Neurology Community
45.1k Members
Avatar universal

Leg spasms/seizure

Thank you for reading this. I am a 22 year old female. For a year and a half I have been having painful nighttime leg cramps/spasms. They are excruciating, not like what I hear about restless leg syndrome. Now, a few days ago, I woke up having a spasm, like I normally do, and then it almost seemed to crawl up my body and I had a seizure. Two people witnessed it. I was taken to the ER and had a ct scan, all ok. Now I am seeing a neurologist. I had an EEG done, also ok, but have a 72 hour EEG and a brain MRI scheduled. During the day, my calfs cramp up and I get tingling sensations in my legs, sometimes my arms a little. Now, I thought maybe the leg spasms were to do with my back problems (Extra bone growth and slipped disc that I will eventually be getting a minor surgery for) but none of the doctors seem to think it is related. And now with this seizure, it seems to be something else altogether. I just feel like I am not getting any answers and I am very scared. I am on Keppra for now, and my doctor will put me on Quinine for the leg spasms soon. I didn't just let this go for more than a year. I went to the doctor for these leg spasms, but no one could help me. I can't sleep anymore. They are the most painful thing I've ever experienced. I feel like the leg spasms are directly related to the seizure. Please, any help would be wonderful.
11 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi, what about blood tests, did they checked blood calcium and electrolyte levels as low calcium levels are associated with spasm. Other causes are white matter disease of brain e.g. multiple sclerosis but seizures are usually not seen in multiple sclerosis.

Wait for MRI report as cause of seizure will come up in MRI only. Disc protrusion or bony outgrowths in spine compress nerves which causes leg pain. Electrolyte imbalance can also lead to seizures.
Avatar universal
The EEG and MRI came back normal, as did all the blood work. My doctor put me on muscle relaxers and valium to help with the leg cramping/spasms. So far, they are not helping. The nighttime leg cramps are still going on. They are still very painful. And now, I get them during the day, which had not happened before. They happen when I am standing or sitting. I cannot figure out what triggers them. Sometimes I think a lot of walking caused it (I was at the zoo all day when the first one happened) but then sometimes they just happen when I am sitting watching TV. These hurt, but not quite as much as the nighttime ones. They are always in my left leg. My leg curls up and lefts up completely involuntarily, it lasts about 10 seconds, then it convulses a little and stops. Afterwards I feel shaky and my toes and left arm a re usually a little tingly. All of my other symptoms have gotten worse as well since the seizure. The insides of my calves often have a tearing/pinching like feeling. My heels are tingly a lot, joints hurt, headaches (sometimes just my eyeballs hurt-it's weird), I could go on. My doctor said she doesn't know why I had a grand-mal seizure. She says some of these symptoms can be brought on my "stress". I am not a depressed person. I love my life and the only thing making me upset is the worsening of my health. I see her in two weeks again. She mentioned a muscle disorder, but I cannot remember the name. I also may be sent to a sleep clinic in a few months. Here's my question: Do you think I could have MS? Many people seem to think so. I know someone whose relative is a doctor and he said he would have ordered a spinal tap for me, since the lesions are not yet showing up on my brain.
Avatar universal
You describe my seizures exactly.  Mine started approx 1 year ago.  Once I started journaling them they are approx 2-3 months apart.  I live alone and I suspected whatever was happening was rendering me unconscious.  Once I tried to get out of bed and stop the cramp, I fell and brusied myself badly on my footboard.  I also tore a toenail completely off.  I have no memory of the fall, just going into the seizure.  I had digital Infrared Thermal Imaging 2 months ago and bloodwork.  I have a weak left brain and low CO2 (Thiamin deficiency).  I am being treated for both, one not related to the other.  I also stopped taking the birth control Seasonale also.  I do recall my symptons started once I started taking this pill.  I had taken BC since a teenager (I am now 48) and enjoyed the 4 periods a year, however I am not convinced the Seasonale doesn't have something to do with my condition.  I just had another seizure last night, it didn't seem as severe however.  I wonder if it could stilll be in my system or have caused any lasting effects.  Have you had another seizure since June?
Avatar universal
Hi, your symptoms are not suggestive of MS; the cause is possibly endogenous stress. Muscle disorders will show up with nerve and muscle conduction studies along with blood CKP.

May be drugs like amityptline, venlafaxine, gabapentin etc which are good for neuropathic pain could be tried on you after investigations. Good luck and take care!
Avatar universal
I was wondering if you have had any success with the suggestions given.  How did your sleep study go?  I also had study and do have sleep apena, however the cpap has not made a difference, yet, with my seizure, which are still 1-3 months apart and only at night.
Avatar universal
i have the same thing since i was 13. i am now 21 now. this is what the doc told me when i was trying to figure this all out. i have a really small scar in my  right side of the brain that even the naked eye couldnt see and thats what course my leg to go off and if i dont take the meds right i could go into a seizure. you could have gotta this scar anytime in ur life and not know it into later on in years. what we have is very uncommon and not many doc know about it. you could have this for the rest of  ur life but some doc say u could grow out of it but i can tell u it does get easy. when my leg goes off i try to walk around or watch tv get my mind of it. take vitamin D for ur bones so there strong and try to work out ur legs.if u have anymore question u would like to know just ask :)
Avatar universal
Jess-- I have had the same problems for many years and am only now beginning to get suggestions what to do.  Many of them are dietary-- increasing intake of calcium, magnesium, potassium and folic acid.  Unfortunately, none of these things help when one is in the middle of such a seizure.  Perhaps your doctor may need to adjust your Keppra levels or try another med in tandem with Keppra, like Carbamazepine which tends to treat focal seizures a little better (to my understanding).

I am glad (well, glad is not the right word) to know there are other people with these symptoms because many doctors have looked at me like I'm crazy when I describe seizure activity beginning in the leg.
Avatar universal
I'm not sure if you have gotten any resolution with your epilepsy, but my 13 year old daughter started with left leg issues that went into full seizures. She is now 15, and still has this problem. She has recently been diagnosed with reflex epilepsy, because the conscious or even unconscious thought if moving her leg sets off spasms in her leg, that will go into seizures. She has been labeled as refractory, because nothing is controlling it any more and we are looking into possible surgery. If you have any additional information about your case, I would be very interested in hearing from you. Thank you.
Avatar universal
I have night time leg cramps, sometimes severe.  No seizures.  They come and go, and I have no idea why.   I"ve tried the usual recommendations--calcium, magnesium, hydration, etc.  Nothing helps, and they are growing more frequent and more severe.   Does anyone have any information or experience with how to treat this.
Avatar universal
       I am 31 years old and had my third seizure of my life 3 days ago.   The night before the seizure (grand mal) I was having severe leg cramps.  I also went 3 days without eating and 2 nights without sleeping due to stress.
   The ER doctor never ordered a metabolic panel, but I'm almost positive it was a result of low electrolytes.   Hypokalemia (low potassium) can cause severe muscle cramps and seizures.  Hyponutremia (low sodium) the same...   I now know what symptoms to watch out for.  High stress and overexertion with an inadequate diet was the cause in my case.  It is not common for the body to have low sodium (since it's in everything we eat/drink), but if it does happen, it can have devastating effects.
Avatar universal
I have these crazy right leg spams too. It's all in the shin from my knee down to my foot. They happen when I'm sleeping usually, sometimes when I'm just reclining. It doesn't seem like a muscular spasm-seems electrical. I can see my shin muscle pulsing and bulging erratically while my foot goes crazy in every direction.
It can be incredibly painful and scary,  
And can last anywhere from a couple minutes to 30 mins. I've asked my GP and she suggested tonic water for leg cramps & spams. I do think it has something to do with my lower back injury ( herniated disks from a fall a few years ago), but maybe there's short circuit between my leg and brain. I did have drop foot and numbness from the knee down for about 6 months after the injury, and other misc leg problems. The tonic water does seem to help,  and when I drink a little bit on a regular basis I seem to have the spasms less frequently.

I was just woken up this morning because of a bad spasm, it was pretty intense so I grabbed the tonic water and try to breeze and relax through it.   It did come to an end after a few minutes but I can't confirm if it was the tonic or not. I'd like to think it helped.

It's been very interesting to read other people have had similar experiences.
Have an Answer?
Top Neurology Answerers
620923 tn?1452915648
Allentown, PA
5265383 tn?1483808356
1756321 tn?1547095325
Queensland, Australia
1780921 tn?1499301793
Queen Creek, AZ
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out how beta-blocker eye drops show promising results for acute migraine relief.
In this special Missouri Medicine report, doctors examine advances in diagnosis and treatment of this devastating and costly neurodegenerative disease.
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.
Discover some of the causes of dizziness and how to treat it.
Discover the common causes of headaches and how to treat headache pain.
Two of the largest studies on Alzheimer’s have yielded new clues about the disease