Hypocalcemia is the medical term for an electrolyte imbalance and is typically indicated by a low level of calcium in the blood. The normal adult value for calcium is considered to be 4.5-5.5 mEq/L. This isn't how I test calcium but it is the mainstream method.
The most common sign of hypocalcemia is neuromuscular irritability in which we see our nerves and muscles twitch. From twitchy eyelids to legs that lash out just as your dropping off to sleep at night. Low calcium levels may cause a spasm or twitch.
Another sign you may of noticed is muscle cramps in your legs or your arms, I used to loose count of the times I had to spring out of bed due to cramp in my calf. My biggest fear after Achilles surgery was that I may get cramp while I was supposed to be non weight bearing.
Tingling or numbness is yet another symptom of low lying problems that are yet to manifest as big big problems. You may have symptoms such as depression, or be irritable (all linked to starvation and low calorie diets, which in turn leads to low calcium and lack of ability to absorb calcium, see my previous post about starvation symptoms).
If you've been like this a while the symptoms become a bit more serious and we would expect to see you maybe disorientated or confused, all symptoms which we see in the elderly (unless their friends of mine). The heart may contract irregularly as calcium is hugely important for its function (look out for a post soon on heart attacks).
And finally, probably the one I get consulted about the most (I once got flown to NYC to assist someone's wife), menstrual cramps. Read back and notice how all these symptoms are spasms, cramps and twitches and its not hard to see how menstrual cramps get so bad. Consider the facts, women need considerably more calcium than men (7x I think but don't quote me on that), coupled with women typically being on a low calorie diet, (lack of everything including calcium) and the fact that during the period their is significant blood loss.
Now the answer isn't to just purchase calcium from a health food store (you need help to assess the correct type) but neither is it caused by painkiller deficiency. If your past this stage and are pre-menopausal its also not too late.