Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
The first time I got a muscle spasm in my calf, I was doing homework after a day of really hard basketball practice. Suddenly my calf muscle felt like it was being pulled from my body by an unseen vise grip. It looked like it, too, contracting on its own for no apparent reason. All I could do was yell, “Ow, Ow, Ow” repeatedly and wait out the cramp.
My leg was limp-inducing sore the next day and when I described my agony to my coach, he told me I’d had a muscle cramp called a “Charley Horse” (What a cute name for such an evil pain). He might have suggested massage, stretching and hot showers. I don’t remember. I do know none of that kept the vile spasms from coming back.
I had more than what seemed like my fair share in the years before I discovered how to end these excruciating spasms quickly. Occasionally, Charley and his horse would come in the night, wakening me from a deep sleep. Sometimes, he would strike as I was playing ball or just walking around. And, occasionally, he revisited while I was reading or eating or watching TV. I could never predict when he’d show up to focus my complete attention on his long horrible minutes of pain.
My method of dealing with this sudden, intense pain varied depending on the setting, but usually involved some sort of vocalization accompanied by funny walking/dancing and teary eyes. By the way, some things you can’t just walk off.
Then, one day someone told me to wiggle my toes. I’m sure the look I gave my saving angel was infused with visual death-rays and I do regret that. It wasn’t me, it was the pain gawking.
But, finally, I regained enough composure to at least try the silly advice she offered. I wiggled, and the pain eased up a bit. Wiggled some more and the pain slowly ebbed away. Surely, this was a coincidence and current spasm was just a baby.
I told myself to remember this and try the wiggle sooner the next time. Of course, there’d be a next time. There’s always a next time.
And, there was. So, I wiggled my toes. Vigorously. And, the cramp eased up immediately. “Eureka! Why did nobody tell me about this years ago?” I shouted to the winds. And, there was no lingering soreness the next day. The pain simply went away.
I have not had a “Code Red” muscle spasm since then. Remembering to wiggle my toes always pulls the muscle out of the spasm immediately. And, the sooner I wiggle, the sooner the spasm eases up.
Toe-wiggling works. It’s not just for Charley Horses, but also for muscle spasms in the feet. If you get cramps in the larger muscles on the bottom of your foot, just wiggle your toes and they, too will ease up. I know, you doubt that mere toe wiggling will help your seriously awful muscle spasms. That’s okay; you don’t have to believe me, Virginia. Just wiggle your toes.
If you do have muscle soreness, I use and highly recommend Arnica Cream. It's homeopathic, safe and truly effective. Plus, it doesn't smell bad.
Another remedy I use for any kind of muscle spasm is Nature Made Magnesium Supplement Tablets. These even work for preventing some headaches. Magnesium is the key ingredient in Epsom salts, which are great for soreness and spasms.