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.
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.
If you have a cramp, these actions may provide relief:
Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. In many cases, however, the cause isn’t known. Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as: Inadequate blood supply.
A DVT blood clot can cause a calf cramp that feels a lot like a charley horse. Like leg pain, the cramping sensation with DVT will persist and even worsen with time. It won’t clear up with stretching or walking it off like an ordinary charley horse.
Nocturnal Leg Cramp Prevention
Magnesium is a widely used remedy for leg cramps.
The following tips may help you avoid leg cramps while sleeping:
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.
Drink plenty of fluids. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, will often help leg cramps.
Here are a some things that can help ease cramps:
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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.