Good Day Fellow Warriors!
Last week I talked about having a body pillow to help ease sleep issues only to have rest interrupted by muscle cramps.
Today, I hope that I can further help you with this problem with some tips that helped me get rid of muscle cramps and spasms.
Ouch, Muscle Cramps! Does Magnesium Help Muscle Cramping?
For those of us on Prednisone, we are unfortunately familiar with those nighttime muscle cramps and spasms. For me, the cramps also crept into the daylight hours. It affected my calves, thighs, feet, buttocks, hands, neck, and occasionally back. At its worst, cramping was my nemesis, robbing me of sleep and generally making my life miserable in every way. In addition to severely interfering with sleep, I could not hold a phone or stand for long periods due to deforming hand or back spasms. I was really feeling wretched.
By my 2nd month on Prednisone, I was searching for anything that would help with the cramping. My pain was getting better due to the Pred, but my cramping was out of control. I was desperate!
After researching the topic, talking with my Rheumatologist, and trying many wasteful and expensive anti-cramp products, this is what I came up with that worked pretty well.
- Talk with your doctor about your cramping.
- Get a lab test to see if you are deficient in Magnesium. Even if you are borderline low, it is enough to get muscle cramps.
- Ask your doctor about Magnesium for muscle cramps if you are deficient. I did have low Magnesium and was glad that I checked it out.
- If you take magnesium supplements, be aware that there are many different types of Magnesium. Some are better absorbed, and some are laxatives. I take Magnesium Gluconate (oxide) in the morning, and in the evening, I take a tablet with mixed types of Magnesium to cover all bases. Here is an article that discusses the different types of Magnesium. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-dosage
- My doctor prescribed muscle relaxants for nighttime. It helped somewhat.
- Light stretching and walking daily helped me.
- Soaking in a tub of Epsom salts helps also. Epsom salts are a form of Magnesium (sulfate). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/epsom-salt-benefits-uses#
- Some people say magnesium sprays or creams help their legs if you spray it on when you have a spasm or before bed. I tried it, and it was a waste of money for me.
- Drinking electrolyte drinks or quinine (tonic) water has been known to be very helpful for leg cramps. I do not drink it because it contains sugar or artificial sweeteners, which I can not have on the diet that I follow (Paleo) for PMR.
- I did try a tasteless electrolyte replacement powder that I mixed with water that did seem to help with the cramps. I drank it right before bed. I ordered this one off Amazon.
Luckily, as I decreased my Prednisone dose, the spasms eased up somewhat also. This was in addition to taking Magnesium twice a day (am and pm).
I can not say that I am totally free from muscle cramps, but I can sleep most of the night, and it is bearable.
I hope that these tips will help you get to a point where you can get a good night's rest and be fairly cramp-free.
Hoping for a great day for you all!