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.
Some of the other causes include:
If you have a cramp, these actions may provide relief:
Step 1: Get plenty of vitamin D-3, magnesium, potassium, and calcium (get tested for your blood levels of these and iron, too). Deficiencies are linked to cramping. From food and supplements aim for: –1,000 IU of D-3 daily.
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. Severe charley horses can result in muscle soreness that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a day. This is normal, so long as the pain isn’t prolonged or recurring.
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.
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.
Nocturnal Leg Cramp Prevention
Having a magnesium deficiency can be a cause of muscle cramps. And it’s common for people to need more magnesium. But, based on clinical studies, magnesium supplements have not proven to be an effective treatment for muscle cramps.
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Leg cramps at night, or nocturnal leg cramps, are common and can occur due to inactivity during the day, tired muscles, or certain medical conditions. Leg cramps, also called charley horses, are uncontrolled spasms in the muscles of the leg that may be painful.
Drink plenty of fluids. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, will often help leg cramps.
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.
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.