What Are Charley Horses and How to Treat Them
Have you ever had a Charley horse? While the term comes from American folklore, these are painful muscle cramps that no one enjoys. While this is true, you can take steps to ease the pain and even prevent them from occurring in the future.
What Are Charley Horses?
When someone claims to have a “Charley horse,” it means they experience an uncomfortable muscle cramp or spasm that causes intense contractions in the muscles. These can cause anyone to drop, even elite athletes. They are also quite common in people who are active in sports.
Unfortunately, these cramps can continue for hours with days of pain after it ends. This may impact your mood, ability to sleep, and your quality of life.
What Causes Charley Horses?
Cramping is a condition that is not fully understood. There is some evidence that supports the explanation that an electrolyte imbalance and dehydration cause it.
Another potential cause is a nerve that is misfiring. Your muscles are designed to contract, which causes your body to move. When they shorten, they will pull the bones they are connected to much closer together. Every muscle has a specific nerve supplying it and connecting it to the brain. If things don’t work properly, it may cause the muscle to cramp or spasm, which creates that intense, painful sensation. Regardless of the cause, finding ways to prevent these issues is a top priority for anyone who has experienced one.
Tips to Prevent or Reduce the Severity of a Charley Horse
While it is not clear what causes a charley horse, there are some changes you can make in your life to help you alleviate the stiffness and pain these can cause. If you are trying to relieve your muscle cramps or just want to take preventative steps to stop them, try:
- Stretching the area that is cramping
- Exercise often
- Massage the affected muscle
- Take magnesium or calcium supplements
- Apply heat on tight muscles and ice to eliminate pain
- Ensure you are properly hydrated
You can also add products designed to ease this type of pain to your daily routine, such as CBD. CBD is highly effective at calming inflammation that can lead to these intense and painful cramps and spasms. Just be sure to find a quality brand of CBD to ensure the desired results are achieved.
If you deal with nighttime muscle spasms that impact how you sleep at night, you may also want to take supplements that will support a healthier sleep cycle.
What to Remember
Muscle cramps or “Charley horses” are common. While this is true, experts still don’t know the specific cause for them. When you understand what they are and how you can treat them, you are in a good position to handle the painful symptoms they can cause.
If you want to limit or avoid muscle spasms, you should follow a healthy lifestyle, including proper hydration, exercise, sleep, and nutrition. If you do experience pain, add a light massage to get the relief that you need.