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Charlie Horse In Stomach When Bending Over

Have you ever felt a sharp cramp in ribs when bending over? Many people commonly experience stomach spasms. This blog can be a lifesaver for you. Keep reading further, and you’ll come to know the causes and how to deal with charlie horse in stomach when bending over.

Abdominal muscle spasms are contractions of your muscular abs, stomach, or digestive organs. Contingent upon which body part is spasming and how gravely. It may feel like either a slight muscle jerk or a charlie horse in stomach.

As a rule, rib cage cramps themselves are innocuous, yet they could manifest underlying health conditions. You might have a question at this point that why do they call it charlie horse cramps. Well! There is no definite answer to this question. A muscle spasm is called charley horse. It can happen in any part of the body. Coping with muscle cramps can be daunting as they are uncomfortable.

Let’s find out the common causes of muscle spasms.

charlie horse in stomach when bending over

Table of Content

What Are The Causes Of Stomach Spasms?

If you feel charlie horse in the stomach when bending over, you should know the exact reason causing it. Have a look at the causes below:

Muscle Strain

Excess muscle use can cause cramps. Spasms from pulled muscles are common in people who do strenuous exercise. This includes crunches that help you to get muscle without any supplement.

Moreover, other symptoms of muscle tension include:

  • Tenderness or stomach ache
  • Pain that gets worse with movement


Loss of electrolytes through sweating and vomiting can cause muscle spasms throughout the body, including the stomach. This happens because muscles need electrolytes to function correctly. If you don’t have these electrolytes, your muscles can start contracting abnormally.

Moreover, other symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Dizzy
  • Yellow urine

If you are worried about stools with yellow balls in them, check this article.


The build-up of gas in your stomach can cause your intestinal muscles to contract. If you have gas, you can also experience cramps below the ribs when bending over. Additionally, you can have:

  • Flatulence or gas
  • Acute stomach ache
  • Cramp in the upper abdomen when bending over
  • Upper stomach spasms
  • Feeling full
  • Burp

Chronic Causes

Inflammatory bowel disease

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory disease. Crohn’s disease can affect the digestive tract. Whereas UC only affects the large intestine. In both cases, inflammation can cause intestinal cramps.

Additionally, other symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease include:

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is chronic. It usually affects the large intestine. It doesn’t cause changes in gut tissue like IBS, but symptoms are similar, including:

  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Swelling
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea (sometimes constipation and diarrhea alternating)
  • Gas

Gastritis and gastroenteritis

Gastritis and gastroenteritis are inflammation of the stomach. But with gastroenteritis, the intestines are also inflamed. Infections such as Helicobacter pylori and rotavirus usually cause this condition.

 Symptoms of gastritis and gastroenteritis include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea (gastroenteritis only)
  • Stomach ache
  • Bloated

Infectious colitis

Colitis can cause stomach cramps due to irritation and inflammation of the colon, which causes cramping. Some of the bacteria that can cause colitis are Clostridium, Salmonella, and E.coli. Parasites like Giardia can also cause colitis.

Ischemic enteritis and colitis

Sometimes colitis is caused by a lack of blood supply to the small intestine and large intestine. Cramps in ribs when bending over can also occur with this type of colitis.


Your intestines may contract during constipation as they enlarge in response to increased pressure within them.


Ileus is when your intestines become “lazy” or “drowsy.” This can be for several reasons, including infection, inflammation, and recent surgery (especially on the stomach). Furthermore, drug use, serious illness, and a sedentary lifestyle can be. The ileus causes your intestines to fill with air and fluid, causing gas and pain.


Gastroparesis involves ileus. The most common condition experienced by diabetic people. It can cause muscle cramps, especially after eating.

Causes Of Charlie Horse In Stomach When Bending Over In Pregnancy

Stomach cramps are common during pregnancy. Most causes of stomach cramps during pregnancy are harmless, but you should see your doctor if you experience persistent or recurring pain.

Some of the possible causes of cramps during pregnancy are:

charlie horse in stomach when bending over


Gas is a prevalent pregnancy symptom. This is because the progesterone in your body relaxes your muscles, including your gut muscles. Moreover, this slows down digestion and allows gas formation.

Other symptoms are:

  • Bloated
  • Acute stomach ache
  • Feeling full
  • The desire to burp

Braxton-Hicks contractions

Braxton-Hicks contractions, also known as miscarriages, are common in the last trimester of pregnancy. They usually feel more like muscle tension than pain from irregular work. These contractions are harmless, but it’s best to see your doctor if you see them, especially if they start to become regular. It is often common to misinterpret charlie horse in stomach when bending over with Braxton-Hicks contractions.

Your baby is moving

When your baby kicks or turns, it can feel like cramping in the stomach, especially in the second trimester. At this point, your baby may not be tall enough to kick strongly; its movement will feel more like a cramp or twitch.

Muscle stretching

Your belly will stretch during pregnancy to accommodate your baby. Moreover, when muscles are stretching, they can twitch while trying to maintain their original size. Stretching the muscles can also cause dull, stabbing pain (round ligament pain), but is considered a normal part of pregnancy. You might feel muscle spasms when lying down. Hiatal hernia pain is similar to these contractions.

How To treat Charlie Horse In Abdomen When Bending Over

If upper stomach spasms bother you, there are several ways to relieve them immediately or treat them at home. Some home remedies treat the cause of the muscle spasms while others relax the abdominal muscles to stop them.

If you experience charlie horse in stomach when bending over during pregnancy, talk to your doctor before trying any home remedies. Some home remedies may not be safe to use during pregnancy.

Home Remedies

Heat Packs

Heat can help relax the abdominal muscles. This is especially helpful when muscle tension is causing cramps.


Massaging your stomach can help relax it. And it will give you a better relaxation from charlie horse in stomach when bending over.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile can be used to soothe an upset stomach and can help relieve cramps. It is also considered a home remedy for gas. You can find a large selection of chamomile teas.


If your stomach cramps are caused by dehydration, replenishing your electrolytes can help. Try sports drinks like Gatorade or bananas to keep the charlie horse in stomach when bending over.

However, be careful if you have a history of kidney failure because some electrolytes, especially potassium, can rise to dangerous levels with supplements.

Additionally, if you experience dizziness or fainting due to dehydration, you will lose many body fluids. Get treatment immediately at the nearest emergency room for an intravenous fluid replacement to avoid shock to the body.


If your stomach cramps are painful, over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help.

You should exercise caution with pain relievers. Ibuprofen and similar drugs, if taken in excess, can cause heartburn and kidney damage. Acetaminophen in large amounts can cause liver failure. If you think you should take more of these medicines than the recommended dose on the bottle, you should consult your doctor.


Stomach acid can lead to gastritis, which in turn can lead to stomach cramps. Antacids or proton pump inhibitors can help with your cramps by reducing stomach acid.


If muscle tension exceeds, you can reduce abdominal exercises and allow your stomach to rest to stop the cramps.

Other treatments of charlie horse in stomach when bending over

You can usually treat stomach cramps caused by conditions such as gas, dehydration, and muscle strain at home. Other medical conditions or severe stomach cramps typically require medical attention.

Your doctor will try to determine the cause of your stomach cramps and treat them. Treatment is:

  • Antibiotics for gastritis caused by bacteria
  • Drugs called aminosalicylates for CU and some cases of Crohn’s disease
  • Corticosteroids for UC and Crohn’s disease
  • Anticonvulsants if you have irritable bowel syndrome or very severe seizures that other treatments cannot control

Can You Prevent Stomach Spasms?

Yes! You can prevent these uncomfortable spasms. We have listed out a few tips for your convenience.

  • Correct exercises can be helpful, but excessive or inappropriate activity can lead to injury. Always make sure you are in the right shape and rest when necessary.
  • Drink enough. Electrolyte loss due to dehydration can cause stomach cramps. Therefore, hydration can help reduce cramps.
  • Changing your diet can help prevent stomach cramps caused by gas, gastritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • If gas is causing stomach cramps, limiting fiber intake is helpful. Eating fiber can help people with constipation.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Limit spicy foods that can irritate your stomach and make cramps worse.


If you are having muscle spasms under the rib cage when bending over, it can be multiple reasons. The severity of spasm will decide whether it’s severe or not. Charlie horse in stomach when bending over, can be dealt with rest, maintaining a balanced life, and in some cases, medication is helpful.

If the cramp in the upper abdomen bothers you too much, it would be best to consult a healthcare practitioner. You should know the triggering factors of the spasms to treat them properly.


Why do I get a charlie horse in my stomach when I bend over?

The stomach cramps can be due to multiple reasons. Irritable bowel syndrome, dehydration, pregnancy, gas, and constipation are common signs of muscle spasms.

Can you get charley horses in your stomach?

Charley horse can happen in any muscle, but it is most common in leg muscles.

Why do I get a cramp under my ribs when I bend over?

The cramps under the ribs can be due to excessive exertion. The strenuous exercise routine can damage intercostal muscles.

What can you do for a charlie horse in stomach when bending over?

Heat packs, chamomile, antacids, and rest can help deal with charlie horse in the stomach when bending over.

What are stomach spasms a symptom of?

Stomach spasms can be a symptom of a variety of conditions. A few of them include dehydration, IBS, and pregnancy.

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