Leg cramps following stroke

Hi everyone.  First time of posting.  My 80 year Mum had a second stroke on 3 Feb, she'd had her first in early December. anyway since the second stroke and back at home, she's having quite bad cramps - mainly at night time but also during day, in the left leg which was affected by the stroke.   Has anyone had this and how long before it went away - for her it also causes her to lose more control of her bladder.   Whilst still early days - only two weeks home post hospital - I can see the loss of control of her bladder caused by the spasms is making her low and she's fed up of waking up soaking wet each night.  What can I do to help.   

Since this last stroke her meds have all been doubled in dosage and she's also on a second bp medicine - so effectively Clopidogrel, amlodipine (the new one) rampiril and astorvastatin.  I'm considering ringing the GP on Monday to see if her meds can be reviewed, as I read that they can also cause this issue.   Just need someone to talk to, who has experience of this and what helped them.   

Dear Catsusie

so sorry to hear that mum had a second stroke. But welcome to the forum.

i have not come across a second stroke two months after the first. It is generally viewed that once past one month then we are unlikely to get a second stroke.

i get cramps. Legs mainly. But i am sure that mine are because i am getting to use muscles that have been under utilized during recovery. Mum should just mention the cramps to her GP. 

Many GPs have nurses who specialize for incontinence. I hope mum will talk to someone on that score. At a minimum she should be supplied with appropriate items to keep her comfortable.

stroke did damage my control over toilet functions. Demoralizing.

what a horrid array of medication. The probability is that all of them are helping. The difficulty is when one of them causes problems, very hard to pick one out which one. GPs are now inclined to entrust pharmasists with medication reviews. That would be a good way forward, especially if your doctors have an in house pharmacy.

Experience tells me we need to treat each problem on its own merit. Hopeless to deal with stroke overall. 

Best wishes to you both, colin.

Thanks for the reply Colin.  We have now had a discussion with continence advisor and hopefully she'll be getting the right products.  Unfortunately her appt with them coincided with the second stroke and being in hospital.   anyway as I said they are now on there way to us.

I was surprised about her getting the second stroke, especially as we had only just been signed off by the consultant following the first.  The first though was very minor, and she recovered very quickly, without needing hospitalisation.   I'll give the GP practice a call, as they do have an inhouse clinical prescriber who reviews medication.  It may just be early days and she is expecting things to improve much quicker.  All I can do is give her my time and an listening ear and patience.  

Again thanks for your advice and support.

Hi sorry to hear about your mum.  I had my stroke 4 years ago and I still have problems with my legs, albiet less now than before.  My doctor prescribed me a gel to rub on, which I now use whenever I have a problem.  You could ask her doctor for a similar thing. Good luck, speedy recovery to mum. Wendy

That sounds good. continence adviser and also an inhouse precriber. Excellent.

Was her first stroke a TIA .?(aka mini stroke). 

on her behalf, i would be keen to get a copy of the hospital letter to her gp. It will clarify her diagnosis and may well be very useful later. If not yet to hand then the staff at the GP could get a copy. No need to access the doctor.

do tell mum from me...that if she does lots of remedial exercise then recovery will be quicker.

perhaps dont tell mum from me that recovery is slow slow slow.

best wishes



Hello Catsusie,

Two things come to mind after reading your post - please discuss them with your Mother's medical supervisors:


1: for her incontinence, should she be given a catheter? I had to be given one and it was a mixed blessing - no more wet beds but regular infections. Within a year I no longer needed it and have not had one in the ten years since then.

2: for her leg cramps, a drug called Baclofen can help but can cause other issues.

As always, I'll add that none of us here on the forum are medical professionals but can give you the benefit of our experiences and what we have learned on our stroke journeys.

Take care, both you,




Hi Catsusie--I don't know if your mum is having typical muscle cramps or what I had, which can only be described as leg seizures.  My whole left leg would seize up-all the muscles.  It was almost rhythmic.  Seize up-hold a second or two- then relax.  Then it would occur a minute later.  This would go on for an hour or two, so I couldn't sleep.  It only happened at night.  I had the feeling it was my brain triggering the nerves in my leg as part of the healing process of my brain.  Anyway, I tried magnesiusm cream,message, and the medicines they give you after stroke. They didn't work.  The only thing that helped me was CBD oil drops under the tongue. I checked with my docs first and got the ok, since though legal CBD is not yet FDA approved for treatment.  My GP said she had a lot of her patients use CBD oil drops, but she couldn't prescripe it because it's not FDA approved. (I had heard about it when I was in the hospital from one of the nurses.)  I started with 20 mg. held under the tongue for about a minute and then swallow.  If that didn't work after 15 or 30 min.  I'd take another 20mg.  That always worked.  After about another 15 minutes the spasms would stop, and I'd go to sleep.  CBD is not addictive or hallucinagenic.  It also helped me with anxiety.  Occasionally, I used it for that during the day. I don't know if one should drive though, as you might be a little sleepy. I always had my husband drive to be on the safe side. Sidenote: I found chocolate mint the most palatable.  It seems expensive at first--Cost me about $50-$100 a month at first (but I needed it every night)After a month or two I only needed it a few times a month.  After a year or so, only once every few months(so a bottle lasts forever, and price is not an issue.)  Use a reputable mail order.  I used Ancient Life Oils.  It may not work for everyone, and you should check with your doctors first.  Best wishes to you and your Mum.  Love, Jeanne

Hi everyone, just a big thank you to those of you who commented on my post.  Update:  cramping or leg seizures as someone commented are now lessened.  We used magnesium oil which had a lavender extract in it.  That combined with hands on therapy to massage the muscles seems to have done the trick.  Just mild now.  Incontinence still an issue but getting better - and we do have products delivered via NHS.  
it's a journey and you are right and as I keep saying to Mum - look at where you are now and where you were - massive improvement.  The brain is an amazing organ but complicated - it will heal itself abs the body but it will take time.

Inam encouraged by each of your stories and wish you well in your own journey.  Thank you. Sue