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Muscle Cramps In Legs

StormCrow420StormCrow420 Registered User regular
edited August 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I just turned 30, time for a physical.

In the mean time, I occasionaly get these excruciatingly painful muscle cramps in my calves. I've been getting them once in a while since I a teenager, but lately I've been noticing them more frequently and this morning was the first time I had one in my left calf, before it's always been my right.

What happens is in the morning hours when I'm starting to wake up, I'll stretch my legs and flex a muscle wrong I guess and the pain starts, it's really bad and it lasts for like half a minute. It only happens when I'm lying on my back stretching and flexing. It's also happened during sex. Then I limp around for most of the day.

Has something like this ever happened to anyone else? Should I just eat more bananas? Should I get my doctor to reccomend a muscle doctor or something?

StormCrow420 on

Posts

  • John MatrixJohn Matrix Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I have exactly the same problem under the same circumstances, although I don't ache or limp for the rest of the day, there are times when my legs feels a little tender.

    It sucks, I'd like to know a solution too. I'm guessing I need to work out.

    John Matrix on
  • PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Tight hamstrings can cause calf and back pain. How's your flexibility?

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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Been getting this occasionally for the last 15 or 20 years. I've heard a lack of potassium can cause it, but I don't know. It feels like your muscle is trying to contract as hard as it can. I too usually end up limping for the rest of the day. I usually go several months between occurrences, but it can happen to either leg for me.

    Sir Carcass on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    What do you use your legs for in a given day? Do you exercise?

    When my legs haven't been used in a while (say, sitting in a car for hours), I have to be careful when stretching because it's really easy to give myself a charlie horse at that point. It's similar after a long walk or a long bike ride, because they're fatigued. It seems that, for me, I get cramps at two stages -- underused for a long time, or overused for a long time. Anything in between and I'm fine.

    Is this part of, like, a morning stretch you do in bed, or just part of the normal morning routine?

    I had really bad back pain whenever I woke up, and I went to the doctor, and she said "it could be something more but it's probably just posture. I'll send you to a physical therapist" and yeah, it was just posture. I did exercises and after a couple months they went away. And my posture's a lot better, too.

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  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I call them "charliehorses" but I don't know the technical term. I'd try to stretch and watch your diet. I used to get them once a week, but now that I'm watching what I eat it's much better.

    urahonky on
  • John MatrixJohn Matrix Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I eat bananas 4 or 5 times a week and I ate calcium pills, kinda helped, but as far as I can tell not a lot.

    John Matrix on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charley_horse

    I hadn't considered dehydration, but that would explain why you might get them in the morning.

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  • Mojo the AvengerMojo the Avenger Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I used to get them when I played soccer. My solution was to grab my toes and stretch the muscle as hard as possible.

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  • THEPAIN73THEPAIN73 Shiny. Real shiny.Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I wake up with this sometimes.

    Drink more water before bed?

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  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2009
    You're probably dehydrated, so drink a lot more water.

    Also, don't point your toes down when stretching (although it is natural to do so), you want to keep your feet perpendicular as if you are standing, or even try to raise them up further when stretching. When you point your toes it puts you into the position where not only is it easier to cramp up, but it's harder to uncramp until you bend your foot.

    I had a really bad cramp after playing soccer about a month ago, and the only way I could snap out of it was to grab my foot at the arch and bend it upwards while stretching my legs.

    Unknown User on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Wait until you stretch in your sleep, and this happens. It's a hell of a way to wake up.

    For immediate relief, Gatorade is immensely helpful.

    Thanatos on
  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Drinking more water can help, as can regularly stretching those muscles (touching your toes, placing your toes on a wall or other vertical surface and gently leaning into it, etc.)

    When it happens, you will want to stretch your leg and point your toes up towards your head, pushing your heel down/away from you. Very easily done with lying down.

    Andrew_Jay on
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Wait until you stretch in your sleep, and this happens. It's a hell of a way to wake up.

    That is one of the most terrifying experiences I've ever had. About 45 minutes of absurdly intense pain.

    Unknown User on
  • THEPAIN73THEPAIN73 Shiny. Real shiny.Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Wait until you stretch in your sleep, and this happens. It's a hell of a way to wake up.

    For immediate relief, Gatorade is immensely helpful.

    Yeah it's really the worse thing to wake you up.

    You are alright Thanatos. You get me.

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  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    You can try tonic water, with quinine (make sure it actually has quinine in it). It prevents muscle spasms and cramps.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • BEAST!BEAST! Adventurer Adventure!!!!!Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Been getting this occasionally for the last 15 or 20 years. I've heard a lack of potassium can cause it, but I don't know. It feels like your muscle is trying to contract as hard as it can. I too usually end up limping for the rest of the day. I usually go several months between occurrences, but it can happen to either leg for me.
    yes this is almost always the problem, not enough potassium

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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Wait until you stretch in your sleep, and this happens. It's a hell of a way to wake up.

    That's pretty much exclusively when I get them, and yeah, it sucks. Really all you can do is lay there and scream. I usually grab onto our wrought-iron headboard and try to grit my way through it, but it's rough. If you can bend your foot upwards towards your head, it helps, but if you wait too long, it's hard to do once the hurting starts.

    Sir Carcass on
  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I get these all the time, and sometimes wake up to them in the middle of the night.

    I usually walk it off and then I'm good. Seriously guys. Get out of bed, and force weight on the leg, walk around a few paces, and you're golden.

    saint2e on
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  • CyberJackalCyberJackal Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I've had these from time to time, and I asked my doctor about them just a couple months ago. He pretty much just recommended more stretching. The ones Andrew_Jay mentioned are probably a good idea, but the stretch my doctor showed me specifically you can see here (first thing that came up in google for stretches) under the heading "Gastroc Stretch". This is specifically a calf stretch, and although I've only been doing it a couple months I haven't had any of these cramps since I started. It certainly couldn't hurt to give this a try.

    CyberJackal on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Wait until you stretch in your sleep, and this happens. It's a hell of a way to wake up.
    That's pretty much exclusively when I get them, and yeah, it sucks. Really all you can do is lay there and scream. I usually grab onto our wrought-iron headboard and try to grit my way through it, but it's rough. If you can bend your foot upwards towards your head, it helps, but if you wait too long, it's hard to do once the hurting starts.
    Keep a bottle of Gatorade in your nightstand.

    I know it sounds weird, but both my dad and I get these, and it is immensely helpful, within moments.

    Thanatos on
  • StormCrow420StormCrow420 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    thanks for the advice folks.

    StormCrow420 on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Eat bananas (or another source of potassium, but bananas are tasty), drink more water, stretch regularly. Calves are pretty easy to quickly stretch and you can do it before bed.

    I have heard that sleeping on your back or side will help alleviate these, because your feet have more mobility that way, preventing muscle fatigue in your calves. I have no idea whether this is really true though.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    saint2e wrote: »
    I get these all the time, and sometimes wake up to them in the middle of the night.

    I usually walk it off and then I'm good. Seriously guys. Get out of bed, and force weight on the leg, walk around a few paces, and you're golden.

    Maybe yours aren't as severe as mine, but when they hit, getting out of bed is the last thing on my mind. The pain can be paralyzing.

    Sir Carcass on
  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    saint2e wrote: »
    I get these all the time, and sometimes wake up to them in the middle of the night.

    I usually walk it off and then I'm good. Seriously guys. Get out of bed, and force weight on the leg, walk around a few paces, and you're golden.

    Maybe yours aren't as severe as mine, but when they hit, getting out of bed is the last thing on my mind. The pain can be paralyzing.

    I dunno, I'm in excrutiating pain usually. and it takes a lot for me to get out of bed (ie- 5 snooze hits in the morning). But that hits, and I bolt out of bed and hobble around the bedroom putting more and more pressure until it's stretched back out.

    saint2e on
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  • elfdudeelfdude Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    These are simple charlie horses, they're caused by a few different things things, irritating a reflex nerve while at the same time consciously forcing your muscles in the opposite direction, pinching a nerve slightly (I say slightly because if you do it seriously odds are you'll learn what it feels like to give birth) or muscles not properly sliding over each other. I have a problem with both my calves and my foot doing this when I stretch too hard.

    You have a lot of reflex nerves in your legs and arms to prevent you from bending your knees backwards or your joints too far, they chime in when they think you're in danger of harming yourself and uncontrollably jerk your leg back the opposite direction to a neutral position. (why the doctor taps your knees) The pain comes when you either can't jerk your muscle back (on a bed/confined) or are in the process of flexing the muscle the opposite way (stretching it). It can cause either half of your muscle trying to do one thing and the other half doing the opposite or it can cause you to actually pull a muscle.

    The only real method to treat muscles not sliding properly is by increasing your intake of things like calcium, potassium and magnesium. Even so, since puberty I've dealt with charlie horses once or twice a week, there's not much you can do but avoid stretching too quickly and so far.

    It's especially annoying during sex so find a position that helps to keep you from performing that action that hurts, generally for me something that involves my legs bent at the knee is better than something involving straightened legs.

    Doing slow and easy stretches over time can help you tell your nerves that you can indeed bend that way without harming yourself other than that and increasing your intake of reactive metals your burnt.

    elfdude on
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  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User regular
    edited May 2021
    -

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