By Judy Reiss
I don’t know when I first had bad leg cramps. I think it was shortly after my first child but I wouldn’t swear to it. What I can swear to is that from the very beginning of these cramps, I have really suffered.
In the beginning, most of the cramps were in my upper thighs. I was also a lot heavier than I am now and it was almost impossible to figure out how to knead them out or stretch my legs for relief. Now, I must admit I think they sort of went into hiding for several years. I think I had three small children and worked 7 days a week. And what that meant was I slept like a rock and didn’t have time to get cramps!
And then they came back with a vengeance. I was older and had a different job that didn’t take the time my day care had taken. However, the cramps were just as bad as they were before, just in a different place on my legs. Very seldom were my thighs involved, but my calves took over where the thighs left off! To say that I wasn’t happy to have the cramps reoccur would be a vast understatement. Waking up at night with a pain like lightening striking is not a happy one. But the good part is your calf is easier to knead and easier to figure out what to do. For me, an ice pack seemed to work well and once I was able to wake Malcolm, who sleeps like a log, he would get up and go downstairs and get an ice pack out of the refrigerator. Then I was able to wrap one around my calf and wait for the pain to subside. I realize that this sounds an easy fix but you have to realize that we are talking about the middle of the night! I like to think I am easy to live with and that during the day I am wonderful! However, during the night I become an animal and that is when I am feeling good. When I am in pain from leg cramps, I become a wounded animal and you had better not get too close!
But now I am an “older” woman and you would think I could put the problem of cramps behind me. But, oh no! Now my cramps have moved once again and now they are in my feet and ankles. And not only are they really painful, I don’t seem to be able to either prevent them or figure out a way to get rid of them. Just when I thought that I was going to be cramp free, I find that they are worse than ever.
Just as an aside, I want to assure you I have discussed my cramps with my doctor and my physical therapist and both have tried to help me as much as they can. However, nothing seems to help! And last night they were so bad I was up for hours and in a shocking amount of pain! I ended up putting an ice pack on each ankle and then walking (!) up and down the hall, trying to get rid of them that way. Did it work? Well if you think about 2 hours of suffering and although very tired, still trying to walk up and down that hall getting rid of that cramp fixing it, maybe!
Why am I sharing such a personal problem with all of you? The answer is I am hoping that one of you will have a remedy that will help me. Now, don’t bother to tell me about putting soap under your mattress because it not only has no touch to reality, it doesn’t work. I firmly believe that I cannot be the only person in the world who has such a cramping problem. And I am also hoping that this person will let me know what they do. A “Charlie Horse” is one thing but debilitating foot cramps is quite another thing.
I would think that someone who can figure out how to solve this problem could become an extremely rich person! Not only that, I am willing to offer a reward to the person who can help me. I am not joking either. Last night when I was crippled with horrendous pain and feet that were bent double with cramps, I would have sold my house to reward anyone who could figure out what to do to help me be pain free. And I would love to sleep through the night and I don’t think that is too much to ask.
So here is my dream, if you can figure out how to prevent cramps at night or how to relieve a cramp that is already there, a reward of almost anything you want is only a relief away. Help!