Muscle spasms

Using exercise and physical therapy for recovery from the effects of MS, and for maintaining physical
function.

Do you experience severe lower extremity muscle spams after exercise?

Yes
4
44%
No
2
22%
Sometimes
3
33%
Not sure
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 9

Muscle spasms

Postby flora68 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:18 am

I think we all know that MS can do just about anything to you, so almost any symptom I experience I tend to attribute to MS, my default diagnosis. But I'm not 100% sure about this one...

For many years I worked out at a gym at least every other day and was very goal-oriented. I pumped more iron than any other woman in the gym, which is a pretty significant accomplishment because I'm fat, arthritic, and over 60, and nobody expects me to be able to do anything.

But I pretty much stopped going a couple of months ago because of increasingly severe, rip-roaring muscle spasms in my lower extremities after exercise. They mostly only happened on days when I'd been to the gym; on days when I didn't workout, I experienced much less spasticity if any; the only thing that can trigger these lower extremity spasms without exercise is cold air hitting my lower legs. That's kind of a drag because I love the cold...

I miss the exercise and can feel myself losing condition, but as things stand, I don't really have much of a choice, unless I just don't do any lower-body exercise at all. While I appreciated most of the effects of exercising, it was afterward, at night in bed, when I'd get these sudden, horrific muscle spams in my legs, ankles, and feet. Really painful. Typically my ankle would twist inward at an unnatural 90 degree angle. I have to get up very quickly to stand flat-footed on the floor for awhile, and the spasm stops.

To be clear, this is not a matter of sore muscles; it's something else altogether. And yes, I've had my potassium checked; it's in the lower range of normal.

I should explain that I have other issues besides MS- I already used a walker from time to time before I ever got MS, due to a spinal injury. So I'm not 100% sure what is causing the muscle spasms, but exercise makes these knotted muscles a huge big deal; nothing like having sleep interrupted by torture....

The reason I'm posting this is to ask...do you think this is from MS? Do you have muscle spasms-not sore muscles, but sudden spastic knots, after exercise? Either way, do you have any suggestions? I'd appreciate your input.

Well, that's it. Thanks very much for "listening", and for any advice that might get me back to the gym.
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby oreo » Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:29 pm

For what its worth, I'm almost 60, overweight and wouldn't have a clue as to what the inside of a gym looks like.
Many nights I wake up in the middle of the night and jump out of bed to get my foot on a cold floor to help relieve the sudden onset muscle spasm.
In fact, for about a decade after my onset MS attack when I was 20, these rip-roaring spasms were the only symptom I had (except that I didn't know I had MS because the MRI hadn't been invented yet). While they no longer rip and roar, they are a major pain and the do know how to mess up a good night's sleep.
So I would suggest that you go back to the gym as much as you want. If the problem doesn't get any worse, then you know there is no real connection.
Good luck.
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby jimmylegs » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:00 pm

i'm going with magnesium loss through sweating, for this one, flora. low normal potassium can be linked to low serum magnesium status, by the way.

if you get a serum magnesium test the result should be AT LEAST 0.90mmol/L. ('normal' range is 0.70-1.10 and that's too broad by literally half)

healthy sources of magnesium include sunflower seeds, zinc, spinach, chard, and chinook salmon, for a few examples

magnesium glycinate is a good, soluble, more absorbable supplement form. magnesium oxide has a high percentage elemental magnesium, but it's insoluble and therefore it's more difficult to absorb, and because of that it has a very laxative effect.

if sweat loss does not make sense for you oreo, there's also dietary insufficiency, stress, caffeine, alcohol, that kind of thing which can cause lower magnesium levels.

also, ms patients do tend to be lower in magnesium. hth!
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby NHE » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:01 am

Hi Flora,
I know that this sounds like a really basic question, but do you stretch after exercising? Nine or ten years ago when I was in grad school, I used to ride my bicycle home after studying in the library all night and then go straight to bed. I would get really painful spasms in my quads that would wake me up in agony. I found that some stretching after I got home would prevent the spasms.

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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby jimmylegs » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:39 am

quick question nhe, did you also have raynaud's back then? guess where i'm going with this :P hehe
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby NHE » Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:18 am

jimmylegs wrote:quick question nhe, did you also have raynaud's back then? guess where i'm going with this :P hehe


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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby jimmylegs » Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:23 am

took a bit longer to manifest then i take it?? anyway it was probably a mag issue for you back then too! and what are you doing up at this hour.
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby CureOrBust » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:08 pm

I note that exercise reduces my spasms and calms things down a little, I think its because I try so hard that I am physically drained after a work out. \:D/
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby NHE » Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:21 am

jimmylegs wrote:took a bit longer to manifest then i take it?? anyway it was probably a mag issue for you back then too!


I'm not a muscle physiologist, nor do I play one on TV. However, I've run into numerous sources over the years that idicate that stretching after exercise helps the muscle to get rid of built up lactic acid which could otherwise lead to cramping and stiffness.

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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby jimmylegs » Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:42 am

true!

""Magnesium and malic acid are also critical. When malic acid and the other compounds are low, the body often has to shift to the very inefficient (anaerobic) means of generating energy. This contributes to the abnormal buildup of lactic acid that occurs after exercise ... This causes muscle achiness and fatigue"

and if we're talking about more than just sore muscles, eg "To be clear, this is not a matter of sore muscles; it's something else altogether.", then magnesium status could be even more highly suspect.

magnesium is useful in extreme cases of spasm such as tetanus:

Magnesium as first line therapy in the management of tetanus: a prospective study of 40 patients. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12133096
"Spasms were controlled in 38 of the 40 patients within a serum Mg(2+) range of 2-4 mmol/l with only two patients needing additional neuromuscular blocking drugs. Seventeen of 24 patients (< 60 years) and six of 16 patients (> or = 60 years) did not require ventilatory support."

and, one more study:

Painful muscle spasm reversed by magnesium sulphate. A case report. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4035497
"A 25-year-old paraplegic man who had sustained a T3/T4 vertebral compression fracture 3 years previously presented with severe, painful spasm of the left hamstring muscle group of 2 hours' duration. This spasm produced extreme knee flexion of a degree which held the left foot posterior to the right buttock. An intravenous injection of 2 g magnesium sulphate produced immediate relief."

hth flora :) feel better soon!
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby flora68 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:22 pm

Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions and encouragement. I'm strangely relieved to have it more-or-less confirmed that my muscle spasms are (probably) an MS thing.

I'm planning to go back to the gym later this afternoon, for a mild workout, and since I've never tried stretching after a workout I'll try it.

Because of a very instable, high-drama spine, my workouts are necessarily slow and deliberate. I use Cybex and other machines using counter weights for controlled strength training. I don't do cardio anymore at all except for occasional lap-swimming, also necessarily done slowly, so it's not much of a cardio workout either.

My goal is to retain and (hopefully) gradually increase my strength and mobility. The way I exercise, (which was initially devised and guided by an actual Physical Therapist) my "workout" yields almost no sweating at all; definitely not enough to cause any significant mineral loss.

As for magnesium, some of my favorite foods happen to be Mg-rich. The only food I've ever dreamed about, literally, was
spinach. And I've been taking supplemental Mg (along with calcium) twice a day for at least 10 years, specifically chelated magnesium oxide, a minimum of 1 gram a day but usually 2, plus whatever I get from my diet. I can't get my Mg level checked in the foreseeable future due to lack of funds...


Update-didn't get to go to the gym as planned; some very dear old friends from halfway across Texas showed up with their charming baby, which was much more fun than the gym. Hasta manana!
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby jimmylegs » Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:33 pm

glad you like magnesium-rich foods - careful not to combine with calcium rich foods at the same time, since those compete with each other for absorption.

magnesium is easily lost in a variety of ways, including the sweating you specified, and pretty much any stress, etc.

quick question: can you clarify re 'chelated magnesium oxide'? eg what brand you take? magnesium oxide is generally one of the least soluble, least absorbable forms - i'm curious about your chelated product. especially the 1-2 grams you mention?? that's pretty surprising.
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby flora68 » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:46 am

jimmylegs wrote:glad you like magnesium-rich foods - careful not to combine with calcium rich foods at the same time, since those compete with each other for absorption.

magnesium is easily lost in a variety of ways, including the sweating you specified, and pretty much any stress, etc.

quick question: can you clarify re 'chelated magnesium oxide'? eg what brand you take? magnesium oxide is generally one of the least soluble, least absorbable forms - i'm curious about your chelated product. especially the 1-2 grams you mention?? that's pretty surprising.


I've been taking 2 tabs twice a day of Cal-Mag with Vitamin D supplement from "Live Well", distributed by Central Market. And, like I said, I don't sweat much at all; I do whatever I can to avoid raising my body temp...
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby jimmylegs » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:05 pm

okay to clarify re sweating *and pretty much any stress*... the point was, sweating not the only way mag is lost.. for instance what i mentioned about combinations...

in your supplement both the calcium and the d3 will either compete with the magnesium for absorption, or use it up.

it's very important to take in some daily magnesium on its own, away from competitors.

when i caused my worst magnesium problems personally, i was taking magnesium every day but it was at the same time as calcium and d3.

as soon as i started taking some daily magnesium separate from those two, my quite serious problems resolved.

fyi, hth
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Re: Muscle spasms

Postby jimmylegs » Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:26 pm

check this out:
The relationship between serum trace element levels and clinical parameters in patients with fibromyalgia
http://www.springerlink.com/content/w64158753gu47488/

you could consider taking a magnesium glycinate supplement (the glycinate form is key). start with 100mg before each meal, and try to get lots from diet. dark leafy greens such as spinach chard and kale are relatively high in magnesium. also certain nuts and certain fish - more info here http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tnam ... nt&dbid=75

you might also want to consider a zinc supplement. you could try 50mg zinc per day for one month, see what happens, and then drop back to a lower amount.

also, diet FYI
http://www.ctds.info/fibromyalgia-diet.html

the link above provides great recommendations by and large. the increase in magnesium-rich foods is important, same with the reduction of magnesium antagonists. not sure about red meat every day but if it's only a little, that's good. a full serving once or twice a week is another potential route. the zinc nutrition in red meat is important. also the cutting back on wheat in there means cutting back on gluten which results in higher serum zinc status.
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