Instead of working steadily down the body for my blog posts I decided today to go straight on down to the leg/foot. This may have been influenced by todays spasms. For me, I class my leg/foot spasms as one of my most debilitating symptoms as it has resulted in me being unable to walk and having to use a wheelchair. In young adults and children Dystonia in the leg/foot area can be a sign of generalised Dystonia. Whereas for older adults (usually 30+ ) it would be more likely that it would be just in that area, this is known as focal Dystonia. I used to always walk funny, often falling over, and kicking my ankles open. I would often say “my legs just won’t do what I want”, at the time it was laughed off but now I often wonder if this was the first sign of the condition.
Dystonia is currently not a curable condition, therefore treatment is focused more on managing the current symptoms as well as possible. The most effective treatment at the moment involves regular Botox injections, where the injections are given depends on the spasm. Some people find that they need a combination of medications such as muscle relaxants as well as Botox injections . Physiotherapy is thought to be of use as well in a number in a cases, this is something I am starting to try along with Botox and muscle relaxants.
Below are two photos of my foot/leg spasms.
One of the things I am struggling with lately is getting to sleep and staying asleep. When I am tired my spasms tend to get worse, which makes getting into a comfortable position to go to sleep in is rather hard. Previously when going to sleep I would lie down in bed fully stretched out, however I can’t do this any more and this is proving to be an issue.
One of the symptoms I am struggling with at the moment is in my legs. I have a constant tugging sensation along with pain in my knees and thighs, which I seem to only be able to relieve by pulling my legs up. Although this does get rid of the painful sensations it certainly lessons it, however I then find it extremely hard to then straighten my legs back out again. Some nights I have had to go to sleep with my legs crossed. The pain in my legs along with the current pain in my neck caused by my new neck spasms is really impacting on my sleep.
Sleep is an important part of dealing with Dystonia. Having your muscles spasm constantly on and off through-out the day is an extremely tiring experience, which leaves you exhausted. I have often taken naps in the day just so that I have some energy to carry on fighting against the Dystonia with. Dystonia normally disappears whilst you are in a deep sleep, however when in a light sleep the spasms can appear. At the moment due to pain I am finding it extremely difficult to get into a deep sleep, therefore I am constantly woken up in the night due to spasms. This leaves me feeling exhausted still when I wake up and starts a vicious cycle.
At the moment I have taken to going to sleep with a hot water bottle under either my feet or knees to try to relax my legs, and a heated lavender wheat bag around my neck. The combination of the two is thankfully providing me with enough temporary relief to enable me to drift off to sleep. I have debated taking sleeping tablets however I am unable to do so with the medication I am currently taking.
I am hoping that by increasing the number of times I meditate a day and by starting to have reflexology done that I may start being able to sleep better. Only time will tell if this combination will help. So I shall keep my fingers crossed.