Discussions that mention potassium

Back Problems board

Hello :wave:

So sorry your boyfriend is having such a horrific time. There are probably members from the UK, and maybe they can offer you some other routes to take regarding the back, as it does not sound like it needs to wait until August. Is the wait because of his health, or is it that they are generally slow to receive treatments?

What I can suggest is that he could possibly check with his primary care doc and ask that his potassium levels be checked. Extremes of either high or low potassium can cause severe cramping and muscle spasms as you describe. If potassium levels are a problem, simple adjustments of potassium intake can take away a lot of the misery. If potassium is not the problem, your friend should talk with the doctor about prescribing some muscle relaxers (I use flexeril) of one sort or another that will relieve the cramping. He could get some immediate short term relief and stay on them for regular intervals as prescribed so that over the course of a few days, the cramping/spasms should become a lot less frequent.

I do not understand the health care system which takes so long to schedule someone for corrective surgery with the problems you describe. Is there no way to appeal or see a spine specialist (an ortho or neuro who specializes in spines and has done a spine fellowship) who might provide him surgery now?

Do let us know how he is doing. Best wishes to you both.

I have to echo the response of "quietcook"....have his potassium level checked. Does he take diuretics or water pills? They can cause your body to be depleted of potassium. I have heart problems and high blood pressure problems so they make me take diuretics. These cause you to more frequently urinate, often reducing the amount of potassium in your body. I have to take a potassium supplement otherwise I have the exact same symptoms that you describe that your boyfriends suffers from. Sometimes my big toe will stand straight up and I have to stand on it with my other foot to try and get it to straighten out. :dizzy: :mad: :blob_fire It will often be like a "charlie horse" but in the foot....bad acute pain.

In fact, potatoes and bananas are a good source of potassium....I make sure that I eat some each day to try and get enough potassium. I also take multiple vitamins that have potassium. You may be able to try these things until you get his potassium level checked. Have him try the bananas, it certainly can't hurt.Taking a potassium supplement may eliminate the cause.

What I do when I have an episode is quickly take a pain pill (break thru pain meds in my case), a strong muscle relaxer (the doctors give me valium...yes, it is a muscle relaxer, in fact it was first made for this very purpose...very effective I might add :bouncing: ), and then I rub my foot with an ointment used for sore muscles and the like...I don't think I can mention a specific product on these boards, but I can assure you some are better than others. Of course, while I am doing all this I am usually also kicking the foot on the floor, against the wall, trying to massage it, sticking it in a tub of hot water, cold water and doing whatever else I can to try and distract me from the pain. OH, how I know how miserable this is!!!!! :eek: :eek: I have to emphasize the muscle ointments as this is something you can get at the drugstore. It may not be the ultimate cure, but this in conjunction with the other things mentioned tend to give me some relief.

Do you know of any friends who have friends that are nurses, physician's assistants, pharmacist, etc. so that they can possibly recommend something to help with the acute pain episodes.

I have to emphasize the muscle relaxer, specifically the valium, as it is very effective, even though it takes a few minutes to begin working. My doctor gives it to patients who are paralyzed and get bad muscle spasms (I don't know how this happens when your paralyzed, but it does)....he says that it is very effective.

I can so much relate to all this misery and especially the sense of hopelessness that he must feel not knowing if he will ever get relief. Offer to pray with him, not only when he is in pain, but pray for the strength, peace and RELIEF when he does have an episode....this has helped me very much!! Ask your family and friends to pray, pray, and then pray some more! Pray that God will send the right person in his life that will help get him some relief. Know that I (as well as I am sure others who will read your e-mail) will be praying for the both of you that your boyfriend will get some relief and you will be at peace! :angel:

Quote from cajunboy:

Has your boyfriend gotten any relief? Have you found anything to help him? Let us know what happens?

You and he are in my prayers!


Not yet cajunboy, apparently his newish doc had already ordered blood testing for the potassium levels so we're just waiting on the results of that. He's hanging in there but seems convinced at times he's going to die, he saw a tv programme in which a young boy had a spinal injury and died, he even told me he thought it would be Sept or Oct which worried me greatly at first but on reflection I think he's just scared and needing lots of reassurance, I think the programme really spooked him.

I've told him he isn't going anywhere because he promised me he'd marry me one day (we're engaged) and I've given him some of the best years of my life but I've loads more to give and he isn't going to leave me living the rest of my life without him.

Thank you for including us in your prayers, I've never really been a person for religion but recently I've found myself praying for god to look after him and comfort him in his suffering and to give him the strength to keep fighting.

I'll update again as soon as I know more. :)
Quote from fluffytoes:

.....Thank you for including us in your prayers, I've never really been a person for religion but recently I've found myself praying for god to look after him and comfort him in his suffering and to give him the strength to keep fighting.

I'll update again as soon as I know more. :)


I sure hope that it is the potassium shortage that is the problem, because that is so very easy to fix (potassium supplement). I can't encourage you enough. Tell him about these boards/forums....that there are many people like him who "have been there" are are not only survivors, but have regained their quality of life. Yes, it was a battle to get the right treatments and medications at first, but there is hope.

Also, and most significantly, don't let go of prayer. God is our Father and loves us dearly. He never desired that we suffer, but in fact, created our first parents in the "Garden of Eden". Their first failures, followed by our own failures, brought disorder into the world, and with it all this suffering. But, He assures us that He is with us as He sent His Son to suffer and die to give evidence of His love for us.

Mother Teresa knew suffering and she often told her sisters "Never let suffering so overwhelm you as to forget that the Passion of Jesus ends in the joy and glory of the Resurrection."

Tell your fiancee that there are those who have been through what he is going through, and they are praying for him. I hope your day is filled with peace!

cb :)