If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night with terrible leg cramps that keep you from sleeping, then this post is for you.
Charley horses are an incredibly painful and troublesome occurrence that can jolt you from your sleep and rob you of a good night’s rest. In this video by Dr. Larry Santora, he answers a patient’s question of “how do I deal with nocturnal leg cramps?” and you won’t believe what he suggests.
First, let’s understand what a charley horse and why it happens. Charley horse is another name for a muscle spasm. Charley horses can occur in virtually any muscle, but they are most common in the legs. These spasms are marked by extremely uncomfortable muscle contractions. The contracting muscles don’t relax for several seconds or more, and the pain can be severe. Charley horses that are severe enough can result in the muscle being sore for a few hours or even a day.
They occur for a number of reasons. The most common causes of charley horses include:
– inadequate blood flow to the muscle
– muscle injuries
– exercising in excessive heat or cold
– overuse of a specific muscle during exercise
– stress, most often in the neck muscles
– not stretching before exercise
– nerve compression in the spine
– taking diuretics, which can lead to low potassium levels
– mineral depletion, too little calcium, potassium, and sodium in the blood
So what does Dr. Santora recommend?
– Stretches: By stretching your calves regularly, you can help prevent muscle spasms in this region.
– Water: Staying fully hydrated is your best defense against muscle cramps throughout your body.
– Bananas: Bananas are high in potassium and are a known combatant of muscle cramps. You can also stock up on other potassium rich foods such as squash, yogurt, fish, and avocados.
– Magnesium supplement: Taking a daily supplement of magnesium or magnesium plus calcium will help prevent muscle spasms.
– Quinine sulphate: This is a well known prescription solution to frequent and recurring muscle cramps. Talk to your doctor about using quinine sulphate.
But what is Dr. Santora’s secret weapon for treating leg cramps?
– Tonic water: Drink a half cup of tonic water–which contains quinine–before bedtime to help ward off a charley horse.