Fibromyalgia and Restless Leg Syndrome

fibromyalgia and restless leg syndromeStudies have shown that people have fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome together.  In fact one study shows that about 64% of fibromyalgia patients have restless leg syndrome too.

I’m concentrating on this today because my restless leg syndrome (RLS) acted up all night last night and I’m totally exhausted today.

Those twitchy, jumpy, burning sensations that travel from hip to toe and back up again just about did me in.  Now I know what my brother used to talk about and so did my mother and father.  My brother was not born to my mother however.  He was my dad’s from a first marriage, I came along in the second one.  That doesn’t mean that it’s not familial on both sides however. Could heredity play a part in RLS? If it does, thanks folks!

Could fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome occur together in some people because they’re caused by the same neurological triggers? No one has been able to completely figure out the cause for either condition.  It would be great if someone would.  The relief for all of us that suffer would be phenomenal.

Another study published in the Oct. 15, 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, “Found that 33% of people with fibromyalgia also had restless legs syndrome, compared to 3.1% who did not have fibromyalgia.” This study used 172 patients who had fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome. This group was 93% female and had an average age of 50.  It also used 63 patients who were pain free and had restless leg syndrome. This group was 56% female with an average age of 40.

It was determined that, because of the number of patients with fibromyalgia that also had restless leg syndrome, doctors should ask patients more often if they experience restless leg symptoms.

It’s not only up to the doctors to ask but it’s up to patients to tell too.  If you’re experiencing any restless leg symptoms let your doctor know and hopefully something can be given for relief.

There are some things you can do on your own that might help relieve your fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome. As it happens they are things the I’ve mentioned in other articles when dealing only with fibromyalgia.  Take a warm bath before bed, keep a regular sleep schedule, do moderate exercise like walking or swimming (overexerting can make RLS worse). You can cut back or eliminate caffeine, avoid alcohol and tobacco products, lose weight and try yoga and meditation.

One thing I had not taken into consideration was a lack of vitamins or minerals. If you lack iron, magnesium, folic acid, or vitamin B you could experience restless leg syndrome.  A blood or saliva test can confirm if you are low on any of these supplements.

Some other things that might bring relief are wearing compression stockings or bandages on your legs, taking stretch breaks, moving around more at work, sleep with a pillow between your legs, when you travel by car make frequent stops to get out and move around, when traveling by public transportation choose an aisle seat so you can get up often without disturbing your traveling companions – this holds the same when going to the theater. Massaging your legs can help and so could hot or cold packs.

If all of your self-help doesn’t help then, by all means, check with your doctor.  After he or she thoroughly examines you, he or she can give you a prescription for something that might help.

There are some medications that will actually make restless leg syndrome worse though. Calcium channel blockers used for high blood pressure, cold and allergy pills, antidepressants, bipolar medications and over-the-counter sleeping pills can make RLS worse. If you currently take any of these check with your doctor to see if there are other alternatives available.

Fibromyalgia and Restless Leg Syndrome

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