Before falling asleep, some people experience an uncomfortable, not necessarily painful, sensation deep in the thigh, calf, or feet. The natural response is to move the part vigorously. In most cases, this eases the discomfort enough to fall asleep. They, however, complain of sleepiness and fatigue during the day.
The victims of nocturnal myoclonus are generally not aware that such episodes of repetitive leg muscle jerks or muscle twitches are followed throughout the night by hundreds of related awakenings. People with nocturnal myoclonus may have involuntary movement in their legs, in addition to twitches, while trying to relax. This condition is known as restless leg syndrome. It usually occurs in people who also have nocturnal myoclonus.
Nocturnal myoclonus often goes unrecognized. It is most common in middle-aged and older people. And, it may be inherited.
Characteristic twitches--repeated muscle jerks in which the big toe extends, while the ankle, knee, and, occasionally, the hip flex.
Upon awakening, some people with nocturnal myoclonus complain of an itching-crawling sensation in their legs. Some describe this like "current going through them."
In some cases, nocturnal myoclonus has been associated with too little vitamin E, iron, or calcium. In these cases vitamin and mineral supplements have been found useful. Taking magnesium (250 mg at night) and vitamin E (400 to 800 IU per day) have found to be helpful. If you are over the age of fifty, Ginkgo biloba extract (80 mg three times per day) may also be helpful.
Drug therapy is the treatment of choice in conventional medicine.
In less-severe cases, exercising the legs provides enough relief.
See Also: Restless Legs Syndrome
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