Restless legs

Hi! Since having my thyroxine raised from 75mcg to 100mcg approximately a month ago i have been subject to restless legs at night while in bed which is very uncomfortable and sometimes painful. As a result I am getting very little sleep at night. When I get up and walk around it eases and I don't get it during the day. I have also had an increase in joint/muscle pain in arms and shoulders. Could this be a reaction to the increase in thyroxine? If so, will it subside in time or should i take a visit to my doctor?

20 Replies

  • Just wondered if you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, as the symptoms sound very similar. I have restless legs and muscle pain. I take tonic water at night and also a magnesium tablet which has helped. I would ask your doctor as there may be an underlying problem. As you have upped your thyroxine it would be advisable to see him. Hope this helps

  • Thank you wednesday. Haven't been diagnosed with fibromalgia, but was wondering if it could be that. Do you have it? Better see doctor, but I never really get anywhere when I do! What does tonic water at night help with then and how?

    Jen x

  • Hi Jen just to say that tonic water contains quinine and that is the. Ingredient that is said to help mum had restless legs for years and she thought it quietened them down a little, praps worth a shot?

  • Hi cupi, thanks for that, I'll give it a try.

    Jen x

  • Being low in VitD can also cause restless legs.

    Moggie x

  • Hi Moggie! I did have a low vitD in last bloods but doctor said I didn't need to take any supplements for it. I'd like to be supplementing because there was definitely room to make some improvement. Without checking I think the level was 44 and the bottom of the optimal range started at 60. Worried about the fact you have to have a calcium check, or something like that, before supplementing, and doctor wouldn't do it.

    Jen x

  • The more vitD in your body the more calcium your body makes and can lead to painful gallstones if you take to much VitD, which is why it is advisable to get calcium checked before you supplement but many on here supplement without getting this done. Your VitD is low and with no chance of a calcium test from your GP (who, I hope you don't mind me saying, seems to be putting money before his patients) then a judgement call is needed on your part.

    My last VitD result was very similar to yours and my endo put me on a weeks course of 50,000iu supplements so it just goes to show how different doctors will treat low vitD. when I go back to see him I will make sure I ask him to do a calcium test as my levels always seem to be quite high, even though my VitD keeps dropping.

    Why don't you ask another question on here and see what others would do in your shoes, or if you are really worried about it maybe you could get a private test done (I know you shouldn't have to but it might be the only way you will get to know your calcium levels). Have a read up on low VitD and calcium and then you should have the confidence to go back to your GP, tell him you are going to supplement VitD as your VitD level is insufficient (my bloods showed a range of 30 - 60 as being insufficient) but have found that this could effect calcium levels so you being responsible and would like your calcium levels checked before you supplement. You could even try and shame him into a test, I did this with my GP and ask about a private test (most GP's will do private blood testing), and it worked as she then gave me the test I wanted on the NHS.

    Here's an interesting link from Barts Hosp that explain all about VitD.

    Hope it helps.

    Moggie x

  • Thank you so much for all your help Moggie! I feel like I've taken up a lot of your time! I will go and see my GP and see what I can get him to do, after I've got some more knowledge under my belt!

    Again, many thanks Moggie.

    Jen x

  • I read a paper once that said restless legs syndrome is caused by an imbalance between thyroid hormones and dopamine. So it sounds possible that changing your thyroid hormones could have triggered this. I don't know whether it will go away in time.

    However, I think the underlying cause can sometimes be low iron, which affects both thyroid function and dopamine synthesis - sorry that sounds so technical. (I've had restless legs and low iron was definitely a factor).

    How are your iron levels? Supplemental iron might help you.

    It's a good idea to get your iron levels checked by a doctor before supplementing because too much iron is not good for you either. You could ask about a vitamin D test at the same time, because I think low levels are often associated with muscle and joint pain.

  • Hi poing! If you read the reply to Moggie you will see what happened on my last blood test with VitD. Also my ferritin levels were low at 42 in a range of (13 - 150). I felt, again, it could do with topping up but doctor disagreed. So all in all I was said to be "normal" and didn't need to supplement. With regards to the link with dopamine, I did look it up on the internet earlier this morning and found out a bit about that. Just the sort of thing my GP would ignore I'm afraid!

    Thank you for your reply and all the best to you.....

    Jen x

  • Hi Jen, I had the same thing with my doctor regarding iron levels, my ferritin was 36 and haematocrit low but told everything normal. I had restless legs along with migraines and daily headaches and I decided to try taking iron 14mg daily. I've been on it 12 days so far and have not had any migraines and only one headache, also the restless legs have got better but I did come off Prozac a few months ago and serotonin can cause restless legs as well so not sure if the iron is what helped. I would get some iron tablets and try them for a month or two. It takes a while for iron to build up so you should be safe taking it for a couple of months to see if it helps. I would also get a printout of your last blood results as what doctors consider normal is very rarely enough for optimum health.

  • Thanks so much for sharing your similar experience shaz. I did as you did in the end and bought some spatone.I have been taking that and I do feel better. I'll just finish the box, think its around 2 months supply and then see how I go. It's a scary feeling going against doctors orders!

    All the best to you shaz.

    Jen x

  • I had restless legs for a number of years but no longer troubled with that although still have some inflammation in my legs and squatting is uncomfortable. I found a lot of relief taking a 500 mg. calcium/magnesium combination pill close to bedtime but you can't do this if you are taking your T4 at night. I am not on Synthroid now as I was then so maybe going on Armour has been the reason I have improved.

  • Hi Heloise! Oh that's a pity, sounds like that would have been an effective answer to my restless legs, but unfortunately I take my levo at night and I find it suits me better (more energy in the daytime). It takes a lot of juggling doesn't it to try and keep well!

    Best wishes

    Jen x

  • Jen, that is a shame but it was so effective, if I were you I would still try to take them. Maybe four hours before you take your thyroxine, you could try the supplement. It could still work for you. Minerals are so important for us.

  • Yes your right. If I took it at 6pm then levo at 10pm would you say that would work? It sounds better than my doctors prescription for codeine! Thanks Heloise!

    Jen x

  • I would try it. Sometimes I would take two pills. I don't know which was more effective in the pill; the magnesium or the calcium but it had a calming effect to the nerves in the muscle. Now I realize that magnesium oxide is not the best absorbed form but it is the cheapest form of magnesium but, even so, it worked. At the time, that's what I used. There are probably better forms which would be more expensive like magnesium glycinate. You can even use a liquid magnesium chloride and rub

    on your legs during the day.

    It was just one more difficulty with hypothyroidism. I also had (just found the name for it) "burning thigh syndrome" which caused horrid pain almost every evening for months. We go through a lot even with treatment.

    I really hope this helps you, Jen. Of course, nothing works for everyone but we can hope.

  • My husband suffers badly from Restless Legs Syndrome and all the sleep loss really gets him down. He's had his iron levels checked and the GP says they're well up. We're puzzled as to what can be causing it. He takes codeine and that seems to be the best mediation he's tried. The doctors have given him some medications that have had really horrible side effects. One thing that works quite well for him, but not all the time, is going on the exercise bike for about 15mins and, if he's lucky, he'll come back to bed and will be able to sleep. Some nights he might have to get up two or three times but having a few hours sleep at a time is better than no sleep at all and managing it in that way, we feel, is so much better than popping pills. Would love to know what causes this horrible affliction so that my husband and many like him could avoid whatever causes it.


  • Sorry - medication not mediation!

  • Hi alitom! Thank you for sending this information, it is most appreciated. I went to see my doctor and was given codeine. I haven't used it yet. I ended up buying magnesium oil and rubbed it in where it was uncomfortable and so far so good. It's not eradicated the problem entirely, but has improved enough for me not to have to take the codeine!

    Jen x

You may also like...