Muscle cramps - remedies?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Shari, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    It would appear I have inherited my grandmother's tendency towards muscle cramps, and lately, its been happening all the time.

    I wake up in the night with leg cramps. Not the traditional charlie horse, but cramps that will pull by foot and toes up so high they've left bruises in the achilles area. They sometimes make my legs and feet so solid I am unable to walk (not because of the pain, which is intense, but because I have nothing to balance with) and will crawl to the shower to stick my legs under hot water to make them go away.

    Lately, if I'm lying on my stomache, I will get cramps in my back and shoulders. I get cramps in my hands when I write. I get cramps in my hips when I ride.

    I eat bananas and supplement vitamin D. I even lay in the tanning bed in the winter for the sunlight factor. I drink milk and eat cheese and green veggies. I'm active, and while I'm no marathon runner or runway model, I think I'm in decent shape, BMI at the high end of the OK range.

    Is there anything more I can do?

    I'm looking forward to our weekend, but I'm worried about being away from immediate access to a hot shower because they've been so frequent this week!
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Shari, have you had your potassium level assessed? Sometimes muscle cramps result from a lack of potassium. In addition to bananas, you can eat sweet potatoes and carrots. You might also need to look into a potassium supplement.

    Hope you find relief soon. Cramps are horrible.

    Sending hugs and a heating pad.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Go get a good calcium-magnesium supplement. When I suffererd with severe muscle cramps I started taking it on my own since no muscle relaxers helped and almost instantly I began to feel relief! When I told my dr, she wasn't surprised. Worth a shot.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I've had issues like this in the past. Watermelon helps with the potassium too - spinach is good, so is squash.

    Folic acid will help too.
  5. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    If your sodium level is too low it can cause muscle cramps, too. That generally only happens when people are on diuretics. You should probably have your electrolytes checked - that will check potassium, sodium, etc.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    <==== What Heather said. Forgot about living in the South - we always put salt on our watermelon. I just thought it tasted good till Mom explained it.
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Ewwww. Salt on watermelon? Bleck. But, then I don't like salt on fries either. I just don't like salt. I think I overdid it as a kid or something.

    Ok. You can now return to your regularly scheduled program....
  8. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Potassium or Magnesium (major muscle relaxant) - SO used to get these all the time but haven't had them since he takes daily magnesium.

  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Another one raising a hand for magnesium and potassium. I had terrible problems with muscle cramps until I went on these supplements. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids with them as both will pull water from the system into the bowel.

    In fact, magnesium is the active ingredient in Milk of Magnesia which is sold as a combination laxative and heartburn treatment.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Major muscle problem person. I take magnesium or potassium when needed. I also take zanaflex daily. I have to or my muscles just spasm like crazy. Zanaflex is an anti-spasmodic instead of a muscle relaxer.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Epsom salt baths.
    Calsium/magnesium at bedtime.
    Calcium Malate is very good and doesn't usually cause "the runs."
    Regular stretching exercises.
    Take motrin if it gets painful.
  12. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I hesitate to post this as people already think I'm crazy and this only furthers the idea BUT there is a ton of anecdotal evidence that says that sleeping with a bar of soap in you bed, between the sheet and mattress pad, alleviates and in some cases prevents leg cramps. Dr. Gott (whose syndicated column appears in my newspaper) is a great advocate of this. I also found this article on Snopes:

    If it works, nobody can say how (maybe it is the relaxing smell, maybe it changes your sleeping position, maybe it makes the soap fairies happy:tongue:) but it has worked for me and most people I know around here sleep with soap in their beds and swear that it works. Anyway, it's worth a try. It's free and there should be no side effects.
  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I've tried the soap for restless legs, and it seems to help.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We have tried the soap for restless legs and when we can remember it, it does seem to help. Not for cramps but for restless legs.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Make sure that there is no fan blowing directly on you at night. Not even directly on a sheet covering you. The constantly moving air will trigger your muscles to think you might be moving. They will get ready to move and stay that way. It can cause real problems for some people. I have to be careful. husband loves a fan blowing on him. But if he has sore muscles for any other reason they get much much worse very fast.

    Have your doctor check the levels of calcium, vit d, and electrolytes in your blood. Sometimes you can be using food or supplements and still not have the right amounts in your body, or have them in the wrong proportions.

    I hope you feel better soon.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you have any arthritis? My osteoarthritic back was causing my foot to pop out of place when I slept and also back leg muscle spasms. Certain excerises and helped me with the back problem a little so my foot no longer locks while the back of my leg cramps like a female dog! I also like a heating pad.
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I had bad leg cramps wth every pregnancy, but learned a good trick that helped prevent, if I remembered in time - as soon as you feel your leg begin to cramp, stretch with your heel and not your toe. Also, get into the habit of NOT stretching with your toes pointed. For me (and I know a lot of others) tis was a common leg cramp trigger, especially at night when sleeping. If I remembered in time, then pulling the toe back towards the shin (thus putting the heel out furthest) could prevent a cramp from developing further and could even stop it. Often there would be a bruised feeling though, if the cramp had gone too far. Getting to it early enough could even prevent the bruised feeling; I found I quickly got more skilled with practice and could even 'remember' what to do when asleep.

    Stretching exercises also help, as do checking other things such as sodium/potassium levels etc. Talk to a physiotherapist about it, see what they suggest also.

  18. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Salt is the one thing I don't eat....I have a blood test coming up in July for thyroid...I'll ask to have the other levels checked. I drink diet soda, but otherwise do not eat or cook with salt at all...I'll try the other supplements AND some salt til then.

    MWM, did you see a chiro or PT to help you out? I don't have back pain, but I do have a place in my spine that looks like I broke my back at one point. It has scarred and fused like a break does, tho I am not aware of ever having hurt myself...I do have OA in at least one knee.

    No fan...blowing air when I sleep will build a concrete wall in my nostrils instantly. lol

    Marg, that's the direction my cramps in my legs already go. I can handle the cramps that pull my foot down or point my toes, as you describe, but I get cramps in the front of my calves that pull my toes and feet up. Often, even if I start with a cramp in the back of my calf and do an achilles type stretch to alleviate it, I'll get a subsequent one in the front, that holds it in that position.

    And I have heard of the soap thing but forgot about it. I'll try that!
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Start eating ONE banana every day. They are only 100 calories ea. and high in potassium. If you take magnesium - make sure you are close to a potty - or have anti-diarrheal medications on hand. Also you can ask for a prescription of Flexeril - very mild muscle relaxant - that's what helped me. Now I just eat a banana every day and walk as much as I can.

    I was gonna say for cramps - a big glass of wine and a romp in the hay- HEY. :tongue:
  20. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I eat lots o' nanners... lol

    But I'll try the wine!