Restless Legs Syndrome

Help for 7 yr old

Hi. I’m looking for help for my 7 yr old son. His restless leg has come back (we’ve been free of it for 6 months), and the restless nights and missing school have started again.

This time, there was a clear trigger. He had 2 teeth pulled. He was given codine, followed by 4 days of eating McDonald’s frenchfries and ice pops (so terrible diet bc he couldn’t chew). Also, the codine caused constipation, so he’s been taking miralex and suppositories (which worked last time arbor getting rid of his restless leg).

His anxiety is three the roof and he’s having panic attacks at night now over small things.

Does anyone have any ideas Here? Like what caused this to start up again? Was it the anxiety of having his teeth pulled? Or the codine? Or diet?

Thanks!

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The codeine if anything helps RLS and I doubt if he was taking it long enough for the stopping of it causing problems.

Could be the stress of the whole teeth pulling and/or the McDonalds if he doesn't usually get it. I can't say if the laxatives are causing/exacerbating it.

It must be so difficult for you with all this going on, has he been seen by anyone from the Child & Adolescent Mental Health team? If not might be worth seeking a referral. Has he started any other medication recently? Was there a lot of blood loss with the teeth extraction? I wonder if that along with a poor diet would drop his Iron levels and recent research has found a link with stress and a significant decrease in Iron, (mind you that's in rats) so throwing the Iron in there as an idea to think on.

I hope that points you in the right direction and things settle soon.

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Check his ferritin levels with a blood test from the doctor and talk to the doctor about taking Magnesium tablets, Also I find the Magnesium "good night" Spray from Holland & Barrett, Relieves the pain the legs. Hope this helps.

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I agree - get Ferritin levels checked. Kids iron levels go up and down like a yo-yo as they grow - probably why this condition is often called "growing pains" in kids. I remember having it and being treated for iron deficiency anemia (pre 10 yrs old). No RLS for me again 'till I hit 64 years old and it was Ferritin related.

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Ok thank you everyone! Last spring we had his iron levels checked when he had rls and they were above normal (bc I was giving him iron), so the doctor told me to stop giving it to him.

Good point re blood loss and tying anxiety to iron levels dropping.

I do give him magnesium already.

Thank you everyone. I will call the doctor for an iron blood script.

Thanks again!

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Ho Eliza, so sorry to hear about your son - for him and for you. Must be hard. I hope the rls subsides again soon and doesn’t come back until he is an old man or not at all. (One can always make good wishes)

Do you know it was the codeine that caused the constipation? I would equally likely suspect the McD’s food. There are much healthier alternatives that will also appeal to a 7-y old. Fruit smoothies combined with milk or yoghurt and/or some ground grains for example.

And re his anxiousness at night. Couldn’t this have been the result of the returned rls-attacks? When I had a full-blown one for the first time after a few months, it upset me and made me angry. And I am a 55-y old woman and like to think of myself as intelligent. So what will the rls have done to him?

And re the supplements, your son may require different amounts and forms than the average child. If available and affordable, maybe you could consider getting the help of a MD who is also versed in orthomolecular medicine. They have a more holistic view than the average and standard MD, who will look mainly for too low or too high values outside the very wide boundaries. And I wonder whether good data on vitamins and minerals levels are available at all for children of various ages and stages.

Good luck and keep coming back of you want to share, to moan, to rant or receive ideas. Lotte

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Hi,

well finely somebody pointing the right direction, McD’s food. Well what's in there is too much salt which imbalances potassium ratio, let's give the kids, ppl, proper food....

that would be excluding 90% of what they eat now, no? Let me just say this, go back 100 years ago, what did they eat? 10g salt? 300g sugar? Per year, not per day. We are doing it for our kids.

regards

B

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Codeine is notorious for causing constipation and does in me, also used to treat diarrhoea! But McDonalds is full of all sorts I agree but needs must for kids sometimes.

I really hope this RLS settles for him soon. The thought of a child going through this is very sad.

But I wouldn't mess with giving kids medicines or supplements without a Drs help. Their small size makes doses so different you have to do what's safe for him.

Hope you can see a Paediatrician soon. I know in the US there are cost implications of course

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Diet is not always the answer, and the child had a few french fries. Salt levels do have to be watched, but as far as RLS, nope ,bodizu. Sodium levels can get too low, too.

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Hi. Thanks for your thoughts. Yes , codine caused the constipation (we’ve been thru this before with him). I’m getting his iron levels checked today and an appt with a holistic pediatric md on Thursday. Hopefully he’ll be able to figure it out.

And yes I do think the anxiety could be driven from the rls. But the anxiety started a day or 2 before he started complaining about the rls. So not sure if Its from bad sleep?

Anyway. Thanks for your help! I love this forum!

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Make sure it is a ferritin level and not just an iron serum. Ferritin shows how the body STORES the iron and that is the important number.

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Codeine would calm it down, not make RLS worse. I SERIOUSLY doubt that ice pops and french fries , which are just carbs, make any difference at all. But as to why it would suddenly pop up, there has to be a reason. was he given any anti nausea meds??

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Maybe the sudden ‘overkill’ of carbs? Many people say their rls reacts to suger and/or gluten.

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No, no anti nausea meds. Just novacane and codine.

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Do you guys know what the ferritin levels should be? Ty.

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Hi, my doctor said it should never go below 51. That number came from my neurologist. So my hematologist checks the level of Ferritin often. When it seems low, he gives me an infusion of iron. However, my Ferritin levels have been high and I still get RLS. I have had it for 30 years. I am so sorry for your son, I can't stand going through it, I can't imagine a child having to suffer with it or his mother having to watch him go through it. I'm sure that in the evening he starts getting afraid that it will start and the stress can bring it on. I found if I can start doing something to get my mind off of it before it starts, I have a chance of getting through the night without rls. You would have to start something he enjoys early enough before bedtime. My husband started taking me to the casino because the sounds and the lights from the machines took my mind off of it. I know he can't go to a casino, but there must be some place that might help. Good luck! Casinogoer

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Ok thanks. His ferritin was 27 so I’ve started giving him iron supplements. He was able to fall asleep the past 2 days without rls starting before he went to sleep, but I gave him melatonin one night and benedryl the 2nd night. He’s so tired the next day regardless that he still goes to school 2hrs late. He also is still thrashing around while he’s sleeping and has constant rls while asleep.

Are you guys still super tired the next day even when your rls doesn’t start up before u fall asleep?

Also, do u have sleep Apnea too .(ie are sleep apnea and restless legs linked)?

Thanks again!

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Hi Elizab32 I was up with rls again last night and was thinking about your little boy. I went on line and looked up the newest treatments for rls and they have a holistic approach that I am going to try. I was getting to the point I was ready to try anything else. This is called Restavin. It is in liquid form so it starts to work faster than the pills do. They have doctors all over the world do studies on it with good results. I should get it my Monday and will let you know how it works. They say it usually helps within one to two weeks. It is all natural with everything your body needs. Lets hope they are right and maybe we can all have some hope!

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Thank you so much! I spoke with a holistic doctor today who said to give him ex lax tonight (bc miralax isn’t getting it done), and to address adrenal disfunctiom (which he has high cortisol at night). He said I should know by Monday if this approach will work. I’ll let u know.

Thanks!

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I really hope it will. Yes, let me know I will be praying that it will help him. I just can't stand the idea of a seven year old going through rls. As a mother , grandmother and great grandmother I just couldn't stand by and watch one of mine go through it. My heart goes out to you.

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You’re so nice thank u so much! And thanks to everyone that has commented! I really appreciate it!

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Above 100 in adults with RLS ( although doctors will tell you anything above 15 is “normal”). I’m not sure what serum ferritin for a 7 year old should be so ask doctor and mention that for adults the level should be above 100.

Muscle helps dopamine get around the body so gentle weight bearing exercise early in the day may help relieve some of the RLS.

Slow squats and leg exercises using a resistance band will help when it plays up.

I really hope he gets though this.

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Ok. Thank u so much!

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Hey,

I was that kid when i was his age the only thing that 50 years ago nobody cared, and did not have codeine, frenchfries, tonnes of sugar in there, sorry that is your answer. What was triggering my rls when , travel, tight pans. I do not mean to be rude by any means, no, please understand we create all this, an anxiety ? How about cutting his all electronics, games etc. How about no sugar in his diet (0g). You will have an awesome, normal kid,

Sorry again I don't meant to upset you but you did ask,

regards

b

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RLS is a PHYSICAL neurological disease, it is NOT an anxiety. It makes us anxious, but your reply is way off base. 70% of all RLS is proven to be genetic, NOT an anxiety. We tear doctors apart who even suggest THAT, so so not expect a person with RLS to say that, when it is scientifically wrong.

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Hi, when I read "McDonald’s frenchfries and ice pops", alarm bells started ringing for me, because sugar is the main trigger for my RLS. Also, after coming off my bike last week I can testify to the dangers of codine. I was taking codine for muscular pain, but I had only been warned that it might upset my stomach. The effects I felt was that it added to the after effects of concussion and after two days, gave me chest pains. I would encourage you to read the leaflet that came with the codine to make yourself of the possible side effects.

Regarding the anxiety, the medication might only be the 'straw that broke the camel's back', so to speak. Vitamin D is known to affect mood (depression, anxiety etc), and he might be marginaly vitamin D deficient, which is a common condition in winter as vitamin D is an enzyme produced by the action of sun on bare skin. A vitamin D3 supplement might be a good Idea for long term resilience.

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I have discovered over the past 20 years..that sugar makes the restless legs worse.....artificial and corn syrup. staying away keeps it manageable

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OK thanks. And as an update I gave him 2 of the chocolate chewable ex laxes last night and he had the worst restless legs ever. So whatever is in that (dairy or the active ingredient), must have something to do with this. He’s normally dairy free but sometimes he eats pirates booty. However I can’t blame this all on dairy bc he’s had restless legs plenty of times when he didn’t have dairy. So I still think it’s digestion related. Thanks again!

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Sorry one more question, once you’ve eaten the offending foods that trigger restless leg, how many days until it’s gone? Thanks again 🙏

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I found that usually (there were exceptions) that if I ate something on Monday then I was awake and kicking on Tuesday night and usually on Wednesday night as well This made it very hard to identifies foods that I reacted to until I started keeping a good diary with a lot of fine detail.

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Ok thanks! Stress/anxiety seems to make it worse for him too.

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