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Sleep Apnea and Restless Leg/Twitching

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Sleep Apnea and Restless Leg/Twitching

Postby greentea50 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:39 pm

I am a 50-year-old woman who seems to be developing something like RLS. I first noticed it about a year ago, when I was on Zoloft (not even a high dose). Sometimes my leg would seem to "build up energy" and involuntarily shake. I have a sciatic problem in that leg, as well because of herniated discs in my back. The Zoloft was making me gain weight, so I slowly discontinued it. I had read that twitching could be a side effect of Zoloft, so I was sure that the symptom would stop. At first it seemed to stop, but now it has come back with a vengeance. I've been off Zoloft for 8 months, and the only drugs I take are Synthroid for being Hypothyroid and an oral contraceptive, and occasionally an NSAID for the sciatic pain/sensitivity.

My sleep has been lousy for more than 6 months. My husband had a sleep study and was found to have severe obstructive apnea. He's been using a cpap for the past few months. He encouraged me to go in for a study, and I was found to have mainly hypopneas. I'm still waiting to get my CPAP (it's a long frustrating story of sleep lab and doctor delays....I've had to go in twice, once for a study and once for a titration and didn't sleep well either time). Most of the time now, my husband can't sleep in the same bed with me because of my constant twitching.

Anyway, I would like to hear from anyone who is dealing with restless leg or body twitching. My husband has done a lot of research on apnea and says that some of this could be from my oxygen level dropping. I know that my sciatic problem (which comes and goes) makes it worse. What worries me is that lately I've been twitching in more than just my legs, and sometimes feel twitchy during the day. Some of my joints are aching, particularly in my fingers, which has never happened before. Many mornings lately, my back feels incredibly stiff and aches most of the day.

Last night I drank some herbal tea which had chamomile and valerian plus a few other things and I got the best night's sleep that I've had in about a week. I'm thinking of researching herbs for restless leg. I don't want to go on a drug, because many of them are implicated in causing depression. My depression is OK right now and I don't want to set it off by taking Neurontin or anything else if I can help it. My orthopedist has wanted to give me Neurontin for my sciatic problem and I keep refusing. The last thing I need right now is my depression returning.
greentea50
 
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Re: Sleep Apnea and Restless Leg/Twitching

Postby Todzo » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:43 pm

greentea50 wrote:I am a 50-year-old woman who seems to be developing something like RLS. I first noticed it about a year ago, when I was on Zoloft (not even a high dose). Sometimes my leg would seem to "build up energy" and involuntarily shake. I have a sciatic problem in that leg, as well because of herniated discs in my back. The Zoloft was making me gain weight, so I slowly discontinued it. I had read that twitching could be a side effect of Zoloft, so I was sure that the symptom would stop. At first it seemed to stop, but now it has come back with a vengeance. I've been off Zoloft for 8 months, and the only drugs I take are Synthroid for being Hypothyroid and an oral contraceptive, and occasionally an NSAID for the sciatic pain/sensitivity.

My sleep has been lousy for more than 6 months. My husband had a sleep study and was found to have severe obstructive apnea. He's been using a cpap for the past few months. He encouraged me to go in for a study, and I was found to have mainly hypopneas. I'm still waiting to get my CPAP (it's a long frustrating story of sleep lab and doctor delays....I've had to go in twice, once for a study and once for a titration and didn't sleep well either time). Most of the time now, my husband can't sleep in the same bed with me because of my constant twitching.

Anyway, I would like to hear from anyone who is dealing with restless leg or body twitching. My husband has done a lot of research on apnea and says that some of this could be from my oxygen level dropping. I know that my sciatic problem (which comes and goes) makes it worse. What worries me is that lately I've been twitching in more than just my legs, and sometimes feel twitchy during the day. Some of my joints are aching, particularly in my fingers, which has never happened before. Many mornings lately, my back feels incredibly stiff and aches most of the day.

Last night I drank some herbal tea which had chamomile and valerian plus a few other things and I got the best night's sleep that I've had in about a week. I'm thinking of researching herbs for restless leg. I don't want to go on a drug, because many of them are implicated in causing depression. My depression is OK right now and I don't want to set it off by taking Neurontin or anything else if I can help it. My orthopedist has wanted to give me Neurontin for my sciatic problem and I keep refusing. The last thing I need right now is my depression returning.


Hi greentea50!

I have dealt with this issue, off and on, since I was diagnosed with Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea with extreme hypoxia.

Things that seem to make it worse:

0. CPAP therapy not working
1. Stress, especially personal stress where my value as a human being is on the block.
2. Insomnia
3. TV and similar "justice based" entertainment (e.g. crime novels, shooter video games).
4. Lack of exercise especially when combined with junk food intake.

Things that have almost eliminated it:

0. Got the CPAP software - a recording Pulse/Oximeter - a Zeo - and set up the equipment to record my nighttime audio. Did I say that getting good sleep with good sleep structure is important to me!!! This has, over time, allowed me to quickly note and respond to problems with my CPAP therapy. I really do not understand our current system of nearly "flying blind" when it comes to CPAP. Please make sure that when your machine arrives you have the software as well. You usually have to purchase this yourself, it is very much worth it. The information provided will likely add good years to your life.

1. I spend more time in solitude. I take easy walks, cook and compute for pleasure, and make time to visit friends.

2. I try to sleep a bit more than I want to. I always sleep with a black beanie covering my forehead and eyes. I also often wear ear buds or flat earphones and set my I-pod Nano to play 60-90 minutes of scripture or good classical music which I almost never hear the end of as I am sleeping. If my anxiety issues get my sleep time off track (like go to sleep at 6a and wake up at 3p) I rotate the times forward to adjust sleeping a bit longer and staying awake only a very little bit more than usual.. Often I hear doctors tell me to "go without sleep" to get back on schedule. This makes it worse for me. I have found that extra sleep seems to help my poor brain to calm down and enjoy the ride.

3. I have rediscovered reading (thanks Kindle!). I have discovered lighthearted Korean Drama (thanks Hulu). If it makes you laugh, you should probably read it or watch it.

4. I do Yoga and Pilates as well as cardiovascular and strength training. I have worked with a dietitian for years so my diet is more balanced and contains more minerals than before (I try to make over half of my food intake veggies!). You would probably do well to keep magnesium intake up (Almonds, Black Beans, Pearled Barley, Buckwheat Flour, Corn Meal, Spinach), make sure you get some good quality oils (Olive oil, Q3s, Q6s, fish oil), and from recent reading, Lithium (good sources: milk, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, pork, cucumbers, beef, red cabbage, cauliflower).

5. Things which promote circulation. Chinese "warming" spices. I also take 500 mg of full flush niacin (see your doctor) along with a mini-meal and a glass of water or milk before bed. I have noted that the flush effect, in my case, also seems to quiet my mind making sleep easier and quieter.

May we have a lot of fun!

Todzo
AHI=52 SpO2 Nadir=55% (!!!) Focus & Vigilance problems w/PTSD from Trauma
CPAP since 2003 Respironics REMstar Auto A-flex with EncoreViewer and SleepyHead SW
Pulse oximeter CMS-50-F, night audio recorded via Audacity or Linux “sox”. Zeo.
Todzo
 
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Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:41 am
Location: Seattle, WA



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