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Old 09-24-2013, 07:21 PM   #1
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For those of you who have painful leg cramps...

I started low carbing about 2 1/2 years ago. About a year ago, I started having night leg cramps and have spent this past year adjusting my electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, sodium) in every conceivable combination to find out which deficiency was causing the cramps.

Nothing has really helped, although I do take potassium and magnesium nightly just because. About a month ago, I had one of the worst leg cramps ever; it was so bad, I was up walking around in tears trying to get it to relax (mine mostly hit my calf). It was still sore a week later.

Anyhow, I asked my cousin, who is a doctor, if he had any suggestions. He told me to try stretching my calves at night and that the research indicates stretching is as effective as medication.

So I started stretching them that night and a month later, I have not had one leg cramp at night!

I just wanted to share this as an option if you've tried everything else too. Clearly, some people have actual mineral deficiencies and those would need to be addressed first. But for those of us who have done that with no relief, I am here to tell you, simply stretching might be your remedy!
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:58 PM   #2
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Thanks for the tip. I certainly stretch to put the cramp at bay, but I haven't considered doing stretching before bed . . . my cramps are scattered, usually in my legs, but sometimes even in a toe!

I too keep juggling sodium, potassium, and magnesium. My body can only handle so much mag so I work more with p and salt. Salt is what I've upped the most and I am cramp free some nights, and other nights only minor cramps. That is huge progress.
I have purchased salt tablets and taking one or two a day sure beats drinking salt water.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:27 PM   #3
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for me, it's water. whenever I get dehydrated, usually when I have doubled down anew on the low carbing and lose a lot of water weight fast, I get HORRIBLE leg cramps. I scream and can't get out of bed for anything. I am lucky to have a husband who will bring me glasses of water till it lets up. sometimes it takes 4 tall glasses of water in the middle of the night!

there are a lot of reasons this happens I guess, and different solutions for different people, but I agree, be careful fooling around with those minerals till you try other stuff. the electrolyte balance is pretty delicate and you don't want to throw it off.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:24 AM   #4
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No scientific evidence to back this up and I have no idea why it works but it does. I learned about this in Italy.....for leg cramps, immediately take one teaspoon of yellow mustard - the cramp disappears instantly! My husband keeps a few of those little mustard packets in his nitestand drawer and if he gets a leg cramp during the nite, he opens a packet, eats the mustard and goes right back to sleep! Weird but worth it if you have a problem with cramps. Maybe it's extra sodium in the mustard?
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:30 AM   #5
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I take a glass of EcoDrink just before bed and seems to take care of my cramps so far.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:04 AM   #6
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Thanks for this. I tried it last night, along with a big glass of water and didn't have a cramp. The water usually helps and I'm sure the extra stretching helped a lot.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:19 AM   #7
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lowcarblady, what's the ingredient list for the mustard?
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:56 AM   #8
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Don't have any in front of me - just regular French's mustard is what we use and everyone I know who does that for leg cramps! I always have a large squeeze bottle at home and we keep the little packets of the same from fast food places.
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Old 09-25-2013, 04:43 PM   #9
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I switched from taking my calcium supplement from morning to right before bed.
No more waking up with charley horses.
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:01 AM   #10
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I would get my potassium levels checked. Potassium requires caution but the amounts to be supplemented are often a lot more than people think.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:06 AM   #11
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I agree with the stretching. Also the water and watch your caffeine and alcohol. I take magnesium daily so I know that I’m not low. I don’t do low carb and was still getting leg cramps often for the past year or so.

The solution for me was very simple and something I had not even considered before. I started wondering why you get the cramps only at night. I noticed that my toes were always pointed in a downward position when I got them. It was the weight of my covers that was causing them. I keep my room very cold at night and have several heavy quilt type blankets on the bed. I quit tucking in the top sheet at the bottom of the bed and now pull the blankets up so that they are not on my feet. This keeps my feet in a natural position all night. No more night cramps.
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:28 PM   #12
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Erin, my doctor told me this was a great cause of leg cramps, so I started sleeping with a small square pillow at the foot of the bed, to elevate the covers off my feet. Works pretty well. She also advised the stretching before bed, but I usually forget that....

I also use an old wives' tale remedy - a bar of non-Dove soap at the foot of the bed! I have it between the fitted bottom sheet and the mattress pad. I never had another leg cramp until a couple months ago, when we got a new mattress. Suddenly WHAM in the middle of the night - horrible cramp! I told DH about it the next morning and he says, "Well, you know you left your bar of soap on the dresser, right?" I ran in and yep, there it was. Took that opportunity to put a new bar of soap under the fitted sheet. Haven't had a cramp since! Go figure.

Who knows. I just know it seems to work for me. DH poo-poo'd it but I think he believes me now.
It's easy to be miserable. Being happy takes more work. ~~from Ondine, the movie~~

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Old 09-28-2013, 08:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by emgee View Post
I would get my potassium levels checked. Potassium requires caution but the amounts to be supplemented are often a lot more than people think.
This is true. Have your levels checked. I lowcarbed for years and my potassium was quite low when my Doc checked, I had to supplement by prescription for 4 years til the Doc finally took me off of it. Also, I agree with the water and dehydration, lc is dehydrating, drink more water.
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