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Old 04-24-2013, 01:54 PM   #1
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Leg cramps!

This is a newer development for me. I've never suffered from leg cramps or any other kind of cramps other than the usual TOM cramps. The last month or so, I've been waking up with horrible, crippling cramps in my right calf. This doesn't happen every night, maybe once or twice a week. It doesn't seem to matter if it's after an UD or DD, or whether or not I've exercised. My water intake is good, usually 100-120 oz. per day. I take a multi-vitamin. I get adequate salt.

I've read potassium or magnesium deficiencies could cause this. Does anyone else suffer with these? Do you have any tried and true remedies?

I've read about putting soap at the foot of the bed, drinking pickle juice, using a heating pad, 1/3 teaspoon of salt dissolved under the tongue right when it happens . . . what else can I try? Honestly, I haven't tried any of these yet, thinking it was an aberration which would stop on its own. However, last night's cramp was so bad, I continue to limp today and it's nearly 2:00 in the afternoon. So now I'm ready to nip this in the bud with the help of my BUDDDS!
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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I'm so sorry to hear that Dawn! I have had leg cramps before, the kind that wake you up at night. For me soaking in a hot epsom salt bath before bed or taking magnesium pills helped. The hot bath was best because it relaxed all my muscles. I hope you figure out the cause and cure soon!
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:18 PM   #4
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Dawn! Those hurt! My mom suffers from leg and foot cramps in the night, and her doctor told her to take potassium and magnesium. She also told her to drink tonic water in some juice. Mom uses diet/SF tonic and puts it in Ocean Spray diet fruit juices to avoid most of the calories. She says it all helps a lot, but she still gets one every now and then. Good luck!
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:20 PM   #5
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Magnesium & Potassium tend to be the 2 culprits. Magnesium is necessary for the relaxation of muscles so without it you can get weird cramps. I'm not sure why these things tend to happen only at night?
If you go to the "Other" section of the boards, Sunday has a Perfect Health Diet thread going. Somewhere in the first few pages, Beverly (Sungoddess) talks about a similar problem. I didn't make it through the whole thread last night so she may have found a solution, might be worth a look-see.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:20 PM   #6
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I get muscle cramps when I'm hungover, but that's dehydration, I'm sure.

Definitely add calcium, magnesium and potassium supplements, it can't hurt.

Do you have blood sugar issues? A lot of potassium gets burned up by insulin as it transports glucose into the cells, and if you have insulin resistance you have a lot of circulating insulin.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:24 PM   #7
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Dang it, I always forget my point...is your right calf, or ankle...or foot, bigger than the left? If so, get thee to a physician...you might have a clot.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:27 PM   #8
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in the summer this happens to our daughter alot because of travel ball and catching. We usually have her drink her first bottle of water with 1/4 tsp of salt. And also the sports drink propel (0 calories for the bottle, she usually only drinks a half a bottle) is something one of the trainers recommended for leg cramps, dizzyness, and all the other likes of that nature.....she never has much of a prob when she does this.

Maybe soaking in a bath of epson salt too <----this is my fave thing to do when I get cramped up!
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:28 PM   #9
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I take magnesium and that seems to help me out.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:43 PM   #10
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have you tried drinking several glasses of water when the cramp strikes? this always works for me.

you are not low carbing, so it's hard for me to be sure in your case, but it's almost always a matter of water and sodium/salt. I think people fool around with all these other minerals because they are afraid of salt.

anyway, try the water when it strikes at the least. good luck!
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:05 PM   #11
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Hi Dawn.

I get horrible leg, feet, and hand cramps. I so feel you pain.

I wound up in the hospital last June, thought I was having a stroke. All my muscles in my entire body starting cramping up, wound up in fetal position on the floor of my nail salon until the ambulance got there. I had slurred speech, that was made me think I was having a stroke.

It was my potassium, it was in the basement, they pumped me full of through an IV drip, did all sorts of tests including CAT scan, no stoke or anything else, thank goodness.

I now take 20 mg in the morning and 20mg at night of prescription potassium daily along with my magnesium and calcium. I still get leg cramps at night, mostly around TOM.

The thing that I have found that works really well is something I learned on the other LC forum/boards, drinking a cup or two of broth a day. It works well with all my other meds/minerals at keeping them down to a minimum.

Hope you find some relief soon.
Rox
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:06 PM   #12
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Dear Dawn,

I am so sorry you are going through this. It is literal hell.

I had the most excruciating upper thigh cramp on New Year's Day -- it was so bad that I literally howled out loud in front of my step daughter and her dh. It was so embarassing!

I could barely walk on that leg for weeks, the muscle was so tweaked -- so I understand when you say you are still limping today.

I find that I get the calf or thigh cramps when I am low on calcium/magnesium, more than I am on my potassium levels. What helps me is Citracal (Calcium Citrate) formulated with Magnesium and Vitamin D3. They are cheap at Walmart.

A more bio-available form of Magnesium is Magnesium Citrate. A good brand is "Maxi-Sorb Calcium Magnesium Citrate with Vitamin D" -- it is manufactured by Country Life Vitamins. You can find it at the health food store.

Deedee's advice was good. The magnesium salts in bath water is easily absorbed through the skin and warmth of the water relaxes the muscles too.

I seem to get the cramps whenever I am extremely fatigued, or when I sit for long periods on a hard chair or couch, where my legs are pressing down against the edge.

At last, a simple over-the-counter homeopathic remedy, called "Hyland's Leg Cramps capsules," seems to really help too. It's found at any drugstore.

I track my nutrients, and for preventive measures, take potassium gluconate tablets on DDs when my RDA levels for potassium are only 30-40% of what they should be.

Good luck to you. I hope you find relief soon.

L/Cyn
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:10 PM   #13
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I have always suffered terrible leg cramps anytime I'm low carb. Potassium and Magnesium with loads of water helped. I have not had an issue since abandoning low carb.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:12 PM   #14
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Rox,

OMG, that sounds terrible! I am sorry to hear you had to be hospitalized, but also relieved you sought medical attention when you did. I know that ultra low or ultra high potassium levels can really wreak havoc on your body.

Hope you are feeling much better now.

All the Best/Cyn
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:22 PM   #15
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KM, that sounds ouchie!

I've had that problem with LC - Potassium helped me - the potassium tablets in the store don't have much. In the salt section there is a salt substitute called Nu-Salt, it has much more potassium than the tablets I've been able to find - check the mg. of each.

Put a quarter or half teaspoon in my hand and licked it. Didn't get cramps that night.

I hope you feel better soon
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:25 PM   #16
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Rox,

OMG, that sounds terrible! I am sorry to hear you had to be hospitalized, but also relieved you sought medical attention when you did. I know that ultra low or ultra high potassium levels can really wreak havoc on your body.

Hope you are feeling much better now.

All the Best/Cyn
Thanks Cyn.

Indeed, it was very scary. Yes, I do feel so much better now that I am taking the prescription potassium.

You are correct, high or low levels are nothing to mess around with, I now know this.

I am have blood test every three months, probably the rest of my life to check my levels. Even with the amount of potassium I take, my levels are always on the low end of the scale. That is probably why I still get cramps around TOM due to excess water/soduim loss.

I agree Carly, when I was doing low carb, they were awful! JUDDD is much better way of eating for my body.

Rox
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:56 PM   #17
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I knew I could count on you all. What wonderful information you have! I'm so sorry others have gone through this. Mine aren't nearly as bad as some, so I'm counting my lucky stars! I've found that when it happens, my right foot points and I have to actually pull it back into position with my hands, or stand up and put all my weight on it to get it back into position. It's really freaky.

I don't have any swelling or venous distention in my leg or foot. Clot was the first thing I thought of when it happened initially. As a former EMT, I always assume the worst.

Okay, time to hit the supplement aisle. I was afraid to add potassium or magnesium since they're both in my multi, but I think I'll try and just keep an eye out for any weird interactions. I know thyroid disease can mess with absorption of calcium, and I wonder if other minerals are affected as well.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:05 PM   #18
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Dawn and Rox,

I guess the take-away from this entire post about leg cramps is that all of us (including me) should make a visit to our doctor's office to see if we have a potassium or magnesium deficiency or other ailment that is causing the cramps.

I was curious and looked up Nu-Salt's nutritional information. Interestingly enough, it is made from potassium chloride and Cream of Tartar. (Cream of tartar has 495 mg of potassium per teaspoon.)

The Harvard School of Public Health warns that potassium-based salt substitutes can be hazardous for some -- including diabetics, those with kidney disease or who take ACE Inhibitors or certain types of other medications. It has something to do with the person's inability to flush out excess potassium from their system.

I guess any electrolyte imbalance is cause for concern ...

Cyn
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:05 PM   #19
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my advice on the magnesium is check what is in your multi before you add more....to much will cause a #2 issue!!! lol!! <--- actually why I started taking magnesium in the first place cause DD's were killing me in that area!!

And honestly I would add a banana a day into your diet and see if that help first before adding more potassium when its already in your multi also! I know multi's usually dont have near the amount we really need but I know personally I get nervous to add extra's!!!

Last edited by krow134; 04-24-2013 at 04:06 PM..
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:10 PM   #20
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For those of you that want to try and eat more foods with potassium, avocado has more in it than banana. I got this list of foods from the doc for high levels of potassium and was very surprised to see this.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:11 PM   #21
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Dawn,

Wow. You were an EMT? Hats off to you girl, that is impressive!

I hope we helped you a little with all our information, but its like "the choir preaching to the preacher," rather than the other way around ... lol !!!

L/Cyn

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Old 04-24-2013, 04:19 PM   #22
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Good to hear you thought of clots!

Strangely enough, a calcium deficiency can cause cramping in the muscles around your mouth...make a duck-face and see if it cramps...I'm not sure how much parathyroid(which regulates calcium) is affected in hypothyroidism.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:30 PM   #23
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Dawn-

why don't you get a blood test first so you know what your levels are. When this happened to me, the cause was too low calcium. By doing this you'll know what direction to go. Otherwise, you may supplement the wrong thing and exacerbate the problem.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:32 PM   #24
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And I think it may be due to your recent increase in exercise. Even though the cramping may not correlate with th actual day you exercise, the increase in and of itself may well be affecting your blood electrolyte levels.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:41 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Good to hear you thought of clots!

Strangely enough, a calcium deficiency can cause cramping in the muscles around your mouth...make a duck-face and see if it cramps...I'm not sure how much parathyroid(which regulates calcium) is affected in hypothyroidism.
When I was put on thyroid hormones, they also told me to start supplementing calcium and D3 because calcium/D3 deficiency goes hand in hand with thyroid disease. I take mine every day, but it could still be low. As far as I know, they've never run my levels.

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Dawn-

why don't you get a blood test first so you know what your levels are. When this happened to me, the cause was too low calcium. By doing this you'll know what direction to go. Otherwise, you may supplement the wrong thing and exacerbate the problem.
That's a great idea. It will be a while before I can make it in for any testing though, as we just changed insurance and I haven't gotten my new cards yet.

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And I think it may be due to your recent increase in exercise. Even though the cramping may not correlate with th actual day you exercise, the increase in and of itself may well be affecting your blood electrolyte levels.
I thought about that too, but I've been exercising since the end of December/early January, and have actually backed off a little bit the last few weeks. It still could be a factor though. I intend to try Zumba tonight, even though my leg is sore, but I'll have a banana with my dinner and make sure to stay well hydrated.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:45 PM   #26
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Did you do the duck-face? seriously, it will cramp if your CA is low
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:46 PM   #27
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Did you do the duck-face? seriously, it will cramp if your CA is low
I did, but I'm at work. I'm not sure how long to hold it.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:57 PM   #28
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This is so not related to leg cramps, but to facial exercises. I have been looking at the ceiling today at work and making a kissy face.
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #29
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Ha ha ha!!! Not very long, maybe 30 seconds...I'm getting really great mental images from both of you that are making me giggle ...
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:28 PM   #30
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LG-too funny. I used to do some of those facial exercises to hopefully keep my cheeks high and not get saggy. Now what do I have to show for it?? Lines (fine and deep) from where my face would crease when I would do them....yay.
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