Scientists Explain 4 Things That Cause Leg Cramps (And How to Fix It)

Scientists Explain 4 Things That Cause Leg Cramps (And How to Fix It)

leg crampsHealth


If you’ve ever experienced a charley horse before, then you know that nothing can quite compare to the sensation. They occur mostly during sleep, and scientists believe this happens due to lying in one position for a long period of time, which can result in muscle cramps and contractions. During the day, you move around a lot, which keeps the blood flowing and the muscles engaged.

This uncomfortable sensation wakes many people up during the night, but luckily, a charley horse doesn’t tend to last more than 10 minutes or so. However, it can leave you feeling sore the next day.


Many people simply walk off the pain, but it can become a recurring problem if you don’t go to the source to fix it. Today, we will go over the reasons for these muscle spasms, as well as solutions for getting rid of them.


If you experience leg cramps that wake you in the middle of the night often, then read on to find out the causes and solutions so that you can get a restful sleep, pain-free.

If You Get Leg Cramps Often, This May Be Why…

A “charley horse,” or leg cramp, is a painful muscle spasm in your calf, thigh, or foot, according to WebMD.


If you’ve ever wondered why people call it a “charley horse,” try to think of how you’d feel if a horse kicked you in the calf or thigh. It would probably hurt pretty badly, which explains why people refer to the muscle spasm as a charley horse.

Somewhere between going to sleep and waking up, many people experience these muscle spasms, but don’t know why. We’ve listed the most common reasons for muscle spasms below.

Causes of Leg Cramps

1. Dehydration

When you sweat a lot or simply don’t drink adequate water, your body will lose electrolytes, which help to maintain proper function of your muscles. Consequently, not hydrating your body will likely result in frequent muscle spasms.

Electrolytes help to control your muscle contractions, so when your body doesn’t have enough electrolytes, it could cause painful muscle tension in the late hours of the night.

2. You’re cold

Although many people sleep better in a cold room, a cooler temperature can cause muscles to spasm. If you insist on keeping the room cold, make sure you cover up with enough blankets, and don’t forget to cover your legs.

Being exposed to cold temperatures can cause the muscles to stiffen and become inflexible, which could cause painful muscle contractions.


3. Being in the same position for long periods of time

Whether you work all day sitting down or standing up, simply being in the same position for that long could trigger muscle spasms later on, especially if you don’t stretch. Women who wear heels are especially vulnerable to muscle cramps, as this puts enormous strain on the feet, spine, and legs.

4. Exercising without stretching

One of the biggest mistakes people make all too often is exercising without stretching before and after. While exercise will increase your physical fitness and strength, not giving the muscles a good stretch can cause painful repercussions later on. Your muscles need time to recover after an intense workout, so make sure to stretch them out to avoid injury and muscle spasms.

How To Prevent Leg Cramps

1. Take A Warm Shower

Before a workout, you do a warm up to get your muscles ready for exercise and prevent injury, right? Well, the same concept applies to preventing a charley horse. If your muscles feel sore or stiff, just hop in the shower to ease your pain and relax your muscles.

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The warmth of the water will help to soothe your body, and can go a long way in preventing muscle spasms during the night.

2. Drink Pickle Juice

You might’ve heard this age-old remedy before, and many people have tried it with success. Studies have shown the effectiveness of using pickle juice to ward off sore muscles, and one study proved that pickle juice works better than even water at alleviating muscle cramps.


Pickle juice contains a lot of salt, which we need in order to maintain proper control of our muscles. This explains why this remedy works so well, and best of all, you probably already have a jar of pickles in your house.

3. Eat A Banana

Related article: If You’ve Ever Woken Up At Night Unable To Move, Here’s What It Means…

Muscle spasms can also occur due to low levels of potassium. Bananas contain one of the highest concentrations of potassium among any food in nature, so the next time you have a charley horse, try eating a banana or two to replenish your potassium levels and alleviate muscle cramps.

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2 thoughts on “Scientists Explain 4 Things That Cause Leg Cramps (And How to Fix It)

  1. Leg Cramps can also be low potassium. I am on a water pill which depletes your body of potassium. So I have to take a prescription dose of Potassium. I take 20 and at times I had to double up. The first time I figured it out I was going in for surgery and I had a small ache prior to the surgery and I came out of surgery screaming in pain. They thought I had a blood clot in my calf. None was found. After some research I figured it out. I had recently had some medicine changes and the water pill was new. Now I know my potassium is low.when I get cramping in my calve.

  2. Low Mg/Ca. Gluten may lower minerals absorbed if it hurts intestines. Gluten may lower the thyroid which may cause cramps also. Bananas with Ceylon cinnamon are great help. Not eating anything with a label may help. LDN/gluten enzymes may help

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