Legs uneasiness/convulsions - possible relief


My dad is late stage PSP sufferer - for some time he has been suffering from what seems to be cramps in his legs - he crosses them and sometimes kicks them violently while convulsing all over - it's very painful to watch

I tried massaging his legs but he wouldn't let me touch them so one time I tried turning him on his side (also called recovery position: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recov...) - and put a light pillow underneath his extended/bent knee and almost immediately he stopped kicking and went off to sleep

This works 8/10 times - if it doesn't work on one side, I turn him on the other side and it almost always works

So, in case you come across this with your patient, this may be useful

7 Replies

  • What a dutiful child your father has.....God bless you. And thanks for more info!


  • My husband sleeps with a pillow between his knees as suggested by his PT. That seems to help as well.

  • Mum never suffered from night cramps, but I do. People suggest potassium (bananas have lots) and quinine (as in tonic water) In my case it is because I have a slipped disk though so dietary advice doesn't help.

    Sleeping with a pillow between legs is good, and stops the spine from twisting. You could also think about whether a hospital bed would help.

    Amatryptaline is a drug that they say helps with night-time nerve pain. Valium was a sure-fire winner too. It was the only thing that would relax the spasm, and it worked within 10 minutes. Perhaps it is worth talking to his doctor about a few night-time emergency supplies? Best wishes to you both.

  • Thank you for all the good advice - I am due to meet his doctor and will take dad along too, will check with him

    He doesn't have a hospital bed but we have a folding support thing which can be set up on different angles - he has an air mattress underneath and lots of pillows...

  • I learned to raise my husband legs a little with the help of his hospital bed or place a small pillow beneath . he also takes A,itriptyline . are they maybe Myclonic jerks he is having . they happen to John when he is in a relaxed position . REM rapid eye movement period

  • Putting a below beneath his ankles did not help - he just pulls his legs inside.. I will check for the meds with his doctor - thanks :)

  • Recovery position also useful to ease choking as allows the saliva to escape onto the neckerchief, towel etc I put under her head, rather than letting M try and swallow which only causes uncontrollable choking, yes she is flat but I only keep her in the position for about 30 min, it relaxes her so that when I sit her up or raise the hospital bed she has got over the choking anxiety and relaxes.

    Thanks for the observation best wishes Tim

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