Thanks for the update. Would love to hear about what has helped you.
As for the cramping calves and hand pain, tingling etc. I can tell you that there is a phenomenon that modern medicine is just now starting to understand. I have observed large online populations of people on many different message boards with symptoms both mentally and physically. In Jan, I began twitching, first in my left hand then all over my body...I panicked and everything got much worse. Then I got muscle pain, fatigue, cramping of feet and hands. There was a time in Jan I couldn't shampoo my hair without my shoulder getting exhausted. I have seen many people with the same symptoms but different diagnosis, like benign fasiculation syndrome, fibromyalgia, health anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder. There is one common link, and that is anxiety. And while my medical education background is strong, this isn't something taught...or really researched all that much. Fibromyalgia for years was considered a crazy woman's disease, not really taken seriously by the medical community. Docs are just now starting to take a look at it as a real entity, as it was believed to be "all in a persons head". It lead to many frustrated patients, doctors and online communities began to form.
What I believe is this...in certain populations of people you have a double whammy...first there are those with anxiety, ocd and hyperawareness. They notice body sensations others ignore. They fixate, they panic, and they get anxious. This upregulates the nervous system. Adrenaline in your body is very useful when used to fight off a rabid dog, but not so much when watching Seinfeld. When adrenaline sits unused on the nervous system and other systems of the body including muscles a state of tension develops...hyperactivity...and a new baseline is set. Your nervous system is now in a state of constant hyperactivity, so are muscles. Cramping, pain, twitching, tingling, pins and needles, weakness, exhaustion are new baselines...new symptoms. Our systems have been damaged. When we do things, overuse syndromes and injuries are common...which makes everything worse.
The key? You need to retrain your body, set a new baseline of relaxation. The problem? Well, it's tough because we have untreated anxiety. Or we have masked the issue with medications. I believe that's why few get better, even fewer get back to normal. Until we can have an extended period without worry, anxiety and fret there is no way for the systems of the body to reset themselves. We must attack this at the roots...which is getting to the bottom of why we worry. While some of it's genetic that isn't a cop out. We need to take ownership of our worry, and realize we are not victims. We are not forced to feed this beast. When new symptoms pop up, we are not forced to think the worst. Many people will ignore symptoms or say to themselves...hmm interesting and don't grow concerned unless they don't get better. We as a community panic and look things up feeding the problem.
1) Talk therapy...we need tools...we need to process old pain and trauma. Without it, its like trying to drive a nail with a shoe. We lack the tools to do an effective job.
2) Faith...I believe we as human beings are born to be connected to that which formed us...and without that connection we feel lost, alone and unprotected. Whatever faith means to you, pursue it.
3) Community...we are born to be connected to others...to help others and for others to help us...to commune and fellowship with other human beings. Our disease isolates us making everything worse. Service, getting out of our own heads by helping other human beings is extremely helpful to us as well.
4) Relaxation...massages, dead sea salt baths, walks in the park, prayer, meditation, worship, acts of service, petting the dog, gardening, cooking, or whatever relaxes you embrace it...instead of googling....anything instead of googling.
5) Make a commitment...to never ever google symptoms...ever. If you need to figure a symptom out...go to a doc and accept their insight.
6) Exercise...light exercise, nearly every day is helpful to sleep, and overall general feelings of well being. If your body can tolerate strength training this is VERY helpful as it burns off excessive adrenaline and promotes a new baseline of relaxation.
7) Nutrition...we must give our body the nutrients to heal. If we expect to eat cheetos and twinkles and hope to get better we will be disappointed.
Looking at the list above we can now see why people choose meds over this list. As a society we want instant relief. And while meds may be right in some people, without the above they are likely to merely mask issues and people rarely make full recoveries.