If you’ve ever experienced a leg cramp that was bad enough to wake you suddenly-and painfully-from a deep sleep, you’ll want a solution, and quickly! It may be simpler than you think.

water from spoutOne solution? Hydration. Now that doesn’t seem so complicated, does it?

A Charlie Horse is a painful muscle spasm-an involuntary contraction of a muscle. While the exact cause of leg cramps isn’t known, there may be a variety of factors involved such as overuse, injury, strain, remaining in the same position for too long, and dehydration.

You may notice more leg cramps in the summer than in cooler months. If so, dehydration is a likely culprit. More outdoor activity in the hot, humid weather leads to fluid loss, and it’s important to replace the fluid. Of course, we also lose electrolytes in the process of perspiring, and they need to be replaced as well; potassium is key.

bananas-grapesApparently we need to lead the Charlie Horse to water, and then to a banana! Interestingly, those who take diuretics may be more likely to experience leg cramps because of the loss of electrolytes. Also, if you work or play outside in the summer heat, you lose electrolytes through muscle activity and sweat . . . so consuming water or sports drinks (for electrolytes) regularly throughout the day is a must. On days when you take part in at least 45 minutes of rigorous activity, be sure to eat potassium-rich foods such as chicken, fish, carrots, prunes, milk, cooked greens, sweet potatoes and-of course-bananas.

Preventing cramps is obviously better than dealing with them after they occur. One prevention tip is to stretch before and after exercise for proper warm up and cool down. Also, drink water before, during and after activity. Then get rid of those hospital corners; keep sheets and blankets loose at the foot of the bed.

Finally, Body Healing Power offers a variety of massage and bodywork choices that may be just the thing you need to relieve sore, tight muscles . . . and those prone to the dreaded leg cramps. Remember, at Body Healing Power, we help your body heal itself naturally.