Severe Muscle Cramping and/or "Charlie Horses" during Middle of Night

Does anyone get severe muscle cramps or Charlie horses in their lower extremities. I can move or shift in middle of night and set off a sever muscle spasm or Charlie horse where the muscle just locks up tight and will not release for 10-15 minutes. It is excruciatingly painful. I have read that CIDP can cause muscle shortening, I wonder if that is what is happening. Any ideas or things I can do to help alleviate this? I have a neurology follow up tomorrow?

I have had terrible leg cramps for years. I rarely have leg cramps now. Several things help.

It is very important to stretch daily. And I do mean daily. Keep your legs warm at night. I wear loose fitting, not tight, socks that go up to mid calf or to the knee at night. Try an elctric blanket. I warm the bed up with the electric blanket and then turn it down to a tolerable temperature at night. (I even use an electric blanket on my legs in the summer.) Put a large pillow at the end of your bed between the sheets. Make sure the bottom of your feet can rest on the pillow. This helps prevent your foot from going into the toe down position which can trigger the cramps. If you can tolerate leg foot splints that is even better. I prefer the big decorator pillow. Don’t use heavy blankets as these have a tendeny to pull the foot down. Using the large pillow helps to also eliminate the effect of heavy blankets resting on your feet/legs. And lastly, ask your doctor if you can take a magnesium supplement.

Don’t forget to stretch daily.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

I have had them and found Magnesium 400 mcg daily and warmth to be very helpful. Not a cure but marked better. Get up and walk even if you feel like you can't. The stretch will stop them. Good luck.

I seem to get them at 4/430 in the morning. I immediately jump up out of bed to get my feet flat on the floor which releases the contraction. Before you go out buying supplements, have your doctor run labs to figure out where the deficiency is. If you are deficient in any of the following, you can get charley horses: Vit D, iron, magnesium, & potassium. Iron gives most people constipation, magnesium will cause diarrhea so don't take it along with a sleeping pill or you will wake up in a BIG mess. Too much or too little potassium can cause heart problems. More and more studies are showing that Vitamin D deficiency is a common factor in a lot of autoimmune diseases. The name for that lab test is a Vitamin D 25 hydroxy. If you are deficient in that, you will want to buy Vitamin D3 over the counter. My patients take 1000 to 2000 units per day and you want to take it with food. Always consult with your doctor prior to taking supplements b/c they can interfere with Rx medications.

A doctor friend of mine who is an osteopath (D.O,), told me that prior to bedtime, to let very warm tap water run over the underside of your wrists for 5 minutes and that will prevent the charley horses. I've tried it and it works, but I don't always do it every night. I hope you find relief soon!

Hi. I have had cramps now for a number of years and although I am on IVIG 2 days every 3 weeks, this does not appear to lessen the cramps in the legs. Specialist placed me on magnesium daily but I have found that for me salt helps so being of Dutch origin I have salted licorice in my bedside drawers. I know that salt is not good for hypertension (for which I am on medication) but neither are the cramps and my blood pressure is under control. Like some of the others, I also find that I need to get out of bed and walk around to alleviate the cramp to some degree although I can feel a tender spot where the cramp occurred for the next 24 hours or so. I find that at times the cramp causes my leg to twist in unimaginable positions.

Hi There, I get IVIg once a week and had significant cramping (for years). I take 800 mg of magnesium, keep a pillow under my legs and take quinine daily which my neurologist wrote a scrip for. I get it filled through a pharmacy in Canada which is really easy. Quinine is very safe in small doses.

Best wishes

Those cramps certainly get your attention, don’t they?
The last time I saw my neuro, I asked him about ALL of the weird symptoms I get: cramping, tingling, shooting pains, deep aching, etc. He said they are all signs of nerve healing and regeneration. I hope he’s right, and reminding myself of that makes them much more bearable.
Like most docs, he doesn’t put a lot of stock in vitamin and mineral supplements provided one has a good diet. Most docs will tell you that taking lots of vitamin and mineral supplements does little besides give you expensive urine.

I noticed that fatigue and tiredness seem to bring on the cramps at night. I fight that by lifting weights and walking to build muscle strength and it certainly helps.

You guys should try getting your potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc from raw veggies instead of pills.
I’m not going vegan (">), but I’ve been making huge salads with shredded raw carrots and beets, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, pea pods, etc.

Also got a juicer and makes juice out of kale, ginger root, beets,carrots, cilantro, parsley, whatever is in the fridge. Add a lemon or lime to help the taste, but stay away from too much fruit because of the sugar.Downside is that it takes a lot to make a little juice and all the fiber ends up in my compost pile instead of doing me good in my gut.