Are Stiff, Cramp Like Pains In Calf Muscles Possible Ms Symptoms?

Question

Asked by artyjill

Are Stiff, Cramp Like Pains In Calf Muscles Possible Ms Symptoms?

I suffered with dizziness and vertigo in may last year. Was sent to an ENT specialist who poked me in the eye and told me I was going deaf!

In october I woke up with pins and needles in my foot which gradually spread to my bust over the course of a week. I also felt as if I was 'dragging' my leg. (Both of these 'attacks' lasted approximately two months). I was referred to a neurologist who requested an MRI. When I eventually got the results, he very casually told me I had three lesions in my brain and one in my spinal cord. I had MS, I still had numb toes but I could live with it couldn't I. I am still waiting for a lumbar puncture to see how much protein is in my spinal fluid and therefore, how bad it is. The appointment has come through for early April. It was February that I received the diagnosis. I feel as if I am in limbo land. I woke up two mornings ago with excruciating cramp like pains in my right calf muscle, the same leg as pins and needles. It is more painful when standing. Is this another MS 'attack'?

Answer

Hi Artyjill,

Being newly-diagnosed is almost as difficult as not yet having a diagnosis, with all of the unknowns. Good news that you have an appointment at the MS clinic in April.

I'm not a medical professional, but what you describe with your calf sounds very much like spasticity I experience. Spasticity is a common symptom of MS and doesn't necessarily signal a new relapse.

Since it's the same leg in which you experienced the numbness, it's likely from the same nerve damage. Some things you can do right now include very gentle stretching of your calves and hamstrings. Make sure that you are staying hydrated and eating plenty of potassium-rich foods.

When you stretch, hold steady for 30 seconds and relax for 30 seconds, repeat three times. Do not bounce or it may make the tension worse. Gentle messaging sometimes helps as does alternating heat/cold. There are also medications which are used to combat moderate and severe spasticity in MS, including baclofen and zanaflex.

Here's a question for you. Are you experiencing an infection of any type? Cold? Flu? Bladder infection? With MS, it is common to experience increased symptoms when the body's temperature is increased. This is called a pseudoexacerbation and doesn't signal an actual relapse, although the symptoms are very real.

I hope that you begin to feel better soon. Thanks for asking the question.