Friday, November 26, 2010

Programmer Legs (And a potential patch/cure for restless leg syndrome)

When I went to college, there was this room in Nichols that was primarily dedicated to computer science courses. During many (if not all) of the classes, the room would shake a bit. It was kind of annoying, but it was due to the fact that almost every person was shaking their leg.

This is what we called "Programmer Legs". We attributed it to the fact that we didn't get out much, and were mostly pale shadowy figures who were deprived of Vitamin D.

Fast forward 6 years, and I have restless legs. For those that don't know, restless legs is very unpleasant. Imagine you are laying down, and your leg is compelled to move. If you don't move your leg, then you will start to feel impending doom. You will wonder many things like "omg, do I have a blood clot?" or "holy crap, I'm going to die". So, you get up and wander around and you get a drink from the fridge. No problem until you lay down again and the legs get angry.

Well, two days without sleep and I was off to the doctor. They gave me some Naproxen Sodium (pain killer) and Carisoprodol (muscle relaxant). This fixes the problem by putting you to sleep, but it doesn't really help. After you use the prescriptions up, you may have a week until your legs get restless again.

Unfortunately, my muffler broke. This unfortunate event forced me to drive my car to Goodyear to get it fixed, and I walked home.

That night, I slept without problem even thou the prior night I had a re-occurrence of restless leg. The next day, I walked again to pick up my car. Again, that night, no problem. The next day, I basically worked all day and that final evening I had minor issues.

Eventually, I realized a correlation and built a hypothesis. Walking is good you.

If I walk a mile, then I can go to sleep with minor annoyances.
If I walk two miles, then I can go to sleep with no problems.
If I walk five miles, then I get a whole week of no problems.
When I walked ten miles, I got two weeks of no problems.

Now, I try to walk everyday. If I can't go to sleep, then I go for a quick walk (about 1.5 miles) and get to sleep just fine.

While I'm annoyed that I body has decided to jack me and force me to exercise, I'm finding the liberation of being able to walk for hours very... enjoyable. So much so that I'm planning to walk 50+ miles sometime next year over the course of three days.

1 comment:

  1. I think there's some evidence to suggest potassium deficiency also contributes to restless leg. Try eating a half or whole banana every day.