Hello all. Thought I would introduce myself as I have been reading this forum for a couple of years now and felt it was time I added my own experience into the mix.
I am 56 and female, suffered with RLS for 20 years now and have gotten to grips with it over the last year or so. I have had periods of months without it and then nightmares where sleep evaded me for days on end. I have had ankylosing spondylitis since I was 21 and hypothyroidism set in at around 50. I am on anti depressants from 15 years ago when I had a serious episode with depression.
I have tried every whack cure and whatever the latest thing was. One thing I didn't do was go to the doctor with it, because experience told me that the meds they would put me on could make it a lot worse.
The one consistent improvement factor I have discovered is my diet and lifestyle and sticking with what for me, are the good foods and avoiding the antagonists.
Nights on end jogging on the spot trying to tire out my legs were made less boring by scouring the Internet for a cure. I have read just about every forum and latest news for 20 years and I think they are finally getting to understand what may be causing rls. Each time a new study comes out I read it and will implement whatever it is into my lifestyle.
For me, meds aren't the answer. I truly believe it is about balance in our intake and absorption of vitamins and minerals. Whether this is done through diet or supplementation I think, depends upon the severity and desperation of the sufferer.
I came to the conclusion that I had to take responsibility for my own cure and that my diet and lifestyle were making the rls worse. Using the research I have read, I worked out what made it worse and have changed my diet accordingly I got more active, ate better, drank less rubbish and a lot more water. Made my bedtime routine healthy or if I don't practice it accept that I am going to have a bad night or 2.
Every now and then I get lazy and I'm ok for a couple of weeks and then it kicks off again, literally! Then it's a boot up the bum and back to basics.
So my advice for what it is worth is the following;
Drink water, lots of it. It flushes out the rubbish, hydrates the body, relieves inflammation (one of the main causes of rls) and its free
Cut down/out caffeine, alcohol, sugary drinks, diet drinks (aspartame is so bad) Drink tea at least once a day even decaf is good.
Stop eating rubbish, I'm sure we've all read the rls cure site and it makes good sense. If you eat crap then you will start to feel like crap. The body is a machine that relies on the fuel you put into it. Feed it poor nutrition and it will punish you. It may take years to get to that point but it will make you suffer at some point. I believe diet is the biggest factor in improving the symptoms of rls. Learn your own triggers, by keeping a food and activity diary with a scale scoring how bad your symptoms are. You will soon learn what makes it worse.
Exercise, yoga, walking, strength training, or whatever floats ya boat. Get the blood pumping and stretch and strengthen your muscles.
Get a deep tissue massage and see an osteopath on a regular occasion. I know they can be pricey so maybe get a friend/partner to do the massage and try to get the osteopath on the NHS. I bought my thumper as I call it from Argos and it does a deep tissue massage wherever I need it. (I know when I'm going to have a bad night as the tissue in my thighs feels weird and heavy)
Finally take responsibility for your own health. It will not cure everyone but I bet at least half of us with rls can get a lot of relief by improving our lifestyle. I am a Dip ION which means I trained as a nutritionist at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition in London. So I do have some authority and expertise in the nutrition and lifestyle side of things.
I know it's a long post but I've been meaning to write for a while and who knows, it may even help someone x