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Severe Leg Cramps

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Unread 01-01-2011, 09:31 AM   #1
nide44
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Default Severe Leg Cramps

Lately, especially this a.m., I have been experiencing severe cramps in my calves. Debilitating pain causing body wide sweats and vision blackout momentarily.
Definitely a 9 1/2 - 10
It usually happens upon awakening, when I unconsciously stretch my legs and feet before getting out of bed.
Today, I am having difficulty walking, due to lingering painful tightness in my calves. Coming downstairs was agony on the steps.
At the moment, I have to be careful how I sit and place my feet & legs.
I did do more walking last nite, than I am used to. We went out to dinner in the neighborhood and celebrated the new year's at a local pub about 8 long blocks from my house, maybe 1/2-3/4 mile. Walked back about 1:30 a.m. The walk back is mostly on an uphill grade - it was an effort.
It was a long nite for me, but my wife was enjoying herself so much, I didn't want to play 'stick in the mud'.

Aside from just plain old PN pain, is there anything I can do to help alleviate these occasional cramps? Magnesium supplement? Something? They are becoming more frequent, lately.

They are a painful,sudden, attack causing severe tightness in my calves from my ankles to my knees. The entire back of my leg seizes up and feels as if it has contracted into a hard knot. The pain is excruciating and can last from 10 or 15 secs to a half minute or more. That seems like forever when it happens.
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Unread 01-01-2011, 10:31 AM   #2
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I've had this years ago when I worked midnights... I had the most awful leg cramps....very similar to what you describe.
I worked 11 hr shifts 7 days in a row on my feet, then had 7 days off.

That is when I found magnesium. It really helped. I also took 800 IU of Vit E with it back then.

So you may want to investigate a good Magnesium supplement if you don't already. Avoid magnesium oxide. If that does not work, I'd report to your doctor as you may be developing PAD or intermittent claudication.

You can soak in a tub with some epsom salts (3-4 oz in a tub) for some relief too. I know these cramps really hurt, and they can feel bruised for a day or two after even. I used to keep my heating pad plugged in next to the bed, and lie on it to help abort them. Those cramps usually happen around 4am for me or just before getting up. At that time your blood sugar is the lowest of the day. And that may contribute.

I rarely get them now. Cramps that severe are usually a warning sign. You are pretty lucky to have only had them now..I used to have them once a week or so when I was in my 40's.

Not a nice way to greet the New Year! Try some gentle heat on them and see if you feel better today.
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Unread 01-01-2011, 03:09 PM   #3
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Oh yes, those calf cramps are really painfull, they use to happen to me in the early hours of the morning and leave the leg painfull for a few days later.

Magnesium and calcium supplements fixed the problem for me, I haven't had any full on calf cramps for a couple of years now, if I feel the slightest calf cramp at any time these days I just start taking the supplements for 2 or 3 days and all is good again.
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Unread 01-01-2011, 04:31 PM   #4
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coincidentally i have been having severe cramps in my calves, both legs but not at same time, also right before waking up in the morning, well late morning since i havent been going to bed before 4 am this past week. The worst ones are the ones that come on while you are sleeping and it becomes part of the dream and by the time you wake up the cramp has been going on for a while and those are the ones that remain sore for days for me. i have had intermittant period of severe cramps over the last five years. I drink more, eat bananas and take extra magnesium and they abate. coulod it be the weather we have been having here on the east coast in december? cold and of course the snow recently.
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Unread 01-02-2011, 09:59 PM   #5
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My Neuro suggested Magnesium 8mo ago, and even though I trusted him, I wasn't so sure about it. By darn it worked. No I don't have total relief from muscle pain, but it's a lot better. I can tell you if I miss the capsule each am (like I'm still asleep when I take my meds), I know it in a few hours cause I feel like someone has beat me all over with a baseball bat.
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Unread 01-02-2011, 11:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gstien View Post
My Neuro suggested Magnesium 8mo ago, and even though I trusted him, I wasn't so sure about it. By darn it worked. No I don't have total relief from muscle pain, but it's a lot better. I can tell you if I miss the capsule each am (like I'm still asleep when I take my meds), I know it in a few hours cause I feel like someone has beat me all over with a baseball bat.
I started many months ago, was reading how common it is to be low in mag. I have noticed I have many less muscle faciculations now.

One important thing to keep in mind is to space 2-4 hours between other meds., mag can absorb other meds.
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Unread 01-02-2011, 11:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Cramps that severe are usually a warning sign.


To the OP: I've had severe leg and foot cramps like the ones you describe. Magnesium has been a tremendous help.

To mrsD: A warning sign of what? PN?
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Unread 01-03-2011, 08:18 AM   #8
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Severe leg cramps typically are a sign of metabolic problems.

Things like the low mag, or say, very low blood sugars during fasting, and very problematic for diabetics esp.

They also may signal peripheral artery disease, more common in males.

But I have been thinking about Nide's...sudden problem.
Bob, are you still taking the Chantix? Or did you stop recently?

When a person's body is used to nicotine, all those receptors, work a certain way. Nicotine withdrawal can have global effects on the body, and many sites list muscle pain as one of many symptoms.

If you Google "nicotine withdrawal symptoms".. you can find various lists. So when one stops smoking there can be effects on the body far beyond psychological craving.

Chantix has muscle cramps listed also as side effects.

So it might be that Nide's mega cramp episode is related to his lifestyle change. Add the stress of the longer walking, in the cold, etc, and several things may have added up to the leg cramp scenario.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 12:41 PM   #9
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".....Curiouser & Curiouser....." said Alice
I stopped smoking Aug 1st and stopped the Chantix at 12 weeks.
I am at the 6 month mark as of Jan 1st.
But it could be a combination of the factors as Mrs D has pointed out.
It has taken 3 days for the soreness to abate and I feel almost (uh...) 'normal'
(whatever that is) today.
No instances of cramps have happened since the Jan 1st a.m. episode, but its only been a few days. I think I'll look into a magnesium supplement. I was browsing iHerb and found a 'Country Life' 600mg 'Magnesium,Potassium Aspartate' but it says (as magnesium aspartate,oxide,citrate,taurinate, alpha-ketoglutarate) ---- WHEW !!
Mrs D said to stay away from oxide, but how can this item be all of those things?
There are a lot of different types available.
Anyone know the best form and the dosage. The Mag % DV is.... 400mg=100% DV.
Is 100% enough? Or mega doses to help the leg cramping? I'm in the dark, here.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 01:01 PM   #10
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When they list all those different ones.... I have been told by one rep at a company, they cannot tell you how much of each.

All the other chelates are very large in size to get appreciable magnesium. So the tablet would be huge or the directions would say take 2 or 3 to get that dose.

Magnesium oxide is concentrated and has alot of chemical magnesium in it. 40%... the highest I think. But it is so tightly bound, it doesn't cross into the blood stream. It allows for smaller tablet sizes etc. I personally think they put those long sounding chelate names on the label to be impressive.

I do think aspartate is to be avoided, because the NMDA receptor is a pain receptor that is activated by aspartate. (this is why some people get headaches and other side effects from
Nutrasweet which is 1/2 aspartic acid.

Magnesium glycinate, and Slow Mag, are about the best and most commonly used. WalMart has 60 SlowMag for $9.99 and at 2 a day that's a month's supply. They also have a generic behind the counter. I get mine at Costco, behind the pharmacy at generic price too.. about $5.00 for 60. Generic is Mag64 or MagDelay (both have the Mag64 inside but just different distributors).

3oz of unsalted almonds have 270 mg... sometimes I just do that. Navy and black beans, also are high. Green veggies have chlorophyll and hence magnesium (magnesium is in the chlorophyll molecule).

The Chantix is a dopamine agonist... so when you stopped it, you could have stressed the muscles. Dopamine agonists are used for restless legs and PD. One doctor offered me Sinemet for my cramps, (the dopamine agonists weren't on the market then), but I passed on that. I went the magnesium route.
Suddenly stopping the Chantix would have been stressful metabolically for you, even if you didn't notice it.
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