Manhatten Therapist on Charlie Horses & How to Avoid Them

woman stretching before sport activity

At one time or another, most people have had a Charlie horse or muscle cramp. About 50 percent of adults over 50 suffer from night cramps. Our Manhattan therapist is often asked where these cramps come from and how to get rid of them.

A common type of muscle cramp is caused by exercise, which is called an exercise associated muscle cramp (EAMC). These are most prominent in recreational and professional athletes, but the cause still remains unknown. Treatment will be based on anecdotal studies, not scientific evidence.

That being known, an analysis of studies done between 1955 and 2008 came to a conclusion that the most common theories for the cause of EAMC are dehydration and the resulting electrolyte imbalance/depletion, as well as neuromuscular causes. The authors of the study stated that the actual cause is “likely due to several factors coalescing to cause EAMC.” This means that many causes interact with each other to create this cramp. This is the reason that treatment and prevention strategies for EAMC can be very difficult.

Our Manhattan Therapist recommends to apply a light static stretch to the muscle and gathering a proper history to find out if a patient has any predisposing conditions that could possibly trigger EAMC. Prevention must focus on fluid  and electrolyte balance (replacement) and/or neuromuscular training.

Some physical problems can actually increase the rate of muscle cramps. These include: conditions affecting the endocrine system (hormonal imbalance), the metabolic system (loss of fluids and electrolytes), the neurological system (such as nerve injury). Frequent cramping areas include the calf, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

Our Manhattan Therapist suggests a detailed history and physical exam. This may even include a nutritional assessment, which leads to unique and personalized treatments for each patient. It is also a good idea to review the medications a patient is on because they could play a part in the cramps. Medications like diuretics that are prescribed for high blood pressure and heart related conditions could lead to these cramps.

Our Manhattan Therapist also suggests some natural remedies like a mineral/electrolyte replacement to help relieve cramping. Anti inflammatories like ginger and tumeric or muscle relaxers like valerian root may also help. Some other natural remedies include Cassia oil, capsaicin, and riboflavin.

Remember, if you are having any pain and cannot find relief, make sure to see a Manhattan Therapist to help you.

Suffer from any kind of back or extremity pain? Contact us now. We have three simple ways you can make an appointment at our Back and Body NY chiro office:

Call now on (212)371 2000 or text (315)873-3095 or email us at

WordPress Video Lightbox