Breathing Through "Charlie Horses"


I was wondering if anyone else has ever tried following their breath during a charlie horse spasm in their leg?

I experience these spasms probably a few times a year and a few weeks ago I stumbled upon an unexpected result. When I focused on the breath coming in and out of my nose the pain seemed to almost instantly transform into a kind of cool sensation. As soon as my attention wandered from the breath the pain would return.

It seems to have worked at least twice for me and I would like to know if others would try the technique next time they have a spasm and share their results with the group.

If it seems to be a general result, it would be interesting to find what types of pain the technique doesn’t seem to work on and then sort out why different forms of pain respond more well than others to this simple intervention.



I was taking a lot of medication at the time that I had these experiences and I haven’t been able to reliably repeat what I experienced before. Moving my leg around seems to help at least as much as following my breath. Let me know if you’ve found any effective techniques!


Were any of the medications carbonic anhydrase inhibitors? I have a wacky theory that some of my myofascial pain / muscle tightness is helped by increasing carbon dioxide retention, partly through slower breathing.