What works (if anything) for severe muscle cramps?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Saoirse3, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Saoirse3

    Saoirse3 Member

    Lately I have been getting muscle cramps so severe that I just start crying because of the pain. It feels like the muscle is actually "pulling up and tightening" and I can't get it to release or relax. Any of the muscle "rubs" like menthol, camphor or (heaven forbid, capsaicin almost burned a hole in my skin!) don't work, and even with Ambien and Osteo-BiFlex I still wake up in the night, unable to sleep because of pain.

    Another MAJOR problem is that I am a pilot. Strong pain killers are NOT an option (even though I am not flying passengers, getting a severe cramp at 4,000 feet in a two seater Cessna is NOT where I want to be when fighting Alaska crosswinds!)

    Thanks for all your help!

  2. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Stacey - muscle cramps can be a sign of potassium or magnesium deficiency. And with these dd, magnesium deficiency is all too common. But both deficiencies are easily remedied. You could try eating a banana which would help with a postassium deficiency. And of course there are potassium and magnesium supplements.

    Do you drink a lot of soda? That can contribute to a potassium deficiency.

    The cramps could be caused by other things of course, but I would check these two things out if you haven't already.

  3. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    If you mean the "charlie horse" type, I go take a "big squeeze" of liquid minerals, in a small glass of water. The brands I use are ConcenTrace®Ionic Trace Mineral Drops or Trace Liquid Minerals from a popular vitamin shoppe chain, wink, wink. Ends the charlie horse right away and doesn't come back during the night.
  4. ellikers

    ellikers New Member

    Muscle cramps like you are describing can get worse with inactivity ... I would suggest increasing any physical activity or exercise you do (gradually), walking, running, swimming etc and work on stretching your legs during the episode of pain and daily ... moving the muscle will enable it to stop seizing up like that.

    I used to have the same problem, I would wake up in the middle of the night and yelp it hurt so bad. I increased my mineral intake (especially magnesium), drank more water and got more active and those cramps went away completely.
  5. GeminiMoon

    GeminiMoon Member

    I have had this problem also. I take Calcium/Magnesium tablets every evening after dinner and it takes care of the problem. Be sure you get the combination tabs: 1,000 mg Calcium with 500 mg Magnesium. Hope it helps! Keep us posted.
  6. Beadlady

    Beadlady Member

    I take magnisum malate--which is malic acid. I have only found this in health food stores.
  7. Saoirse3

    Saoirse3 Member

    Thanks SO much! I started to "Wii Bowl" with my husband every day, at least 3 games sometimes more as I feel up to it. I increased my water intake to about a gallon a day and got some bioflex stuff and a calcium/magnesium/Vitamin D supplement. Also bought a juicer and have a juice shake every morning. Haven't had a bad cramp in over a week! YAY!

    Also discovered that my air purifiers have been working overtime in this dry winter air. Can't wait until I can throw the windows open and really air this place out! It's not about to happen at 16 degrees outside! My poor birds would freeze to death! Come to think of it, I wouldn't do so well, either! LOL!
  8. Asatrump

    Asatrump New Member

    You didn't mention if your cramps were in legs or generalized. My husband is obese and for years and years woke with the "charley horse" cramp in the legs. Sometimes a couple times a night.

    He is the most cynical person I know..... but I put a bar of soap, just our regular brand of Safeguard, under the bottom sheet down near his feet. Not a single cramp. He has had this for years and it continues to work, don't even need to replace the soap.

    Recently he stayed overnight in a motel for a meeting, and forgot about the soap, and woke with the leg cramps.

    I have no clue why this works, your feet /legs do not have to actually touch the soap.

    That you can try with no cost.

    The other solution for what I call muscles "seizing up" is a hot tub. I have one in our garage, which means I can use it half hour daily no matter what the weather. I can aim jets on stiff places and this keeps my fms from immobilizing me. I have found the cost initially is considerable but after that some chemicals are the only money spent. And they can be tax deductions as this is my physical therapy. As I have high blood pressure I can keep the heat about 99 and not get over heated, and I am the sole user so can keep the chlorine level comfortable for my needs.

    Stacey I hope you get some relief.
  9. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    If you have ME/CFS/FM. The most comon cause of these cramps, which can be body wide but mostly chest, arms, calves and feet is an electrophysiological spike which contracts the muscle group quickly. This can be seen on an electromyogram. It is suspected that this occurs because of a number of predisposng factors:
    1. poor hydration and excess sodium
    2. intracellular magnesium deficiency
    3. poor circulation caused by sitting a lot
    4. overexcitation of the fibres due to exercise/ stretch which the muscles are not used to
    5. sometimes a lack of calcium

    The remedies stem from this:
    1. good hydration over the day
    2. take a magnesium supplement such as magnesium chelate or magnesium citrate and a B6 supplement to increase absorption of magnesium because magnesium is poorly absorbed. (without the B6 about 80% of the magnesium you take will be lost).
    3. As you are a pilot you will be sitting a lot with poor range of motion. You shsould develop on the job flexion of the muscles in your legs and ankles. At other times you could do hip flexors and calf stretches (both long and short type). As per 4. don't overdo the exercise in contrast to your sedentary work. This is a common cause of cramps - the muscles are over still then over exercised. Muscle fibres don't like that because during the still times magnesium is unable to get into the cells but calcium is - then when you exercise vigorously you need the magnesium which isn't there.
    5. Lack of calcium is rarely the cause and taking more calcium is not likely to help but much but it is useful as an adjuct to the magnesium. Now this is a difficult one to assess. If you take supplements just make sure you take as much magnesium as calcium. This depends on your diet. If your diet is quite high in calcium don't take any calcium supplement but if your diet is low in calcium then take some.
    As for potassium - everyone should take a little more potassium in their diet and less sodium anyway.
    [This Message was Edited on 03/03/2011]