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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery
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I've had muscle cramps in my feet, hands, calves, and

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I've had muscle cramps in my feet, hands, calves, and forearms that just won't seem to go away. It tends to migrate, and happens on both sides of my body. It usually doesn't fully cramp, mostly seems on the verge all of the time and can be slightly painful. My neck and upper shoulders have also been abnormally tight. Wondering what it might be ... Here are some other details that might help: I first noticed a cramp in my right foot, but didn't think anything of it. Then the week after Thanksgiving, just sitting in a restaurant, my left calf just started to hurt, almost like a charlie horse without being hit in it, enough where I limped a bit for a couple of days. Since then, I've noticed the migratory cramping. When I drink alchohol or coffee, it tends to get quite a bit worse. Other things: pinprick feelings sometimes in fingers, small rashes/pimples on back of hand near thumb, joint stiffness at times, feeling of legs falling asleep/tingly. Thank you for any help you can provide.
Do you have any neck or back pain?

Are the muscles weak?

Did the doctor find anything unusual at all when he examined you?

And when you work out - does the cramping come on then as well, or is it more random?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Hi, thank you for getting back to me.

I wouldn't say it's neck and back pain, just that they're very tight.

The muscles are not weak; I don't feel any loss of strength.

Nope, doctor didn't notice anything, just ordered a blood test.

Cramping does not come on when working out or playing sports; actually, don't really notice it during those types of activities. It's more at rest and it's definitely random.

Right there - the cramping that doesn't come on with exercise makes this very unusual.

One would expect any disorder of nerves, or muscles, or energy use, or electrolytes -- cramping would worsen with exercise and use of the muscle. For you to be able to use your muscles strongly without cramping, then have them come on at random times is quite odd.

The fact you don't have weakness makes a disease of the muscles less likely as well.

And the randomness of body locations makes it hard to point to specific nerves that could cause cramping as well.

Muscle cramping can come from electrolyte or fluid disturbances, but your doctor probably would have seen that on the blood test.

However with your other symptoms - the occasional numbness in the fingers and legs, perhaps the nerves are a cause for this cramping. You would benefit from a neurologic exam by a neurologist to see if there would be benefit of further testing, which can include more blood work, imaging, and nerve/muscle testing called a "EMG", which can see if the nerves themselves are being irritated to cause the cramping in the body.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for your response. Two other quick questions before I accept if you wouldn't mind:

1) Some of the symtoms sounded a bit to me like Lyme disease. I was in Belize for two weeks at the end of September. I don't remember seeing any "bulls-eye" but I was covered in bites and red all over. Does it sound at all that that might be a possibility?

2) And I partied pretty hard for the month or so leading up to this, doing ecstasy three times, 1-2 pills each time. I know that usually plays with seratonin levels; could that affect the nerves as well. I don't do it a ton, maybe 4-5 times a year for the past five years or so. I know it's not good for you, but wonder if it could cause these muscle issues.

I will ask my doctor about the other tests you mentioned as well. Thank you!

Well, the lyme disease is typically caused by a specific bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi in the US) and in specific places in the world.

There probably is not a high chance that this would have occurred in Belize. Though there are blood tests ELISA, and western blot, that can look for evidence of Lyme disease. Though the symptoms associated with lyme disease are often more problems with the joints themselves, than the muscles.

And ecstasy use can cause "serotonin syndrome", of which there can be problems with the nerves and muscles (as well as blood pressure instability and altered mental status), but that is something that would occur as a reaction to the drug immediately.

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