Okay yes, I know it sounds completely and totally made up but I promise it's a real thing. I know it's nothing as serious as some diseases, but it's become quite a bit part of my life and honestly - it's a huge pain in the arse. I wanted to pop a blog up about it to explain what it actually is and how I've been dealing with it.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome (or RLS) is a common condition that affects the nervous system in your body. There are varying types of the syndrome, varying from the occasional discomfort to daily pain. A lot of the time there's no obvious cause, and it can run in the family (both my Mum and Grandma have it - thanks guys!). Doctors can test you for underlying issues, for example I had a blood test to make sure my iron levels were okay.
I was on holiday in November when I really started noticing it. It was at night when we were going to bed and my legs would get so achy and uncomfortable, to the point of painful, so I'd have to keep moving them. When I got home I spoke to my Mum about it and she said it sounded like RLS so I rang my doctor who agreed. They asked me to come in for a blood test to make sure it wasn't my iron levels as an underlying cause - luckily it wasn't.
To begin with for me this was happening every night, and it went on for about a month. It has since dyed down so it only happens a couple of nights a week, and it's usually in my calfs more than anywhere else.
In severe cases I believe they can prescribe medication. However for me they suggest a couple of lifestyle changes which includes: adopt good sleep hygiene (no alcohol or caffiene before bed), quit smoking and regular exercise. However, regular exercise tends to make my legs ache anyway so this actually makes it worse...
My Mum recommended the Peppermint Reviving Leg Gel from The Body Shop as she uses this when they get bad and I do live by this stuff now. When it starts feeling bad I take a bit of this and massage it into the aching area. This relieves the ache instantly and helps. It's not a complete cure as when it's super bad it doesn't work as well, but it does help a lot. However, the gel is quite drying so I'm having to use a body butter (Glazed Apple Body Butter from The Body Shop) about three times a day on my legs after I've used the gel the night before.
It doesn't seem like a big thing, and in the grand scheme of things it's really not. However, for someone who isn't the best sleeper anyway it's not great when you have to fight RLS every few days. To be frank, it's a massive pain. I've managed to find something that does help relieve some of this which is great (thanks Mum!) so hopefully this continues to hold and it doesn't get any worse. Fingers crossed!