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Painful as hell Charlie Horse
This week has not been very good to me. Had nightmares all week - dreamt twice that while wearing my retainers, my teeth started falling out. Woke up gasping and checking my teeth to see that it's all there. And also business is not doing too well at my job Cry - we may have to move to a smaller office, and people may have to be cut.

Anyway, this morning, I woke up at 5 in the morning all of a sudden. Next thing you know, I kicked my left leg, and I pulled my calf muscle. :mad: Cry Oh God did it hurt, and I screamed! Been limping all day, and can't walk fast. I read that it's called a Charlie horse. It also didn't help that on Tuesday, after not wearing a pair of shoes for a long time, and deciding to wear it that day, my right shoe was cutting into my heel! It fit before, but my foot may have shrunk or something. Was limping all day on that foot and came back home to my heel bloodied and raw.

Back to the Charlie horse - anyway to avoid this and a quick relief?
I've had those before, very painfull indeed Sad try to massage and stretch your leg and eat more potassium, like bananas.
i was going to say do a more healthy diet, buy some vitamins (any will initially work)
lite exercise

likely nothing can be done about your work issues, all of us "were looking for a job when you got here" i think is how the saying goes.
Ceez has the right idea with both "treating" and preventing a Charlie horse. I get them quite frequently myself. Imagine having one during sex! Talk about a mood killer!
If there is a knot, a tensed up ball of muscle - then apply heat via a heating pad (not chemical heat like ben gay) apply for about ten minutes, remove the heat, massage the knot gently for 2-5 minutes, repeat. Continue doing until the knot starts loosening up (relaxing).

Keep the leg up and do slow stretches. Since this is a calf the easiest way is to sit on your bed with your legs flat on the bed and slowly bend at the waist to touch the toe. Also get extra movement in, rotate your ankle slowly while your leg is up, and using your foot to point your toes as far down and as far up as possible - rotate the foot, not the whole leg to accomplish toe pointing.

If there is general swelling (not the same as a knot) or bruising, apply cold - an ice back. Ice for 20 minutes. This is to stop further swelling/bruising. Then apply heat and massage for a couple three times, then apply ice for 20 minutes to reduce swelling. And of course attempt to stretch it out.

If you have a knot and swelling and/or bruising apply heat, however use a towel and set the heating pad on low. You are warming the area, not heating it as you were the first time. Gentle massage unless it hurts (from the bruise/swelling). Do that for about 20 minutes followed by an hour long cool down period - basically you leave the heating pad and towel in place, turn off the power and let the whole area cool to normal temperature. Follow up with a 20 minute ice packing. Do this 4-5 times the first day.

If applying heat causes more pain and/or swelling and/or bruising STOP immediately and go to the ER.

Bruising is a symptom of internal bleeding. Granted, it is not the same as bleeding from an organ, but it is blood loss through damaged, traumatized blood vessels. Thus you have to mind the bleeding and prevent further bleeding. If you are anemic or prone to easy bleeding, do not apply heat at all apply cold packs and go to a doctor.

Since this happened due to fitful sleeping I doubt you have a potassium deficiency or other deficiencies. I suspect that you went from totally relaxed (paralyzed actually) to moving about too suddenly due to the dreaming/wake cycle and the nightmare(s) - thus pulled/strained the muscle.

Paralysis. When we sleep our brain shuts off its access to the spinal cord for moving the body. The body essentially is paralyzed, relaxes in a way that simply relaxing doesn't quite reach. Typically we don't immediately move around when we wake up, there is a moment or two where our brain and body reconnect and we slowly start moving. Relaxed muscle/ligaments require a 'warm up' period prior to stressful movement. In this particular case there was no warm up period and most likely the suddenly movement was very severe.

Also the not wearing of shoes and then wearing of shoes mucks up the calf muscles. All shoes- yes even tennis-shoes- have a heel. When barefoot your step is flatter than with any other shoe. The greater the heel the more stress is put on the calf.

Wearing no shoes your calf and ligaments of the back of the leg are being pulled to full length when you stand. Any rise for your heel leads to the ligaments/muscles/etc not being pull to their full length, instead the heel of the shoe prevents full stretching. When you have gone a long time without wearing shoes or heels, you set your muscle and ligaments up for complaining when you suddenly start walking around 'tippy toe' on a heel.

So your leg was already set up for a bit of cramping/ligament/muscle complaint. That sudden movement going from full on paralysis to rapid movement was enough to cause minor injury.

Normally feet never actually shrink. They are constantly growing and will continue to grow until you die. If you lived to be 500 years old we would call you Bozo the Clown - your feet would be huge. And so would your hands, nose and ears. The cartilage continues to grow through out life.

On top of this, gravity takes its toll. Through out your life your feet slowly splay out as your tremendous mass coupled with the terrible gravity of earth pushes down on your feet. If you have a high arch the damage will be greater over time than if you have flat feet.

Wearing shoes (snug ones) tends to slow down the effects of gravity. Going longish periods of time without shoes means more splaying - more apparent growth. You can back that up a little by returning to shoe wearing, but initially the shoes will be a bit too snug.

Callus is what prevents shoes from 'cutting'. Even the best fitted show is going to rub and cause chaffing/cutting of the skin, typically the small toe, the large toe and the back of the heel is what gets the most friction. When you don't wear shoes, those calluses wear away with time, and are not replaced with new toughened skin, thus when you put shoes back on your skin has to toughen up again.

If you switch types of shoes with different height backs, you might also get fresh abrasions as the place where heel and shoe meet is 'soft' skin.

We see a lot of new hikers who get themselves fancy hiking boots end up with the worse sorts of blisters and bruising. They blame the boots, the reality is they didn't 'break in' the boot by wearing it for short periods of time and often enough to grow callus where the boot meets skin. I have seen the least amount of damage by kids who wear their old, comfortable tennis-shoes for hiking. They may not have walked 5-10 miles a day before, but the simple fact that they are wearing a pair of shoes that their feet have adjusted too means they get far less blisters and chaffing.

Dreams - this is the real medical issue here. And the dreams themselves are caused by stress. I would strongly suggest relaxation meditation and doing things before you go to bed to reduce the number of 'bad dreams' you have. Watching Nightly News before bed is not going to reduce stress. In fact here in America I strongly suggest people never, ever watch the news programs as they are hyped up and full of fear this leads to greater stress.

Watching a gory movie before bed - bad. Gory movies hype the fear on purpose to entertain.

A comedy drama/comedy romance may be the best thing to watch as long as the topic doesn't include 'trigger' subjects for you. What are your triggers, I do not know. I do know I can't watch anything that relates to trauma/abuse in any significant way. I 'relate' to the abuse too much and it triggers bad dreams for me. For some people its death, for others its job loss - even a story with a happy ending with a job loss can be a trigger.

Listening to relaxing music (Sorry Marilyn Manson is not relaxing) goes a long way at soothing the brain before sleep.

Also try something like sleepy time tea, its composed of chamomile and a few other herbs that induce relaxation.

Steer clear of caffeine after 3PM. If your typical bed time is around 9PM, then 12 noon should be your caffeine cut off point. Coffee, Lipton Tea, Sodas usually all contain caffeine. Energy Drinks are the very worst and in my opinion should be banned.

Also eat a little something before bed. Natural sugars (fruit, unprocessed honey) are ok. But the real ideal food before bedtime is a peanut butter sandwich (no sugar injected jelly, no jam and on whole wheat bread not Wonder Bread). No sugar added fruit spreads are ok, honey is ok, steer clear of processed sugars - Modified Corn Syrup, Granulated White Sugar, Cooked Honey - all are processed and are not good for eating prior to bed.

Food in the stomach before bed holds off midnight hunger. Midnight hunger can produce nightmares.

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