Best Nighttime treatment: a hot shower

Please share your experiences, successes, and failures in using non-drug therapies for RLS/WED (methods of relief that don't involve swallowing or injecting anything), including compression, heat, light, stretches, acupuncture, etc. Also under this heading, medical interventions that don't involve the administration of a medicine to the body (eg. varicose-vein operations, deep-brain stimulation). [This forum contains Topics started prior to 2009 that deal with Non-prescription Medicines, Supplements, & Diet.]
Lanny
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Best Nighttime treatment: a hot shower

Postby Lanny » Wed May 04, 2016 10:28 pm

I am a man, 61, and have had restless legs all my life. My mother was a nurse and she suffered from it as well. She apparently never learned about RLS and we just called it "the jumps." About 20 years ago, I learned RLS is an established diagnosis. I tried medications, including Clonazepam (works well but leaves me a bit groggy in the morning) and Requip (it worked but with the side effect that I had to take the med every night or I'd get RL for sure). When I ran out of my prescription, I found vigorous exercise worked provided I got myself really tired, but that did not always last the night. Plus I did not really like exercising that hard for 30 minutes in the middle of the night.

Then, somewhat by accident, instead of exercise, I took a hot shower. I sometimes have trouble sleeping if my body temperature is too low. A hot shower relaxes me as well. But I found that a hot shower for about 10 minutes gets my entire body temperature high, and afterwards, I drop right off with no restless legs, usually for the rest of the night. So now, as soon as I feel my legs getting restless after going to bed, I just take a hot shower and 15 minutes later, I'm dropping off to sleep, without RLS symptoms.

I've been doing this for about six months now and it pretty much always works. I don't know if the heat has any effect on the RL or if just standing for 10 minutes is the most important part or if the heat helps me relax and drop off quickly, but I am glad I found something that is so simple and effective.

I've read others use cold water or alternate cold and hot. I have not needed the cold. At any rate, I've been able to do without the Clonazepam for a whole year now. I hope this helps others find something effective.

Rustsmith
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Re: Best Nighttime treatment: a hot shower

Postby Rustsmith » Wed May 04, 2016 11:06 pm

Lanny, I too use a hot shower as a way to temporarily turn off my RLS symptoms. I have a severe case of RLS and went through augmentation from dopamine agonist medications for about a year. When I was having problems, I could almost always turn them off long enough to fall asleep by taking a hot shower or by soaking my legs in a bath filled with hot water. With the shower, I find it is most effective if the water hits me on the back of the neck or the back of my head. The trick seemed to be to use water that was as near to scalding hot as I could stand. I don't know why this works, maybe it has something to do with increasing my body temperature above normal.

Some of us have also noted in past discussions that we seem to have a higher tolerance for heat and less tolerance of cold that others. Whether this runs true for the majority of RLS'rs or not, I do not know. All I know is that I have been described by both co-workers and family members has having asbestos fingers since I can pick up things that others find to be too hot to touch.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

ViewsAskew
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Re: Best Nighttime treatment: a hot shower

Postby ViewsAskew » Thu May 05, 2016 2:45 am

For me, it's a bath that works better. As hot as I can stand it. I think I prefer the bath because I can actually fall to sleep for at least 20 minutes or so and when I'm using one, it's because I'm pretty darn tired and sick of walking. Unfortunately, as soon as I get out, the symptoms come back - well, not immediately, but within 10-20 minutes.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

Managing Your RLS

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

Lanny
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Re: Best Nighttime treatment: a hot shower

Postby Lanny » Thu May 05, 2016 9:41 am

For what it's worth, I have always been very tolerant of high heat and unusually sensitive to cold. So when I take a hot shower, I do have the temperature about as hot as it will go. I don't focus the water on any particular place, just alternate between it falling on my neck and back and on my chest, with some exposure more directly to my legs. While I'm in the shower, I usually soap my body up and clean off with a wash cloth.

All my life, when I've taken my temperature and when I'm not running a fever, my body temp tends to be a bit below normal. I also don't sweat very much. When others are complaining about the heat and/or humidity, I'm usually quite comfortable. I also need to wear a sweatshirt and wool socks all winter and I can actually feel my muscles tensing up when I feel cool. In the summer, I like to take naps in my car near the middle of the day, and when the temperature has built up in the car on sunny days, I find it helps me drop off. I can feel my muscles relaxing and I tend to drop off to sleep in seconds.

In the winter, I sometimes wake up at night and find myself so cold I have trouble dropping off to sleep (with no RLS symptoms). That's when I started taking hot showers to warm up my core body temperature and I think that is how I accidentally discovered that the heat also helped relieve RLS symptoms.

So all of this may connect to why heat is so effective at relieving my RLS symptoms. Thanks for your comments.

ViewsAskew
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Re: Best Nighttime treatment: a hot shower

Postby ViewsAskew » Thu May 05, 2016 6:01 pm

Interesting - my temp is always between 95.5 and 97, usually in the 96s. My mom and sister are the same. Never asked other family members if their body temp is low. I also have odd issues with body temperature - for me I'm either roasting or freezing, rarely in the middle. One of the reasons I want to live in a Mediterranean climate. I can't handle either extreme. At night, I can go from 5 blankets and shivering to sweating a few hours later. Then I have to wait to cool down before I can sleep again. It's extreme with the pramipexole, but mild at all other times.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest



Managing Your RLS



Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

Rustsmith
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Re: Best Nighttime treatment: a hot shower

Postby Rustsmith » Thu May 05, 2016 11:11 pm

Count me as another one with lower than "normal" body temperature. I routinely run between 96.5 and 97.5. My wife knows that if I am sick and the thermometer says 99.1, that is a fever for me.

I am also very susceptible to cold and have Raynaud's Syndrome. If I hold a glass with cold drink for too long, my fingers start turning white. If it is less than about 55F and I go out for a run without gloves, my fingers are numb when I get back.

Another amusing story is that when I was going through scuba certification classes, someone messed up and set the thermostat on the pool heater too high. We got into the water and found that it was 95F. Everyone else aborted the class and exited the pool complaining that it was too hot. I simply floated around and told them that it was the first time that I had been in a large pool that did not feel cold. To me, it was very comfortable.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

ViewsAskew
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Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 6:37 am
Location: Chicago

Re: Best Nighttime treatment: a hot shower

Postby ViewsAskew » Fri May 06, 2016 3:27 am

Steve - your running story is similar to me and biking - if it's below 70, I cannot ride without ear coverings. And, my nose runs constantly because it's very cold. I often wish I could wear a clown's nose - must be warm!

I do admit to preferring a bit cooler temps in the pool when I swim laps, though. I hate getting in, but I seem to overheat quickly once I start working out. So, once I have a few laps under my belt, it seems unbearably hot if it's over 86-87. I used to swim 5 times a week at a local university. Seniors also used the pool as well as a high school swim team. There was a ongoing battle with the thermostat. Seniors wanted it 90+. The swim team wanted it about 80. Some of us were in the middle and preferred about 82-84. It is amazing how a few degrees really made a difference in how it felt.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest



Managing Your RLS



Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

badnights
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Re: Best Nighttime treatment: a hot shower

Postby badnights » Sun May 08, 2016 12:58 am

I have the same thing going on with cold but for me it started the same time the WED/RLS went into overdrive. I didn't easily get cold feet or hands before that; but the very same winter that I went to the doctor with what eventually was diagnosed as WED, I also developed asthma, sciatica, and the whole thing with cold - my feet & fingers always feel cold, and get numb at temperatures that should be easily tolerable, I get sudden deep chills that require a hot bath or multiple layers of clothes to get rid of (even hat and scarf in the house); I can tolerate and enjoy really hot water. None of this was present before the WED.
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
WED/RLS AUGMENTATION:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6532&p=61601#p61601
Discussion Board Moderator's posts don't reflect the RLS Foundation's opinion & are not medical advice


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