The quick down and dirty! Just in case its 3AM and you’re legs and arms are twitching and you are ready to lose it!
We cannot operate on NO sleep, let alone deal with the stress of our bodies freaking out while we are not sleeping! I would find myself still pacing the floor when the morning alarm went off! So how do we even have a hope of dealing with the resulting memory loss, “sorry I have no brain” and increased pain that comes with this lack of sleep and general crazy making . It makes a healthy individual’s life difficult to navigate!
So…. from my hours and hours of late night research looking for answers, trying desperately to stop my mandatory committal to a “rubber room”.
Here are a few points, a condensed version of what helped me.
I am not a Dr. and before starting any new medical approach, review these points with your GP and/or specialist and form a plan of action! A plan gives control (kind of, thats what they tell me). This article on RLS has an autoimmune slant. If you do not have a chronic illness such as RA there may or may not be other things to consider. There will still be many suggestions you can use!
- Identify your triggers: LOW IRON (RA affects iron levels) SPECIFIC FOODS, Too much or too little EXERCISE, INFLAMMATION (this is where RA again rears it’s head), STRESS , MEDICATIONS, NICOTINE, CAFFEINE
- Check your blood work: FERRITIN, KEEP YOUR level greater than 50, THYROID LEVELS, HORMONES
- Consider the role of FOLIC ACID especially when taking Methotrexate which depletes Folic. Increasing my Folic dose has had a big impact.
- Can you and your chosen professional add any prescribed medications to help?
HERE ARE MY TRIGGERS (things I envision bathing my nerves in irritants) which exacerbate my RLS:
1. Aspartame and artificial sweeteners
2. Too much exercise
3. Alcohol, Caffeine and Chocolate
4. Ice cream (go figure!)
5. HORMONES the night before my menstrual cycle
6. Inflammation: Flares, RLS worse a couple of days before my next biologic dose
Initially I cut out what I could from the above list entirely. Once the treatment plan started to take effect, I started to play with when in the day and how much I could eat those specific triggers and started practicing moderation. I was in this for the long term!
At least an hour before bedtime
- I take my daily Iron ( 2 tabs of PROFERRIN)
- I have increased my FOLIC ACID to 4mg at bedtime, except the night of my Methotrexate dose.
- Magnesium Citrate (best type utilized efficiently by the body) powder (1 scoop in warm water)
If my arms and legs start “going” before I fall asleep, I get up and do a chair squat against the wall, fatiguing my muscles until I feel like I’m about to fall down. I then return to bed and try again.
All of the above combined is successful 75-80% of the time. Much better than my before treatment picture which was not sleeping 75-80% of the time.
IF NOT SUCCESSFUL:
Consider adding a prescribed medication which should be determined by you and your physician. You can decide together what would be most appropriate. I added Gabapentin 🙂
RLS is not for the Faint of Heart, it really is crazy making at its best. It is not easy giving up ALL your ‘fixes’ (triggers) but I know when you’re this desperate you might be more willing to try.
Hang in there 🙂 Please share if you think this will reach someone it could help! and like this post to give it a better chance to reach them! and seriously if you have a tip that works for you…comment and save someone the energy they need to keep them upright and their face out of the mud. Someone out there ( maybe you ) will always have the right answer. Thank you!