Muscle cramps in my thighs: I have Stage... - Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease

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Muscle cramps in my thighs

oxymoron60 profile image

I have Stage 4 Kidney Disease. I was laying down and, for the first time, I got excrutiating muscle cramps in my thighs. I could not get up or move. What caused this? How could I have helped stop the pain?

21 Replies

Hi Oxymoron 60. I am at stage 4 ckd and started getting the excruciating leg cramps when I hit stage 3a. Obviously I can’t diagnose you but mine sometimes seem to relate to when potassium levels are too high especially with dehydration. Ckd can result in elevated potassium (hyperkalemia). Check your potassium levels in your blood lab reports. Cutting back on foods high in potassium helps me have the cramps less frequently. But sometimes the leg cramps come anyway. Forcing myself to stand up and try to press my feet into the floor while walking back and forth sometimes makes them stop faster. It’s hard to make yourself do it due to the pain but it can help stop the cramp. There is also an over the counter pill called Hyland’s homeopathic Leg Cramp tablets. You dissolve them under your tongue. The label contains a warning for those sensitive to quinine. You should probably discuss these pills with your doctor before taking any. I generally don’t take them, but I have taken them on 3 occasions, when the cramps were really bad and I was desperate. The cramps loosened up and stopped almost immediately after using these Hyland’s tablets. Again, please check with your doctor. There is also some controversy about people taking quinine. Some people drink plain tonic water that contains quinine. I don’t know if the tonic water on the market currently still contains quinine or if it contains enough to make a difference.

Sorry to hear that you are experiencing the horrible leg cramps. I hope you get some relief.

oxymoron60 profile image
oxymoron60 in reply to Chucka

Thank you. I am going to try that walking when it happens. But I am not sure I can do it. I will ask my doctor about those pills.

Bassetmommer profile image
BassetmommerNKF Ambassador

HI Leg cramps usually means dehydration as mentioned by Chucka. Thigh cramps are the worse. Check your fluid intake, and I mean water not coffee or tea and check with your doctor about electrolyte imbalance. And...exercise all help. Stretching that muscle out during the day should help. I used to get them when I sat a lot. Also have your doctor review your medications or take them to the pharmacy you use and ask are these all safe for CKD and can any of them cause cramping. I found out that one drug I was on was the culprit when I was plague with all over body cramps.

What drug was that if I may ask?

Bassetmommer profile image
BassetmommerNKF Ambassador in reply to oceansplash

A biologic called Enbrel for Psoriatic Arthritis

Thanks, just was wondering if my losartan was causing this. Thanks.

Hily profile image
Hily in reply to oceansplash

Atorvastatin gave me terrible cramps.

oceansplash profile image
oceansplash in reply to Hily

I'm not on statins just bp meds. I hate them. They make me tired!

Thank you for your good ideas. I have increased my water intake, and that has helped. And the last time I started feeling the cramp, I started walking before it progresses that far. I am also going to interrupt my sitting by walking some. I am, of course, going to ask my doctor about the cramps, but I think this will help me until then.

Get your potassium checked. I had horrible muscle cramps and kept falling down because my potassium was way below normal. Cramping can occur with a high potassium level as well. Electrolytes out of balance can cause havok.

I was Stage 4 when mine started as well.

Whenever I'm off with my water intake, I get cramped on my legs at night. For me. Dehydrated is the culprit. Good luck in finding the cause of your cramps. And, I'd ask my doctor about that quinine water before I took it. My best to you

My husband gets leg cramps but has no disease at all. He was taught stretching exercises which he does and they worked. Might be worth googling the exercises ?

KidneyCoach profile image
KidneyCoachNKF Ambassador

A super quick remedy for many is a couple teaspoons of pickle juice or a few pickle slices. However the cause must be discussed with your doctor then discuss remedy and/or something like quinine, pickle juice (high sodium - when muscles are trying to hold onto sodium, fluiď) fluid etc. Wishing you well.

WYOAnne profile image
WYOAnneNKF Ambassador

Muscle cramps are usually caused by dehydration. You should have your doctor check your potassium and magnesium levels. When either are low or too high it can cause horrible cramping

Try leg stretching before you go to bed...I also keep access to an ice bag...seems to soothe the cramp for me....My Nephologist also noticed that my Magnesium was low, so he suggested supplements...I no longer get the severe ones...but as always check with your Doctor

Leg cramps are the worst! I often get them in the middle of the night and they are bad enough I am screaming with pain. As much as it hurts with cramps in your legs the best thing is movement, if you can't move, then maybe someone can hold up a book or board and you can push into that. When I wake up with them, the screaming wakes up my husband. He goes and gets a heat pack ready (a corn filled bag that can be heated in the microwave) while I stand up and walk. The heat relaxes things and I am able to get back to sleep.

There are a number of homeopathic treatments and I like that you said you are going to run them by your doc before using them. Until then, I'd keep a glass of water by your bed and then try heat or ice packs (depending on which feels better) until you see your doc.

I used to get cramps in the arch of my foot during physical therapy and he had several streaches that stopped them immediately. If you are working with a physical therapist, ask about the cramps and streaches that will help. If you are not working with a physical therapist, maybe working with one will help stop the cramps.

I've also read you can use rice in a tube sock microwaved for a heating pad.

I've also used barley heated in the microwave, thats often whats in the bags you buy but much cheaper to make a little heating pad yourself. Willow

That sounds strange! I wonder how well that would work.

Try using barley in a little bag, heated in the microwave. It works wonders and less expensive than shop bought. I get lower leg cramps mostly when i don't drink enough so i have a small bottle of tonic water and give myself a talking to about keeping up my hydration. 😊Wish you well. Willow

PS Always ask the Neph if thats OK. Willow

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