How To Get Rid Of a Charlie Horse, Naturally?
A muscle cramp commonly known as a Charlie horse, is an involuntary spasm of muscles. Charlie horse is an extremely uncomfortable contraction of the muscle, during which the muscle contracts for few seconds to several minutes which results in severe pain. It can occur in any part of the body but is commonly experienced in legs. Although most cases of muscle cramps are not a severe medical problem however, the excruciating pain it brings is unbearable and one needs relief. If you are experiencing episodes of painful muscle cramps and anxious to know how to get rid of a Charlie horse, find out the underlying causes and home remedies to prevent and treat Charlie horses safely.
Causes of Charlie horse
A Charlie horse could be triggered by an injury or during a physical activity like swimming or exercise. It is also common to get a Charlie horse while sleeping due to lack of blood circulation. Another major factor that contributes to a Charlie horse is deficiency of vital minerals in the body known as electrolytes, such as potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium. Certain medications like diuretics may also cause a Charlie horse. Some other factors that can contribute or cause a Charlie horse include stress, dehydration, and muscle injuries.
Home remedies to get rid of a Charlie horse
Home remedies could provide relief from the excruciating pain of a Charlie horse, especially if they are not frequent. But if you experience frequent muscles spasms, do consult your medical health care provider as it could be a sign of an underlying health condition.
A warm Epsom bath is a great way to relax the contacting muscle. An Epsom bath is believed to ease pain and reduce inflammation of a sore muscle. Studies have also shown that the combo of magnesium and sulphate in Epsom salt help electrolytes in the body which provides quick relief from soreness and pain of a contracting muscle. Magnesium aids in calcium absorption in the body and sulphate helps expel or flush out toxins from the body, both of which together help ease muscle cramps and pain.
In addition to that, Epsom salt bath is a great way to pamper your body effortlessly. To relieve pain and relax your tired body physically and mentally, Epsom salt bath twice or three times a day is recommended. For added benefits for skin like soft, supple and moisturizing skin, add olive or sweet almond oil in the bath water.
You will need
- Epson salt 2 cups
- Warm water
Fill a bath tub with very warm water but not hot to burn your skin. Put 2 cups of Epsom salt and stir well to mix the salt in the water. Now sit in this water for about 15-20 minutes. Do not exceed beyond 15 minutes if you are a newbie. Rest for 30 minutes after the bath.
Consume magnesium rich foods
Magnesium is a natural mineral that is a muscle relaxant. People deficient in magnesium are more susceptible to muscle cramps. Magnesium is a vital mineral which is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, out of which maintaining proper nerve and muscle function is the major function of magnesium. Individuals who experience frequent muscle cramps may be low in magnesium than normal. Consuming foods rich in magnesium is a good way to combat muscle spasms and cramps. Some of the foods rich in magnesium are nuts, dark leafy vegetables, whole grains, avocado, banana, dried fruit, and yogurt. A magnesium supplement can be taken with a doctor’s recommendation.
Consume potassium rich foods
Potassium deficiency is also linked with muscle cramps, as it is one of the electrolyte which is lost from the body with sweating. This is the reason why many sports drink have potassium as a key ingredient. People who are abnormally low in potassium are very much likely to develop hypokalemia, a condition which can cause muscle cramps along with weakness, fatigue and abnormal heart rate. Hypokalemia is a life threatening condition which needs immediate medical attention. If you are experiencing frequent muscle cramps with the above mentioned symptoms, do visit your doctor.
Potassium deficiency can easily be overcome by consuming foods rich in this important mineral. Such foods include bananas, potatoes with skin, plums, spinach, cantaloupe, raisins, squashes and prunes. You can also ask your medical health care provider about a potassium supplement if you are experiencing lots of muscle cramps due to potassium deficit.
Exerting pressure on a cramped muscle is a sure way to vanish pain and to get relief from a Charlie horse. With your hands, find the area of maximum pain- center of the cramp. With loosely clenched fist, or your thumb, press into the center of the cramp. Exert enough pressure to cause pain but not so much that is excruciating or unbearable. Hold the pressure for 10-12 seconds.
When the muscles are cramped or constricted, the nerves in the muscles are firing away. Applying ice helps calm the cramp by making the nerves more passive. Warp some ice cubes in a dry washcloth or a kitchen towel and place it directly over the affected area. Keep the ice pack for about 15-20 minutes. you can also add some drops of any of the essential oils like lavender, peppermint, ginger or basil for additional benefits.