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severe leg cramps at night (Page 1)

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I am 50+ yrs of age . I suffer from leg cramps so bad that at night I have to jump out of bed in tears and try to force the charlie horse away. In the morning I can still feel it in my leg. when my leg is relaxed such as sitting, or trying to sleep it goes from about a #4 pain in measurment to a 12 or 15. how can I get rid os this problem? it seems that tylonal, advil, aleive,ibprofin,anything I try just makes it worse.
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First Helper Erick2089
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replied July 7th, 2009
Community Volunteer
You're not eating right. This is likely being caused by a deficiency in either calcium, magnesium or potassium. Try finding a good calcium supplement with magnesium in it and use it for about two weeks to see if you notice a change. I had this problem myself. It may also be potassium. If you're not suffering from sugar problems, try eating avocados or bananas to see if it helps.
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replied August 13th, 2009
Hi My name is Debbie and I had severe leg cramps, normally at night. They were often set off by alcohol consumption or anything that stressed my body. Doctors thought it may be diet, but increases in calcium, potassium or magnesium made them worse. I had metal clips put in me when I got my 1st tubaligation, at the removal of these clips I lost my leg cramps, 4 years later. I believe I had a reaction to the titanium, and I believed this destroyed my adrenal gland function. I am now healing my adrenal fatigue and if you search the web, there is a doctor who has a website on this very subject. I have been drinking salt water each morning and it has helped with some of the healing of my legs, also find a therapist that does raindrop therapy,reflexology and massage together. Essential oils have also helped me, find someone who sells young living oils and sign up, there is a book that talks all about what oils are for what. I even had to call an ambulance one night they were so bad, the drug they gave me was flexerill and that will take the cramps away, but you want to get to the bottom of the cause. See a naturopath as well, they can help. The other things that are recommended is riding an exercise bike 10 min before bed, never really helped mine. Also, yoga. Don't give up and know that there is a solution
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replied September 9th, 2009
Leg Cramps
I have had leg cramps going back 20 plus years. The pain can be excruciating. Only one who has had them can know how bad it can be. I tried many remedies but nothing helped until my doctor suggested Quinine Sulfate. It did work but I was taking them every night. Then I found out that long term consequences for Quinine is not good so I took less and less. One night I woke with a bad one and instead of stiffening to fight it I just relaxed and thought "Oh you just do your thing". It just faded away so fast that it left no residue of pain. I couldn't wait for the next one to defeat. It went on like that for months and then I lost it. I couldn't do it any more. Alas. Until a month or so later I managed it again. I fear them no longer because I can beat it and it takes no longer than it takes to come on. I'm not special. Just an old fart of 83, retired. If I can do it you can. You have to be quick and stop fighting it instantly. Think "RELAX", let it go. Just play dead. A dead, relaxed body won't cramp. Overcome that renegade muscle. And tell your doctors to go to hell. IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN.
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replied June 19th, 2012
Cramps, muscle spasms
All this happens in my sleep when I am most relaxed, I wake in such pain I have to get out of bed out weight on my foot, and my toes are sticking up or out, in ways you feet should not be, so making your body limp and "dead" as someone said, does not work 4 me. I had transverse-mylites a form of MS, so I do not know what is going on now, I get muscle cramps in my legs, stomach, back, feet, hands.
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replied September 8th, 2012
Severe leg and foot cramping at night
Your situation sounds a lot like mine. Are you also afraid to stretch, knowing
Full well that this will initiate severe cramping?
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replied December 3rd, 2012
LEG AND FEET MUSCLE SPASMS AND CRAMPS
MY CRAMPS ARE ALSO SEVERE! I KNOW WHEN I STRETCH IT SETS IT OFF AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN! IT IS HORRIFIC MY FEET AND FINGERS EVEN GET THEM NOW AND TWIST YOU CAN SEE THEM! THEY RAN FULL BLOOD PANELS CALCIUM, POTASSIUM ALL WERE GREAT. I TAKE EXTRA AND EAT BANANAS I HAVE GONE TO THE ER 2 TIMES URGENT CARE AND MY DR ALL IN THE PAST 2 WEEKS! THE ER COULD SEE THEM TWIST AND LOCK IN MY FEET WHILE I SCREAMED LIKE A FREAK SHOW IT IS SO PAINFUL! THE ONLY MEDS THAT I HAVE FOUND WORK, WERE IV FLUID EVEN KNOW I AM NEVER DEHYRATED, 10MG IV VALUME AND 5 DAYLADIEN! AND THAT HAS TO BE REPEATED USUALLY AT LEAST 1 MORE TIME B 4 I LEAVE AND THEY STAY AWAY LIKE 1-2 DAYS. COME BACK WHEN I SLEEP AND HAVE TO JUMP OUT OF BED, OR FROM SITTING TO KEEP AS MUCH DIRECT PRESSURE ON MY FEET OR THEY GO CRAZY THEN THREW MY NECK, RING FINGER ON RIGHT HAND, FEET, CALVES, AND BACK! THEY ARE FREAKING WICKED PAINFUL!!!!!!!!!!! I HAVE MEDS FOR RLS SO NOT THE SAME AS THESE CRAMPS, I HAVE USED QUININE AND DRINK TONS OF WATER, AND GATERAID. MY HAIR HAS BEEN FALLING OUT MORE AND NECK AND BACK PAIN CONSTANTLY! I ALSO HAVE FIBROMYALGIA! I WISH I HAD ANSWERS! OR ACCESS TO THE MEDS WHEN THEY COME AND DON'T STOP FOR HOURS AND HOURS! WITH THE BLOOD WORK LOOKING GOOD THEY WANTED TO ADMIT ME 2 NIGHTS AGO. MY DR SAID NO HE WAS GOING TO FIGURE IT OUT. AND YET NOTHING AND I SUFFER. THE NURSE AND ER DR WERE SO NICE AND IN TEARS WHEN I LEFT TO THEY COULD SEE HOW FRUSTRATED I WAS AND THEM KNOWING I WAS BEING SENT HOME AGAIN TO WAIT FOR THERE RETURN, AND MORE NO ANSWERS! IF ANY ONE KNOWS OF ANY THING ELSE THEY AREN'T THINKING OF OR THAT I HAVE NOT TRIED I AM OPEN TO IT! MY DAD ALSO HAS HAD THEM IN HIS THIGHS AND HE SCREAMS FOR HOURS AND DROPS TO HIS KNEES SINCE I WAS LITTLE. I AM 31 NOW AND JUST WANT RELIEF AND ANSWERS!
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replied January 28th, 2013
Nighttime leg cramps
I am a side-sleeper and about 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, mine would start up, usually after I turned over or stretched. I assume the timing coincides with my back muscles being the most relaxed. I sleep with pillows on either side of me so that when I turn over, my leg won't drop to the bed and torque my back. Same routine as everyone else - only standing and stiffening would make it stop, only it is taking longer and longer for that to work. I have had virtually no sleep now for 3 1/2 months. When my leg and ankle cramps started, my chiro said I wasn't drinking enough water. More did not help. Because of my chronic low back pain, and x-ray showed no fractures but an MRI showed slipped L1-L2, L2-L3, L3-L4, and L4-L5 disks. My L4 is also subluxed. I have tried chiro, PT, water therapy, no exercise, exercise, massage, meds, injections, and now acupuncture. My Vit D, K, and Ca are all normal. Coincidentally, the leg pain also started about the time I stopped all hormones so we will be testing those, as well. If it is not hormonal, the assumption is that the subluxation is the cause of my pain, impinging the nerves that start at the L5 and run down the inside of my legs to my ankles. I am 63 and my ortho surgeon says that he has had the greatest success with spinal fusion in people over 50, mostly because we are in a hurry to get up and out of bed, but also because we are more likely to follow doctor's orders. Not all surgery is a failure, although I'm SURE 40-dozen people will follow this up with dreadful stories. I am not going another 20+ years like this so it may be time. You didn't mention whether or not you have had x-rays, CTs or an MRI of your back - if not, get one/some. Here's to hoping you'll get better!
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replied April 8th, 2013
I identify with EVERYONE here, especially where no doctor apparently has clearly helped any of us yet. I have had the L-5 S-1 fusion in 2003. I have since been diagnosed with L-4, L-3 and L-2 being "bad". bulging. Have had recent facet injections that almost eliminated the severe pain down my legs and thighs. However, all blood panels are EXCELLENT, have been for a long time. My father and his mother both have had this issue. Gramma actually broke her foot one time. My right calf ruptured 6 yrs ago after a flight btw TX and NYC. Felt like someone grabbed my foot and twisted it in my sleep and WOW the pain. Had to use opiate meds and such which I CANNOT tolerate anymore.
I also have the foot, hand and even upper abdominal cramps. No doctor YET has given an answer better than pills and pills. I have started back to moderate exercise after a 3 month hiatus. With or without they are NO better. I have had ALL the lab tests, MRI's and so on. Go figure, I am hopefully helping someone else diagnose some issue but I am STILL looking for a answer that works. Possibly eastern medicine if I can find someone I trust. Hope this helps someone
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replied April 8th, 2013
I also suffer with severe leg craps, but also in my back, my chest, and my arms.
I am to scared to stretch, or reach behind me, knowing it will bring on a cramp somewhere in my body.
I find that if I drink Tonic water with Quinine, the occurrences are definitely less. Just thought i would share that.
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replied April 25th, 2013
Warm water seems to help
I also suffer with these that started in my 30's as soon as I began taking blood pressure meds. Back then I suggested to my doctor that it might be the medication (Lotrel) and he looked it up and said "It doesn't say anything about leg cramps." Guess what? It does now. I believe mine are completely related to my BP meds. Also, they seem to be worse sometimes when I am very tired or sit for a long time. My cure, or the closest thing I have is that my sweet husband helps me out of the bed (you can barely walk when they are in your thighs) when they start (He has to notice, you can't be all that quiet about it when they crank up) and he runs a warm bath, enough water to cover my legs. I get in and he gets me Gatorade. After about 10 minutes or so, they just go away. Don't know if its the warmth of the water or the energy drink, don't care. Hope this helps someone. Unless you have had them, you have no idea.
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replied April 26th, 2013
I have suffered on and off my whole life but they are getting so much worse. It's not a cramp its a growing, nervy pain that cause my entire leg to convulse. My foot twists and the muscles in my leg contract and sease. Then it subsides only to come again in waves of pain. This can go on for hours. Sometime in one leg or both. I have to massage as deep to the bone as I can get in order to achieve any relief. I often wake up with bruises from from try to rub away the pain. Even that doesn't really work. I've tried potassium and calcium supplements. I stretch. I'm exhausted as it happens nearly nightly now. My doctor told me to go to the health food store and see if they had anything. Not so helpfull.
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replied May 13th, 2013
OMG My mother is going through the same thing you all are talking about!! Shes 56 and shes Diabetic and 4 days ago she was driving and lucky my sister was with her because my mom had to stop the car cause she had severe cramping and her foot turned the other way and my sister had to call 911 and massage her feet, because the pain was so bad the ambulance didn't take her and my mom came home and it started again. Her toes would stick up and bend down and she said it hurted so bad. The ambulance came and took her by the time she got to the ER it stopped. The ER doctor gave her Naproxen 500mg and 5mg Valium. Just before writing this she called me and said It was happening above her knee she was about to cry I massaged her upper leg and it went away What could this be?!Its so frustrating hearing her scream and cry in pain of course Im sure for all of you its frustrating as well not to mention the ER doctor said she has to just sit there and take the pain?! I don't think so...
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replied May 15th, 2013
I'm 46 yrs old and a year & 1/2 ago, I started having bad pain in my lower stomach area, mostly the left side. It felt like I have a cyst that was going to rupture or a uti. I went to my Dr's and had every test imaginable. Only to discover a small cyst on my left side that was better if left alone, according to the Dr. I also had bladder issues, so I was referred to a Urologist. I had a bladder cystoscopy in May 2012 to check everything out and to no relief. The pain was now in my back and I noticed that my bladder wasn't emptying properly, but went back to working my normal job. In June 2012, I had full kidney failure, sending me to the hospital for 4 days. After release, I ended up self catheing 2 x's a day bc I had lost all bladder sensation. Still w/many tests, nothing showed a real reason for all of my symptoms. I was seeing many specialists, needles, tests, many pain medications, pain patches, along w/physical therapy, etc. Finally, after months of pain that would radiate up my back to my shoulder blades and curve around to my chest, and loosing feeling in my arms, hands, legs & feet and more tests, a Spinal tap and Myleogram were performed and showed C4 & C5 were pinching off my spinal cord but not bad enough for surgery. I had several visits to the ER and I had my potassium crash only once. Everything else was always great according to blood work and still in a mass amounts of pain. After trying everything, except for a Chiropractor, my Neuro surgeon decided that my pain levels weren't getting better, only worse, we did surgery in Dec 2012 and the surgeon told me that the spinal cord was being pinched off worse than any of the tests had shown and if he had seen that I would've had surgery in Oct 2012. By the next morning after surgery, I could start to feel my legs, feet, arms and hands. I could urinate by myself...and the pain was almost gone! Success!!
After 2 wks of returning back to work, my lower back was on a scale of 10+, again! I was only on my blood pressure med, fluid medication, and my diabetes med. I had weaned myself off of most everything except for a nerve medication...so I was quite proud of that. However, I'm back on muscle relaxers and a new pain patch. My kidneys are functioning normal and have been released from having to see my kidney specialist. All new tests show nothing wrong. However, I had a new MRI which now shows that my lower lumbar is almost all bone to bone, esp L4 & L5. I have such horrific leg & feet cramps that come during the day or night if I'm laying down, esp. or during the night. I now have a back brace to help w/the pain that I wear when I work bc I stand a good portion of my shift. I've started pool therapy, physical therapy, spinal decompression, which is so relaxing that I fall asleep, cortisone injections, all to avoid further surgery. But bc my insurance has me pay a copay of $50.00 every visit w/a specialist, I have had to quit going. The surgeon is sending me to a 2nd opinion for recommendations on further surgery. However, the surgeon is worried that if he goes in that my spine will be like a Jenga game. I've been told that I have a spine of a 70 year old woman. I'm so frustrated and this hinders my life and the ability to work and perform my daily duties. I just don't know what else to try or do...but I know that precious time is ticking and I know that I won't be able to get it back. I'm reading everyone's posts and it brings me some slight comfort to know that I'm not the only one out there that is experiencing these kinds of symptoms. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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replied May 22nd, 2013
Have had the same exact leg convulsions for many years that come on suddenly in waves in the back of thighs, always during the night following whenever working on my knees during the previous day.

Gone to every medical specialist imaginable: osteopath, orthopedist, occupational therapist, podiatrist, neurologist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, internist and cardiologist. None had a clue despite extensive testing.

As suggested above, overcoming the severe onslaught of attacks with mind control does indeed work when I have the presence of mind; however, either of these two health store remedies ALWAYS HELP within minutes of an attack WITHOUT FAIL:

1. Cuprum Metallicum by BOIRON
2. Leg Cramps with (homeopathic) Quinine by HYLAND
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replied July 22nd, 2013
UPDATE: Hyland now makes a similar homeopathic formula which, as with its original formula, if taken at bedtime, prevents leg cramps altogether. Called PM Leg Cramps, also helps to sleep.
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replied July 22nd, 2013
UPDATE: Hyland now makes a similar homeopathic formula which, as with its original formula, if taken at bedtime, prevents leg cramps altogether. Called PM Leg Cramps, also helps to sleep.
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replied July 9th, 2014
I've taken this, it didn't work.
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replied July 21st, 2013
I take leg cramp pill i get at walgreens ..I get them so bad i wake up screaming the only thing that helps a little is get in warm water not scarding water just good and warm..It relaxes the muscle and then i rub on aspen cream and lotion with chamiom and lavander.It kined all help . Mainly the warm water.
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replied August 4th, 2013
Leg contractions
I,too, suffer from excruciating cramps in legs, feet, and sometimes hands. They have become progreessively worse and more frequent with time. My mother also suffered with the same, though never as frequently as I experience now. I also have normal chemistry and make sure I don't get dehydrated. I was prescribed quinine about twelve years ago, which seemed to help, but has been taken off the market because of hepatic toxicity. My muscles will "clamp down" and won't let go... You can actually see the rock hard muscle definition in my feet and calves. One of my toes clamped down so hard one night and was curled under my foot... My husband could not get it to straighten out without breaking it. I am exhausted the next day from being up and down all night, and sore from the trauma. Stretching can start a "cramp attack"but doesn't have to, most times they come out of nowhere. They are lasting longer and longer, and the pain has escalated to the point where its unbearable. Everything I've read so far is familiar but don't see any answers to cause or prevention that I haven't already tried. Can't "think it away"....have no choice but to try and tell myself it will go away..., keeps me from getting hysterical ... reminds me of contractions of childbirth, only I knew when I was in labor , wouldn't continue to have intermittent contractions the rest of my life. Not sure about these. Wish we could figure this out and end the suffering ... Bookmarked this site so I can search for updates....
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replied August 6th, 2013
leg cramps
Let me tell you that I hear people say " I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN " all the time, but until you experience cramps like this,you can't possibly know! correct? I am a 51 yr old man in pretty good shape.I do have chronic back pain and recently started gating injections for this problem. In the last 3 months i have experienced what i can HONESTLY say is the worst pain that i have ever felt! about 1 to 2 hours after going to sleep i am awakened by contractions mostly in my shins. I haven't cried in 30 years but these cramps leave me crippled on the floor crying and screaming in pain.Can't get up,can't stop them.They last 2 to 5 min. and are HORRIBLE!`On the nite of 8-3-2013 I clenched my teeth in pain so hard that i broke a tooth! When it's all over i am soaking wet from neck to waistfrom sweat. Pain doc. says it's not related to the injections.This has happened 8 times in 3 months.The pain is UN-BEARABLE!!!!I realy don't know what to do. Any ideas?
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replied August 6th, 2013
Let me tell you that I hear people say " I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN " all the time, but until you experience cramps like this,you can't possibly know! correct? I am a 51 yr old man in pretty good shape.I do have chronic back pain and recently started gating injections for this problem. In the last 3 months i have experienced what i can HONESTLY say is the worst pain that i have ever felt! about 1 to 2 hours after going to sleep i am awakened by contractions mostly in my shins. I haven't cried in 30 years but these cramps leave me crippled on the floor crying and screaming in pain.Can't get up,can't stop them.They last 2 to 5 min. and are HORRIBLE!`On the nite of 8-3-2013 I clenched my teeth in pain so hard that i broke a tooth! When it's all over i am soaking wet from neck to waistfrom sweat. Pain doc. says it's not related to the injections.This has happened 8 times in 3 months.The pain is UN-BEARABLE!!!!I realy don't know what to do. Any ideas?
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replied September 7th, 2013
Leg Cramps, Magnesium Oil, and Medications
Wow....I am sorry that there are so many people that sound exactly like me. Last night, they came every 10 minutes or so until about 4:00 in the morning. The ibuprofen worked then, probably because I was so exhausted, and I finally fell asleep for a short time.

In the past,upping my magnesium helped and I even massaged my legs with magnesium oil- (you can easily make your own cheap magnesium "oil" - Ancient Minerals is WAY too expensive. Search for "Nigari" which is food grade magnesium chloride used in tofu. You can buy 5# for less than $20 delivered. Mix a 1:1 ratio (1/2 cup flakes with 1/2 cup water) in a spray bottle (i just filled the bottle half full of flakes and poured in filtered water). It takes a couple of days of shaking to have it dissolve completely) It is not really an "oil" but it has an oily feeling. Sometimes it stings a little when you first use it but that goes away. Magnesium is absorbed better this way than taking supplements, however I do take oral ones too.Potassium never helped me.

For awhile I thought it might be related to shoes (flat vs. slight heel), sitting at the computers, chair height, hydration, etc. but none of the corrections work on a consistent basis. I thought they were improving and I backed off the magnesium while I was experimenting however they are now back and worse than ever.

I get them in my toes and calves however the ones in my shins will drop me. They come on just as I drift off, and wake me so many times that I am desperate for sleep. I am a full-time school nurse and daytime naps are not an option for me.

The cramping is so bad that my greatest fear of the future is that someday I will be confined to a bed in a nursing home and may be unable to get up and walk them off without assistance.... I know the contractions will literally break me.... if that happens I would want to do more than just play dead.

I'm going to be consistent again with the magnesium and see if that helps. I'm also checking my medications after reading the post about the BP medication connection. I Googled "BP medications and leg cramps" and found a lot of information including that the one I take (beta-blocker) can trigger these even 2 years after starting the medication.

AARP had a good article on 10 different medications that can cause leg cramps and had suggestions for alternatives.

Hope there's something in this post that will help someone else in this forum. I will be praying for relief and rest for us all. <3
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replied September 11th, 2013
Muscle Cramps & Magnesium
My Wife has severe leg cramps at night which travel up to the groin and then the upper torso. She has a magnesium deficiency due to short bowel from previous abdominal surgeries. The only remedy that stops it is Ativan, sometimes with Demerol or Dilaudid if it really gets bad. She had previously taken quinine sulfate for the problem, but we found out that the quinine depletes magnesium. She takes IV Magnesium about 6x monthly which has reduced the hospitalization/ER visits, but for no reason at all, the cramping episodes still occur when least expected. She has tried all sorts of mag pills which end up causing more mag depletion as they are all too laxative for Her system. It's happened a few times on airplane flights....not a good thing.
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