Do You Have Restless Legs Syndrome?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JLH, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Below is a good informational article regarding Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).

    Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move when at rest in an effort to relieve these feelings.

    RLS can be divided into two types: primary or idiopathic (not having a known cause); and secondary (caused by a medication or another health condition).

    Primary RLS is a central nervous system disorder. It is not caused by psychiatric factors or by stress but may contribute to or be exacerbated by these conditions.

    Secondary RLS may be due to medications, diabetes mellitus, renal failure, iron deficiency, neurological disorders, or rheumatoid arthritis. In secondary RLS, the management rests on treatment of the cause.

    Restless Legs Syndrome is common, with surveys finding that approximately 8% of the population experience at least one episode a week.

    Older people have a higher prevalence and studies on twins have shown that genetics account for more than half the cases of primary RLS.

    RLS sensations are often described by people as burning, creeping, tugging, or like insects crawling inside the legs. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.

    Mild RLS occurs episodically, with only mild disruption of sleep onset, and causes little distress. In moderately severe cases, symptoms occur only once or twice a week but result in significant delay of sleep onset, with some disruption of daytime function.

    In severe cases of RLS, the symptoms occur more than twice a week and result in burdensome interruption of sleep and impairment of daytime function.

    The most distinctive or unusual aspect of the condition is that lying down and trying to relax activates the symptoms. As a result, most people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Left untreated, the condition causes exhaustion and daytime fatigue.

    Many people with RLS report that their job, personal relations, and activities of daily living are strongly affected as a result of their exhaustion. They are often unable to concentrate, have impaired memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks.


    * Primary/Ideopathic RLS
    For individuals with primary/ideopathic RLS, treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms. Preventive measures may help individuals who have mild to moderate symptoms. Decreased use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco may provide some relief. Physicians may suggest that certain individuals take supplements to correct deficiencies in iron, folate, and magnesium. Studies also have shown that maintaining a regular sleep pattern can reduce symptoms. Some individuals, finding that RLS symptoms are minimized in the early morning, change their sleep patterns. Others have found that a program of regular moderate exercise helps them sleep better.

    For RLS that does not respond adequately to prevention, certain medications may be helpful. Dopamine agonist medications like Requip (Ropinirole) and Mirapex etc. (Pramipexole) are considered first-line therapies for RLS. Some researchers believe that the underlying cause of RLS may be related to dopamine, a chemical that carries the signals between nerve cells that control body movement. Dopamine agonists directly stimulate the nerves in the brain that normally would be stimulated by dopamine. Benzodiazepine drugs such as Klonopin etc. (Clonazepam) may be prescribed for patients who have mild or intermittent symptoms. Similarly, anticonvulsants like Neurontin etc. (Gabapentin) may help relieve the sensory disturbances (creeping and crawling sensations) that are common with RLS. For more severe symptoms, opioid / narcotic painkillers may be prescribed for their ability to induce relaxation and diminish pain.

    * Secondary RLS

    For individuals with secondary RLS, which is caused by a medication or another health condition, the underlying condition must be treated.

    • Iron Deficiency. RLS may be associated with iron deficiency. Decreased iron levels may lead to abnormalities in the dopamine neurotransmitter system, and iron supplements can sometimes eliminate the symptoms of RLS.

    • Neurologic Lesions. RLS has been reported in association with spinal cord and peripheral nerve lesions, although an exact pathologic mechanism has not been identified. RLS also may occur in patients with vertebral disk disease.

    • Pregnancy. One of the most common causes of secondary RLS is pregnancy, with approximately 25% of women affected by RLS during their pregnancy. Symptoms can be severe but usually subside within a few weeks after giving birth.

    • Uremia. RLS occurs in up to 50 percent of patients with end-stage renal failure.

    • Drug-Induced. Some evidence from published case reports indicates that RLS symptoms may be induced or exacerbated by medications such as tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), mood stabilizers like lithium, and caffeine.

    * Top 10 Remedies for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

    1. Emotional Support: Online Discussion Groups

    2. Behavioral Therapy: Distraction Techniques

    3. Exercise: Aerobic

    4. Klonopin etc. (Clonazepam)

    5. Neurontin etc. (Gabapentin)

    6. Requip (Ropinirole)

    7. Halcion etc. (Triazolam)

    8. Diet: Caffeine reduction

    9. Mirapex etc. (Pramipexole)

    10. Seroquel (Quetiapine)


    * Complementary and Alternative Therapies
    Top Remedies
    - Bodywork Therapies: Therapeutic Massage
    - Hypnotherapy / Self-Hypnosis

    * Nutritional Supplements
    Top Remedies
    - Magnesium
    - Calcium; Magnesium Formulas
    - Vitamin B-12: Oral Supplements

    * Over-the-counter Medications and Products
    Top Remedies
    - Patient Education: Books, Magazines, Newsletters
    - Solpadeine etc. (Acetaminophen; Codeine; Caffeine)

    * Prescription Medications and Doctor Procedures
    Top Remedies
    - Valium etc. (Diazepam)
    - Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa / Indica)
    - Vicoprofen (Hydrocodone; Ibuprofen)

    * Self-care Treatments
    Top Remedies
    - Sleep Hygiene: Environmental Controls
    - Emotional Support: Online Discussion Groups
    - Behavioral Therapy: Distraction Techniques


  2. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    I have times when it seems I have RLS, but it is just the neuropathy being bad. It can get so bad that I just thrash about at night and take forever to get to sleep.

    Seems I'm either controlling my diabetes or losing weight, one or the other. I'm having a really hard time doing both.

    I don't technically have RLS but it is a restless leg(s) anyway you look at it.

    Since we have diabetes, why do we have to have FMS too on top of that?

    Hugs to you,
  3. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    and have been on medication daily for the past 7 years. Most of the time, I've been on Mirapex, and it is a godsend. Without it I would get very little sleep, because I'd be walking around all night. I have had no side effects, except for sleepiness when I take my nighttime dose, but that's the goal!
  4. orachel

    orachel New Member and blue with my flailing at night...also affected me jerking arms and shoulders forward...not just legs.

    1 mg klonopin at bedtime seems to help, but I do still have a severe sleep disorder and have to get a cpap machine to help me stay asleep.

    Its terrible when untreated, I wake more than 40x per hour every night I sleep even when treated!

    Good luck,
  5. grandmasheri

    grandmasheri New Member

    started requip about a month ago. had results in a few days. almost no rls anymore. hasn't helped me sleep though..
  6. patches25

    patches25 New Member

    I use to have RLS and then I noticed that when I was laying on the couch watching tv it didn't bother me. I went to a website by Flobeds and looked at the pictures about pressure caused by mattresses that have springs in it. I now use a latex mattress (not theirs, couldn't afford) and now I rarely have a problem. You might try to see if you still have the problem while laying on couch. Pressure could be aggravating the condition. E.
  7. JLH

    JLH New Member

    FYI Stuff for others ....

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