Crazy Legs

Have you ever heard of “Restless Leg Syndrome” or “RLS”?

I have this condition as do many members of my family. My Mom and Aunts refer to it as “Crazy Legs”. I remember having it as a kid but because it is a difficult condition to diagnose, it was referred to as “growing pains”. My parents would rub my legs and I’d cry because it hurt so much. As I got older the symptoms would come and go but they got worse after a car accident in my early 30’s.

What is RLS?

Here is a description according to the Mayo Clinic:

“Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which your legs feel extremely uncomfortable, typically in the evenings while you’re sitting or lying down. It makes you feel like getting up and moving around. When you do so, the unpleasant feeling of restless legs syndrome temporarily goes away.

Restless legs syndrome can begin at any age and generally worsens as you age. Restless legs syndrome can disrupt sleep — leading to daytime drowsiness.”

It is considered a neurological disorder but some believe it does not exist.

I can tell you from experience, it most certainly does exist!

I find it gets worse with STRESS, LACK OF SLEEP, and too much SUGAR, CAFFEINE or ALCOHOL. I limit these things in my life and manage my stress through exercise (jogging), meditation and being mindful of my schedule. Unfortunately the lack of sleep is a vicious cycle because if you have sleepless nights then the condition increases which in turn makes it hard to get to sleep.

Just as you start to relax, your legs start to feel strange, uncomfortable and ache. For me, there is also a creepy feeling underneath my knee cap and then if it persists, my legs will ‘jump’ without any control, kind of like the doctor checking your reflexes.

I put a heat-pad on my legs and focus on my BREATHING and that usually allows me to eventually fall asleep. I have used medication in the past to aid in sleep but my body is sensitive to drugs, alcohol and caffeine so I limit my intake and focus on other methods to decrease symptoms. Sometimes I’ll also have a hot shower or bath.

After doing more research I’ve discovered that a thyroid condition (something else that runs in my family) and low iron and folate acid can also increase your symptoms. I have since increased my iron to see if that will help and all blood work from the doctor came back fine regarding my thyroid.

If you suffer from RLS, you are not alone. Be aware of what triggers your symptoms as this is important and useful information when you talk to your doctor. 

Happy Father’s Day to all those wonderful, hard working, supportive, loving fathers out there.  I hope you feel appreciated and adored. Have a fantastic day!

See you Tuesday!

With a smile,

Tina

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