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How to Relieve A Charley Horse – Facts You Should Know

What Is a Charley Horse?

Muscle spasm is also referred to as Charley horse. It can occur in any muscles, yet it’s most common in legs.

Such spasms are marked by very uncomfortable muscle contractions. The contracting muscles do not relax for a few seconds or more and pain can be a bit severe.

Severe charley horses can result to sore muscles for several hours or even for a few days. It’s normal as long as the pain is not recurring or prolonged.

Generally, charley horses can be treated at home, particularly if they’re infrequent. Nevertheless, frequent muscle spaces are linked to some underlying health conditions, which require medical treatment.

What Causes a Charley Horse?

There are various factors that could cause muscles to spasm or cramp. The common ones are as follows:

  • Dehydration
  • Taking diuretics that result to low level of potassium
  • Nerve compression in one’s spine
  • Not stretching before exercising
  • Stress in neck muscles
  • Overuse of a particular muscle during exercise
  • Exercising in very cold or hot weather condition
  • Muscle injuries
  • Not enough blood flow to the body muscles

A lot of people suffer from charley horses during their sleeping hours and some are awakened because of the pain that these caused.

It is thought that charley horses occur frequently during bed time because of lying in bed with awkward sleeping position for several hours.

How to Get Rid of a Charley Horse

If you want to know how to relieve a charley horse, the treatments may depend on the underlying cause.

If charley horse is actually exercise-induced, simple massages and stretches will help you relax your body muscles and stop them from contracting. Heating pads may accelerate the process of relaxation while ice packs can help you numb pain.

If your muscles are still sore, your doctor might recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication and one of these is ibuprofen.

Charley horses that are recurrent need more aggressive treatment. The pain medications can be prescribed once ibuprofen is not enough to ease your discomfort.

In some severe cases, physical therapy may be required and other medication. Surgery is also recommended for those who are experiencing severe cases of charley horses.

If other treatments have failed, you may also try other alternative treatments like some remedies.

How to Relieve a Charley Horse

When Charley horse strikes, pain could be very severe that you’ll seek for quick relief.

Although you may always try some OTC medications while you are in an outdoor adventure, it would be a good idea to treat charley horse in a natural way and some natural remedies include the following:


Body muscles get constricted due to spasms. For you to relax your muscles and get rid of pain, try stretching the body muscles.

If charley horse occurred at the back of your thighs, you can ask your friend to pull your legs straight and take it towards your head. For pain on thigh’s back side, you should pull your legs straight and take that backwards towards your buttocks.

You must also stretch your legs in the spasm’s opposite direction to loosen up the muscles and provide quick relief.


You should massage your calf muscles, thigh, and feed. Doing this can reduce cramps and give you the relief you desire. Massage can also improve the circulation of your blood.

Take a Bath

You can try bathing with epsom salt mixed in your water and soak your body for ten to twenty minutes if possible. It can help you relive muscle pain. If you are near to a hot spring area, you can take a bath there for a while because nothing beats a relaxing bath for tight muscles.


Everybody said that prevention is always better than cure. For you to prevent charley horse, you must never stop doing daily stretching even if you’re not home and you are in the wild trying to explore and discover things with your friends.

Proper Diet

Most of the time, charley horse is because of inherent deficiencies in your body. To avoid such deficiencies, it’s essential to eat food that offers your body the nutrients it requires. Fruits including oranges and bananas should be taken for potassium content. It may also be taken as a form of supplements, which you can purchase at various health stores before you head to your outdoor adventure.

Placing Ice Bag

This remedy might not be possible if you’re in the middle of the wilderness. But, once you’re home, use ice bags to relax your muscles. Yet, make sure not to use the ice on your skin directly. It must be wrapped in a cloth bag or cloth always.

Get Rid of Drugs and Caffeinated Drinks

You must avoid consuming drugs and caffeine unnecessarily. Once you fill your body with such things, you’ll be more likely to suffer from charley horse.

Drink Lots of Water

Another crucial necessity is water intake. It helps reduce the level of sodium in your body, which could help you experience relieve and avoid painful muscle spasms.

Intake of Magnesium and Calcium

These are a must in keeping your muscles and bones strong, healthy, and fit. The intake of such minerals is highly recommended to get rid of charley horse.

Even if it sounds a bit fancy, charley horse is one of the common problems that people face at some point in time. It isn’t a medical emergency.

As a matter of fact, you do not have to see a doctor to treat it. However, if you are suffering from frequent pain, it would be a good idea to seek for medical advice after your outdoor adventure for you to stay safe.

The reason behind it is that this could also be a symptom of a health condition. If it’s impossible for you to see your doctor as soon as possible, make sure to bring some of those remedies on your trip to the wilderness or wherever place you want to go to.

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