Like a lot of people with MS I cope with spasm in different parts of my body. Fortunately for me there is no pain. However spasm in limbs can lead to nasty muscle cramp which takmy breath away. I found that (over the pharmacy counter) Crampex used to help a lot in coping with cramp and reducing the likelihood of cramp if I have overdone things. For some reason I can not find Crampex anymore. Does anyone know of any suitable alternative. The active component was Nicotinic acid I have been told that Quinine prescription might be available…

Any info gratefully received. Mick

Hi Mick,

I don’t know how averse (or not) you are to prescription medication, but as you mention prescription quinine, I assume you’re open-minded enough to try.

I take a whole cocktail of stuff for cramps - yes, prescription quinine is one of them. Also baclofen and diazepam.

Even all of that lot doesn’t always prevent them completely. I had a very bad one yesterday evening. I have found a very odd connection with chip shop meals. In general, I’m not a big believer in the influence of diet on MS symptoms, but I’ve been forced to admit there is a link between my favourite takeaway of chips and battered sausage, and subsequent VERY BAD cramps. I keep persuading myself it was just an unfortunate coincidence, and am foolish enough to try again - and it happens all over again. It’s now well past coincidence as an explanation.

I’m not suggesting your cramps have anything to do with diet, as I have only found it with this one particular thing. Otherwise, I eat genuinely whatever I like, and have never noticed repercussions with anything. But yes, I had a very uncontrollable cramp yesterday, and yes, it was after I’d stupidly decided (for the umpteenth time) that any connection was imaginary, and it was OK to go back to the chip shop. It wasn’t. It never is. OK for a couple of hours, thought I’d got way with it. Teatime, in agony - not able to walk - just like the previous times. The leg cramped so badly, I’m still limping today - have pulled the muscle.



Cheers Tina,

I am not too worried about prescription drugs if they help I will go for it. I am already on low dose Baclofen ( I do not want too much as some of the limb stiffness is what keeps my upright !

Your response to chip shop food sounds like a bummer. My MS nurse said there might be things that exacerbate my symptoms but that sometimes the enjoyment can sometimes outweigh the impact.So even though I know that cheese can make me feel rough, I still indulge in the occasional cheese frenzy.

With regard to cramp there is no (OBVIOUS) trigger food. If I do not drink enough (in order to reduce trips to the loo) I am more likely to get cramp.

My attack yesterday which prompted my question was due to stretching in ways that are unusual for my body. (I had to squeeze onto a friends ride on mower, which was so much fun (!) it was worth the subsequent cramp.

Thanks again Mick

Hi, I take Magnesium tablets, since taking them my cramps have gone, I take up to 600mgs any less the cramps come back.

hope this helps


Blimey Tina, so you’ve definitely made the right connection between the chip shop and the cramp. It must be a relief to know that it’s not the walking that does it (?!?boo!) but what a sod that it’s the chip shop! I suppose the only thing left to do is to try getting just chips in case it’s the battered sausage. But that then leaves you open to yet another excruciating cramp!!

Yours with immense sympathy,


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Thanks I shall look into this


Tina, you were recently on this forum extolling the wonders of pickle juice as a treatment for cramp. Do you still recommend it? I did buy some, but have yet to summon up the courage to take a swig. I had a humdinger of a thigh cramp the other night, but just let rip with the usual blasphemous expletives and kept hollering until it stopped.

Then I ate chocolate!


I’ve never bought pickle juice for it specially, but have had a swig of any I happen to have occasionally, when I’m desperate.

When the pain is bad enough, pickle juice does not actually seem that nasty by comparison - although of course, it does help if you naturally like pickles.

I don’t honestly know if it works, because I’ve never tried it as a treatment in isolation. If I am that desperate, I usually grab anything to hand that might possibly help - baclofen, diazepam, magnesium, quinine - the lot!

The quinine is highly dose sensitive, so if I’ve already taken it, due to a severe bout of cramp earlier in the day, I have to remember to skip the usual bedtime dose. Luckily, they usually come with days of the week marked on the card, so I can easily see if one’s already been taken, and know not to take another.

I honestly don’t know. I’ve even wondered if pickle/vinegar is the culprit, not the solution, as that is something I have typically had all over my chips when trouble strikes. I know chip-shop vinegar is not real vinegar, but a cheap substitute (“non-fermented dressing”, I think is the proper term). So I wondered if it was that, and the last couple of times, skipped the chip-shop vinegar, and used my own Sarson’s, at home. Judging by yesterday’s episode, it doesn’t make any difference, so either vinegar is not the trigger, or at least it’s not brand-sensitive, and the genuine stuff is no less of a problem than the cheapo substitute.

I think the only way to find out is to try. It’s not suggested you try to drink a whole glassful - just a gulp or two. It’s really not that objectionable compared to the pain. There’s plenty of research online about it, although nothing to prove how it actually works. Vinegar apparently can be metabolised into certain neurotransmitters, but the benefit - when there is one - is apparently too quick for the vinegar even to have entered the bloodstream, so it can’t be any complex brain chemistry - there isn’t time. The best explanation I’ve seen is it’s some kind of reflex - the sharp taste hitting the back of the throat somehow resets something, but they don’t know how.

It was a damn thigh cramp last night, and yes, I was shouting. Don’t think the neighbour is working, as she seems to have been home a lot more lately, so God knows what she thought - although obviously not concerned enough to pop round to check I wasn’t being murdered. Not sure I could have made it to the door to explain the problem anyway.