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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

RLS- Restless Leg Syndrom

RLS.  You know that feeling  at 2 a.m, when your legs decide "Hey let's get up right now and walk around the rest of the night!!!".  They are like that overly excited, annoying acquaintance who just loves to talk about everything. All. The.Time. So you do the equivalent of nodding and listening politely and get up pace to around for a few minutes maybe even a half an hour, get a drink of water go back to bed and BAM it starts again.  My legs are like " Oh, have I told you about my cat and all the tricks she can do?" I hate that! I know many of you do too.  It feels like a cross between a cramp and a twitch and can affect any of my muscles from the calves to upper thighs.

Over the years I have found a few things that have helped me.
I notice if I don't drink enough water throughout the day I have symptoms. *Pee alert* Do not however, try to get all your hydration in an hour before bed because then you will have a completely different reason for not sleeping.

When I haven't worked up a sweat during the day my legs are ready to run a marathon at night.  I know exercise may be hard for some folks, but try your best to do a little something everyday. 

I try to do some light leg stretches before bedtime. I have to shooo the dogs away from me during stretch time because I feel they are always criticizing my downward dog. 

Even if I have done all these things I sometimes get the twitchies and I have few tricks for those times too.

Long Socks:
For a long time I was wearing my husband's Air Force issued socks, but he got mad when I kept cutting the toes off. So. I bought a pair of compression socks that they sell at the pharmacy for diabetic patients.  They work wonders to calm my jumpy legs.  I cut the toes out because personally I don't like my toes being trapped and squished together.  The socks still work fine.

Warm Bath:
When I'm desperate to sleep the sound of running bath water at 2 a.m. is the best sound in the world to me.  I run a warm, not hot, bath and soak for at least 30 minutes.  I'll stretch and massage the calf muscles while I'm in there.  It feels glorious.

Heating Pad:
If I'm not able to get in the bath due to mobility I keep a heating pad near the bed. I put it on low heat and put it under my legs. I have a pad that will automatically shut off after 30 minutes.  That's a good idea for safety if I fall asleep.

When I have to have Solumedrol treatments, it's inevitable that RLS will be along for the joy ride the steroids are taking my body on.  I can do all these little tricks of mine and it just won't stop, so I'll have to go the dreaded medication route. I hate putting more crap in my stystem than I already do, but if I want to sleep and not become some crazed, roided up, MommyMonster, I go for the sleeping pills. I ask my Doc for a 5 day supply of Ambien.  I don't know why but I have found medications like Nyquil do not work and actually make the symptoms of my RLS worse.I have tried Baclofen, but again I don't like to take too many pills and it left me feeling a little hazy during the day.

There are many more "home remedies" on the web that I haven't tried, a bar of soap at the foot of your bed, Vicks on your feet, magnesium supplements, the list goes on and on really.  I just know the ones I wrote about work for me.  I hope you find something that works for you too.  If not we can always go for a 2 a.m. run together.

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