What exactly is a Charlie Horse?
A charley horse is a type of muscle spasm which occurs when a muscle unexpectedly and spontaneously contracts. These cramps can manifest themselves anywhere in your body. They are often seen in your legs.
Charley Horse Causes
Some of the things that might set off a charley horse are as follows:
- Insufficient flow of blood
- You are overworking your muscles and not stretching nearly enough.
- Engaging in physical activity despite the heat
- A diet that is deficient in magnesium and/or potassium, or both
- An issue such as a herniated disc in your neck or a squeezed nerve in your back could be causing you discomfort.
- Disorders of the kidneys
In addition, several medications, including the following, might cause muscle cramping as a side effect:
Terbutaline (Brethine) and albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin) are two medicines that are used to treat asthma. Tolcapone (Tasmar) is a medication that is used to treat Parkinson’s disease.
Neostigmine, sometimes known as pyridostigmine, is a medication that treats myasthenia gravis.
Nifedipine, sold under the brand name Procardia, is a medication used to cure angina and hypertension.
Donepezil (Aricept), which is prescribed to cure Alzheimer’s disease Furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), as well as other diuretics (also known as “water pills”) that remove fluid from your body are examples of diuretics.
Raloxifene, also known as Evista, is a therapy for osteoporosis.
Factors That Could Cause a Charley Horse
There are several types of persons that are more prone to getting Charley horses:
- Patients suffering from conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, liver disease, or nerve disorders
- Older adults
- People that are overweight or obese
- Pregnant women
Charley Horse Analysis as the Diagnosis
If you also have one of the following symptoms in addition to your charley horse, then you should make an appointment with your doctor:
- Symptoms include as throwing up, diarrhea, or excessive perspiration (which can cause dehydration)
- Consuming an unsafe amount of alcohol
Your physician will inquire about your symptoms and past medical history. Additionally, a physical examination will be performed. To identify a medical condition that can result in cramping, they may order blood tests, tests of the muscles, or MRI exams.
Treatment with a Charley Horse
If you experience a charley horse in either calf or in the rear of your thighs (hamstring), you should place your body weight on the leg that is afflicted and gently bend your knee. You may also sit or lay down with one leg extended straight out in front of you and then lift the tip of your foot near your head.
If you’re experiencing a cramp in the front part of your leg (quadriceps), you should grab onto a chair for support and drop the knee of the thigh that’s giving you trouble. Bring your foot in the air to your buttock as you do so.
The muscle may be relaxed using techniques such as massage, soaking in a bath with Epsom salts, or using a heating pad. You may alleviate discomfort by applying an ice pack to the affected area or by using an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
The charley horse will often end within a few minutes in the vast majority of instances. However, you should see a physician if you have them often for no apparent cause.
Protection Against Charley Horses
To prevent muscle cramps from occurring in the first place:
- Eat more meals that are rich in magnesium and vitamin content.
- Stay hydrated.
- Stretch every day, primarily before you work out. Stretching your muscles before you work them out can help prevent muscle tightness. Regular stretching may help alleviate cramps that are brought on by other factors.
- Put on some comfy shoes.
- Reduce the amount of alcohol that you consume.
- Instead of increasing the intensity of your workout all at once, try ramping it up gradually.
- It’s not a good idea to work out shortly after you eat.
- Don’t smoke.