Q. I have severe periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). I have used Sinemet and Mirapex separately during the last 8 years, but stopped each due to side effects.
I am currently unmedicated and miserable. The leg movements at night destroy my sleep, but I am waiting for the doctor to decide what to do next.
Someone mentioned Ivory soap, so I tried it in a wrap around my ankles and under my feet in double socks. I have also placed four bars across my lower bed under the bottom sheet. No matter where I move my feet, a bar of soap is near. If a movement wakes me, I move my foot to touch the soap, and fall right back to sleep.
This hasn’t been a cure, but it certainly has made the limb movements more tolerable and less sleep robbing. I would love to understand why it helps, but just having a degree of relief is good enough for me.
A. The medications you have taken, along with a new one called Requip, are sometimes prescribed for your condition or for a milder form called restless leg syndrome (RLS). As you discovered, the side effects can be quite hard to tolerate. We worry particularly about people falling asleep during normal daily activities such as driving. Yikes!
In that context, soap begins to sound pretty good. There are no studies and no one knows why it might help. But soap is inexpensive and unlikely to cause side effects. So many readers have told us that they have gotten relief from RLS or leg cramps with soap under the bottom sheet, we think it is worth a try. Even PLMD might be less troublesome. And soap won’t put you to sleep behind the wheel!