restless legs syndrome

Have you ever been lying in bed with the feeling that your legs wanted to do something other than relax?

Every once in a while my legs decide they’re not interested in snoozing with the rest of me, making it hard to get to sleep. I didn’t know there was a formal name for this condition (in fact, I wouldn’t have even called it a condition), but there is. It’s very aptly named Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and there’s even an RLS Foundation web site.

I found a few sales pitches claiming (with excessive use of exclamation marks) that they have the cure and for only $14.95, you can have it too. I wouldn’t put much stock in their claims, but if anyone wants to try them and let me know how it turned out, I’m all ears. If you break out in a nasty rash, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

You may be interested to hear that the FDA has approved a new drug to cure restless leg syndrome but it has some pretty unpleasant side effects.

If you’ve experienced mild RLS, you’re probably interested in non-medicinal solutions. The RLS FAQ recommends the following.

Self-directed activities that counteract your sensations of RLS appear to be very effective, although temporary, solutions to managing the disorder. You may find that walking, stretching, taking a hot or cold bath, massaging your affected limb, applying hot or cold packs, using vibration, performing acupressure, and practicing relaxation techniques (such as biofeedback, meditation, or yoga) may help reduce or relieve your symptoms. You may also find that keeping your mind actively engaged through activities such as reading a gripping novel, performing intricate needlework, or playing video games helps during times that you must stay seated, such as when you are traveling.

Two more sites about RLS are and NINDS (The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). The second site suggests an iron deficiency may cause RLS in some patients.


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  1. If you’re a Seinfeld fan, I believe Kramer referred to this as “the jimmy legs:”

    Comment by jeff on June 30, 2005 @ 9:46 am
  2. I get this from time to time and also didn’t know it was a formal “syndrome” until I saw a commercial about it. I then did some searching of it on reputable medical sites and saw it is legit. I told a coworker a little about it and he full on laughed at me…until I showed him it’s real. I think last time I got it, I got out of bed and did some reps of squats in my hotel room.

    Comment by Cameron on July 5, 2005 @ 8:16 pm
  3. Jeff: I wish I’d known that before – that’s much funnier than restless legs. I got the Jimmy legs man, I got’em real bad! It’s pure comedy genius.

    Cameron: Let them laugh. They’ll probably get the jimmy legs out of spite, because they have it comin’ to’em. I’ve occasionally gotten out of bed to stretch or just walk around, but I’m glad it’s not a frequent occurrence.

    Comment by dan on July 5, 2005 @ 9:12 pm
  4. Hi,
    Just to let y’all know, RLS is a rather serious disease. I’m sad to hear that some of you are experiencing some leg pain at night, but, given the infrequency, it is doubtful that any one that has posted has RLS. Avoiding caffeine and aspartame should help to prevent this. I have very severe RLS, and I would say it encompasses much more than Kramer’s “jimmy legs,” but nice approach. I have leg pain every night, enough to make me cry. I have to take STRONG opiate medications to relieve the pain. I’m so sad to hear that someone actually laughed at the disease; it is so, so painful.

    Comment by Sarah on October 14, 2005 @ 12:43 am
  5. Just wanted to mention to anyone suffering from RLS. My symptoms began early in life, but for many years would “vanish” only to return later. However, about 2 months ago the symptoms became intolerable both day and night. I was unable to sleep at all. After reading all I could read about RLS I lowered my sodium (salt) intake, stoped using artificial sweetners, and began supplementing with magnesium citrate. My sypmtoms are completely gone (I began seeing results in about 2 weeks)and have not returned.

    Comment by Don Bartlett on October 15, 2006 @ 10:45 pm
  6. Thanks for your input Don. I wonder if any of the steps you took were more effective than the others or if they all worked together to get rid of your RLS.

    Comment by dan on October 16, 2006 @ 6:46 am

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