Muscle Cramps with Parkinson’s

People with Parkinson’s Disease commonly experience muscle cramps that are painful and debilitating. Muscle cramps can be brought on by inactivity, too much activity, dehydration, or in many cases just at random! People with Parkinson’s may also experience a cramping sensation because of a condition called Dystonia, which can frequently present with Parkinson’s. Dystonia causes involuntary and prolonged contraction of muscles, causing them to spasm. This can happen as a result of certain medications, in particular when medication is wearing off.

Here are some helpful tips on how to ease the symptoms of cramping:

1. Stretching

Regular stretching can help to prevent a cramp or ease a cramp that is occurring. It is particularly important to stretch before and after exercising. The most common muscles that cramp in people with Parkinson’s are generally in the legs and feet. Here is a useful stretch you can try if you experience cramping in these areas. Stretches should be held for 30 seconds.

2. Massage

Massage can help to ease muscle tension during a muscle cramp. 

3. Heat

Heat pads can be applied to the area where you are experiencing a cramp.

4. Keep a diary

It is useful to keep a diary of when you experience muscle cramps. Note what you were doing at the time and what time of day it is. If you notice a pattern in your cramps, you may be able to determine the cause of them better.

5. Medication adjustment

If you notice that your cramping comes on at a particular time each day, for example when your medication is wearing off, you may need to speak to your doctor or neurologist about adjusting the time at which you take your medication. However, do not change this without asking your GP or neurologist first! Always follow a doctor’s advice about medication!