Night Cramps torment

Hi to everyone. Does anyone have any suggestions to help relieve night cramps in both legs and feet? I am 63 years. I have endured these for the last 8 or 9 years and it seems to be getting worse. I am taking prescribed quinine every night, (breaking the course for a week every month) and cover my legs, below the knees and feet with ibuprofen creams every night and I take regular baths in warm water laced with Epsom salts but nothing seems to prevent me from spending night after night in pain. I watch as my shin muscles twist and my toes adopt crazy positions and can feel the threat as soon as I lay down. I can't remember when I last slept through the night and now spend many nights sitting in an armchair or pacing the lounge. I'm so exhausted. I have emphysema, (which I don't think is related to this problem) and last year I had decompression surgery on my lower spine. I have discussed this many times with my GP's and various pharmacists over the years but I'm told it's just part of 'growing old'. I would really appreciate any suggestions...

31 Replies

  • B*****it to the growing old comment- the last refuge of lazy practitioners.

    Have you been checked for Peripheral Neuropathy - sounds very like it- and often mistakenly confused with rls.

    Good luck. You seem to be doing all the right things.

    The surgery could be a slightly complicating factor- but I'm no expert.


  • Thank you for your suggestion Madlegs1 regarding peripheral neuropathy. I will check into that.

  • Hi. I am also 63 and have had night cramps for some time. I take prescribed quinine and that has eased the cramps. I have aching restless legs and arms and have been told that I have peripheral neurology. I take gaberpantene and amitriptyline. I have found that even with this medication I still have problems and I have reverted to massaging Arnica Gel into my legs and arms before bed and this seems to help. Give it a try.

  • Hi Baileysdad

    May I ask why you 'break the course' of quinine for one week a month? My Mother was on quinine for cramp and took it every day.

    Also, have you had any blood tests to check for nutrients deficiencies? In particular B12? Also Folate, Vitamin D?

  • Sorry

    Forgot calcium and potassium.

    Do you take a Vitamin B complex supplement?


  • No, but I will look into it....

  • My husband had very painful restless legs and went to GP who sent him for blood tests. They showed he was deficient vitamin B12 and he now has an injection every 2 weeks which seem to help.

    Good luck, its awful to be in such discomfort at ANY age.


  • I buy vitamin B12 off the internet and inject myself once a month, they come in 10 vial packs but you have to buy the syringes and 1" needles yourself, it works for me.

  • Have tried the supplements? You can buy 1000ug, even 5000ug oral forms off the net. Seems easier than messing around with needles.

  • Yes but if taken orally your body only obsorbs about 1%, injectable is straight into the muscle and blood stream.

  • Are you frightened of needles and doing it yourself ?.

  • Thank you for your kind reply Mary. I was told by my GP and some friends confirmed, that too much quinine has some nasty side effects and can cause long term issues. My prescription directs I take it for 3 weeks but have to miss a week to allow the body to cope. I have regular blood tests but I'm not sure if their checking for nutrients deficiencies so I will check when I have my next health check this week.

  • Do you know what your potassium blood test result is. You will have most probably had this tested. Also sodium result?

    If you ask receptionist for a print out of your most recent blood tests. Mine changed 50p.

    Do you like Bananas? An excellent natural source of potassium and fibre. Best eaten early, so an ideal breakfast.


  • Yes, I have a banana a day, (my wife's instructions which I daren't disobey).I am due for a health review with my GP this week so will request a copy of my last blood tests results. Thank you for the advice Mary.

  • Take a potassium pill, gets rid of cramps.

  • Worth a try. Thank you for the suggestion.

  • Hi again Baileysdad.

    Please look on NICE guidelines - Leg cramps.

    You should find this interesting. No mention of a 'week off quinine.'

    I also looked up NHS choices. Contents/info a bit more scary. But does mention that these side effects are rare . All I can say is that my Mum was on warfarin daily to thin blood, to protect from strokes and heart attacks. And she took quinine tablets every night for years.

    There was something interesting on NHS choices though. Suggestion to have Liver checked out . This can be done with blood tests and an Ultrasound scan.

    But if you 'click' on Senario Leg cramps/ night cramps under NICE guidelines and read whole article I think it might help.

    You could also ask GP for a few Diazepam on presription to see if that might help as a muscle relaxant. After 7 day, according to my former GP, it becomes addictive though. So maybe take for two nights each week or fortnight and see if you get any relief. A bit of sleep.

    Has your GP explained about the specific exercises?

    Your situation is serious enough for an urgent specialist referal.

    Is there a different GP in the practice you can see? Contact or make an appoinment with the most agreeable, approachable GP in the practice. Keep pestering them till you get proper help and appropriate care. Or Contact practice manager.

    In my opinion 100 to 120 is old. At 90 + we are getting old. 63 is young.

    Wonder why government has put retirement age up to 70 if 63 is getting old ???

    X Mary

    ( a 63 yrs old teenager ☺)


  • You're a gem Mary and I will check out the NICE guidelines you suggest. I see 2 different GP's at the practice plus the practice nurse, each for different health issues as they specialise in specific areas. I can and have seen others from time to time but have not been impressed. I have used Diazepam in the past but it really had some nasty side effects for me so I stopped. I really admire your positivity and resolve. Thank you for reminding me that age is a frame of mind.

  • Hi,

    My father in law suffers from these night cramps and he used to get Quinine tablets from the doctor but they have now stopped issuing them for some unknown reason, but he gets Schweppes Indian Tonic water that does the job for him now as it contains Quinine,

    Try it as it may help you.

    Good luck.

  • I too have this, but take high doses of magnesium twice daily. This has greatly reduced the muscle cramps, for me it has worked well. Are you taking it?

  • Thank you for the suggestion Jubilee123. I'm not bet I'll give it a try.

  • Hi. I am also 62 and have had night cramps for some time. I take prescribed quinine and that has eased the cramps. I have aching restless legs and arms and have been told that I take amitriptyline vit D and many other meds. I have found that even with this medication I still have problems. to control mt heart and lung conditions.

    Be Well

  • Australian dream is what my doc suggested and it works pretty well

  • Hi

    Try drinking tonic water for cramps , My friend gets them every time she has injection in her back and was told to drink tonic water and it helped her

  • It's so very low in tonic water you'd need to drink it till its spurting out your ears.

  • Thank you to everyone for your kindness and really helpful suggestions. I have had some great information and advice from you all. Fingers crossed that I find the relief I search for as a result. Thank you all, again.

  • Hi Baiylesdad and all who replied or commented, this is not meant to be flippant (or uncaring - I have been a sufferer, but placing a bar of soap under bottom bed sheet worked for me....YES REALLY!!!!) Another "cure" suggested was placing a cork under pillow. This did not help me ....but who knows we're all different and stranger things have happened??????

  • Try putting salt on your tongue. I do this and it gives pretty instant relief. I thought quinine was for restless leg as opposed to cramps. Also try taking magnesium if the salt doesn't work. Hope this helps. X

  • I'm trying magnesium tablets to see if that works. Thanks for your suggestion about salt. I'm going to try that.

  • Quinnine was..i say was because it's no longer prescribed i was taking 400mg nightly and it was brilliant but has been taken off a lot of months now something in it wasn't good.

    Ive been on Pramipexole as a replacement med but not same as Quinnine controlling RLS and night cramps. I empathise with you as i also have this more so the RLS every night around tea time they start its horrlible i have to walk round the house but minute you sit again off they go. I have had my arms join in to and even my head the whole body episode its awful. Im seeing my Doc next week to ask for something better, a referral for Radiofrequency for AO, and Capsasian cream in meantime for the pain of it, Lidocaine pain patches for lower prolapsed discs. Just need rubbed out but i don't want drew again. I'll be overjoyed to see the face of Jesus.

  • I have been advised by my consultant to stand on the bottom step of my stairs wearinfg trainers and lean back slightly with my foot arch pivoted on the step to feel the stretch on my upper calfs it does provide relief but it must be done for 10mins every day

You may also like...