Although cramp is a very common problem with me, they are mostly not the really severe, agonising, incapacitating kind, but I’ve noticed the latter are on the increase, and am now sure they are linked to activity earlier in the day.
This morning I went out for a very long walk, with what I call - probably rather unfairly - The Golden Oldies - because most are at least 20 years older than me.
It was a mostly flat walk, on firm ground, so nothing particularly ambitious, apart from the length - 3.5 miles. But they’re old, so the pace is not demanding.
Dosed up well with medication - both painkillers and muscle relaxants (baclofen, diazepam) before the walk, as I have found from experience that if I’m expecting to put demands on myself, it’s more effective to treat problems before they arise, than wait to arrive home in distress, and then try to treat pain which, by that time, has got a grip, and is harder to shift.
So, suitably medicated, I completed the distance with ease - helped by the fact I met an old friend who hasn’t been for months -so we talked 19 to the dozen all the way, so I hardly noticed the route, or how far we’d gone.At the end, I even walked about an extra half mile to the chip shop, to treat myself to lunch, as I knew I’d get home very tired, and not want to be bothered with cooking a meal tonight.
That ends the good bit. After lunch, I went upstairs for a nap - normal, for me, but especially after a long walk.
I’d only been sleeping about an hour, before I was woken by the most horrendous, toe-to-groin cramp, that leaves me unable to walk. Cramps this bad are thankfully very rare, but have happened the last twice I went walking, too. I thought at first it could be coincidence, as there’s always been one in a blue moon anyway, but three walks, three cramps? None this severe on other occasions? It’s got to be cause and effect.
I’ve stupidly never learnt to keep a supply of medications upstairs, in case I can’t get downstairs, so I had to make it all the way downstairs with an agonised, totally useless leg, to get to the kitchen and the tablets. Took another Baclofen immediately, even though they normally wouldn’t be due for another couple of hours. Also took another (whole) diazepam, even though I’d already had one today. I have some discretion with these, as they’re: “Take one as needed.” I thought: “This is an emergency; it IS needed!”
Thought that should calm things down, and after waiting for things to ease, limped rather cautiously back up to bed.
Only in bed about another half hour - started typing this from bed, and blow me if it doesn’t start again, same leg, toe-to-groin, agony.
So yet again, I hobble downstairs - this time trying a different tactic - grit my teeth, weight bear, and do it faster - more pain, but less time to get downstairs.
This time I take the other Baclofen (still early), a quinine (hours early - usually a last thing at night drug), yet another half of diazepam, and two magnesium.
There is now nothing left in the house I can take without exceeding the prescription.
I’m back in bed, and it’s twinging AGAIN. Other leg is now joining in. Have tried slathering myself in magnesium oil, have popped the hot water on for a soak, and have just drunk a small tot of neat pickle juice, syphoned from a jar of gherkins, because I read somewhere that, in experiments, a high proportion of athletes found it more effective than plain water at reducing cramps (because of the electrolyte content).
You’ve GOT to be desperate to drink vinegar! I like it, but not to drink!
By sheer coincidence, I’m seeing the neuro tomorrow. Unusually, I will be limping - I think the first time he’s ever seen me like this - because these cramps have caused actual injury.
Obviously, I need to discuss todays events, and explain that, although my walking distance is excellent, the after-effects are becoming uncontrollable.
I just caught sight of myself in the mirror, and it’s a scary sight - white as a sheet, and hair all matted with sweat from the pain.
Obviously I can’t just leave this.
Any suggestion what I should be asking for?
Tried gabapentin - did nothing for anything.
Should I ask to up the Baclofen, even if it’s only for “special occasions” (walking days)? My previous neuro thought I was on too much already, but although I can still walk 3-4 miles, it’s failing to control the cramps.
Now what? I’ve never tried childbirth, so can’t compare, but think they’re easily the worst pain I’ve ever had to deal with. I know nobody ever died of cramp - one of the few things about it to be grateful for - but I can’t cope with the agony.
Don’t want to speak too soon, but pickle juice might be working, by the way. But there has to be a better solution than pickle juice! I hope the answer isn’t: “Well don’t walk 3.5 miles, then!”, as my neuro was very keen for me to persevere, and claims it’s better than anything he can prescribe. I’ll be very disappointed if the answer is that I just can’t do it any more, but I can’t go through this every time.