Saturday, December 31, 2011

Calf Spasms.... Why?

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Doc(s), I got a question that ya'll might be interested in.

It has to do with my calves, now, I know they're called "the second heart" for a reason, and everything cardiac checks out beautifully on me.


However, there are constant, tiny spasms going on--localized just there, it's almost interesting to watch.


Whenever I'm sitting you can see them (I don't know if they occur while I'm standing, because I can't see them, and I haven't asked anyone to look). They don't bother me, and I can't feel them, but they are there.


I'm just wondering if in your extensive experience and training if there is any kind of odd thing you can think of that can cause this.


I'm great at mineral intake, supplementation (zinc 50mg/day, copper 2mg/day, magnesium 500mg/day), and absorption, and I can tell within 3-4 days if I'm not taking them.


This has been occurring for as long as I can remember post-puberty, also, I get nasty---nasty cramps if I plantarflex, as in within 5 to 8 seconds, I've spent many-a-morning jumping out of bed, putting my hands on a wall to use my weight to dorsiflex, which solves the problem fairly quickly, however once it's started it's crazy sensitive to cramp up again.


I'm not that worried about it, just throwing it out there.


Gender: Male
How old are you?: 25
How long has this been going on?: More than a year


Please list any chronic medical problems and also list any prior surgery (lacerations don't count!): Chron's disease (asymptomatic)

Check all conditions present in your immediate family... :

Asthma / Lung Problems
Cardiac Disease
History of Back Pain
Hypertension
Psychiatric Disorders
Please list any medication allergies that you have : : Please do not list any medicines you merely dislike. True allergies produce hives and other symptoms. An upset stomach is not an allergy to a medicine. Thanks!

None.
Please list any medications you are currently taking (and dosage if known) :: Also, please tell us if there is medicine you are supposed to be taking but are not. Thanks!

Adderall 20mg/day. Don't want to take it (but I do), knew I have ADD since I was 17ish, waited till 3 months ago to confront it. Not happy about it. Inattentive and Impulsive, if you need that info.

When was your last menstrual cycle?: I'm a man, baby!
Are you currently using or do you have a history of tobacco use?: Yes
Are you currently using or do you have a history of illegal drug use?: No
Please describe your alcohol consumption :: Occasionally

 Any strange-ass things that can be causing the little firework show on my damn calves.
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I too have had this 'firework show' in my calves and I know when I am looking at it that I am looking at something called MYOCLONUS, but it sounds like in your case this is a persistent and consistent problem. 

So then I wondered if there might be a relation to your Adderall use, and, in fact, two of the side effects are 'nervousness and restlessness', and it's not too hard to imagine that the stimulant effect of the Adderall may, in you, cause the myoclonus. I wonder if you had it prior to using the Adderall? 

One other thing that can cause this is simply overdoing it in the gym or or with running or other sports. Buildup of lactic acid in the muscles will cause the myoclonus, and as you say, it IS interesting to watch, but if it is keeping you awake at night or causing other problems in your life it might be worth talking to your doc. I seriously doubt anyone would want to do an EMG on you at age 25 and it is unlikely that this is the result of some rare medical issue, it is, most likely, due to the Adderall in combination with you keeping yourself in good shape. 

Docs.... what say you?
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3 comments:

space doc said...

Dear muscle cramps:

Sounds like muscle spasm (Cramp) and muscle fasiculations (twitches or "tiny spasms"). Most common cause is muscle fatigue and dehydration' Are you a frequent exerciser? After running marathons I have had both---my calves looked and felt like a "bag of worms" and would frequently cramp up.

There are other more serious causes of spasms and fasciculations---some nasties like muscular dystrophy, A.L.S. ( Amyotrohic Lateral Sclerosis--Lou Gherig's dis.), and some muscle diseases (myopathies) that might require electromyography and blood tests (CBC--[complete blood count], , thyroid , Potassium, calcium, magnesium.etc.)

A very important cause of cramps et al. is poor circulation to the legs---major cause: CIGARETTE SMOKING! If the blood supply to the legs needs to be checked out you can get a vascular ultrasound (not
painful)--probably not too likely in a 25 yr. old ---but a good time to quit anyway if you could!

Adderall has a bunch of side effects, but muscle cramps ans fasiculations not likely unless you are taking more than the recommended 20 mg. daily.

I'm glad the Chron's is asmptomatic because if active you could have a lot of diarrhea, dehydration, and electrolyte (sodium, potassium, calcium etc.) problems which could be related to camps and fasiculations.

Finally log on to MedicineNet.com/cramps on the internet for a nice summary of all things crampy See your Doc if symptoms persist, and TYRY to give up the smokes so in 50 years we can call you Gramps instead of Cramps

All our best
Space Doc

space doc said...

Dear muscle cramps:

Sounds like muscle spasm (Cramp) and muscle fasiculations (twitches or "tiny spasms"). Most common cause is muscle fatigue and dehydration' Are you a frequent exerciser? After running marathons I have had both---my calves looked and felt like a "bag of worms" and would frequently cramp up.

There are other more serious causes of spasms and fasciculations---some nasties like muscular dystrophy, A.L.S. ( Amyotrohic Lateral Sclerosis--Lou Gherig's dis.), and some muscle diseases (myopathies) that might require electromyography and blood tests (CBC--[complete blood count], , thyroid , Potassium, calcium, magnesium.etc.)

A very important cause of cramps et al. is poor circulation to the legs---major cause: CIGARETTE SMOKING! If the blood supply to the legs needs to be checked out you can get a vascular ultrasound (not
painful)--probably not too likely in a 25 yr. old ---but a good time to quit anyway if you could!

Adderall has a bunch of side effects, but muscle cramps ans fasiculations not likely unless you are taking more than the recommended 20 mg. daily.

I'm glad the Chron's is asmptomatic because if active you could have a lot of diarrhea, dehydration, and electrolyte (sodium, potassium, calcium etc.) problems which could be related to camps and fasiculations.

Finally log on to MedicineNet.com/cramps on the internet for a nice summary of all things crampy See your Doc if symptoms persist, and TYRY to give up the smokes so in 50 years we can call you Gramps instead of Cramps

All our best
Space Doc

DOC2 said...

Doc 2 (internal medicine)

I exercise quite a bit, and my life can get pretty stressful.

I ALSO have the same condition you describe. It is not associated with any cramps.

The fasiculations occurred first in my calves, and I get them also in my arms at times. I identified one thing in particular that seemed to improve my symptoms. Before I knew better, I was using creatine as a supplement in weight training. Discontinuation of the product seemed to help. Another thing that helped was getting a diagnosis of sleep apnea. This led to treatment with bipap therapy and THAT helped my symptoms. There is certainly a link between sleep apnea and restless legs.

There may be something to Adderall as a reason. I have also noticed improvement after an unhealthy habit of drinking Diet Mountain Dew was stopped.

Electrolytes, hydration, muscle overuse, poor nutrition, medicines that could cause neuromuscular excitation etc could ALL play a role.