Another name for Charley Horse is muscle cramps. Involuntary contractions occur in muscles which are very uncomfortable. If the contraction persists for several seconds or more, severe pain , tightening or twinge is experienced by the patient. It can occur in any muscle but it is more common in leg muscles. It occurs suddenly and mostly the patients get these painful cramps in the middle of night.
- Poor \Inadequate blood flow to muscle
- Muscle overuse or injuries
- Stretching not done before exercise
- Mineral deficiency –especially Potassium and Magnesium
- Calcium deficiency during pregnancy
- Nerve compression from spine
- Exercising in extreme weather like too much heat or cold
It is more common in people- who smoke, obese, older adults, athletes, take medicines like diuretics, antipsychotics etc.
Measures to stop muscle cramps
- Massage or Apply pressure on the area of pain by your hands.
- Stretch muscles-If the affected part is calf then stand up on your toes for few seconds .If it is in the back of the thigh (Hamstring) then put your weight on the affected leg and slightly bend the knee. If it is in the front of thigh (Quadriceps) steady yourself by holding a chair and pull foot back towards the buttocks.
- Hot or cold packs can be applied.
- Stretch and strengthen muscles regularly
- Apply heat to the tighten muscles
- Improve electrolyte intake
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid exercising in severe weather condition.