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back problems causing leg cramps?

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Old 08-20-2006, 08:07 AM   #1
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Question back problems causing leg cramps?

Quick question, hopefully I can get answers from someone who has gone through this problem as well. I have lower back problems, and am facing discogram and fusion, as I posted earlier. I have been getting cramps in the ball and arch of my left foot, and recently started getting severe cramps in the calf of my left leg(they wake me up during sleep). The cramps last about 2-3 minutes, but my calf will ache for days. Can the back injury cause these cramps? Thanks in advance for the help, and I hope everyone has a peaceful day.

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Old 08-20-2006, 10:17 AM   #2
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

To put it short and sweet. Yes. With me it felt like leg cramps but it actually the the sciatic nerve. I tried stretching out the calf muscle and that didn't work nor did it help.

Good Luck


Old 08-20-2006, 11:03 AM   #3
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

My leg cramps got so bad my husband massaged Aspercreme in them and laid them gently on a heating pad and within 20 minutes I finally dosed off. They are horrible. I thought it was muscle but the PT said it was still sciatc nerve and showed me a very gentle stretch called a "nerve glide" to help sretch the nerve back out to meet the muscles I was working by walking. It has helped -I tried everything I found on the web and also found tonic water helped-go figure! It seems the quinine helps muscle cramps.

Old 08-20-2006, 11:43 AM   #4
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

That sounds like that old annoying sciatic nerve, stretching the nerve at the trunk of the nerve, your buttock area, will only temporarily calm it down. The nerve is being compressed at the L5 area, the last vertebra. I did all I could to get around it, but a fusion was unavoidable. My cramps are gone, but I still have the weakness left from trying to live to long with the cramps. I remember days when the cramps were in both legs from my heal, to my rump. 24/7. If you are facing a fusion, as radical as it may seam, I am glad I had it done just for having the cramps gone. I have a long way to go for recovery, but it is better than trying to live with cramps.

Old 08-20-2006, 01:39 PM   #5
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

Thanks for the info!!! Never crossed my mind that the pinched nerves could be the culprit! I really hope the fusion will help to relieve some of these problems, I know that it is a 50-50 chance.

Old 08-20-2006, 05:29 PM   #6
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

Hi there-
I also had leg cramps before my decompression in '05. Along with all the good advice you've already gotten, I'd ask your doc if a muscle relaxer (Flexeril, Diazapam) might also be considered. For my own part, I have never been quite sure that I thought these meds did much for me but I sure wanted to cover all my bases and was glad to have them at the time! Good luck - Suzy-Q

Old 08-20-2006, 10:16 PM   #7
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

I think most of us have had or continue to have those horrific muscle cramps and spasms in our legs/feet. And most occur at rest. I had them right after surgery and of course, you can't get up quickly and it just gets worse as you try to get up. Oh boy!!

I tried, muscle relaxers, biofreeze, tiger balm, heat patches, ice.. not much was helping.

I called some pharmacies about it since it first occurred on a weekend. Quinine is indeeed a med of choice to relieve leg cramps, but most often it takes perscription strength to give proper relief. Also.. with what we have been putting into our bodies med wise over the years.. our bodies get very depleted of calcium/magnesium, which is essential to proper muscle function. Though skeptical to this, I went and got some being desperate, and that night after taking a full daily dose.. I slept better than I had in weeks, and NO LEG CRAMPS. Also.. the sore muscles post cramp.. i put a heat patch on it and it also helped that relax some too. It's not gonna solve your problem as it's a nerve issue, but it might help to make them less frequent and/or not last as long or hurt as much, or keep them at bay. Worked for me.

Best wishes to you. Take care. Tammy

Old 08-20-2006, 10:21 PM   #8
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

Speaking of calcium/magmesium, did you know that brown rice is high in these? I was told that not long ago, I LOVE warm rice with sugar and cinnamon, great way to increase those in your diet.

Just a thought

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Old 08-21-2006, 12:13 AM   #9
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

hi.....I am an old dancer and have suffered from sciatic problems on and off for years. I have spinal stenosis and spondy grade2 but it seems like my leg cramps, or for want of a better word, spasms, were coming from my hip. I had all the test done on my back and they are bad but, I found i have no cartliage left in my right hip. Never had hip pain or pain in that area. Referred pain down the front of thigh, groin,and side of calf to ankle. I still have muscle cramps and they are worse than ever. I will have my hip resurfaced next
week and I think they will resolve themselves. My sciatic nerve problem was where it runs through the glutes. The back though bad was not the was tight muscles impinging on the sciatic nerve. Hope this helps. Karen

Old 08-22-2006, 03:09 PM   #10
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

Yep... most likely the pinched nerve, but can be other things... I take Magnesium phosphate which is supposed to help with muscle cramps and is a natural muscle relaxer. ALso, increase your potassium too, as this could be part of the problem... You can get this from some prunes or a banana a day.. Stretch in the mornings and before going to bed too..


Old 08-22-2006, 03:31 PM   #11
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?


I also had severe muscle cramps and sharp pains in my ankle, big toe , and arch of my foot. I had a rubtured disc that landed lateraly on my spinal cord. I had a discetomy and the severe cramps went immediatly away. As for the foot pain... still there. But I was told that can take time. Did you have a MRI to rule out a rupture?

A couple of you have mentioned Magnesium...What is the proper dose per day? I have read that taking over 400mg. a day can be dangerous. And do you take it with calcium or on it's own?
Thanks, Donna

Old 08-22-2006, 04:54 PM   #12
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Re: back problems causing leg cramps?

NY.. yes it's better absorbed taking with calcuim magnesium together, and is often sold as one tablet.

The normal recommended dosage on my bottle says calcium 1,000 mg, and magnesium 500 mg daily. I take only one tab a day.. as the full dose doesn't quite agree with my system, and I still get really good results with it.

Hope this helps. Take care.

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