Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common and sometimes
devastating condition. I see it quite frequently
in many of my chronic pain patients. In
fact, it contributes to quite a bit of chronic pain, because of the difficulty
it causes in terms of getting a good night's rest, and because it in and of
itself can be rather painful. And there
are diseases associated with chronic pain which can result in so-called
Restless Leg Syndrome is a nighttime condition that has a huge impact on
daytime functioning for those afflicted.
The diagnosis of RLS is mostly arrived at through interviews
with the patient, and basically involves four important features:
is a compelling need to move, usually associated with unpleasant
sensations in the legs, which have been described variously as painful,
electric or "creepy-crawly."
sensations of RLS are worse or exclusively present at rest.
sensations are at least partial...
Warning: What you are about to read might sound crazy. It is just my mind...and dementia...playing its tricks on me. Read on... I fell asleep quite normally a few nights ago. It was hopefully to be my third night in a row that I would sleep all night. No such luck. After about three hours of sleep, I was awakened by my knees which were throbbing in pain. As I awoke, I kept trying to remember what I could do to relieve the pain. Immediately, I began to try to figure out which remote control I could use to get the pain to stop (I told you this wouldn't make sense!). Numbers raced through my head. Then, images of remotes. The TV remote? I went over how to use it in my mind and decided that no, the TV remote would not work. What other remote did I have? One for the radio? Then I remembered I had none for the radio. Oh, yes! The electric blanket remote would work, until I remembered that we were not using the electric blanket...The number bed-that has a remote! I finally reasoned ...
The following are some tips for coping with RLS: Don't hide your symptoms -- talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about RLS so they know what to expect Practice yoga, Pilates, or other stretching techniques regularly, preferably late in the day Arrange your schedule to be able to sleep when your symptoms are least pronounced Choose an aisle seat at the movies or on airplanes so that you are able to move around if necessary Plan travel hours when symptoms are least severe and allow times for breaks There are also a number of RLS support groups around the country and they can help you learn new information about how others cope with RLS. For a list of such groups, go to www.rls.org or www.rlshelp.org . Reviewed by Richard P. Allen, Ph.D.and Merrill M. Mitler, Ph.D. , May 2005.
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