Charley Horse


Charley Horse is a North American term used to describe painful spasms or cramps especially occurring in the leg muscles where the muscles contract without your control and will not relax.   This type of spasm (i.e. The Charley Horse) often occurs when the muscle is overused or injured, working out with inadequate fluid intake (You’re dehydrated!) or when you have low levels of minerals to include calcium, magnesium, potassium or vitamin E.   And finally, some spasms occur because the nerve that connects to a muscle is irritated due to misalignments of the vertebra of the spine!  No matter what the cause they can be very annoying.

Here follows a list of occurrences and the possible deficiency:

  • If the muscle spasms occur during exercise it is likely there is a potassium or Vitamin E deficiency.
  • If toes cramp at night and point up to your head it’s a calcium deficiency.
  • If toes cramp at night and want to curl down it’s a magnesium deficiency.
  • If you wake up suddenly with a calf or thigh cramp it is likely a calcium and/or magnesium deficiency.
  • If your back spasms or you have leg or arm spasms you may be deficient in chiropractic adjustments!
  • They can also occur as a side effect of certain medications, the body is not subject to any medication deficiency.

Whatever the deficiency the following products work:

  • I have found the best treatment to be Calm Plus Calcium.
  • I have also used Organic Trace Minerals and Calcium Lactate from Standard Process.
  • Cataplex E (Vitamin E) is very effective for those people that cramp during exercise.
  • Chiropractic adjustments!

Who is Charley?

Its origins appear to be a subject of speculation.  “Charley horse” is an American expression. It dates from the 1880’s, and may have been originally baseball slang.  There’s a persistent story that the original Charley was a lame horse of that name that pulled the roller at the White Sox ballpark in Chicago near the end of last century. The other story is pitcher Charley Radbourne, nicknamed Old Hoss, who suffered this problem during a game in the 1880’s; the condition was then named by putting together his first name and the second half of his nickname. The first recorded use is from the Sporting Life of 1886; that and other citations suggest it was coined not long before.

In reality having a Charley Horse is actually not a bad thing!  It is the body’s way of telling you a deficiency exists.  So next time you get a Charley Horse, contact Mattingly Chiropractic and let’s get it handled.

Yours for better health,

Dr. Dustan J. Mattingly, D.C.

By Mattingly Chiropractic, August 7, 2013