Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Leg Cramps / Short Circuit

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 14 Replies
  • Posted By: gailburt
  • December 27, 2007
  • 01:56 AM

Like most adults, I've been more susceptible in recent years to night time leg cramps - you know, the kind that make you bolt out of bed, hurt like ***l for about 5 minutes, and then feel sore for a couple of days after, and for no apparent reason? Of course, they were made worse any time I had to stand on concrete too long. But about 3 months ago, I had the mother of all attacks. Here's a brief rundown:

I'd been noticing more and more fatigue, which I put down to chronic insomnia, overwork (I own a business as well as having a 4-day per week job) and aging. I also noticed odd pains, becoming more and more severe; shoulder, forearm - weird places. Then noticed weakness or pain in an ankle, or a knee, and all the time, cramps in funny places - on my ribcage under my bra, or on my side, like in the latisimus dorsi area. Developed serious pain in my left hip and right knee - those ones didn't seem to "move around." In other words, those stayed constant while the others might be sore one day, but better the next. My fingers became very stiff and sore, a lot of this I thought might be arthritis, but Celebrex didn't work, and Robaxin didn't work either.

My doctor sent me to an osteo who diagnosed bursitis in the hip and knee and gave me a cortisone shot in both. I had a flare, and it was painful, but it did end up helping.

Meanwhile, once he ruled out rheumatoid arthritis, he said he noticed that all of my test results were slightly to moderately elevated, but nothing was acute, so he thought maybe I had fibromyalgia. He gave me a free trial of Lyrica. This was like a miracle drug. I began sleeping through the night, dreaming properly, and the mystery aches and pains subsided completely. I felt clearer in thought than I have in years, and everything loosened up well, except the hip and knee. But I had to go to a rheumatologist, so I stopped taking Lyrica after 3 weeks on the drug, in order to have no screwy readings in the bloodwork he would need.

24 hours after stopping the Lyrica, I had a cramp, not in one leg, but in both. The following day, I felt nervous, like I was going to have another one, especially when I got cold. I ended up going home from work early, and resting. But that night, I had cramps in both legs, some lasting up to 15 minutes, all over the place - in my calves, in my shins, in the big inner thigh muscles, in my quads, it was a freaking horrorshow. Each time, I was drenched with sweat, and just stood there trying not to scream and wake the neighbors. It lasted all night, and I ended up at the doctor's office in my jammies the next morning, fearing all the while that another episode was going to hit while I waited to see him. He prescribed quinine sulfate and robaxin. The combo seemed to give me some relief, however...

The feeling of heaviness, weakness and soreness has persisted - this was back on Oct 10th or something. I haven't had another episode like that, but I have had a couple of close calls. I am still taking quinine off and on. Every time I think, "Okay, I feel really good, I'm getting back to normal," within 10 hours, I end up feeling one coming on again. The rheuatologist did tell me to resume the Lyrica, he felt it had nothing to do with these cramps. He thought it might have some hormonal component, and I think he is right, but what is it?

I think I have Polycystic ovary syndrome (excess hair growth, sudden weight gain and trouble losing it, irregular, extremely heavy periods, acne - I'm 51), but have never been on birth control for it (it makes me too sick to function and I don't seem to acclimate to it). For a year, I seemed to be having fewer periods and I thought I was starting menopause, and rejoiced, except for the hot flashes, but since October, the hot flashes have practically stopped, and the periods are back - with a vengeance. Each time I get within a week of my period, my lower back starts to feel very tight, and EVERYTHING hurts - I feel like I've been dragged by a truck. Periods are still irregular - I had two last month (oh joy). This comes on very suddenly (it happened yesterday afternoon at Christmas - I suddenly felt 100 years old), and when it does, I know I will need quinine and muscle relaxers that night and the next.

What happened to me? Except for the leg cramps, I do feel better than I have in ages - Lyrica is a wonder drug. I also have been on Lisinopril for about 6 years now, with no noticeable side effects. I have no side effects from Lyrica either, apart from a cool sensation in my mouth. But the leg cramps and the sensation of weakness or soreness makes me feel like I can't really enjoy my newfound sense of well-being. I have the energy now to get up and go places, but walking any distance is out of the question.

Help!

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14 Replies:

  • Severe legs cramps might be from low potassium or other minerals. Check out hypokalemia and hyperparathyroidism (for the whole body ache). See if your doc will give you some clinical strength potassium to take if you have cramps. It works really fast and then you'd know the cramps are from electrolyte imbalances in the blood. Get treated for the PCOS. There are alternatives to b/c pills. Just make sure they are potassium-sparing if that's the problem causing the cramps.
    rad-skw 1605 Replies
    • December 27, 2007
    • 00:50 PM
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  • I am taking 325mg quinine sulfate, a Rx from my doctor occasionally, for the cramps. I have some clinical strength potassium, too, which I have taken, but they make me feel sick in a very specific way, and they don't seem to relieve the cramps at all. It is a good thought about the potassium, but I don't think this is a low potassium situation; the onset was extremely sudden, and it gets worse suddenly around monthly cycles that would ordinarily bring on PMS. I've taken potassium supplements, too, and eat plenty of bananas and the like; I was thinking maybe magnesium? I hear magnesium has some sort of anti-spazz properties that are sort of a natural muscle relaxer - anyone else hear about this?
    gailburt 1 Replies
    • December 27, 2007
    • 04:07 PM
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  • You can get quinine in tonic water, which is safer...there are also some good homeopathic products in the heath food stores for leg cramp...lack of magnesium (mag phos) can cause the cramping...drink plenty of good water, too...get acupuncture...try to get off the meds and go homeopathically. Your thyroid may be at issue or other gladular problems, too...I have a hypnosis tape for insomnia that helps me right now when nothing else has worked...try that...plus, the acupuncture can help with it, but I got better help with the cd: www.NewYouPublishing.comTry an exercise class (easy to say) or some type of stress release...have you had a dex scan for osteoporosis? Up your calcium and vit D..
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • December 27, 2007
    • 08:21 PM
    • 0
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  • Magnesium can help some people that have muscle cramps.Also a muscle relaxant like Baclofen might help or have you tried valium?If they dont help could you maybe see an endocrinologist and a neurologist?
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 30, 2007
    • 03:11 PM
    • 0
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  • I too have had so many sleepless night due to extreme acute night time leg pain over the past year. Apparently, it is very difficult to narrow down the deficiency that causes everyone's leg pains, way too many causes for it.Felt like the Doctors just wanted to manage the pain/cramping more than finding out why. I was put on Calan for the cramps - It has helped a lot, but it's only been about 1 month. Leg cramps has decreased alot - I've actually gotten whole nights of sleep with only an occasional jolting out of bed leg cramps.Usual blood tests showed no deficiency in the regular stuff- (like magnessium, calcium, phosphates, etc.) Vitamin D is not part of a normal blood work. My Vitamin D blood work showed that I was extremely deficient - 40 is normal and mine was 8. My doctor said I was the first person he has ever treated with a single digit score for Vitamin D deficiency, this was a new record for him (he's been practicing for over 30 years now). So for now I am taking Calan and was put on a Prescription for Vitamin D (1.25 Mg, once a week for 8 weeks then 1 capsule twice a month.) All I know, my cramps are much fewer, I still experience the jolting cramp and the twitching, but it seems to attack my ankle joint and toes more than the entire calf and thigh. I've only been on the meds for 3 weeks, but oh what a relief it has been. Ii wish you much relief in the near future.Jean
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 13, 2008
    • 03:45 PM
    • 0
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  • Sorry....didn't catch your high blood pressure...do you have it...leg pain may be a sign of arteosclerosis...your doctor should have screened you for that. Common side effects of your meds were fatigue. You may want to talk about these side effects with your doctor. You have been on the one med for a long time. I also read that hbp can cause sleep apnea, so you may need to investigate that. Too, if you have apnea, you would not awake rested. You may need oxygen at night..but first an investigation...here's some info: http://blood-pressure.emedtv.com/lisinopril/side-effects-of-lisinopril-p2.html Rare Side Effects of Lisinopril Rare side effects of lisinopril occur in less than 1 percent of people taking the drug. Because these side effects are so uncommon, it is difficult to tell whether they are actually caused by the medication or by something else. Some of these possible side effects include but are not limited to: Heart attack (myocardial infarction)Allergic reactionsStrokeTransient ischemic attacks (TIA or "mini-stroke")Fainting (syncope)Pelvic painHeart palpitationsIrregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia)PancreatitisHeartburnAnemiaDiabetes mellitusWeight lossWeight gain (see Lisinopril and Weight Gain)GoutInsomniaJoint painHerpes zosterInsomniaHair loss (see Lisinopril and Hair Loss) Urinary tract infections (UTIs)Memory impairment.http://www.drugs.com/lisinopril.html(apparently Google knows more than your doctor) Do not use salt substitutes or potassium supplements while taking lisinopril,What other drugs will affect lisinopril? Before taking lisinopril, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following drugs:a potassium supplement such as K-Dur, Klor-Con;If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use lisinoprilWhat should I avoid while taking lisinopril? Avoid drinking alcohol.Lisinopril side effectschillsfever, , body aches, flu symptoms;tired feeling, muscle weakness, and pounding or uneven heartbeats;http://www.medications.com/se/lisinopril/muscle-spasms http://www.medications.co.uk/effect/view/19557 http://www.druglib.com/druginfo/prinivil/side-effects/ Musculoskeletal Muscle CrampsMusculoskeletal: Arthritis, arthralgia, neck pain, hip pain, low back pain, joint pain, leg pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, lumbago. http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/10/77.cfmthis is a nice article:http://drbenkim.com/articles-leg-pain-cramps.html Do I need to google any more??? And, once again, get screened for arteosclerosis.
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • February 14, 2008
    • 03:53 AM
    • 0
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  • Leg cramps, heavy or extra periods, fatigue, joint pains could potentially be from a thyroid imbalance. Do you have any other symptoms, such as:thinning hair/hair losselevated cholesterol & triglyceridesmental slowingconstipationdry skinthin/flaking nailsearly grayingnew onset GERDhearing lossIf so, it could be your thyroidThey have probably checked your thyroid hormones already. If you wanted to make sure you don't have thyroid disease, you can ask to have your antibodies checked. An ultrasound might also show something too.Sorry you're in so much discomfort
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 14, 2008
    • 04:25 AM
    • 0
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  • I know that this entry is kinda late, but when I read what was happening to you I almost fell out of my chair. I have the same thing going on with me. I always wake up with severe cramps in my legs but I also get what I call an episode of cramps every once in a while and I never know where they are going to hit. Most of the times they are on my sides but I have gotten them on my abdomen, neck, arms, fingers, eyelid, and some other places where I will not mention. Boy do they hurt!, just like charlie horses and they last a very long time up to 30-45 minutes. All I can do is cry and try to stretch them out. Afterward I become extremely tired and sleepy and them I am able to go into a deep sleep for a couple of hours. When I wake up my body feels very much bruised. I have been like this for at least 10 years but the last 2 years have gotten worse. I take Baclofen and they usually help but when I get a flare up nothing helps. I wish they could find out whats wrong with me, my electrolytes are all fine. I am a diabetic and do have hypertension,but I had these symptoms way before I was diagnosis with either one. So I do not know what to do anymore. Can you believe that my doctor said there was nothing he could do? I am in search of a new one now. I wish you luck in finding a cure for your problem.r7gon
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 16, 2008
    • 07:40 AM
    • 0
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  • Well, I've been posting for about two hours, and when I got up I had a cramp in my leg. I had the potassium with me, so now my cramp is gone. (And some gentle exercise and stretching). My blood levels for calcium/mag were normal. I have been dieting on Adkin's and usually have leg cramps during the diet. I have to take the potassium with a full stomach as I would get nauseated if I didn't. When I worked 12 hour shifts at the hospital, when I tried to sleep afterward I would feel like my legs were trying to cramp. My doc gave me Mirapex for restless legs and it was a miracle. Over the counter potassium supplements and eating bananas at every meal didn't seem to help.
    rad-skw 1605 Replies
    • February 16, 2008
    • 00:33 PM
    • 0
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  • Leg and muscle cramps are a very common problem. They can be caused by many different things not to mention diabetes and electrolyte imbalances. A friend told me about a new product for cramps that she said was "too good to be true" but really worked. I was doubtful but I gave it a try. It really works! I even apply it now to prevent cramps. It's a topical roll on and you don't need much. The only place to get it is their website, it's called cramp 911. I recently I got a stiff neck so I gave it a try and it cleared that up and I didn't have to go to the chiropractor. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 20, 2008
    • 09:46 PM
    • 0
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  • I'm wondering if any of you suffering the leg and other cramping drink a lot of cola...especially diet cola...or Earl Grey tea? Both leach calcium and potassium from your body and can cause serious and unpleasant cramping. It's the Bergamont oil in the tea that can be the stinker. I find that if I avoid these two substances my cramping disappears...if I fall off the wagon...it's right back. I know I'm months later after the first and last post on this...but am hoping someone who is experiencing this problem reads this and it's a help to them.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • October 27, 2008
    • 04:31 PM
    • 0
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  • I know that this entry is kinda late, but when I read what was happening to you I almost fell out of my chair. I have the same thing going on with me. I always wake up with severe cramps in my legs but I also get what I call an episode of cramps every once in a while and I never know where they are going to hit. Most of the times they are on my sides but I have gotten them on my abdomen, neck, arms, fingers, eyelid, and some other places where I will not mention. Boy do they hurt!, just like charlie horses and they last a very long time up to 30-45 minutes. All I can do is cry and try to stretch them out. Afterward I become extremely tired and sleepy and them I am able to go into a deep sleep for a couple of hours. When I wake up my body feels very much bruised. I have been like this for at least 10 years but the last 2 years have gotten worse. I take Baclofen and they usually help but when I get a flare up nothing helps. I wish they could find out whats wrong with me, my electrolytes are all fine. I am a diabetic and do have hypertension,but I had these symptoms way before I was diagnosis with either one. So I do not know what to do anymore. Can you believe that my doctor said there was nothing he could do? I am in search of a new one now. I wish you luck in finding a cure for your problem.r7gon This could be a seizure; yes, you need another doctor..
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • October 28, 2008
    • 04:47 AM
    • 0
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  • If you exercised a lot during the day or not at all, the diver method works great: when the cramps occur, straighten your leg and point your toes towards your face until the pain goes. The same movement you would have by pulling on the tip of your swimming fins.To prevent cramps: before going to bed face and lean a few feet against the wall exercising your legs back and forth to touch the bottom of your heal on the floor 50+ times.Works great for me.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • October 28, 2009
    • 02:43 AM
    • 0
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  • Severe legs cramps might be from low potassium or other minerals. Check out hypokalemia and hyperparathyroidism (for the whole body ache). See if your doc will give you some clinical strength potassium to take if you have cramps. It works really fast and then you'd know the cramps are from electrolyte imbalances in the blood. Get treated for the PCOS. There are alternatives to b/c pills. Just make sure they are potassium-sparing if that's the problem causing the cramps.I am a nurse practitioner and just FYI...the potassium deficiency does NOT show up in the blood. Your muscle cells may not have enough potassium to keep from cramping, but it would take a muscle biopsy to truly know for sure. Also, potassium is not the only culprit, your muscles need calcium and other vitamins, like Vit D, and minerals to function correctly. Just wanted to be sure you rec'd correct information. Vit D deficits occur to a greater degree in geographic places that get very little sunlight year round...the far north for example. There is a simple blood test for Vit D that you might ask your physician to run if it hasn't been done all ready. Hope you are feeling better!Guss
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • October 2, 2010
    • 05:42 PM
    • 0
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