Charley Horse Prevention
- Eat more foods high in vitamins and magnesium.
- Stay hydrated.
- Stretch daily and before exercise.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Ramp up your exercise slowly rather than all at once.
- Don’t exercise right after you eat.
- Don’t smoke.
What is the best remedy for Charlie horses?
- Stretch Them Stiffness in the muscles can cause all sorts of problems. Regular stretching goes a long way in preventing those issues.
- Use Hot or Cold Compressions You can try heat and ice to help relax the muscles.
- Improve Your Electrolyte Intake If you sweat a lot,your body loses minerals,salt,potassium,calcium,and magnesium.
What causes Charlie horses 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.
How do you stop 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 makes a charley horse?
A charley horse can be caused by a direct blow or sudden stretch of the muscle, but most of the time they’re caused by strain or fatigue during exercise.
Do bananas help charley horses?
You probably know that bananas are a good source of potassium. But they’ll also give you magnesium and calcium. That’s three out of four nutrients you need to ease muscle cramps tucked under that yellow peel. No wonder bananas are a popular, quick choice for cramp relief.
Why 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 is your body lacking when you have leg cramps?
Mineral depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — also can deplete these minerals.
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 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.
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 deficiency causes Charlie horses?
A mineral deficiency or an imbalance of electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium is also likely to increase one’s odds of getting a charley horse. Electrolytes are certain minerals that play an important role in muscle function.
What’s the difference between a Charlie horse and a cramp?
A sustained muscle spasm is called a muscle cramp. Leg muscles, especially the quadriceps (thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh), and gastrocnemius (calves), are most likely to cramp, but any skeletal muscle in the body can cramp. A “charley horse” is another name for a muscle cramp.
Why did they call it a charlie horse?
“In the 1890s, an old horse named Charley was used in the old Chicago White Sox ballpark to pull a roller across the infield. He was old and his muscles would get so stiff he could hardly walk. Players and spectators who caught a cramp thought of the old horse and started calling the condition a charley horse.”
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.
Does salt help with cramps?
Intravenous saline can reverse heat cramping, and more salt in the diet and in sports drinks can help prevent heat cramping. For heat cramping, the solution is saline.
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
Ever gone to bed and woke up with a nasty leg cramp in the middle of the night? In the event that you suffer from night leg cramps, also known as nocturnal leg cramps, it might be a nightmare. Cavernous calf spasms and thigh cramps are characterized by rapid, unpleasant (and often severe) spasms of the calf muscles and thighs, but they can also affect your feet. They can happen when you are awake, but they happen the most frequently at night when you are sleeping.
- 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
The good news is that, despite the fact that they can be quite painful, nocturnal leg cramps are seldom life-threatening. There are seven home treatments you may attempt to assist ease discomfort and perhaps avoid uncomfortable wake-up calls, but some of them may require a little of trial and error.
- You should stretch your hamstring and calf muscles many times during the day and before night
- Throughout the day, drink lots of water and keep an eye on your alcohol and caffeine intake
- Mild workouts, like as walking or riding a stationary bike for a few minutes, can be done before bed to help you relax. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating properly, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep
- Take a warm bath or shower to relieve tension in your muscles
- Wearing supportive shoes with enough arch and ankle support is recommended. Keep your sheets and blankets free around your feet so that you are not constrained in your movements during the night.
Stretch your hamstring and calf muscles throughout the day and before you go to sleep; and Drink lots of water throughout the day, and keep an eye on your alcohol and caffeine intakes. Prevent insomnia by engaging in light physical activity before bedtime, such as walking or riding the stationary cycle for a few minutes; Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating properly, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep; and Take a warm bath or shower to relieve sore muscles and joints. Maintain correct arch and ankle support by wearing supportive shoes.
Charley Horse: Causes, Risks, and Treatments
We feature goods that we believe will be of interest to our readers. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links on this page, we may receive a small commission. Here’s how we went about it. What is a charley horse and how does it work? Amuscle spasm is referred to as “charley horse” in some circles. Charlie horses may affect any muscle, although they are most commonly found in the legs and thighs. These spasms are characterized by uncomfortably tight muscular contractions in the affected area.
When charley horses are severe, they can cause muscular discomfort that can last anywhere from a few hours to a day.
Charley horses are often curable at home, especially if they occur on a regular basis and are mild.
Your doctor can assist you in determining the source of your recurring charley horses.
Additionally, you can put treatments and preventative measures in place to improve your comfort. Cramping or spasming of a muscle can be caused by a variety of circumstances. The following are the most typical causes:
- Exercising in extreme heat or cold, overusing a specific muscle during exercise, and tension (which is most commonly felt in the neck muscles) are all possible causes of muscle injuries. not warming up before a workout session
- Using diuretics, which can cause low potassium levels
- Mineral depletion, or having too little calcium, potassium, and sodium in the blood
- Nerve compression in the spine
Numerous people report having charley horses during their sleeping hours and being roused as a result of them. Muscle spasms that create charley horses as you sleep are a typical occurrence in the population. However, the exact reason for the occurrence of these evening spams is still a mystery. It is considered that laying in an uncomfortable position in bed for an extended period of time contributes to this condition. Muscle spasms can occur at any age and in any situation. As well as occurring at any time of day or night, a charley horse can occur at any location.
- Athletes, newborns, elderly persons, those who are obese, people who are taking certain medications such as diuretics, raloxifene (Evista), orstatin treatments, and people who smoke are just a few examples of who should avoid smoking.
Sporting athletes, newborns and older persons who are overweight, those who are taking specific medications such as diuretics, raloxifene (Evista), orstatin treatments, and people who smoke are just a few of the groups who fall within this category.
- 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:
- You would think that experts would have figured out what was causing your leg cramps by now, given how severe they are. It’s impossible to come up with a definitive solution, however there are several suggestions. Cramping is frequently associated with dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance, and this is true. That is possible, but it is unlikely that they are the primary perpetrators of the crimes. Are bananas ineffective in warding off the charley horse, or should you consume them anyhow to avoid them? The fact that they contain the electrolyte potassium and that you should always have plenty of that mineral on board makes it unlikely that you’ll be consuming them as a primary approach. Additional sources of potassium include starchy vegetables, beans, and various fruits. Foods high in magnesium, another key electrolyte, are similar in this regard. The importance of having enough cannot be overstated, yet stocking up on extra won’t spare you from the dreaded charley horse alarm clock call. Leafy vegetables such as kale and Swiss chard, as well as broccoli, squash and other nuts, seeds, and legumes are good sources of this mineral. Whatever researchers believe that a charley horse is more of aneuromuscular condition, meaning that your skeletal muscles over-fire and bunch up into what we recognize as a cramp for some reason. Despite the fact that cramps haven’t divulged their secrets yet, experts believe that there is a good chance that they are caused by more than one factor. Listed below are a few probable causes of your muscles firing excessively and causing leg cramps:
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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Don’t Let Foot Cramps and Charley Horses Slow You Down
Leg cramps were reduced 40 times faster when pickle juice was consumed within 35 seconds of the onset of the cramps, according to a study conducted in 2010. Nicole Nelson, adjunct instructor in clinical and applied movement sciences at Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida, explains that while many people believe that the sodium in that juice is responsible for the effect, she believes that relief occurs too quickly for sodium to have been absorbed into your system. You can also read her advice on avoiding and dealing with toe cramps.
When it comes into contact with your mouth and throat, capsaicin (the chemical that gives hot peppers their heat) may have a similar effect to caffeine.
It may simply be a matter of how badly you want to get rid of them in the first place.
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7 common causes for cramps
Spasming or cramping of the foot and calf muscles can occur at any time of day or night. Likewise, a variety of other muscles in your body might be affected. Why? The following are the most typical causes of muscular cramps:
- Cramping due to dehydration: “If you’re feeling cramping, it’s vital to check your hydration first,” Dr. Lewis advises patients. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. Complications arising from poor nutrition: While a proper electrolyte balance (a balance of calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium) is necessary for the contraction and relaxation of a muscle, it is not recommended that you self-treat with supplements. As an alternative, Dr. Lewis recommends consuming a range of meals, including lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens and bananas, in order to ensure that your diet has a balanced amount of electrolytes. Leg cramps are a side effect of several drugs, including statins and diuretics, which can be quite uncomfortable. When cramps appear unexpectedly after you begin taking a new drug, this is a red flag to look out for. If this occurs, notify your healthcare practitioner immediately. Not putting up enough effort: Taking some time each day to stretch might be beneficial. Physicist Dr. Lewis explains that you want your muscles to be as powerful and supple as possible. In order to do this, adequate stretching following a brief warm-up time or after a shower is essential.
- Exercise too hard: If you exercise too hard or have muscular exhaustion, this might result in cramping. Poor circulation: If you are experiencing cramps that grows worse as you walk, it is possible that you have a circulation problem. “Cramping discomfort is a symptom of several circulatory disorders.” According to Dr. Lewis, “If the pain grows worse as you walk, or if you get cramps that won’t go away, you should visit your primary care physician immediately.” The incorrect footwear: Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including your footwear. Doctor Lewis advises checking your shoes, especially if you’ve switched from flats to heels, because this can also induce cramping.
How to stop leg and foot cramps
Leg and foot cramps can be treated in a number of methods that are straightforward:
- Try just standing up and putting some weight on the afflicted leg or foot if it occurs while you are laying down if possible. This might be sufficient to alleviate the tender stiffness in certain cases. Warmth/heating pads can be used to enhance blood circulation to the muscle and help it relax at the same time. It might also be beneficial to soak in a warm pool of Epsom salt to relieve tension. If the pain is really tenacious, you might try taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.
Easy stretches to keep calves and feet happy
The following are some easy stretches that may be used to relieve discomfort and perhaps prevent it.
Basic calf stretch
Runners frequently utilize this calf stretch to improve their performance. Here’s how you go about it:
- Stand with your palms against a wall and your arms spread out in front of you
- Taking a step back with the leg that has been injured, lean forward on the other leg and press up against the wall You should feel a stretch in your calf muscle and the back of your leg after doing this exercise.
While you’re sitting, do this stretch:
- Extend the length of your legs out in front of you
- Draw your afflicted foot’s toes upwards toward the ceiling, ensuring that the leg is engaged. To wrap your foot, use a towel or a neck tie and hold it in place with both hands
- You should slightly lift the leg till you feel a decent stretch
Leg or foot cramps are a common occurrence, although they are usually manageable by the individual experiencing them. However, if they occur regularly, are severe, or if you have reason to believe one of your drugs is to blame, you should consult with your doctor. They might indicate the presence of a medical concern that necessitates care.
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. 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:
- Leaving enough time between eating and exercising
- Warming up before and after exercise by gently stretching muscles
- Drinking fluids and eating a small amount of food after exercise to replace fluid and minerals lost during exercise
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water at all times
- Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants Keeping an eye out for any potential adverse effects of prescription medicines
A number of individuals take magnesium supplements to try to ease muscle cramps. However, evidence shows that magnesium supplements are ineffective in alleviating either pregnancy-related leg cramps or nocturnal leg cramps in women. Changes that may be beneficial, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support them, include the following:
- The use of relaxation techniques such as massage and heat treatment, as well as the use of alternative footwear, are all recommended. for people who lead a physically inactive existence, physical activity
Although the exact origin of the phrase is unknown, sources claim that the term charley horse, which is used to describe a muscular cramp, dates back to casual American athletic discourse that began in the 1880s and continues today. One explanation holds that the name originated from a baseball player who was referring to a lame horse. Horses were formerly employed to assist with groundskeeping duties in baseball. The name was allegedly derived from a baseball player named Charley, who had muscular cramps while pitching during a game in 1880, according to a tale that published in the Washington Post in 1907.
A charley horse, often known as a leg cramp, is a frequent ailment that does not generally signal the presence of a major medical condition.
Charley horse can be difficult to cure or avoid, with the exception of warming up before physical activity and staying hydrated throughout the process.
It is recommended that a person get medical attention if their cramps are severe and they are experiencing additional symptoms such as altered level of awareness or fever.
How to prevent a Charley Horse
We have all been victims of the ever-throbbing charley horse at some point in our lives. You are abruptly woken by an excruciating ache in the muscles of your lower legs when you are deep in slumber. Sometimes the agony is so intense that you find yourself kicking off your blankets, shouting for assistance, or crying out in frustration. A Charley Horse can make it appear as if the suffering would never cease. If you are experiencing muscular cramps at night, you are not alone; one in every three individuals suffers from them.
Brian Oostman, a family medicine physician of Advocate Medical Group in Aurora, Illinois, explains, “preventing muscle cramps may be difficult for patients and frustrating for their health-care providers since there is no standard of care.” Eighty persons who suffered from excruciatingly painful muscular cramps in their calves or lower legs on a weekly basis participated in a study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research.
- They can be defined as “contractions” of the muscles that occur on the spur of the moment and have a fire-like feeling, occurring at speeds of up to 150 contractions per second.
- Following a survey among participants, researchers were able to acquire a better grasp of the types of pain that people were experiencing while they were having muscular cramps.
- It was usual for people to have pain around the calf muscles the following day.
- Several causes have been identified as contributing to cramping, including a frightening dream, insufficient blood supply to the legs, exercising too little or even overexertion of the leg muscles, according to the researchers.
- According to the researchers, each person’s sleep habits are unique, and twisting your body in a specific way might make you more susceptible to cramping.
- Pointing your toes while asleep, for example, is a classic Charley Horse triggering behavior.
- According to Dr.
Oostman suggests that you try the following remedies:
- If the cramp arises in the leg, place your weight on the limb that is afflicted. It is possible to relax the muscle by taking a hot bath with Epsom salts
- Ice can be used to alleviate discomfort. Nonetheless, NSAIDs may be beneficial if there is persistent discomfort after the cramp has subsided
- However, you should see your doctor before taking any medication.
Muscle cramp – Symptoms and causes
If the cramp arises in the leg, place your weight on the limb that is being cramped up. Taking a warm bath with Epsom salts might help to relax the muscles. In order to alleviate the discomfort, ice should be used. However, NSAIDs may be beneficial if there is persistent discomfort after the cramp has resolved; however, you should see your doctor before taking any medication.
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
Take that, muscle cramps!
Photograph courtesy of ChesiireCat/Getty Images Muscle cramps are often a surprise when they occur. A charley horse in the middle of the night or a back spasm when reaching for an ordinary object are examples of involuntary contractions that occur without notice. Keep in mind, though, that a cramp should not be taken too seriously. “When it hits unexpectedly, refrain from exercising or tightening the muscle. Just gradually stretch it till it reaches your comfort level. This aids in the relaxation of the muscle and the relief of the uncontrollable contraction “Madhuri Kale, a physical therapist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which is connected with Harvard University, agrees.
What causes cramps?
Cramping can occur when you exercise without adequately warming up your muscles beforehand. Cramps can also occur when a muscle is unable to relax properly (for example, if you have a magnesium or potassium deficiency in your diet) or when it becomes irritated by a buildup of lactic acid (which can occur if you do not allow your muscle to rest after it has been subjected to intense physical activity). Both of these conditions can be exacerbated by dehydration. According to Kale, older persons frequently do not drink enough water at night because they do not want to have to go to the bathroom, and as a result, they become dehydrated.
This can develop as a result of atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of the arteries that provide blood to your legs.
“Some individuals claim that if their feet protrude from under their blankets at night, they may develop cramps.
Cramping can also be caused by misfiring neurons that get confused as a result of neurological diseases (such as Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy, or spine abnormalities that compress nerves in the lower back).
Finally, according to Kale, cramps can occur as a side effect of some drugs, such as diuretics, which can induce dehydration as well as mineral imbalances. Statin medications, on the other hand, might create chronic muscular pains and cramps, albeit they are seldom the cause of cramps.
Relief for cramps
Kale’s shortcut for nighttime leg cramps in the calf is to “sit up in bed, loop the blanket around your foot, and gently pull your toes toward you while keeping your knee straight,” she recommends.Alternatively, for cramps in the front of the lower leg, simply stand up at the side of your bed, put your weight on your toes, and lift your heels; this gently stretches the cramped muscle.For back cramps, Kale recommends th “sit up Slide your hands down your legs until you feel a burning feeling in the muscle that is cramping.
Continue to hold the posture for 30 seconds, then gently return to a sitting position.After you’ve stretched the muscle, Kale suggests placing a heating pad on the affected region to improve blood flow and relieve discomfort.
Move of the month: Back stretch: Child’s pose
Michael Carroll captured this image. Take a few deep breaths before getting down on your hands and knees. Lower your hips backward until your buttocks rest on the backs of your heels and feet, all while maintaining your hands flat on the floor in front of you. Afterwards, without adjusting your buttocks, drop your forehead to the floor and stretch your arms in front of you, with your hands remaining flat on the floor, as shown. Hold for a few seconds, and then take a deep breath as you rise to your feet.
Tips to prevent cramps
According to Kale, staying hydrated throughout the day, eating foods high in magnesium (especially leafy greens) and potassium (bananas, black beans), wearing warm socks at night if you have leg cramps, and keeping your muscles strong and flexible through regular exercise are all good ideas for treating leg cramps. Quinine pills were once prescribed, but they are no longer so unless the cramps are incapacitating. As Kale explains, “They have the potential to cause negative side effects and interactions with other drugs.” A last point: “Cramps are exceedingly unpleasant, but they do not indicate the presence of a major illness,” said Dr.
In order to avoid a cramp, stretch the muscle and return to your previous activities.
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How to get rid of muscle cramps in your legs
To move your legs, you must contract and extend the muscles in your legs, which are made up of bundles of fibers that alternately contract and expand to create movement. The contraction (tightening) of one of these muscles, usually in the calf, occurs suddenly and involuntarily. It is possible for cramps to last anywhere from a few seconds and many minutes. Their intensity might range from light to severe enough to rouse you from a sound slumber. A charley horse is a painful muscular spasm in the leg that occurs suddenly and without warning.
There are occasions when there is no clear reason for a cramp.
Causing cramping is more likely to occur when muscles are fatigued or dehydrated.
Cramping is more likely to occur during pregnancy, presumably as a result of changes in the circulatory system and greater tension on the muscles caused by a developing abdomen.
Muscles that are older get more quickly fatigued, and they become more sensitive to changes in fluid volume in the body. The use of some medications, such as statins, to treat high cholesterol can cause cramping as a side effect as well.
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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No information on this site, regardless of when it was published, should ever be considered as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained healthcare professional.
Within a few minutes, the majority of cramps will subside on their own. Muscle relaxation can be achieved by massaging or gently stretching the muscle. When muscles are strained, heat is quite calming. Massage the muscle with a heating pad or a warm damp towel to help release it. Drink enough of water before and during exercise to prevent leg cramps in the future. In order to contract and relax correctly, muscles require fluid. Prepare your leg muscles for exercise by doing some gradual walking in place or jogging before you begin your workout.
If you have a tendency to experience cramps while sleeping, do another round of stretches before bed.
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Every article should be dated according to the date it was last reviewed or updated. Nothing on this site, regardless of its date, should ever be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice from your doctor or another competent practitioner.
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?
Constriction of one or more muscles that occurs suddenly and without your consent is referred to as a cramp. Their occurrence is widespread, and they frequently follow physical activity. Muscle cramps, particularly leg cramps, are common among those who sleep with their legs crossed. Their duration might range from a few seconds to many minutes, and they can be quite painful. Cramping can occur in any muscle, however it is most common in the following ones.
- 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 Prevent Charley Horses in 6 Steps
Prevent muscular cramps by stretching your muscles before you exercise. Leg cramps are common at night; if this is the case, stretch your leg muscles before bed and drink lots of fluids. Using sports drinks can help you replenish electrolytes if you engage in strenuous exercise or exercise in high temperatures;
Warm Up Before and After Working Out
One typical cause of muscular cramps is overworking your muscles during a high-intensity workout and then coming to a complete halt right thereafter. A Charley horse can readily develop as a result of the shock of excessive usage followed by rest. Warming up before exercising might help to avoid this. Start by gently stretching your muscles, especially your calf muscles, and then ease into your workout by jogging in place or performing jumping jacks to get your heart rate up. Then, be sensible in terms of the quantity of activity you perform in a single session.
Drink More Water
Because dehydration is a typical cause of muscle twitches and cramps, make an effort to consume more fluids throughout the day. When you go hiking, bicycling, running, or to the gym, always remember to have a water bottle with you.
Then, whether you’re at school or at work, bring a reusable water bottle with you. Make it a habit to drink little amounts of water throughout the day. Because coconut water has a high concentration of potassium, it is an useful type of water to keep on hand if you suffer from a mineral deficit.
Eat Foods High in Potassium
Muscle cramps are a typical side effect of not getting enough potassium in your diet. If you have chronic renal disease, have diabetes, use diuretics for high blood pressure, or consume large amounts of alcohol, you may be suffering from a potassium deficit. Fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of potassium include bananas; spinach; sweet potatoes; avocados; yogurt; mushrooms; and acorn squash.
Increase Your Calcium and Magnesium Intake
Muscle cramps are a typical side effect of not getting enough potassium in your system. If you have chronic renal disease, have diabetes, use diuretics for high blood pressure, or consume large amounts of alcohol, you might be suffering from a potassium deficit. Consume extra bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, yogurt, mushrooms, and acorn squash to boost your potassium levels. –
Stretch and Massage Your Calves
Muscle cramps are a typical side effect of a low potassium level in the body. If you have chronic renal disease, have diabetes, use diuretics for high blood pressure, or consume large amounts of alcohol, you may be at risk for potassium insufficiency. Eat extra bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, yogurt, mushrooms, and acorn squash to boost your potassium levels.
Soak in an Epsom Salt Bath
Taking an Epsom salt bath is another method of relieving the symptoms of Charley horse. For the optimum benefits, soak for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing your entire body to be relaxed. Ambient lighting and soothing music also contribute to the overall experience.
Receive Muscle Spasm Treatment at Spine Correction Center
These ways to prevent Charley horses may not be effective in your case. You might be suffering from an underlying ailment that is causing your muscular spasm and cramping. If any of the following apply, it’s time to seek medical advice:
- Charley horses are a common occurrence that can cause considerable agony. Muscle cramps are accompanied by symptoms such as swelling, redness, weakness, or numbness. Your Charley horses appear for no obvious reason, such as dehydration or strenuous exertion
- Nonetheless, there is a cause.
Leg discomfort can be caused by a variety of factors, which we address at Spine Correction Center of the Rockies. Making an appointment for a free consultation with one of our medical specialists won’t harm you. To get started, please call our Fort Collins office at (970) 658-5115 or send us an email.