Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fibromyalgia & Restless legs

Hi Everyone!
We had a "Casual Tuesday" at our Fibromyalgia Support Group this month, i.e. no speaker, but rather I planned an informal discussion of our specific concerns, things that have helped, things that haven’t helped, favorite doctors, speakers we’d like to hear, etc. This was the plan. Mother Nature, however, had other plans. I have a bumper sticker taped to my dresser mirror - A Yiddish proverb which says, “People plan, God laughs.”

From the first day of snow in this winter of 2010-2011, we have had a total snowfall of 70” in our little area of the world…so far, and a bunch of it fell Tuesday! A couple of real troopers were able to make it in and I thank them for their extraordinary efforts.

The three of us actually covered a wide range of topics ranging from migraines to sleep apnea, cold weather and pain in the hands, the effect of odors and of dry eye with Fibromyalgia, and supplements to help stress – stress from severe temperatures to emotional stress to the stress on your body caused by illness. But we had a special request via e-mail from one member and I’d like to address this for now.

One of our members from St. Joe, Michigan has been doing much better recently – and he’s been working very hard at it. He wrote and said that one specific problem is still particularly vexing and asked if I would bring it up to the group and see if anyone had any ideas on what he could do.

At night his muscle twitching in various parts of his body can even be felt by his wife as it reverberates through their waterbed. He says it feels as if his muscles are quivering. When he moves the muscle, the twitching stops. Then, he stated, “None of his doctors can explain this.” (This mystified me.) Anyone out there familiar with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)? Because he is still on a number of prescriptions, for heart and other issues, there is a limit to what he can take, medication-wise. However there are still a number of things he can do.

My RLS symptoms disappeared over eleven years ago after I began using Alpha Lipoic Acid, Omega 3 and Magnesium/Potassium, and found my Sleep Number Bed. For me, this particular combination helped a number of issues, but it’s really hard to tell which one (if it was only one) that did the deed to help the RLS. But this evening we were fortunate to have T.M. here to describe her experience with this particular symptom.

When I read his e-mail to the group, the first thing she said was “Get rid of the waterbed.” She said that she had had one too. But she found that a medium mattress (not firm, not soft) with a pillow-top matress pad absorbed the movement of the muscles, and her husband didn’t feel her twitching at all. (I wonder if a pillow-top pad on TOP of the waterbed would make a difference. And would HE feel it less also?) She also uses 600 to 800 count sheets – much softer – non-abrasive to the sensitive skin which she felt may aggravate the twitching. She also cut out coffee and pop and eats lots of fruits and veggies, which she is certain has helped too. She seldom has any issues with it now.

I checked online for natural help and this a portion of what I found:

Recommendations from Tyler Woods, PhD posted at and from Dr. Ray Sahelian involve letting go of caffeine, as in coffee, soft drinks, even chocolate, and stopping the use of tobacco. They tell that exercise can help, even wiggling the toes (or the Toe & Ankle exercises described in my book, Managing Fibromyalgia-Getting to know your Aggravators, 2008, Treble Heart Books). And even something as simple as a cup of Passion Flower tea or Chamomile tea before bed can help - these are very relaxing and soothing to muscles – the whole body, in fact. Here’s another very informative website for RLS .

Before taking any supplements recommended by any or all of these websites, such as iron, magnesium, B-Vitamins, folic acid, etc, it is best to discuss them with your physician, especially when taking other medications or prescriptions as they may cause an unexpected interaction.

One other form of treatment that may help is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), a form of needle-less acupuncture that you can perform yourself. . I have found this method of self- treatment extraordinarily helpful for sleep issues, for anxiety, depression, back pain, neck pain and more. Dr. Mercola tells how it has helped some people even get through Fibromyalgia itself!

Even if EFT helps a symptom here and a symptom there - one or several - it is free, it is painless, it's absolutely non-invasive and it may work. What do you have to loose? Pain. RLS? Migraine. Stomach issues? Anxiety...