Calf pain when lying down - what should I do?

Sasha

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Not an ME question per se probably but for years now (10? 15?), if I lie flat on my back with my legs lying straight, the back of my left calf starts to hurt so much that I have to move it after a few minutes. As long as it's not in contact with the ground it's OK. It doesn't hurt in any other situation or in any other position.

So far I've dealt with this by ignoring it :D or by trying occasional but ineffectual calf stretches (the "pushing a tree down" variety where you lean forward against a wall with your feet about 12" way with the offending leg stretched behind you and tilt your hip forward to stretch the calf muscle/hamstring). But now I'm trying to start meditating and a lying-flat posture would be a huge help.

Does this actually sound like a shortened muscle/hamstring problem? If so, how much stretching and for how long is likely to necessary to shift it? Is there anything else I should be doing about it?
 

leaves

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I had this as well; what helps is to take your foot in your hand, and push your foot out while pressing your foot in the opposite direction with your hands, such that the toes go towards you. BTW it is also a symptom of magnesium defficiency.
 

ixchelkali

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I second trying magnesium. It seems many people with ME/CFS have some magnesium deficiency. I take 1/4 teaspoon of epsom salts daily, which provides 100mg of magnesium and is much less expensive than capsules. It makes a noticiable difference in my IBS symptoms, too.

Oh, and if you can't take epsom salts, soaking in a bath with epsom salts can help, because it is absorbed through the skin.
 

ukxmrv

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It's hard to know if it's the same as the pain I get in both calfs when lying down. I put my legs into cold water right up to the knee. Keep a bucket filled at night for this. A chillow under my knees also.

Magnesium/potassium help. This cleared up for a long time when I had magnesium injections.

Also accupuncture and accupressure helped over time. There is a point on the inner part of the leg just under the knee. If I press on this it helps relieve the pain.
 

Sasha

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One thing I love about PR is that I can post a question before I log off for the evening and by the next morning, find lots of useful answers! Thank you, everyone - I'm going to try that version of the stretch (thanks, leaves!), try a topical application of Epsom salts (thanks, ix - I googled after I read your reply and found a site suggesting that you can also soak a hot wet flannel in Epsom salts, apply it to the afflicted area, wrap it in plastic and then with a towel to keep the heat in, rather than take a bath in it), have a go with a cold pack (thanks ukxmrv!) probably alternating with heat and if that lot hasn't had any effect after a week, check in with my doctor (thanks, ric!).

My calf won't know what has hit it!
 

Sasha

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Update - I've just been the to chemist and got some Epsom salts, plus some arnica massage oil which is supposed to increase circulation to the area if you massage it in (which I've just done - smells and feels very nice!).

I tried lying down flat but with an ordinary pillow under both my knees (an adaptation of ukxmrv's suggestion) and found I could stay very comfortably with no pain at all in that position for a 15 minute meditation. What a revelation! Obviously that's just masking the symptoms and you wouldn't want to lie like that for long periods (presumably it would contribute to further shortening of the muscles and tendons) but for periods when you need to be flat(ish), it's great! Wish I'd thought of that ages ago.