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    Muscle cramping?
    qwertygirl posted:
    Anyone else having trouble with muscle cramping? I keep having ankle/calf cramps, sides of lower arms and and cramps. All of those suppliments don't do diddly to fix it. I'm wondering if its a "side effect" of joint changes/movement? Or my methotrexate (I'm taking folic acid) or Enbrel?
    qwertygirl responded:
    Also, have been reducing prednisone that I have been on since December to a more realistic level (been up and down, due to flares from as much as 20 mg down to 5 mg.) currently on 7 mg. I'm wondering if that's the culprit???
    RAWarrior responded:
    True reducing pred is hard for some. However...
    Muscle cramps are common w/ RA. It's probably not your meds. Large percentage of RA patients take muscle relaxers for it. For me it comes & goes, so maybe it will go!!

    Good luck

    KVon51 responded:
    I've been diagnosed w/RA for almost 4 years & am off Prednisone, using Humira, metho & folic acid. Muscle cramping & soreness is my biggest complaint To the point of suspecting Fibromyalgia. I use a muscle relaxer on days when it's hard to move & I'm sore to touch and ice packs help a great deal. I tell myself "it's temporary" and I know I can deal for a few days. Hang in there friend. I have more GOOD days than bad ones now and am hoping for even more improvement!
    qwertygirl replied to KVon51's response:
    Thanks for replying! Its at the point it keeps me up. I sleep and the cramps come. Also, my hands and wrists cramp and my muscles around my ankles cramp. Uggg! What muscle relaxant do you use/what is working for you?

    Thanks : )
    qwertygirl replied to RAWarrior's response:
    Nice to hear from you. Like your web site/ blog its a big help to me (and many others)!

    What muscle relaxer do you use? Do you do exercises/stretching. It seems that nothing seems to help for me otherwise...I'm taking a calcium/mag suppliment, but have been there with all of the suppliments i.e. potassium (no luck whatsoever). I suspect its the carpel tunnel/swelling of the soft tissues. Plus, I work on my feet and use my hands lots for many things that put stress on them (i.e. holding pressure on arteries and CPR) so, don't have a lot of choices.

    Have resting splints for nights and am getting ring splints for my left hand. Its been a real challange from being very active to exhausted and in pain. And now cramping...

    thanks for the reply : )
    kate937 responded:
    Muscle cramps are a typical side effect. I've had them with both methotrexate and areva and they are horrible. The folic acid didn't seem to help me either. What does seem to help is rubbing down your calves and feet with lotion or baby oil before bed--a good five minute massage. It won't alleviate them but it sure does seem to help me.
    qwertygirl replied to kate937's response:
    That's an easy thing to try. Will do it, why not! I don't think I have fibromyalgia cause I don't have the typical pressure/pain points...
    kdecunzo replied to qwertygirl's response:
    I had the cramps before starting meds. That's what made me finally call a Rheumatologist. It started in my ankles and went up my calves til I felt like I was walking through sand. My arms cramp the same way especially when I raise them above my head. My meds are the things that help. Although it still comes and goes, it goes more often now. I've had it all for years but it's been getting worse and a friend of mine finally convinced me to go. I have been told for years that it was all in my head and that I was out of shape or I was just complaining for attention. Whatever, I knew the pain was real. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.
    KVon51 replied to qwertygirl's response:
    I have had that prob. a long time. I take a low dose Zannaflex every night. Was first diagnosed w/restless leg syndrome before the other symptoms started showing up. Wrist cramps are awful aren't they? I often sleep with ice packs! Even with a sleeping pill I'm awakened at night, every couple of months w/ cramping that last for a couple of days. BUT like I said before, this is an improvement! Your job esp. if it involves repetitive movement, is probably adding to the cramping. Keep moving & keep expecting it to get better.
    qwertygirl replied to KVon51's response:
    Does the Zannaflex work? I use resting splints that have been made for me by my hand therapist. They put my hands in a neutral position and that seems to help! When my hands feel swollen on goes the ice! I'm really having trouble with the lack of sleep. And now that my prednisone is reduced, I'm feeling the sleep all the time, wacked out feeling of methotrexate! Yeah!
    One of the other hand therapists explained the mechanics of the hands and RA to me, the ligaments on the sides of the fingers are trying to go to the top of the finger (nice huh?). So depending on how your hands are trying to drift you have to fight it with exercises and splints that are designed to go the opposite way. The ankles are much more complicated tho' I tried the massage with my favorite body butter on my ankles and calves before going to sleep. Helped some! Thanks Kate937!
    qwertygirl replied to kdecunzo's response:
    My feet cramp so bad that the balls of my feet hit the floor and I am in complete pain! Its god-awful! I walk around wimpering at night waiting for the cramps to subside. I hope that my Rheumy will give me something for those nights that really are a challenge! I would be nice to sleep more than 4 hours at a time!

    You are not alone! We will get thru this together, even just to know that we are not crazy in this disease and that we can offer support.
    RAWarrior replied to qwertygirl's response:
    Are you doing any better? We are trying to find a pain med that works for me so I don't take a muscle relaxer right now - my doc wants to try 1 new thing at a time - that's why it's so bad. If you can use the splints or do any physical therapy / stretching w/out pain, then it might help. My doc says RA causes it & not much helps it besides taking medicine like flexiril when it gets bad enough.
    RAWarrior replied to kdecunzo's response:
    Yes, I agree. I had the cramps before the meds. We always want to blame the meds.

    I'm glad you knew it wasn't in your head!
    qwertygirl replied to RAWarrior's response:
    I talked to my doc yesterday, and he thinks it has nothing to do with RA since I've had it before I was diagnosed. Go figure. I'm now taking 2000 mg of calcium citrate with mag daily. And, I'm doing the rub down of my calves and ankles and wrists before I go to sleep. It has reduced somewhat, but intuitively, I think...If RA is all about the joints trying to breakdown and move out of place, wouldn't the muscles be effected too by this? I.e. the ligaments move, which are attached to the muscles and etc...I have cramping in my toes and arches of my feet, ankles and calves. Now that my hands are affected I get cramps along the sides of my lower arms and the tops and bottoms of my hands. My fingers cramped to go the "opposite" way that they are supposed to go the other week! That freaked the heck outta me! My hand therapist is making ring splints for that hand.

    My doc believes because I had it before its not related...I wish all these RA docs could be on the same page. The previous one I was with thought I had ankylosing spond. even tho I had no back problems NONE! I think that its always going to be a freaking challenge to get what we need as patients. ALWAYS. Blech. And I think, in the end I will always be fighting these sucky cramps.

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