Sleepless at night wrote:Whe worse times is when it is in my arm. I actually lay on my arm with my whole body to prevent my arm from flailing around.
I also have RLS symptoms in my shoulder and arm. It's difficult to settle, because you can't "walk" your shoulder and arm in the same way you can walk your legs
Here are some strategies that I use to settle things down in my upper body:
-- I first learned to focus on my symptoms long enough to see if I could trace back the starting point of my symptoms. For me, it always starts in a particular spot in my left shoulder. If I don't do something about it, it will then radiate down into my arm, and eventually down into my upper thigh. Knowing where it starts is critical to being able to proactively manage my symptoms.
-- About 1.5 hours before bed, I take a hot bath or shower to loosen and settle all my muscles, including my shoulder. I then work through all of the problem areas of my muscles with a lacrosse ball, a hard knobbed roller, and/or an Addaday stick to further loosen and desensitize the muscles. For the shoulder, I use a lacrosse ball. You can also use a tennis ball, particularly if you have never worked out those muscles before. Stand against a wall and put the ball between the wall and spot that needs release. Apply gentle pressure until you feel the muscle "give". Repeat in the same general area until the muscle seems to have settled. Repeat during the night as necessary. If eventually you feel you need more pressure, you can lie on the floor and do the same thing.
-- I then ice the shoulder area with a gel pack for about a half-hour before bed. If my shoulder has been particularly bad in previous nights, I will use a bag of frozen peas and apply it for about an hour (always making sure I have cloth such as a tea towel between my skin and the icing agent). The area actually feels numb by the time I go to bed.
-- During the night I wear a gel pack across the same area, using a shoulder harness I bought from Amazon. The gel pack needs to be very cold -- again, I always make certain I have fabric between my skin and the gel pack. When I first started using this technique, I just used a tea towel to tie it into place. I generally have to change the ice pack every time I get up in the night (assuming I sleep for longer than an hour at a stretch). I will also often take another hot shower at least once in the night, and work the shoulder muscles again with my lacrosse ball.
-- If the shoulder/arm is particularly troublesome during the night, I will sometimes also do push ups against the wall (the equivalent of "walking" my shoulder), making sure that I draw my shoulder blades down with each push up to engage all the muscles in the region. I also have a spiky massage ball that I occasionally sleep on (putting it on the spot from which the symptoms originate), as a distractive technique.
Every six weeks I also have dry needling done by my physiotherapist to loosen the muscles in the shoulder area.
It all sounds like a lot of work, I know, but it has given me relative peace with my shoulder over time....