Waking Up With A Cramp

I reached down toward my calf, the source of my pain. It felt like a steel brick, rock hard and protruding from the back of my leg.

As I remember it I woke up today already flying through the air off the bed and toward the floor. I’m not totally sure if the yelping had begun when my eyes opened. If not, yelping wasn’t more than a few milliseconds away.

I reached down toward my calf, the source of my pain. It felt like a steel brick, rock hard and protruding from the back of my leg. Massaging hurt. Not massaging hurt too.

Too melodramatic? Maybe. Let’s just characterize the pain as “cruel” and be done with it.

I don’t get cramps often. This was a doozy.

Helaine was down the hall in the shower. The radio was on. She was oblivious to my plight.

I remained prone trying to figure out what to do until the hurt began to subside. Now, nearly four hours later, I’m hobbling around like Walter Brennan on “The Real McCoys.”

I know–all men are babies. We complain too much. I’m just calling this one as I saw it.

So, how was your day?

27 thoughts on “Waking Up With A Cramp”

  1. Once, when we lived in an old home, I jumped out of bed in the middle of the night with a leg cramp. I landed on our Airedale, who, of course jumped too. I guess my landing on him while yelping made him scared, so he ran to the other side of the room and smashed his head into an old-fashioned radiator. At that point both of us were somewhere between a dance and a hobble, yelping and trying not to curse in English and dog, while I massaged my leg. My leg finally quit hurting, I got the dog settled down and we both went back to bed. My husband slept through it all.

    1. Your story has me laughing so hard right now,a much better way to start the morning than I just did, w/ my hubby having one of his morning leg cramp episodes. He’s gone back to sleep now ofcourse and Im wide awake researching the subject.

      Although a side sleeper myself, I will have days or weeks at a time where I wake up flat on my back w/ my foot pinned flat against my shin by the blanket – “unlocking” that position is intensly painful. Summers when I was a kid I’d sleep covered only with a sheet, and would awake in the morning completely tangled in it lol – who says we’re Resting when asleep 🙂

      I hope you, the pup and your husband are all well and happy now, and I hope you don’t mind if I use your hysterical episode in my novel…Im a fiction writer still trying to crank out that first manuscript – Thanks, God Bless.

  2. Usually, if you stretch your leg by extending your heel, toes flexed (up), the cramp will subside. (I’m a nurse, BTW.) If it doesn’t go away, you need to be checked for DVT, a blood clot in your leg. Do NOT put it off!

  3. Okay, absolutely stupid home remedy that really seems to work: put a bar of soap under sheet of your mattress, around the foot area of your bed. Honest. Google it if you don’t believe me.

  4. If you get more – up potassium intake (ie bananas, baked potato etc.) Low potasssium will cause leg cramps. Drinking tonic with quinine that will also help.

  5. My mother used to wake up out of a sound sleep with leg cramps. Standing on an ice pack (or can of frozen OJ, whatever she could grab first) seemed to help. Her doctor suggested taking a magnesium supplement.

  6. Oh ugh, I’ve gotten a few of those. I’ve found that standing on a cold floor, like in the bathroom, (easier said than done this time of year, I know) helps.

    One thing’s for sure — the day has nowhere to go but up from there!!!

  7. Ditto on the tonic comment…there used to be an OTC med called Q-Vel but with the FDA ban on quinine, the new formula doesn’t seem to work as well.

  8. I’ll second the potassium intake, it does help. I get those now and again too, sometimes in both legs at once. I feel your pain (literally).

  9. I’ve had these,too. But I’m OLD, even older than Geoff! (uh oh, I think I’m in trouble for that comment LOL) The stretching solution and the cold floor both work for me, but in the meantime, it is a real OWIE! I like the idea of drinking tonic water, preferably with vodka and lime. (Sorry…but it needed to be said.)

  10. Carol, I absolutely love your story. My dog knows how to curse in dog language. I don’t know where he learned it; I suspect the rat terrier down the street taught him. He is such a bad influence! And your husband sleeping through it all….goes without saying. My husband would do the same.

  11. Geoff, I’m laughing as I read your ordeal, only because my husband woke me up screaming at 1am in the morning a couple of nights ago with a leg cramp like yours. I warned him that the next time he should try to suffer in silence…lol. That won’t happen. I was exhausted that next day being that I was up most of the night. Men do seem to have a hard time dealing with pain…just saying. Hope you don’t have any more of them for a long while.

  12. Geoff,

    I “feel” your pain. Potassium levels probably bottomed out. Eat a bannana or two for a couple of days to build it up. I’ve been there and done that and can tell you that it is no fun at all.
    Fortunately, the cure is simple, and it works. Give it a shot!

  13. Geoff,

    I am “the” expert at leg cramps….use to get them all the time when I was a kid. Now, I get them if I don’t stretch before exercising. You are right to “scream”….they are very painful….eat more potassium foods: bannana etc. also, next time this happens, stand hard on the leg and press the foot/leg into the floor putting as much pressure on the leg as possible (this is done standing up)…..it works for me. Take care

  14. Every time I get one, my girlfriend laughs about it….it’s funny until it happens to her….and it does. 😀

  15. Dehydration can cause them, too. If you can manage to hobble to the kitchen or bathroom, gulp down a glass of water. I’ve also found that wetting a face cloth (or even a couple paper towels) with cold water and slapping them on the cramped area helps.

  16. I had one a few weeks ago that was very painful. My leg hurt for hours afterwards too. I try to walk if off or rub it out. Either way it isn’t fast enough. They are horrible, and my husband sleeps through them as well!!

  17. As you know, Geoff, I’m a tad older and a tod heavier than you, and have battled leg cramps for decades. I agree with the hydration and potassiumization theories, but I’d like to add one. I find that if I make a strong conscious effort to relax my entire body the split second I feel the cramp it invariably goes away. And with no or little after effect the rest of the day. Really.

  18. I get those as well. What works for me is to simply grab my foot and bend the toes upwards for several seconds, followed by stretching my leg and bending my foot upwards.

  19. That happened to me once when I was pregnant with my son over a dozen years ago. I heard that it might have been from the deli turkey meat I had eaten the day before. It was crazy. I remember writhing in pain. Hope you feel better soon.

  20. Leg cramps are awful. As an “old” nurse, I agree with the low electrolytes/dehydration theories. (but I love the idea of the soap remedy. Couldn’t hurt!) I can tell you once I dove out of bed with a leg cramp, lost my balance and fell on the wood floor and broke my foot! 6 weeks and a cast in the summer made for an ugly time at Evi’s house…

  21. The soap remedy works for me. I haven’t had a cramp since I put a bar under the sheets. It doesn’t have to be located under my legs, just in proximity. Confession: I nudge it over to my wife’s side of the bed. 🙂

    My MD advised against taking Potassium supplements. Too risky if one takes too much. Bananas are good – unless it causes tight bowels!

  22. I used to get these all the time, and still do every now & then. Men’s Health was a great help to relieving the problem.
    * Make sure you stay hydrated
    * Before going to bed, stretch your calf muscles. A message doesn’t hurt either (though I usually only do that when I’ve used my legs more than normal during the day).
    * If you typically lie in bed with your feet pointing straight (ie – towards the end of the bed), try to point them so they are flat (like you are standing on ground).

    If you wake up with a cramp, the best thing to do is to lie flat and point your toes at your head. It hurts but quickly relieves some of the pain.

    Hope it helps,

  23. Have your sodium checked out as well.
    Despite what they say about staying away from it, your does does need it to function.

  24. Have your sodium checked out as well.
    Despite what they say about staying away from it, your does need it to function.

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