Restless Legs Syndrome is one of those fake diseases like Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. But fake or not…. I have it, and have had it as long as I can remember. I have always fallen asleep kicking my legs. It has definitely worsened over the years. When I was younger I just kicked my feet a little as I fell asleep, it didn’t annoy me or affect my life in any way. (Not to say it didn’t annoy my now ex-husband)
Today… it is much more intrusive. These days my legs will tell me I am tired before my eyes and brain do. If I am watching a good movie… my legs will start to feel all “wiggly.” It feels like little electrical pulses running up and down them, and I either am compelled to kick my legs, or they kinda just spasm and kick on their own. It sucks a lot because even if I want to stay up a little longer, I really can’t because it drives me… and Lonnie… crazy, and then I get all cranky and irritated. I hate any limitations being put on me, even if it’s my own body doing it!!
It used to be that once that happened and I went to bed, I would kick a little, but then be fine and go to sleep. A few times over the past few months, that hasn’t worked. Even once in bed I feel those pulses and have the “wigglies” …and then I am upset that I can’t get to sleep, and upset that I know I am bothering my bedmate.
I haven’t quite “mastered” dealing with it or avoiding it, but I have learned some tricks that I thought it couldn’t hurt to share here. A lot of things that have worked for me, I have found on the internet from other people dealing with RLS. I know there is a drug out there, Gabapentin, but I don’t like taking drugs, and will continue to try and find triggers and remedies on my own. Because this is one of those ‘fake diseases’ ….I know that a large part of this is mind/brain related. I know this because it worsens with stress. I also know this because when I am feeling “wiggly” ….any distraction makes it go away. Unlike say… cancer. Pretty sure that doesn’t go away if you get out of bed and swap around a load of laundry.
So… interwebz stuff that has worked for me and hasn’t…
- Exercise. Blah Blah Blah… yeah yeah yeah…. exercise cures everything and if everyone exercised we would have world peace and unicorns would live in everyone’s backyard and do sprints with us. ….but guess what!? My legs would still be wiggly. I have seen NO correlation between the days I exercise, the level I exercise at, and whether my legs decide to be obnoxious. In fact the other night when it was the worst it has ever been (which prompted me to write this post), I had exercised. So while I realize the logic of ‘tire out the legs’ makes sense, RLS doesn’t make sense.
- Tylenol PM. Yup, it works for me. But as I said earlier, I hate taking drugs and when I take that stuff I wake up zombified. So it’s a last resort for this girly.
- A bar of ivory soap under the sheet at the foot of the bed. People all over the interwebz swear by it. I actually have bought the ivory, but it’s still sitting under the sink in the wrapper. It just seems so dumb, but as I said RLS doesn’t make sense, so I am willing to give it a shot.
- Orgasm. Yeah, I went there, sorry folks but I gotsta keep it real. On one message board I read a girl’s comment who said something about orgasm working and how sometimes her RLS wakes her up in the night and she masturbates and it goes away and she goes back to sleep. Gotta confirm the orgasm thing. It does work, no matter how you get there, and I’ll just leave it at that 😉
- Massage. This one also works. That bad night the other night, I was so upset over it all, Lonnie massaged my legs and I was asleep within minutes. It also confirmed my “in my head” theory, because the second he started rubbing my left leg, it went away in both legs.
- Alcohol. A lot of research says to avoid alcohol before bed. I have found the opposite to be true, if any relation at all.
- Gluten. There are a lot of mentions about eliminating gluten from your diet to get rid of RLS. Fuck that. I love Gluten and Gluten loves me. I also think it’s crap. Gluten is the new, trendy “evil thing.”
- Stress. Ding Ding Ding!! We do have a winner here. I have noted a definite correlation to my wiggly legs and my stress levels.
I think the case of the orgasm and the massage may both just be examples of getting my mind into a different space… also, both are de-stressors. I think the ivory soap thing is a placebo, but I’ll still give it a shot if I can ever remember to put it there.
Disclaimer: If you have come here and gotten all butt-hurt about my saying your fibromyalgia is a fake disease. Get over yourself. There is a reason that one of the most successful treatments for it is an ANTI-DEPRESSANT. Also… I just spent an entire giant-ass blog about MY OWN ‘fake disease’…so again…. get over yourself.