Charley horse is another name for a muscle spasm. Charley horses can occur in any muscle, but they’re most common in the legs. These spasms are marked by uncomfortable muscle contractions. If the contracting muscles don’t relax for several seconds or more, the pain can be severe.
How does a charley horse work?
- How this works. What is a charley horse? Charley horse is another name for a muscle spasm. Charley horses can occur in any muscle, but they’re most common in the legs. These spasms are marked by uncomfortable muscle contractions. If the contracting muscles don’t relax for several seconds or more, the pain can be severe.
How do you relieve 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.
Why do we get charley horses?
Muscle spasms often occur when a muscle is overused or injured. Things that might bring on a muscle spasm include: Exercising when you have not had enough fluids (you’re dehydrated). Having low levels of minerals such as potassium or calcium.
Can charley horses cause damage?
Most people know the pain of a muscle cramp or “charley horse.” Muscle cramps are involuntary muscle contractions. They are common. But even though they can be quite painful, they don’t usually cause damage.
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.
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.”
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 do charley horses happen at night?
Many people experience charley horses during sleeping hours and are awakened because of them. Muscle spasms that cause charley horses while you sleep are common. However, why these nighttime spams occur isn’t entirely understood. It’s believed that lying in bed in an awkward position for a long time plays a role.
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 stop a Charlie horse at night?
7 Ways to Relieve and Prevent Leg Cramps at Night
- Stretch your hamstring and calf muscles during the day and before you go to bed.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day and watch your alcohol and caffeine consumption.
- Try mild exercises before bed, such as walking or riding the stationary bike for a few minutes.
Does stress cause charley horses?
Stress: Your muscles can become tense under stress, leading to spasms. Poor blood flow/circulation: If not enough blood is getting to your muscles, this can cause cramps.
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.
Can charley horses cause blood clots?
Several of the above situations that trigger a Charlie Horse may also increase risk of blood clot development, especially dehydration and inadequate blood flow, such as remaining sedentary for long periods of time.
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 do leg cramps at night mean?
In general, night leg cramps are likely to be related to muscle fatigue and nerve problems. The risk of having night leg cramps increases with age. Pregnant women also have a higher likelihood of having night leg cramps.
How do you get rid of muscle cramps fast?
Apply heat or cold. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles. Taking a warm bath or directing the stream of a hot shower onto the cramped muscle also can help. Alternatively, massaging the cramped muscle with ice may relieve pain.
Muscle cramp – Symptoms and causes
When you have a muscle cramp, one or more of your muscles tighten in an unexpected and involuntary manner. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night or been stopped in your tracks by a sudden charley horse, you know that muscular cramps may be excruciatingly painful to deal with. Muscle cramps, though normally innocuous, can make it hard to utilize the afflicted muscle for a short period of time. Muscle cramps can occur after prolonged durations of physical activity or manual labor, particularly in hot temperatures.
The majority of the time, self-care procedures may be used to cure muscular cramps at home.
The majority of muscular cramps occur in the leg muscles, notably in the calf muscles. Besides feeling or seeing a mass of muscle tissue beneath your skin, you may also experience or notice a quick, acute discomfort.
When to see a doctor
Muscle cramps normally go away on their own and are not acute enough to necessitate medical attention in most cases. Consult your doctor if your cramps include any of the following symptoms:
- Result in extreme discomfort
- Are connected with leg edema, redness, or changes in the appearance of the skin
- These conditions are connected with muscular weakness. This occurs on a regular basis
- Self-care does not help
- Instead, it makes things worse. Don’t appear to be related with a clearly identifiable cause, such as severe exercise
Muscle cramps can be caused by overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle tension, or just being in one posture for an extended amount of time. In many situations, however, the exact reason for the condition is unknown. Although the vast majority of muscular cramps are innocuous, some may be associated with a medical condition such as one of the following:
- There is insufficient blood supply. When the arteries that supply blood to your legs become narrowed (a condition known as arteriosclerosis of the extremities), it might cause cramp-like pain in your legs and feet when you’re exercising. These pains normally subside after a few minutes of ceasing exercise. Compression of the nerves. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) can cause cramp-like pain in your legs as well as other symptoms. The discomfort normally intensifies as you walk for a longer period of time. If you walk in a slightly flexed stance, such as you would if you were pulling a shopping cart in front of you, you may find that your symptoms improve or are delayed in onset.
- Mineral depletion is a problem. Leg cramps might be exacerbated if you consume too little potassium, calcium, or magnesium. Diuretics, which are commonly taken to treat high blood pressure, can also deplete these minerals in the body.
Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are as follows:
- Age. Because older persons lose muscular mass, the residual muscle is more susceptible to being overstressed
- Dehydration. Cramping is common in athletes who become weary and dehydrated when participating in warm-weather activities. Cramping is also common in pregnant women. Muscle cramps are also prevalent during pregnancy
- However, they are less severe. Medical conditions are listed below. It is possible that you will be more susceptible to muscular cramps if you have diabetes, or if you have nerve, liver, or thyroid diseases.
Cramping may be avoided by following these steps:
- Dehydration should be avoided. Drink enough of fluids on a daily basis. This varies depending on your diet, your gender, your level of exercise, the weather, your physical and mental well-being, your age, and the drugs you take. Fluids aid in the contraction and relaxation of your muscles, as well as keeping muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. Replace fluids at regular intervals while your exercise, and continue to drink water or other fluids after you’ve stopped
- Make sure to stretch your muscles. Stretching should be done before and after using any muscle for a lengthy amount of time. Stretching before bedtime might help if you suffer from leg cramps at night. Light activity, such as riding a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before night, may also be beneficial in preventing cramps while you’re sleeping
- For example,
3rd of March, 2021
- Muscle cramps are a painful condition. An acronym for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Winkelman JW (accessed November 18, 2015)
- Winkelman JW. Leg cramps that occur during night. Muscle spasms, last accessed on November 18, 2015. Professional Edition of the Merck Manual. On November 18, 2015, I was able to access
Charley Horse: 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.
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
- sstepping the leg that isn’t experiencing muscle cramping forward into a lunge
- sstraightening the back of the leg that is experiencing the cramp and lunging forward on the front leg
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.
Charley horse (also known as Acharley) is a muscle spasm, which occurs when a muscle contracts up on its own without any external stimulus. Muscle cramps can occur anywhere on your body at any time. They’re rather frequent in the legs.
Charley Horse Causes
Among the things that might set off a charley horse are:
- One or more of the following can set off a Charlie horse:
Muscle cramps are also a side effect of various medications, such as those listed below:
- Diuretics (often known as “water pills”) are medications that remove fluid from your body, such as furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), and others. It is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Donepezil (Aricept) is a medication. Neostigmine (Prostigmine), which is used to treat myasthenia gravis
- Nifedipine (Procardia), which is used to treat angina and excessive blood pressure
- And other medications. Raloxifene (Evista), a drug used to treat osteoporosis. Medications for asthma, include terbutaline (Brethine) and albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)
- Tolcapone (Tasmar), which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. cholesterol-lowering statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor)
- Statins for diabetes
- Statins for high blood pressure
Charley Horse Risk Factors
Certain persons are more prone to getting charley horses than others:
- Overweight or obese people over the age of 50
- Athletes, pregnant women, and pregnant women Those who suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, thyroid, liver, or nervous system problems
Charley Horse Diagnosis
There is no need to visit your doctor unless you have a charley horse in addition to one of the following conditions:
- A feeling of weakness or numbness
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive perspiration (which might result in dehydration)
- Overindulging in alcoholic beverages
Your symptoms and medical history will be discussed with you by your doctor. They’ll also do a physical examination. They may conduct blood tests, muscle testing, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies to rule out a medical issue that is causing the cramping.
Charley Horse Treatment
If you get a charley horse in your calf or in the back of your thigh (hamstring), place your weight on the afflicted leg and gently bend your knees to relieve the discomfort. Alternatively, you can sit or lie down with your leg out straight and lift the top of your foot towards your head. Holding on to a chair while bending the knee of the afflicted leg will relieve a cramp in the front of your thigh (quadriceps). Pulling your foot up near your buttock will help you feel more comfortable. Massage, an Epsom salt bath, or the use of a heating pad can all help to relax the muscle.
Most of the time, the charley horse will come to a halt within a few minutes.
Charley Horse Prevention
Preventing cramps from occurring in the first place:
- Eat more meals that are high in vitamin C and magnesium
- Drink plenty of water
- And stretch before and after exercise. Stretching before exercise can assist to prevent tense muscles throughout the workout session. Cramping caused by other factors can be alleviated by daily stretching.
- Put on a pair of comfy shoes. Limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you consume
- Increase your physical activity gradually rather than all at once. Don’t exercise straight after eating
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t drink alcohol right after eating.
Charley horse : MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
A charley horse is a term used to describe a muscular spasm or cramp in general. Muscle spasms can occur in any muscle in the body, although they are most frequently experienced in the leg muscles. When a muscle is in spasm, it contracts and does not relax, despite your efforts to regulate it. Muscle spasms are common when a muscle is overworked or damaged, and they are painful. A muscular spasm can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:
- Taking part in physical activity while you haven’t had enough fluids (you’re dehydrated)
- Having low mineral concentrations, such as potassium or calcium
Some spasms arise as a result of irritation to the nerve that links a muscle to another muscle. As an illustration, consider the case of a herniated disk that produces irritation of the spinal nerves, as well as discomfort and spasm in the back muscles. Spasms in the calf are common during swimming or running and occur when the leg is kicked. They can also occur during the night while you are sleeping. Upper leg spasms are more likely when participating in sports such as running or leaping. Stress can cause spasms in the neck (cervical spine), which can be painful.
- It is referred to as a knot in some circles.
- Muscle spasms are diagnosed by looking for tight or firm muscles that are painful to the touch, as indicated by your health care practitioner.
- A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be useful in determining whether or not the spasm is caused by nerve irritation, such as that in the back.
- At first, heat will help to relax the muscle.
- If the muscle is still uncomfortable after applying heat and ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can be used to alleviate the discomfort.
- After you’ve been treated, your healthcare professional should investigate the origin of the spasm to ensure that it doesn’t recur.
- If you exercise and consume water or sports drinks, it might assist to alleviate cramps caused by dehydration.
- Muscle spasms will subside over time as a result of rest and relaxation.
- Spasms can be prevented from happening on a regular basis by learning how to exercise effectively with the necessary training and adequate hydration intake.
If the spasm was triggered by an inflamed nerve, you may require further therapy. The outcomes of these therapies might be unpredictable. If any of the following apply, contact your service provider:
- You’re suffering from a severe muscular spasm and terrible agony. You are experiencing weakness as a result of your muscular spasm. You are experiencing a muscular spasm that will not quit and is spreading to other places of your body
Your physician can assist you in changing your exercise regimen to lessen the likelihood of future spasms, even if they are not severe at the time. Among the things you may take to reduce your chances of getting muscular cramps are the following:
- Your physician can assist you in changing your exercise regimen to lessen the likelihood of future spasms, even if your symptoms are not severe at the time. Muscle cramps can be avoided by doing a number of things, including:
Geiderman JM, Katz D. General concepts of orthopedic injuries. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1989. Walls RM, Hockberger RS, and Gausche-Hill M (eds.). In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, and Gausche-Hill M (eds.). Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice (Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice). Elsevier, 9th edition, Philadelphia, PA, 2018:chap 42. D. Wang, C. Eliasberg, and S. A. Rodeo. The physiology and pathology of the musculoskeletal tissues are covered in detail.
Elsevier, Philadelphia, PA, 2020:chap 1 of the 5th edition.
Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, provided the most recent update.
Editorial staff examined the manuscript for accuracy.
Charley horse is another name for this animal. On this page, you will find
See, Play and Learn
When you get a muscle cramp, it means that one or more of your muscles clench or spasm suddenly and without warning. They are quite prevalent and frequently arise as a result of physical activity. Muscle cramps, particularly leg cramps, can be a problem for certain people at night. They can be uncomfortable and can last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes. Cramping can occur in any muscle, although it occurs most frequently in the following:
What causes muscle cramps?
Muscle cramps can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Overexerting or overstretching a muscle. This is the most prevalent reason for the problem. If you suffer from a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in your neck or back, you may experience compression of your nerves. Dehydration
- Elevated amounts of electrolytes (e.g., magnesium, potassium, and calcium)
- There is insufficient blood flow to your muscles
- Pregnancy, certain medications, and other factors Gettingdialysis
Muscle cramps can have a variety of causes, some of which are unknown.
Who is at risk for muscle cramps?
Muscle cramps can occur in everyone, however they are more prevalent in certain individuals:
- People over the age of 50
- Those who are overweight Women who are pregnant
- Those who have specific medical issues, such as thyroid and nervous system abnormalities
When do I need to see a health care provider for muscle cramps?
Muscle cramps are normally mild and disappear after a few minutes of occurrence. However, you should consult your health-care practitioner if you have the following symptoms:
- Are really harsh
- This occurs on a regular basis
- Stretching and consuming plenty of water will not help you feel better
- Last for a lengthy period of time
- These symptoms are accompanied by swelling, redness, or a warm sensation
- These symptoms are accompanied by muscular weakness.
What are the treatments for muscle cramps?
Muscle cramps are typically not serious and do not require medical attention. You may be able to get some relief from cramps if you do the following:
- Using gentle stretching or massage motions to relax the muscle Applying heat when a muscle is tight and ice when a muscle is painful will help to relieve the pain. If you are dehydrated, you should drink extra water.
If the cramps are caused by another medical condition, addressing that condition will most likely alleviate them. When it comes to cramp prevention, there are medications available that are occasionally prescribed by doctors, but they are not always helpful and may have negative effects. Consult with your healthcare practitioner about the risks and advantages of taking medications.
Can muscle cramps be prevented?
You may avoid muscular cramps by doing the following:
- Stretch your muscles, especially before you engage in strenuous activity. If you get leg cramps at night on a regular basis, stretch your leg muscles before bed and drink lots of water. Using sports drinks can help you replenish electrolytes if you engage in strenuous exercise or exercise in hot weather
Don’t Let Foot Cramps and Charley Horses Slow You Down
Have you ever had a paralyzing tightness in your leg or foot when you first woke up? Cleveland Clinic is a not-for-profit academic medical facility located in Cleveland, Ohio. Advertising on our website contributes to the success of our mission. We do not recommend or promote any items or services that are not provided by the Cleveland Clinic. Policy Cramping of the foot or the leg (also known as “charley horse”) is a frequent and rather unexplained type of discomfort that occurs when a muscle becomes reflexively rigid and can’t be allowed to relax.
Caitlin Lewis, MD, a sports medicine expert, believes that as we get older, “they seem to arise more frequently.” They are seldom hazardous, despite the fact that they can be unpleasant.
7 common causes for cramps
Ever woken up with a paralyzing tightness in your leg or foot when you least expected it? This academic medical facility is run by a non-profit organization called the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Advertising on our website contributes to the success of our cause. We do not recommend any items or services that are not provided by the Cleveland Clinic. Policy Cramping of the foot or the leg (also known as “charley horse”) is a frequent and rather unexplained type of discomfort that occurs when a muscle becomes involuntary rigid and is unable to release its hold on the joint.
- 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.
What Is a Charley Horse? – Pain Management Center – Everyday Health
It’s possible that you’re going to fall asleep or that you’re about to wake up. Your calf muscle goes into spasm and won’t let go — it contracts into a rock-hard mass, and you’re trapped in the grip of intense pain. This happens without any apparent reason. Experiencing a muscle cramp, often known as a Charley horse, can be terrifying and devastating for those who have never had one before.
What Is a Charley Horse?
The term “charley horse” refers to an involuntary muscular cramp, spasm, or contraction that occurs without the use of voluntary muscles. Although the word is typically used to refer to a muscular spasm in the back of the calf at night, it can occur in any muscle in your body at any time of day. It is possible to have a Charley horse because neurons from your spinal cord encourage the muscle to continue contracting. After all, who exactly is Charley, and what exactly is the big deal about his horse?
One legend is that the grounds crew in Chicago utilized a lame horse named Charley at some point in the late 1880s or early 1900s.
Another legend has it that a pitcher called Charles was given the nickname “Old Hoss” because of his age.
A fellow player approached him as he staggered near home plate and said, “What’s up with you, Charley Hoss?”
What Causes a Charley Horse?
The actual reason for a Charley horse’s appearance is not always known. However, muscular damage and overuse are two of the most prevalent causes – for example, you may not have stretched correctly before working out or you may not be adequately hydrated. Leg cramps can also be caused by low blood levels of important minerals such as potassium, calcium, or magnesium, and somediuretic drugs that deplete the body of potassium might make you more prone. An inflamed nerve anywhere in your body may be the source of your Charley horse in some circumstances.
It is perhaps possible that high heels are to blame. Additionally, as you grow older, you are more prone to experience cramps since your muscles are no longer accustomed to working as hard or as quickly as they once did.
Treating a Charley Horse
Charley horse cramps normally subside on their own, without the need for medical intervention. Stop doing whatever you’re doing as soon as you notice a cramp coming on. Massage your muscle and stretch it slowly, holding the stretch for as long as it takes to relieve the cramp. In the case of calf cramping, bend your foot (with the toes directed toward you) and maintain it flexed until the spasm is relieved. Applying heat to your muscles might assist to relieve muscle tension. Your muscles will be sore for a few days after you’ve survived your adventure.
What is the best way to avoid becoming a Charley horse?
Also, remember to stay hydrated at all times, but especially when engaging in vigorous physical activity.
On rare circumstances, they may, however, be a symptom of a more serious problem that necessitates medical intervention and treatment.
What is a Charley Horse and How Can I Ease My Muscle Cramp? – New England Baptist Hospital
A “Charley Horse” is another term for a muscular spasm, which is characterized by painful contractions of your muscles that last several seconds. Although they can occur in any muscle, they are most frequently seen in the legs. It is possible to develop a Charley horse due to a variety of factors such as muscular injury or tension, misuse or not stretching sufficiently, or even dehydration. Anyone can suffer a Charley horse, although the elderly and athletes are the ones who are most likely to do so.
Several variables, including not drinking enough water, having poor muscular fitness, and taking certain drugs, increase the likelihood of developing a Charley horse as individuals become older, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
There are a few things you may do to alleviate the discomfort caused by your Charley horse.
It is also possible to reduce muscular tension by using an ice pack for 10-15 minutes after a vigorous workout session. If you get a Charley horse at the back of your leg or calf, here are some methods to help you relax your muscles:
- To relieve the cramp, try walking about and keeping your legs moving for a few minutes or until the tightness subsides. While seated, maintain your constricted leg straight and extended in front of you, with your knee bent at 90 degrees. Point your toes upwards and reach towards that toe until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg
- Point your toes upwards and reach towards that toe until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg
- Ice packs should be applied to the cramping muscle for 10-15 minutes after being wrapped in a t-shirt or pillow case.
If you are suffering from muscular cramps on a frequent basis, consult your doctor for more information and treatment recommendations.
The contraction of a muscle that happens suddenly and does not allow the muscle to relax is known as a “muscle cramp.” The quick, tight, and excruciating agony that comes with an immobilized muscle is likely still fresh in your mind if you have ever been the victim of a charley horse attack. Cramps can affect any muscle that you are able to control voluntarily (skeletal muscle). They might include a single muscle or numerous muscles in a group, or they can involve half or all of a muscle. The following muscle groups are the most often affected:
- The gastrocnemius muscle is located at the back of the lower leg/calf
- The hamstrings are located at the back of the thigh
- And the quadriceps are located at the front of the thigh.
Cramps in the feet, hands, arms, belly, and along the rib cage are also highly prevalent in those who have high blood pressure. Some researchers believe that insufficient stretching and muscular exhaustion are the root causes of muscle cramps, which are characterized by anomalies in the processes that govern muscle contraction. Other variables, such as poor conditioning, exercising or working in extreme heat, dehydration, and depletion of salt and minerals, may also be implicated (electrolytes).
Inadequate Stretching and Muscle Fatigue
Muscles are a bundle of fibers that contract and extend in order to generate movement in the body. Muscle fibers get longer as a result of a regular stretching regimen, allowing them to contract and tighten more fiercely as you exercise. You are more prone to suffer muscle tiredness if your body is not in good shape. Muscle fatigue can cause changes in the spinal neural reflex activity. Overexertion depletes the oxygen supply of a muscle, resulting in the accumulation of waste products and spasm.
Heat, Dehydration, and Electrolyte Depletion
When you exercise in hot weather, you are more prone to have muscle cramps because perspiration depletes your body’s fluids, salt, and minerals (i.e., potassium, magnesium and calcium). Muscle spasms can also occur as a result of a lack of certain nutrients.
Some persons are susceptible to muscular cramps and experience them on a frequent basis after engaging in any physical activity. Infants and young children, as well as individuals over the age of 65, are at the highest risk of cramping and other diseases associated with excessive heat exposure. Other variables that increase the likelihood of experiencing muscular cramps are as follows:
- Inability to work because of illness or obesity
- Overexerting oneself at work or during exercise
- Certain drugs are being taken
Inability to work because of illness or obesity The act of exerting excessive effort either at work or during physical activity some drugs are being used;
- Athletes are more susceptible to cramping during the preseason because their bodies are less conditioned and consequently more susceptible to tiredness. In older persons, muscular cramps are more likely to occur at the conclusion of a vigorous or protracted exercise session, or 4 to 6 hours afterwards. This is due to normal muscle loss (atrophy), which begins in the mid-40s and accelerate if a person does not engage in physical activity. As you get older, your muscles are no longer able to function as hard or as swiftly as they once could. The body also loses part of its capacity to detect and respond to changes in temperature, as well as some of its sensation of thirst.
Pain from muscle cramps can range in intensity from a little twitch to excruciating agony. A cramping muscle may feel rigid to the touch and/or seem visually deformed or twitch beneath the skin, depending on the severity of the cramp.
Cramping can last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes or more. It is possible that the problem will repeat several times before it is resolved. Cramps are frequently self-resolving and do not necessitate seeing a doctor.
- Put an end to whatever it was that caused the cramp. Using gentle stretching and massage, stretch and massage the cramping muscle, maintaining it in the stretched position until the spasm stops
- Heat should be applied to tense/tight muscles, while ice should be used to sore/tender muscles.
Work toward improving your general fitness in order to avoid recurring cramping. Pre and post-workout flexibility exercises should be performed on a regular basis to stretch muscle regions that are prone to cramping.
Stretching should always be preceded by a warm-up. Warm-up exercises such as gently running in place or walking briskly for a few minutes are both excellent examples of what to do.
Calf Muscle Stretch
Leaning forward against a wall, one leg in front of the other, perform this exercise. Straighten your rear leg and press your heel firmly into the ground. Repeat on the other side. Your front knee is bent at the hip. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Don’t forget to keep both heels level on the ground! Make a pointing motion with your rear foot’s toes toward the heel of your front foot.
Hamstring Muscle Stretch
Lie down with one leg in front of the other and lean forward against a wall for support. Maintain the straightness of your rear leg and press your heel into the ground on the other side. When you stand up straight, your front knee bends. 15 to 30 seconds should be plenty. Don’t forget to keep both heels level on the ground. Your rear foot should be pointing in the direction of your front foot’s heel.
Quadriceps Muscle Stretch
Holding on to a wall or the back of a chair will help you maintain your equilibrium. Elevate one foot and bring the heel of that foot up toward your buttocks. Grip your ankle with one hand and draw your heel closer to your torso to complete the movement. Hold the stretch for a total of thirty seconds. What to Do: Keep your knees together as much as possible. When you feel the strain, stop pushing your heel closer to your toes. Avoid arching or twisting your back. Hold each stretch for a brief period of time before releasing it.
Although the majority of muscle cramps are harmless, they can occasionally signal the presence of a significant medical issue.
It is possible that you will experience difficulties with your circulation, nerves, metabolism, hormones, drugs, and nutrition.
Causes of Charley Horses: Symptoms and Treatment
15th of January, 2020 (updated) Charley horses, a painful muscle spasm in the leg or foot, can occur in people of all ages and walks of life, and they can be quite severe. Even worse, they can occur at any time of day or night, but it is usual to have muscular cramps when sleeping.
There are specific habits and situations that have been associated with charley horses, and there are actions you may take to avoid them, despite the fact that they appear to develop randomly.
What Is a Charley Horse?
January 15, 2020: This page was last modified. It is possible for people of all ages and walks of life to have charley horses, a painful muscular spasm in the leg or foot. Furthermore, they can occur at any time of day or night, although it is usual to have muscular cramps when sleeping. There are specific behaviors and situations that have been associated with charley horses, and there are actions you may take to avoid them, despite the fact that they appear to happen at random.
Charley Horse Causes
While there is no definitive reason for charley horses, there are various conditions that increase the likelihood of their occurrence, including:
- Overuse of the muscle: This is the most typical reason for muscular pain. Cramping or spasming can occur when a muscle is overworked, putting an additional demand on it. The loss of more water than your body is taking in, such as during exercise, might lead your body to become ill-equipped to perform its functions. It’s important to avoid exercising in extreme heat or cold conditions. Exercising in heat might make you more susceptible to dehydration, while exercising in cold weather may impair your body’s ability to warm up properly. Stress: When you are stressed, your muscles might get stiff, which can result in spasms. Cramping can be caused by poor blood flow or circulation. If not enough blood is getting to your muscles, this can result in cramping. Getting insufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals: Muscle spasms can be caused by a shortage of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium). Standing or sitting for an extended period of time without moving can cause blood flow to the muscles to be reduced or stopped entirely. This can also happen when you’re sleeping
- Nerves that are not working properly: Issues such as a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in the neck or back can cause signal interruption to the muscles. Among the drugs are: Diuretics (used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, and kidney disease), nicotinic acid and statins (used to treat high cholesterol), raloxifene (used to prevent osteoporosis), and nifedipine (used to treat angina and Raynaud’s phenomenon) are all examples of medications that can cause cramps. In pregnancy, the added weight of the mother-to-be can place an additional pressure on the leg muscles. As a result of liver illness, toxic substances might build up in your system, causing muscular spasms. Muscle cramps can be caused by bacterial illnesses such as tetanus.
Who Is at Risk?
The following groups are at risk for muscular cramps and spasms:
- Participants in athletic competitions
- Those who are overweight or obese
- Senior citizens
- Expectant mothers
- Individuals who have thyroid or nerve issues
How to Treat Charley Horses
Participants in athletic competitions; those who are overweight or obese; elderly folks; expectant mothers; individuals who have thyroid or nerve issues;
- Heat should be applied throughout the cramping period and ice should be applied when it has passed. Lie down with your leg straight, elevate your foot, and bend your ankle so that your toes point toward your shin if you have a calf cramp. As a result, the damaged muscles move in the opposite direction of the constricted muscles, therefore relieving the tension
- The muscle should be massaged
- Drink plenty of fluids. If the discomfort persists after applying heat and ice, anti-inflammatory medications should be used.
Prevention is the most effective therapy for charley horses. You may take efforts to avoid them by doing the following:
- Making sure you drink lots of water
- Stretching before and after exercise, as well as before bed if you get cramps at night Consuming meals that are high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium Putting on shoes that are comfy and supportive
- Changing the way you do your workouts
Stretches to avoid charley horses are recommended by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
- Stretch your calf muscles by leaning forward with one leg in front of the other while holding both hands on a wall. Straighten your rear leg and press your heel firmly into the ground. Repeat on the other side. Your front knee will be bent at this point. Continue to hold for 15 to 30 seconds before switching to the other leg. Stretch your hamstrings by sitting tall and extending both legs straight in front of you while on the ground. Make a flat surface for your palms on the ground and glide them toward your ankles. Come to a complete stop when you feel the strain
- In order to maintain balance and support, hang onto the wall or the back of a chair for support and stability. Grab the bottom of your foot and bend your leg backward, bringing your heel toward your buttocks. Maintain this position for 30 seconds by pulling your heel closer to your mid-section. Repeat the process with the opposite leg.
When to See a Doctor
Charley horses can be the consequence of nerve abnormalities in some people, which can be detected with an MRI scan in others. In the event that you have regular muscle spasms, they might be a sign of an underlying health issue such as:
- Charley horses can be the consequence of nerve problems in some people, which can be identified with an MRI scan in others. You may be suffering from one of the following health conditions if you are experiencing muscular spasms all the time.
Consult your doctor if your cramps include any of the following symptoms:
- You should see a doctor if your cramps are caused by the following conditions:
Shaun Eikenberry, MD, a primary care physician at Greater Pittsburgh Medical Associates-UPMC, advises patients who are suffering charley horses after taking a new drug to consult their doctor. “Charley horses can occasionally occur as a side effect of certain drugs that cause your electrolyte balance to shift. The most often prescribed drugs are diuretics (“water pills”), blood pressure meds, and heart medications.”
The National Library of Medicine of the United States Muscle cramps are a painful condition. Kevin C. Miller, PhD, ATC, CSCS, Marcus S. Stone, PhD, ATC, and Jeffrey E. Edwards, PhD, are the authors of this paper. Kevin C. Miller, PhD, ATC, CSCS Muscle cramps that occur as a result of exercise. Sports Medicine and Fitness. Muscle spasms, you’ve been defeated! The Harvard Health Publishing Company An acronym for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Muscle cramps are a painful condition.
Leg cramps are a painful condition.
Muscle spasms are a common problem.
Why You Should Never Ignore Leg Cramps: Clement Banda, MD: Dermatologist
The National Library of Medicine of the United States is an excellent resource. Acute Muscle Cramps (also known as cramps). Professor Kevin C. Miller, PhD, ATC, and Chief Scientific Officer of the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) are among those who have contributed to this research. cramps in the muscles caused by strenuous physical activity Sporting Goods and Exercise Medicine. Muscle cramps, you’ve been warned! Publish by Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Health Publishing. An organization founded by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1922.
Informed by the NHS Leg Cramps are a painful condition that affects the lower legs.
National Spine Society of North America, Inc. Spasms of the muscles The National Library of Medicine of the United States is an excellent resource. Charley Horse is a fictional character created by author Charles Dickens in the 18th century. AARP. Compression stockings for Charley Horses
Overuse and Dehydration
Overusing or straining the muscle is the most prevalent cause of muscular pain, with inadequate stretching before to usage also being a significant factor in many cases. Being dehydrated, whether as a result of working out in the heat or for other causes, can irritate muscle cells and result in cramping and other symptoms. In most cases, self-treatment is sufficient, such as increased stretching (even before bed with or without mild exercise if leg cramps wake you) and making sure to drink enough fluids each day.
Medical Conditions and Medications
Leg cramps are more common during pregnancy, and certain medical diseases such as diabetes and nerve, thyroid, or liver problems can make them more often. Low electrolyte levels, such as potassium, magnesium, or calcium, can also make them more frequent. Aside from dialysis and certain drugs such as diuretics, painful muscular spasms can also be a side effect of dialysis. A compressed or pinched nerve in the back or neck can cause discomfort similar to that of a leg cramp, with the intensity of the agony rising as the distance walked increases.
Insufficient Blood Supply
Cramping in the legs can sometimes indicate the presence of something more serious, such as a lack of blood supply to the muscles. There are a variety of reasons why the free flow of blood may be obstructed, including: If you have arteriosclerosis, you may potentially experience complications. When you’re young and healthy, your arteries are elastic and flexible; but, as you become older, your arteries might become rigid, thick, and restricted. It is possible to suffer pain in your legs and feet when exercising due to the reduced ability of the blood to move through your arteries.
- There are, fortunately, remedies available for this condition.
- Banda often does a color duplex ultrasound to check the quality of your veins when he feels that your blood flow is impaired.
- Following a thorough examination of the data, Dr.
- As a last resort, he can conduct one of many minimally invasive treatments to correct the issue if the previous efforts are insufficient.
- To schedule an appointment with Dr.
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
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.
“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.
Coping with Muscle Cramps
alleviation of discomfort
Coping with muscle cramps: Why you don’t have to live with this common pain
Learn how basic self-care practices, such as moderate stretching, can help to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because of a muscular cramp? In the middle of anything you were doing, it halted you in your tracks. The condition known as muscular cramps, or “charley horses,” as it is commonly referred to, is exceedingly prevalent and occurs when muscles tense involuntarily and are unable to release. Cramping is particularly common in the calves, thighs, and arch of the foot, which are all sensitive areas.
osteopathic physician Carolyn Quist, DO, of Fort Worth, Texas, says that cramps may affect any muscle under your control.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, when a person suffers from a muscle cramp, the muscle in question feels tougher to the touch than usual and may even display obvious symptoms of muscular twitching.
They will listen to you and work with you to help avoid damage and support your body’s natural capacity to self-repair in order to help you heal.
Muscle cramps may strike anybody, at any time, and from any location. “There is no one who is immune,” Dr. Quist adds. When it comes to developing a muscle cramp, it doesn’t matter if you’re young or elderly, active or inactive; you might be doing just about anything. Dr. Quist, on the other hand, points out that newborns, the elderly, the obese, and athletes are at the highest risk of developing muscular cramps. According to Dr. Quist, the following are some of the most prevalent causes of muscular cramps:
- Stretching insufficiently before to physical activity Exercising in the sweltering heat
- Muscle exhaustion
Athletes who become weary and dehydrated while participating in warm-weather activities are more likely to have muscular cramps than others. As Dr. Quist explains, “Imbalances in the levels of electrolytes in the blood,” such as the amounts of sodium and potassium in the blood as well as chloride, calcium, and phosphate, can also cause muscular cramps.
Treating muscle cramps
Fortunately, muscle cramps usually subside within minutes and do not necessitate seeking medical attention in most cases. Here are a few things you can try to alleviate your symptoms:
- Put an end to whatever it was that caused the cramp. Keep your cramping muscle in a stretched posture for as long as possible, then gently stretch and massage it until the cramping ceases. If you have a calf cramp, place your weight on the leg that is affected and gently bend your knee. Try bringing the top of your foot on the afflicted side toward your head while your leg is in a straightened posture if you’re unable to get up. A back thigh (hamstring) tightness will be alleviated as a result of this. Try to move your foot on the afflicted side near your buttock when sitting in a chair to alleviate a front thigh cramp (quadriceps spasm). Heat should be applied to tense/tight muscles, while ice should be used to sore/tender muscles.
As Dr. Quist points out, if your cramps are severe, occur frequently, do not react well to basic therapies, or are not associated with apparent reasons such as intense activity, you should visit a doctor right once. It’s possible that they’re an indication of a problem with the circulatory system, nerves, metabolism, hormones, drugs, or diet, according to the expert. Muscular cramps may be avoided by performing flexibility exercises before and after your workout to stretch the muscle parts that are most prone to cramping, as well as by drinking lots of fluids throughout the day.
If you believe your muscle cramps are too frequent and severe to be normal, it’s recommended to consult with your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment options.