New to site: confused aabout symptoms

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New to site: confused aabout symptoms

Postby rustyjabber » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:17 pm

I am new to this site, and found it because I have had terrible nights sleeping the last few months. I've heard of RLS but am not sure that this is what I have. Each night I fall asleep fine, but wake up within an hour or so feeling like energy is running through my arms and legs. I toss and turn, try to hug a pillow to ease the feeling which helps temporarily, then I'm back at it again. The only thing that has helped is stretching or yoga (usually at 1:00 am) it seems to calm things long enough to fall alseep. Last night I was up every 1/2 hour until 2:00 am.
Does these symptoms sound familiar or am I on the wrong track?
Thanks :?:

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Postby Sojourner » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:20 pm

rj, Thanks for your post and welcome to the board and our rls family. If you have not read the "Managing RLS" sticky at the top of this forum it is a good place to start and filled with lots of good information.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is typically defined as a neurological condition that is characterized by the irresistible urge to move the legs. In order for you to be officially diagnosed with RLS, you must meet the criteria described in the four bullets below:

You have a strong urge to move your legs which you may not be able to resist. The need to move is often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. Some words used to describe these sensations include: creeping, itching, pulling, creepy-crawly, tugging, or gnawing.

Your RLS symptoms start or become worse when you are resting. The longer you are resting, the greater the chance the symptoms will occur and the more severe they are likely to be.

Your RLS symptoms get better when you move your legs. The relief can be complete or only partial but generally starts very soon after starting an activity. Relief persists as long as the motor activity continues.

Your RLS symptoms are worse in the evening especially when you are lying down. Activities that bother you at night do not bother you during the day.

Does this sound like you. If it does then you probably have RLS. Certainly your post seems to have this flavor and I think you are on the right track --at a minimum in exploring this concern. I don't know if this has been a gradual onset or if it has been limited to the last several months. In either case, it could still represent rls. However, it may be important to rule out or consider other things which may have occurred in the last several months that may be contributing to your rls or making it worse. Sometime people have rls for years as it only occurred intermittently, was non interfering, or simple did not pay it much attention until.... Stress, certain foods, certain medications, low iron, etc. can be linked to rls or make it worse. RLS often occurs during pregnancy or following surgeries. So, doing some thinking about these things may be helpful.

Have you discussed this with your primary care. Is he/she knowledgeable about rls? Can you ask he/she for a referral to someone knowledgeable about rls who can solidify a diagnosis with you. RLS is usually diagnosed through history and not a test. But, some tests (bloodwork etc.) can be useful in perhaps determining a cause for the rls. Is there a history of rls symptoms in your family. That can also be a clue.

Your post certainly seems "rlsesque." RLS sounds complicated but diagnosis usually is not. Treatment, on the other hand can sometime be simple to extremely complex.

Again, if you are able, educate yourself by reading as much information as you are able in the "stickies" and forum posts. Then, discuss this with you doctor and hopefully, together, you will be able to come up with a plan. Do not be afraid to advocate for yourself!!! You came here so obviously you have questions, concerns, and your quality of life is at issue. Don't stop your quest until you feel comfortable and confident with the answers you are offered.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Sojourner on Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Aiken » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:55 pm


I can't tell you for sure, but *I* have always described mine as being a sort of electric feeling, kind of like when you touch a 9V battery to your tongue, if you've ever done that. (We dared each other as kids.) Milder, but similar.

I also find it similar to that coiled-up sense of urgency/energy when you're crouched down behind something, waiting to jump out at someone.
Disclaimer: I often talk about what I do and what works for me, but these are specific to me and you should always consult a healthcare professional before trying these things yourself, lest you endanger your health or life.

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Postby SquirmingSusan » Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:12 pm

Hi Rusty and welcome to the forum. I hope you can find some answers here. There is certainly a lot of good information. Mark already pointed out the 4 criteria for diagnosing RLS. It certainly seems possible to me that it is RLS.

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