Restless Legs Syndrome

For a long time, I’d wondered what was going on when I’d try to get to sleep and I couldn’t shake the feeling of needing to get up and out of bed and moving. My legs had this weird, non-painful but troubling creepy-crawly feeling, as if something were tugging at the nerves or muscles deep inside them. And I’d heard of restless legs but hadn’t looked it up until recently. Now I’ve finally put two and two together.
Fortunately, it’s a mild case and I don’t have it every night. (I think I would have lost my mind by now if it were a nightly occurrence!)
Anyone else here have this? Mild or more severe? Does it wake you up? Does anything help? Does it bother the person in bed with you, if that’s the case?

I had it, or something like it, when I was pregnant. My legs felt like they were constantly on the verge of cramping. I found that drinking some warm milk helped. I’ve heard recommendations calcium/magnesium supplements, too. That’s what I take when my legs are getting cramp-prone and it seems to help.

My mom has it and takes medicine for it. That’s about the extent of my knowledge. The good news is that the medicine she takes really does help.

I have it so badly I will sometimes drive Mr. SCL to the couch. I don’t have insurance, so I haven’t been to the doctor about it.

Yep, yep, yep, been there, done that (still doing that), felt the twitchies.

Mine developed initially about 22 years ago, after I had a cut on one foot that became infected. May have been a coincidence that it developed then. I remember mentioning it to my doc a few months later and she looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

Frequently gets worse when pregnant. My last few weeks of my pregnancy with Moon Unit were, shall we say, not enhanced by it.

It gets progressively worse over the years. Meds used to treat it are varied, but include certain meds used for Parkinson’s, narcotics (after recent dental surgery, I was able to confirm that Vicodin is effective… but not ideal for longer-term usage, that pesky addiction issue…), Neurontin, others.

Poorly-understood by a lot of docs. Including some neurologists I’ve met. Mine was initially misdiagnosed as a neuroma of the foot, as the “sensation” seemed to be centered in a likely spot on the foot. A couple of MRIs and a thoroughly unpleasant nerve conductance test ruled that out, dammit, though oddly neuroma-based treatments (ultrasound treatment, steroid shots) helped.

Low stored iron levels (ferritin level is one key measurement) may be at fault in some cases so (with medical consent) iron supplements may help. I think they help me a little but that could be placebo.

I diagnosed myself after stumbling across a description of it online when Dweezil was a year or so old. Had one of those AHA!! moments as it exactly described what I was going through. Have since confirmed it with my internist and 3 neurologists, after 3 sleep studies.

I’m on a list at Yahoo Groups and have learned a lot about it there. Also a fair bit of humor. Many of us fantasize about hacking off the offending limb. Then we realize that since it’s a central nervous system problem, that wouldn’t work, we’d have phantom sensations and nothing to move to relieve them.

Through some combination of stubbornness and laziness I’ve managed to stay medicatin-free so far but that’ll change soon, I’m afraid.

I and my mother have it. Well I say I have it. I haven’t suffered the symptoms for weeks now… since I stopped (regular) drinking and started getting fit. My legs have had by far the most benefit from the excercise as it is in the form of cycling.
Having said that I used to suffer it a lot when I was fit once before. Before I put on weight I played footy regularly and was fit as a fiddle, but I still had restless legs at nights sometimes.

I have it. Only lately has it kept me awake. Sometimes some stretches leave me able to fall asleep. Once asleep it never wakes me up.

I have this often but really bad three or four times a year and I still refuse to believe it is real. it must be all in my head, or my feet are just too hot or something - I won’t take medicine, I won’t!

As a matter of fact, I was suffering from this Tuesday night, and ended up staying awake until well past 5 AM. :frowning:

I occasionally get the restless legs. Calcium always helps me. Other people have recommended potassium. So, drink milk, eat bananas, take vitamin pills. Those things can’t hurt and might help.

At my age (44) I really need to take calcium supplements, so I’m going to try that. I also have 2 green bananas on the kitchen counter. I’ll check in later to report if I have any results.

Thanks for the information!

I’ve had it for years. It can sometimes drive my husband up the wall, because I just need to bounce my legs so often. Stretching before bedtime helps me some.

I’ve only experienced this when I’ve taken too much Nyquil. That is miserable, lemme tell ya. You feel like crap, so you take the Nyquil so you can go to sleep, and your legs just won’t let you. Arrrrg!

Yes, it turns me into a pirate just thinking about it.

I’ve often wondered if I have this, but I wouldn’t say my legs feel “restless”. What I get sometimes is this indescribably awful feeling deep inside my calf muscle that seems like it would only go away if I could take a long fishhook or 10d nail or something and scratch around in there. Ahhh…what sweet relief that would be. (In reality, I usually put a heating pad on my muscle and take some Ambien to knock me out asap.)

Does that description ring any bells to you guys?

BTW, thanks Mama_Zappa for mentioning the iron – I’m anemic and had no idea that Restless Legs might be related to iron.

I have the calcium but not the magnesium; I’ll go get the combo. I also drink tonic water but I can’t tell if it’s helping with the restlessness, although it is good for cramps.

I get it. I also had the exact same feeling on shrooms.

Because of this, I suspect that there is something chemical about it.

I’ve had a mild case of this for some years, and when it bothers me I take vitamin E. I did some research on it and saw that one doctor said he’d had good results with patients with a mild case trying vitamin E as an alternative to the obviously more serious drugs used to treat it, and sure enough, for me it worked really well. IANAD, obviously, and am only passing along what helped me.

I get formication, which I call the creeps, and I get it every once in a while, especially if I’m overtired. It feels like ants or bugs rustling around under my skin and it makes me want to scratch or pinch at the skin.

My best solution ended up being Icy Hot on the offending limb. It seems to distract my brain away from the creeps long enough for me to fall asleep.

My husband does this weird repetitive motion thing a lot while he’s asleep. I don’t know if that might be restless leg.

My husband does the rhythmic leg twitch/arm flap thing. His doc told him it was related to his sleep apnea, and prescribed dopamine for it. It does help, but sometimes I have to wake him up in the middle of the night to take more (per doc’s instructions).

There’s some evidence that restless legs syndrome (RLS) is caused by a genetic problem which causes the brain to send electrical signals in a random fashion. I know if I rub the bottom of my spine hard, with my fist, the “current” running into my legs stops. But, only while I’m rubbing. This rules out the kind that’s caused by an iron deficiency, or some other nutritional problem. I’ve had this lo these many, many years, and it comes and goes at random. Just when I think it’s gone, it comes back full force. Several years back I went to a neurologist and he prescribed Permax and that would stop it; I was having surgery and wouldn’t be able to move my legs for a couple of days and I knew I would be ready for the funny farm after a couple of hours. It would have been hell. So, I took the permax with me to the hospital and hid it in the bedside drawer and took it every day after the surgery. If you tell the nurse they confiscate it and then when you need it they have to call the doc and meanwhile you are having a breakdown because you can’t stop the crawling.

Anyway…I understand Parkinson’s drugs do not work for everyone. I stopped Permax just because I saw my dad, who had Parkinson’s suffer bad side-effects.

The other thing with RLS is that if you stop the crawling at night, you may have it in the morning, even if you have never had it at that time of day. It’s called “compensation”. It may even branch out into your upper arms and shoulders, which is just awful. I’ve only had that a few times.

The good news is that my son, bless him, had this great idea. He bought me one of those long vibrating mats and I put it under the sheets in my bed. Every night, I would turn on the mat. If the crawling started up, it didn’t stop right away, BUT I didn’t have to move my legs, it was bearable!, which is impossible ordinarily. I usually would go to sleep and the next day realized it worked. Those of you who have this know you cannot ever go to sleep when it’s doing it’s thing. It seemed to work best when I alternated the vibratory pattern, going in a circle (you can set it for different patterns of vibration). And I made sure it was hitting right on the base of my spine and of course the length of each leg. After several weeks of this I got tired of the mat, but lo and behold, the RLS had gone away and stayed away for 6-8 months. When it came back, I used the mat again, but it didn’t take as long this time. And no “compensation.” God, what a blessing.

If you go on the RLS website you will see that nothing works for everyone; and especially those who have the real thing, not caused by a nutritional deficiency. So, for those of you who have this, give the mat a try. And good luck.

I friend of mine swears blind that zinc supplements relieve her RLS.