When Restless Legs Syndrome Won’t Leave You Alone
The light of the television screen illuminates the darkness. I want so much to sleep, but my body has other plans. After a hot shower and multiple medications, my legs continue to dance. The constant ache, twitch, and kick are a rhythmic routine. But my body is tired and has reached critical mass.
Ache, twitch, kick. Ache, twitch, kick. It is a reminder that my body is not my own. As if on cue with this epiphany, I begin to cry. I am burdened by fatigue. I am weary. Yet three hours later, the rhythm continues.
This is all part of my life with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Large active lesions in areas that affect my legs exacerbate my restless legs syndrome (RLS). For those with MS, RLS, the uncontrollable urge to move one’s arms or legs, is a nightmare. While it usually begins in the evening, I have RLS attacks all day.
There are a few things I can do to mitigate an attack. Prescription and over-the-counter medications have been game changers. I take them around the clock, which helps to reduce the chance of an extreme attack. However, it’s not a foolproof plan.
In the event of an attack, I soak my legs in hot water by getting in the hot tub for 5-10 minutes. Heat isn’t healthy for multiple sclerosis, but ongoing restless arms and legs are unbearable.
I dread this symptom more than any other. My legs, and sometimes my arms, are on autopilot. As I progress, so does the severity of the RLS. No amount of mental fortitude can combat the insanity. My worst episode lasted for three days. My arms and legs were caught in a rhythmic ritual.
Long days on my feet often incite attacks. To mitigate them, I create boundaries. But when I don’t heed them, I pay a high price. Not everyone respects my limitations. They don’t have to. However, it is incumbent upon me to abide by them. I can’t always avoid an inevitable episode of RLS, but I can limit those I have.
Unfortunately, I didn’t succeed in doing that today. I must do better tomorrow.
If you experience symptoms like what I’ve described, please speak with your neurologist. Those with MS need specific and continuous care.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.