Please help!..Leg cramps at night?

betty_the_villagesJune 29, 2005

Has anyone had any leg cramps at night? I have had them now for almost a week. I go to bed and sleep 4 hours and wake up with terrible leg pains or cramps. I have to get out of bed and walk through the house. When I come back to bed they start hurting again. Last night after I got up once I propped two pillows at the bottom of the bed and ellivated my legs. I got some relief, but no sleep. I take lots of Calcium every day and Fosamax once a week. Could I need Potassium or some other vitamen or mineral?

God Bless!

Betty in Florida

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Betty - make sure the calcium also has magnesium.

Also, make sure you are well-hydrated, and try some mild exercise and a warm bath before bed.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 9:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Betty, talk to your doctor about this. It could be any number of things, any of which need attention. If you are on any kind of diurectic, or have been sweating an extreme amount, it could be that you need potassium or something else. However, guessing is not a good idea. Your doctor needs to evaluate the cause. It could be more than one thing.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 10:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, I have been sweating a lot. First in our new hot tub. We had it too hot, last week and I perspired till I could hardly get my breath. I thought that would be so good for me...but, probably not. Since then we have turned it down. I have started on magnesium pills yesterday. But, I feel sure I need Potassium. I will ask the doctor.
Also, last night I ate a banana before bedtime.
A friend told me to eat some salt before I go to bed. Last night I did and the cramps were not ever as bad. Just a little. So maybe salt, magnesium and bananas will help. I should know more after I see the doctor.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 11:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Betty, for heavens sake....stay out of that hot tub. It can be a strain on even healthy young people. It's certainly won't be GOOD for you!! A nice WARM soak can be relaxing and helpful, but excess sweating at your age can be dangerous. The heat can elevate Blood Pressure to dangerous levels. You don't need a stroke.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I went to the doctor's today for my leg pains.
He did not agree on what we thought might be causing it. He had taken blood tests a short time ago and nothing was missing. All was ok in that line. As for some of our suggested remmedies...he did not agree. But, last night I had a fairly good night. Before I went to bed I took some of ya'll's! I took a magnisium pill, ate a banana, ate salt, stretched my legs good with wall exercise and drank 3 glasses of water.(forgot the soap).The doctor said that leg cramps or restless leg symptoms are very common. He gave me a sample package of Requip Tablets.
He seems to think this will help.
I do not know, but I will keep you informed, as I think many people probably do have this problem and it may help to know how it works.
Requip website is "" I have not checked it out as yet.
God Bless!
Betty in Florida

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 8:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am sure that you told him about recently having problems and sweating in the hot tub. Cramps are a lot different from the restless leg thing. The bananna will help build your potassium back up and the magnesium will help too. Skip the extra salt as just a very little is needed to replace any lost by sweating. Too much salt will cause you to retain water. You don't want that either. Take it easy for a couple more days. If it doesn't get a whole lot better see your doctor again.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 9:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, I did tell him about that. He said that has nothing to do with it. And that it would not hurt me if I did not stay in too long.
But, I do think that had a lot to do with it. Doctor's do not always have common sense.
Betty in Florida

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 9:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Betty, do try the soap thing. It really does work, at least it did for me. I suffered nightly with leg cramps till I put a bar of Dial between the sheets. I have had absolutely no cramps since except when I spent 3 nights away from home. Now I pack my soap in my suitcase. If you use Dial and it doesn'r help try another brand. There have been some reports that Dial doesn't work for some people, but it did for me.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 9:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Betty, I agree with you. sometimes I think that doctors just make up their minds and then quit listening to the patient. (And I worked for them for years.) Hot tubs can cause too much overheating just like too much sun, or working too long around steam engines or boilers. And it can deplete the body of essential electrolytes and minerals. Keep on with a bannana a day. It's good for you!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 10:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sex-you need more sex. Oh sorry, just couldn't resist that one. Hope you are over the leg cramps,, how well I know them,,getting my foot flat on the floor helps me but I get them more in the 'winter' if there is such a thing here in SW Florida.. maybe your AC is set too low.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 6:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tonic water! Drink 3 or 4 ounces & cramps will stop nearly as fast as you drink it. An orthopedic surgeon told DH about it & boy, does it work!
We're never without it now...even travel with a bottle of the stuff.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 8:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

.... but drink it with caution...

Here is a link that might be useful: Quinine (in tonic water) and leg cramps

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 7:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My night time leg cramps went away when I began taking Soya Lecithin. I take one in the morning and one before bed.

Also, if you ever do feel a leg cramp coming on... point your foot upwards (as if trying to touch your toes to your knee.)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 1:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I still have the leg cramps. Maybe they are just the restless leg pains? I do not know the difference.
I took the first pill of Requip and that night my legs were both stiff and I could not hardly move them. So I did not take anymore.
The Tonic water I have not tried as yet. I will get some today. As for the Soya Lecithin....I will try that too.
I am on Nexium and I wonder if that can cause leg cramps? Also I started taking folic acid everyday. Do you think either of these recent pills may be causing the cramps?
I am puzzled at what is causing these pains or cramps. It is scaring me. Could it be Arthritis?
Thank you all for your suggestions and help.
God Bless!
Betty in Florida

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 6:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Betty, I take Fosamax weekly and night-time leg cramps are a side effect I have experienced.

When I first started the medication they were very bad, especially the first night after each weekly pill, but I don't get them any more.

You say you also take Nexium -- both Nexium and Fosamax list muscle pain as a possible side-effect of taking the medication.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Did you try the soap thing? Thats the first
remedy I would have tried. In the "Dear Doctor" column in our local paper he talks about that a lot. Seems to help a lot of people, yet they don't know why.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 12:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't know if it's worth anything, but woke up yesterday morning with cramps in left leg to scream about!! Got that foot on the cool floor, and could hobble. Hobbled out to the screen porch and put bum leg foot flat on the cooler bricks and cramp went away. Will try it if it happens again to see if it works consistently.

Also, day before screaming cramps, thought I was low on potassium. Bought a bottle of pills, took as directed. Ate an avocado and a banana (both high in Potassium). Now I'm a chiken little! Going for batch of tests in August, see if I'm high or low!

Betty... whenever I come up to NJ, I see your exit on I-75 ... always think of you then. :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 1:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had intermittent leg cramps for years. Somewhere along the way someone suggested I wasn't drinking enough water. I had Chemo and radiation 7 years ago and seem to not get thirsty.
So after trying more extra calcuim with magnesium and Vit.D....and potassium and quinine....I began paying attention to how much stuff that is NOT coffee or wine or mixed with scotch, I actually drink.
Making sure I get an extra 32 oz of water a day has erased the cramps!
Try it!
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 12:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The link that is posted about quinine and tonic water above provides a concise explanation of what can cause leg cramps. DH has them every night. He was on quinine sulfate which helped a great deal, but developed an allergy to the quinine so that's out. He's trying to find a happy medium.

He did take Requip several years ago after what turned out to be an incorrect diagnosis of Parkinson's. It turned him into a zombie and it was not helping at all, so he stopped taking it and returned to his normal alert self.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 8:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gatorade is what works for me. When I get a real bad cramp I guzzle down a whole bottle of Gatorade and my cramp is gone. I tried Tonic water before but Gatorade does it for me. I take a bottle with me in the car if I'm driving very far in case I get a cramp while driving.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 1:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Betty I really think you have restless leg syndrome and you should listen to your doctor and take the requip. You have to take it every night as directed and then after about 10 days you'll start to feel better. RLS is weird sensations in your legs that make you want to get up and move around and with a very serious case like mine, can be quite painful physically and emotionally if treatment isn't working.

Cramps are more like ENORMOUS pains in your calves. If you are saying that you are walking around after it, you did NOT have a cramp hon. You can only limp and groan after a cramp.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 5:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was told my early morning leg cramps could be because of Dehydration or low amounts of Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, or Magnesium in my blood. It can' be because of low Potassium for me though, tests showed too much potassium in my blood.
Or from the Diuretics I take which can cause you to lose too much fluid or minerals, or the Statins I take that lower cholesterol.
The Gatorade sounds like a good idea to try, Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 4:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

None of you will ever guess....what was causing my leg cramps!!!I was the one that finally discovered the answer...It was just a guess to my! But I am ever so glad I made the suggestion. After the third week of visiting the doctor and him telling me all my tests came out OK, I do not know what ever poss-ed me to ask him .."Did you ever check my sugar?"..He never said a word and went to his desk and wrote up a perscription for me to go take a 2 hour sugar test at Quest. I went right away and had to drink something and wait. Then be tested and I went home. They never told me the results of the test. Your doctor has to do that.
That evening I was not able to talk, the words would not come out of my mouth until I drank water. Then I went to bed. Woke up about 2 AM with leg cramps... terrible. My husband took me to the ER and I found out that my blood sugar was over 700. All this time it was Diabete II <:->I almost died. I was admitted to the hospital and was there for 11 days. They said people do not live when their blood sugar is that high. PTL I did. That has beeen about 9 or 10 months ago. It has been a long hard roaad getting back to holding my sugar count down. I tried without meds, but could not do it. I am on Metforman 1500 mg. and I am doing better.But I still do not have it licked.
So any of you that still have leg cramps...please check out your Blood sugar first. I have since changed doctors.
God Bless!
Betty in Florida

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 9:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Betty, I do not think a whole lot of Doctors in Florida! I don't know where in Fla. you are but I'm happy to hear you've changed Drs. A year ago I visited an Aunt in Ft. Myers who was having health problems. She had been going every week to her Dr. She would send my Aunt every week for blood work, all she would say is Auntys blood level was low and she was watching it. I finally went with Aunty and asked alot of questions and demanded tests to find answers to the issues. Long story short she was incompetent! I brought my Aunt home to Ca. with me. Drs. here were astounded that my Aunt was still alive her blood level was --7--soo low. She should have stroked out or had heart failure they said. She is doing very well now that she has a network of very competent MDs. here in Ca.
My own Mother died due to an incompetent Dr. there to, which makes me believe that Mds. that have had *problems* in other states set up practices in Fla. where so many Seniors live. Check your Md. out, use the internet to find out if there have been law suits against him.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 2:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know it sounds crazy, but it has worked for me and others almost immediately.

Wear socks to bed.

Hope it helps!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 9:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow good thing you asked about it. Hope you are feeling good by now.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 10:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bettybee, you should have sued that doctor. Taking your blood glucose level is part of a normal examination. Instead of making you drink that GTT combo, he could have just done a stick test in his office to get your glucose level at that moment... as you prob know now, over 200 at any point in time is a sure sign of D2. The reason your bgl was over 700 was that uncalled for GTT with its max load of carbs.
I wish that my leg cramps were a side effect of my D2, but not, apparently. Going to try benedryl at night for awhile and see if that helps, saw it in another post on my search for help. Quinine is no longer prescribed for leg cramps, too expensive!!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 6:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What?? Quinine is expensive?? My husband takes it and the prescription costs us $2 a month. It costs the insurance company an additional $8. It really works for him.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been having terribly leg aches for 2 months now. I think its more a pinched nerve in my spine. I will see a back doc soon. But today at the store, I saw some quinine pills and bought them. They were 40 pills for about $6.50. I'll let you know if they help. I have fibro (I think you do too devorah), and I know my pains aren't like charley horses, but I'm wondering if they are small cramps all the time.........I'll let you know if they help at all.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 6:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am tortured with leg cramps. Can't even remember how many times I woke up last nite. I am sleep deprived. What helps is walking around the house on a cold floor. But who needs that; I want to get rid of them. I tried everything. (Except Dial soap which sounds bizarre but I'm desperate). I used to have quinine & it worked pretty well, but my new doctor won't give it to me. I take calcium with magnesium, Vit. E, liquid minerals with electrolytes, fish oils; I've tried drinking more water (will try again); extra doses of magnesium works except I get diarrhea. I wore socks last nite and was worse than ever. I go to a gym several times a week, but my doctor said to do leg stretching--you can sit doing this: raise your heels, then switch and raise your toes; I'm going to try this before bedtime. Sometimes the cramps mysteriously disappear for weeks. I can't figure it.
Gonna try the soap; worst that can happen, I can wash my face with it to wake me up from a sleepless nite.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 8:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do you have charleyhorses, or are they more like a really bad ache?
I just bought some quinine pills, but then I read that some of them were taken off the market because of dangerous side-effects. Then I read an article that said that tonic water has tons more quinine in it than the pills. So I don't know what to think.
I do a great calf stretch that helps me. I have an old, narrow desk drawer that I use, but you could use a big phone book. With shoes on, put your feet half up onto the phone book and lean forward. You can really feel your calves stretching.
Let me know if you have charleyhorse-type pains or aches.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Quinine Sulfate has been used since the 1940's for leg crmaps. the great majority get relief and only a few deaths (95) compared ot other durgs such as Avandia for diabetes with 80,000 problems and deaths but still ont he market. A doctor still has the power to prescribe Quinine for leg crmaps but now some won't since it's only officially listed as for malaria. My doctor is one of these people who is leaving 1000 of us with no treatment or alternate prescription. Anyone knowing of a doctor that will write a prescripton for Quinine Sulfate for me please tell me ASAP. I have oanly 3 weeks left on my current prescription. ANy one with common sense unlike my doctor can see that you cna't just take a person off a drug thev'e used for 20 yeasrs cold turkey with no alternative. Help!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 3:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had horrible leg cramps! I started taking a calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement every night with a glass of water, and within two weeks, no more cramps. When I stop taking them, I get the cramps again.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

While trying to figure out the cause of those nasty leg/foot cramps try this to make them subside when you get them in the middle of the night.

I keep a small bottle of apple cider vinegar on my night stand. About 2 tablespoons or two swigs will relieve the cramp within a minuet. I know a minuet is a long time when you get a cramp.
My cramps are not always in muscles that I can stretch to get relief. Some times they are in the top of my foot or down the side of my leg, The side leg cramps fell like they are twisting my leg bone.
If you can't tolerate the vinegar, sweet pickle juice will do the same thing.

Sometimes before I fall asleep I can feel them coming on and drinking the vinegar will stop them from getting to that excruciating stage.

I have not had any night cramps for a while now and the only thing I have been doing different is to make sure I eat a serving of broccoli each day. And the only way I can make sure I get it in is to have broccoli for breakfast.
But make no mistake I always have my bottle of vinegar on my nightstand just in case. I hate having to wake my poor husband up in the middle of the night to run into the kitchen to get the vinegar.
With the cramps I have had at night I don't think I would make it to the kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 7:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In addition to the unbearable leg cramps I get at night, I also get them during the day but not so often. The first warning I get is a cramping in my feet, and my toes go every which way. Sometimes the cramps are confined to just below my knee, and at other times they are along my inner thighs. Sometimes I only get the cramps in one leg, and sometimes in both (that is the worst). I'm not exaggerating when I say the pain is excruciating. I do intend to tell my doctor when I have my next appointment, and in the meantime, thanks to reading some of the suggestions here, I am now armed with bananas, vinegar, and a bar of soap. I'm crossing my fingers that at least one of them will work.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 5:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The latest thoughts are vitamine D. It has been discovered that as you age you need lots most vitamine D than previously thought. I am not taking 1000 MG's of vitamine daily in addition to what's in the calcium...not had a leg cramp in months and months.
Try it!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree that your doc shouldn't have sent you to take that 2-hour test. My doc ALWAYS checks my glucose level whenever he sends me for blood tests.

I remember when I was pregnant. I was around 7 months and my OB/GYN wanted to send me to take this test where you drink this sugary stuff to check to see about diabetes. I asked a nurse at my Lamas Class about the stuff. My question was, "If the stuff you drink is full of sugar, can this cause me or my baby to develop diabetes?" She said it could because of the high glucose in the drink. There were no guarantees.

I told my OB/GYN that I refuse to take the test. They didn't have that test "in the old days" so I'll take my chances. Daughter is now 16 and not diabetic.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 12:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nexium, as well as the over the counter Prilosec, reduce stomach acid production which inhibits the absorption of certain electrolytes, minerals, and vitamins. They can work so well on stomach acid that you may end up with a slightly different problem. In particular, magnesium is not absorbed well in a low acid environment. If you don't get enough dietary magnesium, then your body will pull it from your muscles and bones. Sometimes, supplementing with calcium can actually further upset the balance because your body has a ratio of calcium to magnesium in the blood (I want to say it's 8:1, but can't remember for sure), so, if you add a bunch of calcium, you essentially further "decrease" the amount of magnesium available. One way to help differentiate the type of imbalance is with the type of cramp - if your toes point in, your ankle locks, and the muscle on the top, outside of your shin hardens, then it is may be an extensor plantar reflex, associated with low magnesium. You may be describing tetany - usually caused by low magnesium or calcium. You can ask your doc about it, but they are generally not very familiar - try looking online some more. Also, it is uncommon for doctors to test for low magnesium as the test is not standard, expensive for the proper one, etc. You can try wikipedia too, I fought that problem for a long time, in part because of a copper IUD (copper inhibits magnesium absorption too). Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 5:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have noticed that I get leg cramps when I drink wine. I thought it was only red wine, but I had a glass of chardonnay last week and had another leg cramp that night. I haven't had any wine since then and have not had a cramp!
So I guesss I'll stick to beer.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

About 4 yrs ago I started to get leg cramps (not aches, but muscle-seizing painful spasms). As they became more frequent I realized I had to do something about them.

Was going to take potassium but researching online I saw that my diet is very high in potassium. Further research suggested magnesium.

So I bought Magnesium Citrate (minerals that are "citrate" are more easily absorbed), and in a week they went away.

Went on a trip and had run out of Mag Cit and took Cal-Mag pills along (neither the Cal nor the Mag are in citrate form). After a couple of weeks the cramps came back, though not very severely. Returned home, bought more Mag Cit and in 5 days they went away.

Went on another trip recently and wasn't perfect at remembering to take the pill everyday and started getting some small cramps again. Getting back on them regularly solved the problem.

Its kinda scary to be so dependent on them!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 4:34PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Does anyone else have a problem with Dental X-Rays?
I am wondering if it's just me or if anyone else has...
Suggest a remedy for chapped hand and breaking of nails
I am a working lady and my work is mostly on computer....
Relentless Night Cough/Post Nasal Drip
Hello, I am desperately seeking information/advice...
Anyone have a hiatal hernia, need advice?
I have constant pain in my diaphram and I read on a...
Tennis Elbow
Was just dx with a tennis elbow...Besides taking the...
Sponsored Products
Shanghai Night Scape
$24.99 | Dot & Bo
LaPalma | Link Bar Stool
Famous Maker 230 Thread Count Medium White Down Pillow
Audra Mirror - ATQGLD
$495.00 | Horchow
A & L Furniture Yellow Pine Cross Legged Picnic Table with 2 Benches - 191-WP WH
$339.99 | Hayneedle
Sloane Anthracite Horizontal Flat Panel Designer Radiator 25 x 23 5/8
Hudson Reed
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™