my achin’ legs

i added magnesium (a muscle relaxer) and ibuprofen (reduces inflamation) to my night-time regimen of clonazepam to ward off spasticity and leg cramps that usually kept me up until 11 or 12 pm. but i know that after taking certain medications over a period of time, they become less effective. my usual (and stupid) response is to just take a little more. but there were nights when nothing would work, and the cramps would keep me awake until the wee hours, and often got quite painful.

so i thought, well, maybe it’s time to wean myself off the clonazepam, stay off it for a little while, and just suffer through leg cramps, in the hope that i could go back to it, and find it more effective. last night was the first night without the clonazepam – just took some magnesium, and, as my leg started tweaking in the evening,  i assumed i’d be up all night. but i took a few calcium/magnesium and a few ibuprofen, and within a few minutes, i thought i’d try getting into bed to see what would happen.

nothing happened. not a single twinge or tweak, i slept well, and woke up without the usual morning ache, as if i’d been going up and down the stairs all night. i was able to roll over, getting my legs and hips turned without having to haul myself over by pulling on the mattress. wow – what a difference. i don’t know what to expect tonight, but i’m hoping that it will be at least similar, and that maybe clonazepam has become part of the problem.

i’ve also gone back to using a cane around the house, instead of the walker, believing in the “use it or lose it” philosophy, and wanting to work my legs and hips a little harder, and see if i could regain some of my balance. seems to be working – my wife commented this morning that i seemed to be walking better. so doing my p.t. stretches as religiously as i can, and relying on my body more than the walker seems to be paying off.

i’m not going to running any marathons, like the little girl i just read about yesterday, can’t remember her name, 3 or 4 years old, with down syndrome who just ran something like her third marathon. (show off!). but i am cautiously hopeful that this trend will continue.Share this Post


Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

2 thoughts on “my achin’ legs”

  1. Magnesium? I haven’t heard of using that before. I have been taking Baclofen but same as you… I’m starting to see that it’s not really working as well and I don’t want to up the dose. Can I ask what dose of Magnesium you take?

    1. i had read that magnesium is very often used in hospitals (and e.r.s) as an effective muscle relaxer. i have been taking a cal-mag combo for a long time, and have found it effective at warding off the leg cramps. but calcium tends to, shall we say, bind one up, so taking a whole lot of it can cause problems. magnesium, on the other hand, is, along with being a very effective muscle relaxer, is also a laxative (ever heard of “milk of magnesium?”), so taking too much of that can cause opposite problems. it is available from several sources, unfortunately the one at my local supermarket is apparently the least easily absorbed,magnesium oxide. i have it in 500mg tablets, and i take one with my night-time meds. it does often make me sleepy, which is nice, tho i’m not sure how effective it is at the muscle relaxing, as i still get leg cramps several nights week. but, as you probably know, with ms one never knows why we get the symptoms we get. taking it doesn’t hurt, so i’ll keep doing it.

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