People can relieve pain caused by a charley horse by stretching, massaging or icing the muscle, recommends WebMD. Taking a bath with Epsom salt or warming the muscle also provides relief from the pain. It may be necessary to bend the knee slightly, put weight on the affected leg or pull the foot toward the head to immediately work out the muscle spasm or cramp causing the charley horse.
A charley horse or muscle cramp commonly subsides within a few minutes, but frequent occurrences may require consultation with a medical professional, explains WebMD. Patients may find relief by taking over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
A charley horse is caused by overuse of the muscles, exercising or injury, according to WebMD. Pregnant women with decreased amounts of mineral later in the pregnancy are also prone to muscle cramps and an occasional charley horse. Exposure to cold temperatures and medical conditions such as thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis and blood flow disorders put people at risk for a charley horse as well as individuals without sufficient calcium or potassium in the blood.
Self-care measures to prevent the occurrence of a charley horse include hydrating with fluids, stretching before exercise and eating foods high in calcium, magnesium and vitamins, suggests WebMD.