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The Sandbox Writing Challenge for this week wants to know,

What is your worst nightmare???

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I don’t even have to stop and think about that. It’s not being able to care for myself as in being at someone else’s “mercy”, so to speak. I don’t like to be unable to control my circumstances. I expect a lot of us are like that. But this is something deeper, more primal. It’s the fear of having something bad happen and no one there to help me out. That brings up all kinds of nightmare scenes for me. I watch ENTIRELY too much TV! But what bothers me more is the not being able to take care of my own daily needs and having to have someone else tend to me.

No that is not MY foot, but mine looks like that when I get them!

No that is not MY foot, but mine looks like that when I get them!

I have a recurring nightmare (that happens often in the day, too, when I’m not feeling well and am dwelling on that — and yes, that IS part of my fear of the future that I recently wrote about) that distresses me so much. It’s about being in a nursing home and having mega muscle spasms in my feet and legs (which I’ve struggle with for years — thank God for Drollery who is frequently wakened in the middle of the night to help me stand up). They can be excruciating when I can’t get to my feet to stretch. But in this scenario I ring and ring the call bell, but no nurses come.

I’m thankful that for the last year and some they have eased off a LOT. So maybe in the “future” this won’t actually be a nightmare scenario for me. But if I’m to be honest, I have to admit it’s more about the being out of control of my own care than the spasms themselves that scares me so badly.

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Be that as it may, there’s a lot of information out there about leg, feet, knee, and ankle spasms, and even hand spasms, but it all says pretty much the same darn thing. Unfortunately stretching doesn’t usually work for me, but for whatever help it might be to someone else, here’s a bit of an article from Carson Tahoe Health about muscle spasms, more commonly known as cramps.
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Has this ever happened to you?

You’ve had a long day and want nothing more than to get into bed, you lay down, are just about asleep and BOOM- leg cramp!

If you have suffered this before and wondered why, we’ve asked Carson Tahoe’s Dr. David Eisenhauer to help you figure it out!

What are muscle cramps? Muscle cramps are strong, painful contractions or tightening of a muscle that comes on suddenly and lasts from a few seconds to several minutes. Nighttime leg cramps are usually sudden spasms, or tightening of the muscles specifically in the calf. They are also common in the thigh or foot and occur just as you are falling asleep or waking up.
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What causes muscle cramps?

  • Exercising, injury or overuse of muscles
  • Pregnancy-cramps may occur because of decreased amounts of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, especially in the last trimester
  • Exposure to cold temperature, especially cold water
  • Other medical conditions such as blood flow problems (peripheral arterial disease), kidney disease, thyroid disease and multiple sclerosis
  • Standing on a hard surface for long periods of time
  • Sitting for a long period of time
  • Putting your legs in awkward positions while you sleep
  • Not having enough potassium and calcium in your blood
  • Being dehydrated
  • Taking certain medicines such as antipsychotics, birth control pills, diuretics, statins, and steroids

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How to stop muscle cramps when they happen:

  • Stretch and massage the muscle
  • Take a warm shower or bath to relax the muscle. A heating pad is also helpful
  • Try using an ice or cold pack
  • Take over-the-counter pain medicine such as an acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen (consult your doctor before using)
  • Drink plenty of fluids, sport drinks like Gatorade can also help with leg cramps, but be aware of your sugar intake

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If you find you cannot get rid of one right away, try walking around, stretching and jiggling your leg until the cramp releases. If you sit down, try straightening out your leg and pointing and flexing your foot repeatedly until the cramp lessens- wrapping a towel around the bottom of your foot and pulling it towards your body can also help stretch out the cramp. If you have repeated cramps and cannot get rid of them, call your general practitioner and schedule an appointment to make sure there are no serious underlying causes.

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Picture Source: reddingpodiatry.com

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