Ask The Expert
June 19, 2013
Almost everyone has a “charlie horse” at some point in his or her life. These are muscle spasms in which a group of muscles involuntarily contracts. This causes pain and inability to use the involved muscles.
Stretching them out typically stops the cramp promptly. But soreness may persist for up to a few days.
Often charlie horses develop for no identifiable reason. They can happen while sleeping. Or they may develop due to staying in one position for a long period (as in writer’s cramp).
A variety of conditions are associated with muscle cramps. They include:
If your cramps are unexplained, severe, prolonged or frequent, you should see your doctor.
Can you prevent these cramps? It may depend on whether you and your doctor can find a cause. Examples include: