Charley Horse Cause, Treatment, and Prevention

It happens in an instant, on the sports field or even in your own bed: a Charley horse. This painful spasm can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes (in some cases even days!), and usually incapacitates its victim. Knowing the causes of the affliction, however, could help prevent future outbreaks.


What is a Charley Horse?

The term Charley horse — also known as jolly horse, dead leg, nocturnal leg cramp, and corky in some parts of the world — refers to sudden and painful cramps and/or spasms, typically felt in the lower leg muscles (especially the calf).

What Causes a Charley Horse?

While the medical community has yet to agree on an exact cause of the Charley horse, doctors believe it can be brought on based on several factors, including:

  • hormonal imbalance
  • calcium/potassium deficiency
  • dehydration
  • medication side effects
  • pregnancy
  • and more

Charley horse is also attributed to more serious afflictions, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropathy.


Charley Horse Cures

There is currently no “cure” for Charley horse. Instead, medical professionals have several recommendations on how victims of this affliction can seek relief. These include:

  • massaging or stretching the affected area in the opposite direction of the spasm
  • applying ice to the affected area
  • applying heat to the affected area

Charley Horse Prevention

Doctors have determined several factors that may ease and/or prevent future attacks, including:

  • increased potassium/calcium intake (as found in bananas and dairy products)
  • increased hydration
  • slower movements (no rapid twists and turns)
  • stretching muscles before and after exercise
  • vitamin supplements (B-12, magnesium, vitamin E)
  • wearing comfortable, supportive footwear
  • loosening bed clothing and/or bed sheets

However, because there is no “cure” for Charley horse, it is possible that some people will continue to be plagued by the painful spasms, regardless of the prevention steps they may take. ■

What methods do you use to prevent or ease the pain of Charley horse? Let us know in the comments! 

by Raul Lisneski
Health & Wellness Editor
Residential Life Magazine 


Think Twice

I should have known better than to chime in. But as we waited for our appetizers to arrive, the casual banter seemed harmless enough.

The TV news had just shown a story about a woman — desperate for a kidney donor — had placed a ‘please help’ decal on her car, in hopes a good Samaritan might step forward. That prompted someone at the table to ask if we’d consider donating to someone in need… and that’s where my problems began.

As I listened to the chorus of kindness emphatically asserting that, of course, they wouldn’t think twice about helping, I actually considered changing my answer. But then I thought, if you can’t be honest around your friends…


Hold on to the Night

Though I am an organ donor, I would never donate any organs whilst I’m still alive — except to  family and very close friends. I’m talking “known since first grade” friends. And I’m not ashamed of this stance in the least.

Donating a kidney is a huge decision that will irreversibly change the donor’s life, and not necessarily in a good way. It’s not some random decision to make while stuck in traffic.

Let it Go

Looking back, I think most at the table that night probably hadn’t given it as much prior thought as I have, and were just casually saying ‘yes’ as they waited for the conversation to progress to the next topic.

And I’m sure any angst I caused will blow over in a day or two. Should the topic come up again, however, I won’t back down just for the sake of niceties. If serious topics are to be raised, at least from my end, serious answers will always be given.

by Pietro “Petey” von Tweety
Residential Life Magazine 

All or Nothing

Once a luxury and convenience reserved for airports and fancy restaurants, more and more places are installing “touch free” bathrooms. But some establishments are introducing “touch free” in stages (instead of a completely new facility) as a means by which to lessen the financial impact associated with the advanced devices. And therein lies the problem.


Take, for instance, my local library. So far, the toilets are automatic and the hand dryer is touch-free. Unfortunately, there are two sets of doors requiring people to grasp the handle. I’m no germophobe, but I know that not everyone is washing their hands after using the restroom. Barring the presence of paper towels, I have no other option but to touch the bacteria-laden handles — effectively negating the reason for washing my hands in the first place.

And there are likely many other examples. The point is, new technology is only as good as its implementation. If you are going to show a shiny new front, and then force people to use the same old junk as before, it might be better to just wait until you can present everything in a shiny new format. It’s just the right thing to do.

by Tuppence “Penny” Piazza
Residential Life Magazine

Keep It Classy

Everyone has — and is entitled to — bad days. Just because a woman is experiencing a not-so-stellar day or week, that does not mean she’s “on the rag,” or any other disrespectful term you can think of to ‘assess’ a situation you were never involved in, or asked to ‘solve.’

That still doesn’t give you ladies an excuse to be rude or disrespectful yourself, though — no matter what is happening.

I’m tired of this “do and say what you feel” society, where all decorum has been thrown out the window. I don’t even care if that makes me sound like an “old lady.” Some things are timeless, and common respect and dignity are among them.

by Amber O’Neal
Residential Life Magazine

Smooth as a Baby

marvelousA girlfriend just asked how I keep my complexion so “clean.” Though I’m flattered by the compliment, the process is really quite simple. I just live a “clean” lifestyle.

Now, before anyone takes to the comments trying to disprove everything I’m about to write, let me admit up front (full disclosure) that I do enjoy a nice glass of wine with meals. But other than that, I don’t smoke, don’t drink. I exercise, get enough sleep. Except for the occasional calzone, I try to eat pretty well.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

I’m not trying to boast here, so I don’t need any haters commenting, either. I’m just saying that it’s really quite simple to have a good complexion. The best part is, even if you do any of those “skin attack” things right now, you can easily undo most of the damages in a few weeks.

Yes, makeup is always an option, but for me, complexion is about more than just looking good. It’s about actually being healthy and feeling good because of it.

by Amber O’Neal
Residential Life Magazine

So Be You

I’m so done with hearing girls keep talking about how they’re “natural” or “normal” or whatever. There is no normal! Everyone has to be comfortable with who they are, and as long as you aren’t hurting anyone (or yourself), I don’t even see what the big problem is!

Nowadays, you see all these posts and stuff about how girls are “normal” ‘cause they’re fat, or skinny, or tall, or anything! I’m so tired of this “real” stuff. I don’t like to be negative, but this week I just had to vent it out, you know?

Devil’s advocate

The thing is, people should just focus on being happy and healthy, and not try to get all wrapped up in labels or whatever.

I also want to say that by calling something “real” — especially something that’s not healthy — you are just giving an excuse to do it! I am not perfect and there are some things I’d like to work on with myself and my body, but I am not stressing out about it, and I am not going to make some excuse about how it’s “real” or whatever.

I don’t want to keep sounding mean, so this is prolly it for this week. I just think it’s time that people pay attention to themselves, stop making excuses, and start taking some personal responsibility for their own actions! How’s that for sounding like an old lady?! lol


by Chelsea Abrahams
Residential Life Magazine

The Pause that Refreshes

I’ve been used to half-hour work lunches for years, so when I got this new job that gives an hour, I decided to take Raul Lisneski’s (Health & Fitness Editor) advice and use the extra time for a walk. Physical health is actually only one aspect of my decision. I find it also helps my mental health.

I probably walk for less than a mile, and I stop in the middle to sit on a bench and relax. Often, I’ll close my eyes and just listen to the sounds of nature. Then, I open them up real slowly. It’s like I’m seeing things for the first time!

New Balance

I know this may sound odd, but ever since I’ve been on this routine, I have noticed a drop in my stress levels. I’m also more productive for the second half of the day. While everyone else seems in a slump and has to pound the caffeine just to get through it all, I’m refreshed and ready to do things even after work!

My friend has a half-hour lunch. At first she was trying to eat fast and take a little walk, but it didn’t work out so well. Now, she uses the second 15-minute break of the day to take a quick walk around the building, and says she feels the same effects as I just described!

I’ve said for a long time that fitness is more than just about exercise, and now I’m seeing it in action. And it’s great.

by Cindy Simone
Residential Life Magazine