Alternate Names : Muscle Spasm, Charley Horse
What are the treatments for the condition?
The immediate treatment of a charley horse or muscle cramp is to stretch and gently massage the muscle. To stop a calf cramp:
Grasp the muscle with one hand and pull back on the toes with the other.
Point toes upward to help relieve the spasm. Walking may also help, especially if one walks with full weight on the heels.
Use ice packs for severe cases. This reduces blood flow to the muscles and relaxes them.
If exercising, drink water to prevent or correct dehydration.
If one has been exercising or playing sports for a long time, especially in hot weather, loss of minerals may cause muscle cramps. A sports drink may be helpful. Salt tablets should be avoided.
Quinine may help reduce nighttime calf cramps, but its use should be discussed with a doctor.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Most of the various treatments do not have side effects. Quinine can sometimes cause ringing in the ears, hearing problems, stomach upset and rarely more serious side effects, such as heart problems and deafness.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
Once the cramping has stopped, an individual is usually able to continue regular activities. If severe muscle cramping occurs repeatedly, the individual should see a doctor for evaluation.