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What’s your technique for alleviating Restless Leg Syndrome?

14th September 2008

Any fellow sufferers of Restless Leg Syndrome? What’s your technique for alleviating it?

For those who don’t know, it’s a very annoying thing until you figure out a relief. For me, it’s a feeling in the leg muscles (varying in intensity) very difficult to describe. It’s like a dull headache in your muscles, or an itch from the inside. I’ve seen it described as a feeling like worms are crawling under the skin. Moving the legs gives temporary relief, hence the name. It wakes me up from a sound sleep, and I can’t rest until I get up and do a full stretch of the legs in every direction possible (which is a pain in the arse in itself, since it leaves me wide awake). Some folk say the only relief is standing on one leg, although that doesn’t seem practical (and didn’t do a thing for me).

I ask if there’s any scoffers because some think it’s simply being fidgety (kind of like how some scoff at lower level ADD as simply being unruly – and there’s probably some truth in both), but IMO it’s more than that.

Answer 1: My wife to be has it. It’s pretty annoying to sleep next to. Her leg jerks about every 15 minutes or so when she sleeps and when she is awake she feels the need to constantly move her leg… So far we’ve just been dealing with it.

Answer 2: Restless leg responds to a low dose of the meds used for parkinsons so you could speak with your doctor. While there are meds targeted at RLS, I’m of the mind that as long as it isn’t hurting me, and I can deal with it without the meds, I’m going that route. Some things you need to treat with meds, but far too often folks like to run to meds too quickly. I only know one other RLS sufferer personally, and she can deal with it without meds. IF someone had it really bad, and can’t find relief with diet or good lifestyle (ie excercise, stretching, whatever) I would recommend exploring the drug route. Anything short of ‘it’s ruining my quality of life’, I’m staying away from drugs.

Answer 3: My friend’s father had RLS for 8 years- woke him up constantly. He tried all the meds with little relief. He got a book (wish I could remember what it was called) and the doctor writing it suggested eliminating sodium from your diet. My friend’s father tried it and it worked. He’s not completely cured but he’s sleeping throughout the night for the first time in over 8 years.

Now, we’re not talking reducing sodium. he completely eliminated it from his diet, so it was a huge lifestyle change for him.

Answer 4: I have the same problem. Normally I get up and stretch for about 5 to ten minutes. Sometimes I walk around the living room for a while. It tends to happen less on days that I play soccer. I guess running or riding a bike before going to sleep might be worth a try. Tai Chi could also be helpful.

Answer 5: I do have it on occasion and have been “suffering” since about the second grade. My brother, who is a physician, also gets it on occasion. He deals with it by exercising the leg until it goes away. He mentioned that if it is life affecting some doctors will prescribe anti-depressants like zoloft for it.

Answer 6: My wife had it for years. She tried accupuncture and it seems to have worked. At least I can’t recall any recent complaints.

Answer 7: I have had it for years. It hurts in the lower legs. While sleeping or driving in a car.
Your Dr. can prescribe Requip, which you take once a day in the evening. Has not bothered me since except for when I am traveling late and don’t get a chance to take it early enough.

Answer 8: A friend just turned me on to a book called Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno. While he doesn’t explicitly address RTL, his approach might be helpful. You can find it pretty cheap on Amazon.

Answer 9: Well, if you are active, Typically it’s magnesium deficiency. Try taking JUST magnesium, the best I have tried is CALM from Peter Gillham. Magnesium deficiency is VERY common, and prolonged deficiency leads to Bowel trouble, heart/artery trouble, muscle twitching, restlessness, etc.

If you are NOT active, you need to start being more active. Cut down on Caffeine and become more active if this is the case.

Answer 10: This may be a “real” affliction but my wife and I can’t help making fun of it when the TV ad comes on. Oh, and the emds they’re hawking? Yeah … side effects may include … DEATH! (yes, exaggeration on this count, but NOT ON OTHERS! – side effects include, blood clotting that may lead to stroke or heart attack … seizures and in some rare cases DEATH!)
Go for a walk, I say, and stop OVER-MEDICATING!

I vehemently oppose taking drugs for it… Eat better! Get Active! If you already are and have problems still with it and/or muscle twitching, insomnia etc. then absolutely take a magnesium supplement and reduce caffeine intake. Magnesium deficiency is very common.

Answer 11: Medication that has been 95% effectiver for me: Clonapin. It works for most people with this problem, but by no means all. For some, it is over-sedating (is that a bad thing?)

Answer 12: Going for a walk doesn’t help. You feel like you need to walk, run, stretch, but it doesn’t matter what you do, it doesn’t go away. Requip has been the only thing that has let me sleep well for the past year.

Answer 13: Try magnesium. Google Restless leg and Magnesium, you’ll find a ton of stuff. Regular daily exercise, cut down(or OUT) caffeine, Magnesium supplements… after your magnesium levels go up add calcium and potassium. These three minerals have a profound effect on the control of muscle contraction/relaxation.

Answer 14: You can joke all you want, but this is a real malady. I have had it for the past 5 or 6 years but never knew what it was until those commercials started appearing. It is extremely uncomfortable and very annoying. I have resisted taking medications for it, and usually have symptoms about 2 or 3 times a week, usually in the evening, but not always. It can be lesssened with exercise and reduction of caffeine, but believe me, it is real.

Answer 15: I don’t think there is a fix for RLS. It’s something you just learn to deal with if it’s bad. If it afects you significantly enough then you take more drastic measures like drugs, especially if it improves your QoL. There appears to be no operation or cure for RLS.

Answer 16: I had a bout with RLS after wisdom tooth surgery… after some research I discovered it was likely a withdrawl symptom of the pain medication I had been taking… it was the most annoing thing ever… about 2 hours total of sleep in 4 days. Finally decided that a shot & beer before bed was my only hope… lo and behold… it worked… after a couple of nights I dropped the beer… than the shot… everything was cool.
Don’t you wish I was your doctor?!?

BTW “going for a walk does not help… I probably walked 10 miles in the 4 nights I had it real bad… and it felt okay while I walked… but as soon as I stopped…. it was back.

Answer 17: Not sure it it was RLS but I used to be kept awake at night by the pulse in my legs. Yeah it sounds crazy but I couldn’t have my legs touching because I’d feel my pulse & it would keep me awake & drive me nuts. It was very hard to get comfortable. Now it doesn’t bother me,except for the soreness in my knees. I also found that sleeping with a comforter helps since it’s big enough to stay covered while being between my legs to be more comfortable.

7 Responses to “What’s your technique for alleviating Restless Leg Syndrome?”

  1. Jess Says:

    I have this problem and I’ve found that it’s much worse if I’m dehydrated, and that taking a couple tylenol or advil will help. I don’t know if it’s because reduction in pain is basically targeting the same nerves that make my legs freak out, but at least I can fall asleep.

  2. Tom Says:

    I have a severe case of RLS; I do not have a cure but can tell you the things that help and worsen my condition.

    1) A fever – sounds weird but I almost enjoy having a fever because I sleep without any RLS symptoms what so ever. Has anyone else noticed this?
    2) Caffiene makes my condition worse
    3) Drinking alcohol provides temporary relief but usually worsens the condition when the effects wear off
    4) regular sleep patterns going to bed at the same time helps (I am not very good at this)
    5) I have been on many drugs for RLS; but the best ever was klonopin. This is as effective as a fever for me but your body builds resistence over time and eventually becomes ineffective. Now I am on Mirapex; it works good enough for me to function but not great. I also do not require very much sleep…
    6) Punching my legs provides relief (but looks weird)
    7) condition is always worse when tired, long trips in the car and airplanes.

    I also noticed that it seems like RLS comes in 2 forms. There are the people that feel pain and cramping in there legs and those that feel “energy” in there legs that and feel like they are going to explode if they do not move suddenly. I fall into the later category.

    I hopeyou do not have RLS but if you do I would like to hear your “remedies”.


  3. rich Says:

    Try this: get a soccer ball inflated to more or less normal pressure, or maybe a little less, i.e., slightly soft. Then lie on your bed on your back (on a smooth surface, i.e., no bunched up sheets or blankets in your way) and work the soccer ball under one calf so that your leg is balancing on the soccer ball. Now roll the soccer ball around with that leg, letting gravity press the muscle into the ball. Keep this up for 5 to 10 minutes. Then do the other leg. You have to practice, probably several days, though, to get the benefit. It will be hard at first to keep the soccer ball from squishing or popping out from under your leg and it will feel very awkward, but if you keep at it, it will feel more and more natural over time. I’ve recommended this to others who say it helps. And, hey, no new drugs (and no punching your legs, Tom) so it ought to be worth a try.

  4. Teresa Puente Says:

    I rub some mentholatum (Vicks) and it always helps within 10-15 minutes.

  5. nick Says:

    from experience, i have learned that the best remedy for the “restless leg syndrome” is to take a MAGNESIUM supplement. it’s very effective, i guarantee you!

  6. Seth Says:

    Anyone suffering from RLS knows it is for real. It is horrible at times. My best results came with magnesium supplementation, but not just tablets. Ionic mag is the ticket. It will actually effect you mag levels. Taken with a potassium tablet it can really make a difference.

  7. nancy Says:

    this is awful, but when my kids would get in trouble i would ground them and let them “walk it off” by walking on my legs lol. that, like taking a walk, is a temp fix. the minute you stop it all comes back. I have taken the clonapin at night as needed for like 8 yrs now. Prob now is that it has gotten much worse during the day and I don’t want to be wiped out with meds. I have a limit on my script card as well so i don’t dare ask for any of the newer generation of treatments. i have yet to find ANY vitamin that really provides any relief. not mag. or potass, or cal. NONE it’s a very, very hard thing to live with. Harvard univ has donor cards for our brains (people that suffer with RLS) and i at least hope to make a contribution there one of these days, lol.