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Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

Charlie Horse Waking You Up at Night?

Feb 28, 2019 10:43AM ● By Dr. Colette Cseszko

Charlie Horse cramps can be very painful and sometimes cause the toes to retract. These leg cramps can also happen during the day, and whether they occur occasionally or all the time, it’s a symptom that shouldn’t be ignored.

any people believe that these cramps occur because of dehydration or lack of potassium. Before you start eating loads of bananas, consider this: If you have a lack of water or potassium in your body, EVERY muscle would be cramping—not just the leg or foot. Cramping would also occur in the arms or hands if you had an overall deficiency of water or minerals.

Other related symptoms may also be experienced, including pain on the bottoms of your feet in the arches or the heels especially first thing in the morning when you get out of bed and put your feet down on the floor. Usually the first couple of steps are very painful and then it goes away. Many people who experience this will be diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, but it is NOT a foot problem.

Many years after the Charlie Horse cramps start, if the problem isn’t corrected properly, more foot symptoms will begin to develop such as bunions, hammertoe, frequent clicking and popping of the ankles or reoccurring ankle sprains or strains. 

Some people will even get special foot inserts placed in their shoes, arch supports, cortisone injections in the foot, Morton’s neuroma surgery or removal of the bunions which may help but the problem doesn’t completely go away and that’s because it’s actually a spine problem—not an actual foot problem. A prior tailbone injury is likely the cause of such symptoms.

Charlie Horse-like cramps often happen at night when you are not even putting weight on your feet. The reason this occurs is your weight is directly on the spine for several hours at a time when you are sleeping in bed, putting direct pressure on the tailbone.

The tailbone or coccyx is one of the most important areas of the spine because the entire nervous system is hardwired to that region. Years after you

experience your

first Charlie Horse-like cramp, if left unaddressed, you will begin to have symptoms with your bladder and sex organs. This can take years to develop, but who wants to wait?


How to know if you need your tailbone adjusted. There are a few classic indicators that your tailbone has been misaligned or injured and may need to be put back in place. If you experience any of the symptoms listed here, you should get them checked out by a chiropractic physician who is familiar with correcting tailbone misalignments:

Frequent or occasional Charlie Horse cramps in legs or feet

Consistently waking up between the hours of 3 to 5 a.m. to go to the bathroom

Loss of bladder control, even if it occurred once

For men, problems with your sex organs such as a decrease in the ability to have or maintain an erection. If you get up several times per night to pee, if your urine stream isn’t as forceful as it once was, or you have to wait at the urinal before your urine stream comes out, a previous tailbone injury should be suspected. Many of these men will be diagnosed with enlarged prostate or erectile dysfunction and prescribed prescription medication to handle these issues, but truly no amount of chemicals will realign the tailbone.

For women, menstrual problems such as irregular or heavy periods, passing clots, solid bits or mucus globs during your cycle. Difficulty conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy to full term. These women may have been diagnosed with fibroids or endometriosis and likely they were put on birth control pills to handle those issues which will not realign a misplaced tailbone.

Finally, if you have a history of kidney stones, reoccurring urinary tract infections, again a tailbone injury should be suspected.

If you said yes to any of the points listed above, what can you do about it? Firstly, consult with a chiropractor who is familiar with tailbone injuries. Just call and ask them if they align tailbones. This is very important because many chiropractors don’t focus on the tailbone and can miss this area, thinking that the patient is suffering from a lower back problem, but that isn’t the exact problem region. And these chiropractors will spend much of their efforts adjusting the lower back and totally neglect the tailbone area which ultimately won’t fix your problem.

Once you find a chiropractor who addresses tailbone issues, you can begin to handle the root cause of your symptoms. The chiropractor should take the time necessary to find out exactly what happened that misaligned the tailbone to begin with. This is critical because if you don’t know when it happened, you won’t know how long it’s been misaligned. Longer term misalignments may take longer to fix depending on how long it’s been that way. The chiropractor should take an X-ray of your lower spine and this is typically a "zoom-in, close-up" picture of your tailbone. With this imaging it can be determined how severe the misalignment is and what the best approach is to fixing it.


Dr. Colette Cseszko has been practicing in the Bay Area since 2001. As a licensed and certified chiropractic and medical acupuncture physician, she offers her patients a combined approach for restoring the body’s wholeness using natural means. She is the owner of Gentle Touch Chiropractic and Wellness Center, 10575 68th Ave. North, Ste. D1, Seminole. For more information and to set an appointment, call 727-235-3265 or visit