I lie down on the bed hopeful as always. It is the end of another long day in the tropics and, although I have not done any more than is usual, I am feeling entirely fatigued, thanks to our old friend, multiple sclerosis.
The temperature has been very hot of late, 35C bumped up to who knows what by the humidly, but the AC unit is humming, and the floor fan is also whirring, so the room is pleasantly cool and dark. Time for a good night’s slumber.
Only it’s not.
Within ten minutes, my legs are starting to spasm and twitch. My body and mind are ready, more than ready to rest, but my legs are suddenly ready to run a marathon. I roll from my back to my right side, and they run sideways. I try to relax, breathe deeply and evenly, but the legs are unimpressed by these measures. They are calm a moment, the resume their tensing and kicking. My feet have begun to throb and burn.
This is restless leg syndrome (RLS), and is experienced by up to 50 percent of those who suffer with MS. It is generally temporary, it comes and goes, and my current mode of treatment is mere patience, or what I can muster of it.
Medications are available for the treatment of RLS, and are often quite effective. I myself have used Ropinorile (Requip) in the past with fair success. This is a dopamine agonist and is in the category most often prescribed. Also used, according to case and effectiveness, are dopaminergic agents, benzodiazepines, opiates, anticonvulsants and Alpha-2 agonists. Of course, each of these has its own side effects and its own price (the latter consideration being what has caused me to adopt the approach of patience).
It is said that tonic water, the effective ingredient of which is quinine, may also treat RLS. I am currently trying this method, as yet without success, but I plan to give it a few more nights. It couldn’t hurt, in any case, except in extravagant doses.
In the meantime, it’s off to the nightly races until MS tires of this game, which is sure to be long after I have tired of it.
Have you experienced restless legs syndrome? Have found anything that helps to calm your muscles?
Photo from Incomediary.