cramping in the patient. One might attempt the following remedies in order to avoid getting a charley horse or muscular cramp:
A number of individuals take magnesium supplements to try to ease muscle cramps. However, evidence shows that magnesium supplements are ineffective in alleviating either pregnancy-related leg cramps or nocturnal leg cramps in women. Changes that may be beneficial, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support them, include the following:
- The use of relaxation techniques such as massage and heat treatment, as well as the use of alternative footwear, are all recommended. for people who lead a physically inactive existence, physical activity
Although the exact origin of the phrase is unknown, sources claim that the term charley horse, which is used to describe a muscular cramp, dates back to casual American athletic discourse that began in the 1880s and continues today. One explanation holds that the name originated from a baseball player who was referring to a lame horse. Horses were formerly employed to assist with groundskeeping duties in baseball. The name was allegedly derived from a baseball player named Charley, who had muscular cramps while pitching during a game in 1880, according to a tale that published in the Washington Post in 1907.
A charley horse, often known as a leg cramp, is a frequent ailment that does not generally signal the presence of a major medical condition.
Charley horse can be difficult to cure or avoid, with the exception of warming up before physical activity and staying hydrated throughout the process.
It is recommended that a person get medical attention if their cramps are severe and they are experiencing additional symptoms such as altered level of awareness or fever.
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.
Low levels of any of these minerals can allow the muscle to contract but prevent it from relaxing. 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.
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.
It might be a symptom of a more serious issue, therefore it’s crucial to consult with your doctor first before proceeding. Related article: Liquid trace minerals – How to Determine the Quality of a Mineral Supplement. Sources:
- 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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Charley horse is another name for this animal. On this page, you will find
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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
How to Get Rid of a Charley Horse
Article in PDF format Article in PDF format No one wants to be saddled with the charley horse, a painful cramping or spasm of your leg muscles that will cause you to halt in the middle of whatever you’re doing. It may occur on any portion of your leg, and it always occurs at the most inconvenient of times, according to the experts. Use the strategies indicated below to get rid of your charley horse as quickly as possible and prevent future occurrences.
- 1Massage the muscles with your hands. In order to alleviate the pressure and unpleasant cramping associated with Charley horses, massage the calf, foot, and occasionally thighs as described above. In a circular motion, apply medium pressure with your thumbs and fingertips to both the direct location of discomfort and a little area above it to increase circulation and relieve pain. Continue doing this for a few minutes until the discomfort lessens or until you decide to switch to another therapy. 2 Stretch. Because of the spasms, your muscles have gotten constricted, and stretching will assist to relax and soften them. In order to offer rapid relief, it is recommended that you perform one or many stretches that lengthen the muscles in the afflicted area.
- Standing up straight, go into a lunging stance with your rear leg feeling the charley horse, then repeat the same with your other leg. Straighten out your rear leg while maintaining the bend in your front leg. This will put your weight onto the toes of your rear leg
- If it is more comfortable, you can lean forward slightly onto your bent knee. Place your legs straight in front of you on your bed or the floor, and sit back in your chair. Your knees should be locked, and your toes should be pointed back towards your face. Grab your toes and gently draw your foot backward on the leg on which you are feeling the charley horse
- Stand up straight on your tippy-toes and maintain this position for as long as you are able
- Repeat on the other leg. This will help to stretch out the calf muscles and minimize spasming in them. Taking a few seconds pause every few seconds and then continuing stretching
- s3 Take a long, hot bath. Fill your bathtub halfway with warm water and Epsom salts, then soak for 10-20 minutes to relieve stress. In addition to soothing your tense muscles and distracting you from the discomfort, the heat and salts will also help to raise the temperature of the region. Prop the afflicted part up using cushions or the armrest of a chair or couch to alleviate the discomfort. 5. Apply heat followed by ice to relieve the discomfort. Elevating the region will aid to increase your circulation and transport blood more effectively to and from the spasming area. A heat compress applied for 10-15 minutes might help to reduce muscular spasms and relieve pain. Then, use an ice pack or cool compress to the region where you’re feeling the charley horse as soon as possible. Never apply ice straight to your skin
- Instead, wrap it in a cloth or bandage before putting it on your skin. For optimal effects, do this for 5-15 minutes at a time. Advertisement
- 1 Stretch on a regular basis. In the event that you exercise or work out on a regular basis, thorough stretching before each session can help to avoid tension and subsequent charley horses. Stretch for 2-5 minutes before to beginning any fitness program. Lunges and quad stretches are two of the most effective stretches for preventing charlie horse.
- To execute a quad stretch, stand with your feet together and bend one of your knees. Carry on bending your knee to the extent that you are able, and then grasp your foot from behind you and hold it for 10 seconds
- If you want to execute a lunge, start by getting into a kneeling position on the ground with one leg bent at the knee and your weight totally supported by the other calf. Then, lift your body off the ground such that both of your legs are bent in the same direction. Walk around the room in that position, switching back and forth between legs, and repeat this process several times.
- 2Increase your potassium intake. Muscle spasms and cramps are more common in those who have low potassium levels, according to research. Consume potassium-rich foods at least once a day, such as bananas, avocados, and oranges, among other things. Also, consider purchasing potassium supplements from a local health food store
- 3increase your calcium and magnesium intake. Muscle cramps are prevented and your body is kept in peak condition by taking advantage of the combination of these vitamins. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium and magnesium in your diet by supplementing it with these minerals in the form of tablets or by include them in the foods you consume. The combination may be found in abundance in dairy products and nuts. 4 Keep yourself hydrated. It has been shown that having excessive salt levels in your blood might have negative effects on your muscles and circulation. Drinking enough of water on a daily basis will help to keep your salt levels under control. When you’re working out, you should boost your water consumption with sports drinks that include electrolytes.
- Drinking alcohol should be limited or avoided entirely since it dehydrates you.
- 5Avoid diuretics at all costs. The amount of water and electrolytes in your body will be reduced as a result of anything that causes you to pee more frequently, which is bad news if you have muscular cramps. If at all possible, avoid consuming excessive amounts of coffee and refrain from taking any medications that produce frequent urination. Advertisement
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- Question: What causes charley horses to appear in the middle of the night and wake you up? The author Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with more than a decade of experience in the field. Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing are among Luba’s credentials. In 2006, she graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). The University of Tennessee offers a Master’s Degree in Nursing. Knoxville Expert AnswerBy unlocking this expert answer, you can help wikiHow continue to grow. No one is certain what causes charley horses to appear throughout the night, although poor hydration or nutritional imbalances, as well as insufficient muscular stretching and strengthening, may all be contributing factors. Question Getting rid of charley horses in my foot is not easy. The author Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with more than a decade of experience in the field. Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing are among Luba’s credentials. In 2006, she graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). The University of Tennessee offers a Master’s Degree in Nursing. KnoxvilleExpert AnswerHelp wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer from Knoxville, Tennessee. To treat a charlie horse or muscle spasm in your foot, stop whatever you’re doing, softly massage your foot, and stretch the region while taking deep, calm breaths in and out through your nose. Heat therapy, staying hydrated, relaxing, and taking Epsom salt foot baths are all recommended. After the discomfort has subsided, you may apply ice to the area. If your discomfort persists or recurs regularly, speak with your doctor about different treatment choices.
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- Consult your doctor if you get Charley horses on a regular basis and the therapy you’re receiving isn’t alleviating the symptoms. It’s possible that you have a more serious condition that is causing the muscular spasms. Try drinking pickle juice, Gatorade, or another electrolyte-rich beverage after you exercise if you have muscular cramps regularly after you exercise. Perform squats with someone holding your hand, pausing at various places. Walk around in a regular manner if the situation is not too critical and the pain has subsided somewhat. If you want to lessen the quantity of muscular cramps you experience, select shoes that are comfy for you.
About This Article
To get rid of a charley horse, massage the muscle that is cramping with your fingers in a circular motion, applying strong pressure to the area where the cramping is occurring. If it doesn’t work, try sitting down and pointing your toes, or standing on your tiptoes, to stretch the muscle out a little farther. If you have a charley horse that won’t go away, try applying an ice pack to the muscle for 15 minutes or taking a warm bath to relieve the pain and inflammation. Drink lots of water every day to avoid future charley horses, and stretch before any physical activity to avoid injury or cramping.
Continue reading to discover more about taking an Epsom bath from our Medical Review Board co-author, as well as other useful tips. Did you find this overview to be helpful? The writers of this page have together authored a page that has been read 1,385,006 times.
Did this article help you?
In most cases, self-care procedures may be used to alleviate muscular cramps. Exercises for stretching can be demonstrated by your doctor, which can help you lower your risks of experiencing muscular cramps. Making ensuring you are well hydrated might also be beneficial. If you have frequent cramps that keep you awake at night, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant to help you sleep better.
Lifestyle and home remedies
If you are suffering from a cramp, the following actions may be beneficial:
- Stretching and massaging are recommended. Stretching and gently rubbing the strained muscle will aid in its relaxation. If you have a calf cramp, place your weight on the leg that is affected and gently bend your knee. Lie down on the floor or on a chair with your afflicted leg extended if you are unable to stand. When you have a straightened leg, try pushing the top of your foot on the afflicted side toward your head while your leg is still straightened. This will also aid in the alleviation of a back thigh (hamstring cramp). If you get a front thigh (quadriceps) cramp, sit down in a chair to keep yourself steady and try dragging your foot on the afflicted side up near your buttock. Heat or cold should be applied. Warm a towel or heating pad and apply it to stiff or tight muscles. Swimming in warm water or spraying the tight muscle with hot water can also help relieve itching and discomfort. Alternatively, applying ice to the constricted muscle may help to alleviate the discomfort.
Some people recommend using vitamin B complex pills to assist alleviate leg cramps as a preventative measure. More study, on the other hand, is required to validate this advantage.
Preparing for your appointment
Make an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing severe, frequent muscular cramps that are not improving with self-care. Here is some information to assist you in preparing for your scheduled visit.
What you can do
When you schedule your appointment, inquire as to if there is anything you need to prepare in advance. Make a list of the following:
- The nature of your symptoms, particularly those that appear to be unrelated to the purpose for your visit
- Identifying information about yourself, such as severe pressures, recent life changes, and family health histories
- All drugs, vitamins, and supplements you take, as well as the doses you are taking
- The following are some questions to ask your doctor:
If at all possible, bring a family member or friend with you to assist you in remembering the information you learn. Some fundamental questions to ask your doctor about muscular cramps are as follows:
- What is most likely to be causing my cramps is
- Is there any other plausible explanation? What tests will I require
- Are my symptoms transitory or persistent in nature? What is the most effective path of action
- What alternatives do you have to the strategy you’re advocating for
Please do not hesitate to ask any more questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including the following:
- Is there anything that usually occurs before your cramps, such as light to hard exercise? When did you first notice you had cramps? How often and severe are your cramps? Do you ever have cramps when you’re sleeping? Is stretching effective in relieving your cramps? Does your condition include any additional symptoms, such as muscular weakness or numbness? Have you noticed any differences in the color of your urine after exercising?
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