Restless Legs Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Restless Legs Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

BY ROBIN DIX,

Sleep issues are, unfortunately, a common occurrence with fibromyalgia. One of these distressing disorders is restless legs syndrome (RLS). One may wonder what on earth this is. Let’s look at the symptoms and some steps to take to improve them.

Symptoms may include the sensation of creeping, burning, crawling, or tugging in the legs. At times, these sensations are fairly minor. Other times, they can be really painful. They can cause an overwhelming urge to move the legs to find some relief. These sensations usually start when a person is relaxed, which means they can keep someone from falling asleep or wake them up during the night. That causes the person to be truly exhausted and function below an optimum level the next day. RLS is a neurological condition, but it’s not yet clear what causes it.

A nutritional deficiency, such as magnesium, can cause harsher symptoms. One thing a lot of us with fibromyalgia already do is to take a warm or hot bath using Epsom salts that contain magnesium. Taking a bath this way before bed helps to relax the muscles, and adding lavender essential oil to the mix will help you relax and possibly sleep better, as well as alleviate symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

For those like me who are unable to get in and out of a bathtub, we can make a tea with Natural Vitality Natural Calm magnesium.It’s organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free. It’s what I drink before bed. A bonus is this product also helps me feel calm if I’m under stress.

Treatment for restless legs syndrome can result in a better night’s sleep and, as a result, potentially ease fibromyalgia symptoms. According to one study, people with fibromyalgia were 10 times more likely to have RLS than a control group, which is mind-blowing to me.

If you think you have RLS, you could always ask your doctor to do a ferritin test to determine your iron levels, as this is another cause of the syndrome. If you’ve had a ferritin test done and your iron levels were under 60, you could ask your doctor if an iron supplement is best for you. When taking iron supplements, talk to your doctor about vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron. As always, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Other things that may help you include:

• Eating protein before bed to avoid a drop in blood sugar (examples are cheese, a handful of almonds, or a hard-boiled egg).
• Avoiding caffeine in the evening, preferably after mid-afternoon.

If you’re like me and take Neurontin for your fibromyalgia symptoms, it can also be helpful for your RLS symptoms.

It’s never easy trying to figure out if the symptoms we are experiencing are related to our fibromyalgia or not. Apparently, RLS is one of those comorbidities that are related to our fibro. My hope is that this information will help you in discussions with your primary care provider.

Restless Legs Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

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