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Old 08-13-2007, 11:00 AM
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Why am I always shaking my legs?

I realized something yesterday. I shake my legs. All the time.

Well, actually, I've known that since I was a kid. But what I realized yesterday (because it was forcefully and humerously pointed out to me by some friends) is that most other people don't do this. But me, when I'm sitting down, one or the other or both of my knees is sure to be bobbing rapidly up and down. I don't even have to think about it--in fact, I have to think about it in order to make it stop.

I suspect this may be related to the fact that when I am standing, and not doing anything else, I tend to sway, sometimes quite widely. Apparently, my body needs to be moving in some way, and I have to exert effort to make it stop.

What's up with this? Is there anything else this kind of behavior correlates with? Do I have a brain tumor?

-FrL-
Old 08-13-2007, 11:09 AM
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Restless Leg Syndrome?
but probably not. More likely a nervous tic. Usually happens to me at restaurants after I'm done eating. Like I'm anxious to leave or something.
Old 08-13-2007, 11:11 AM
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First of all, you're not the only person who does this. I've done it since I was a kid, almost always without realising it, and my friends have made fun of me about it too

I'm not a doctor, but I think the answer has something to do with the fact that when you're sitting you're resting your leg on the ball of your foot and putting pressure on a nerve or musle or something which triggers the reflexive leg shaking.
Old 08-13-2007, 11:19 AM
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It may be part of some anxiety disorder. I have had something similar off and on throughout my life. I have also used the terminology of it taking effort to stop rather than keep doing it which many people can't understand. It isn't that unusual in any case.
Old 08-13-2007, 12:01 PM
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I've heard it called "sewing machine leg", although Googling that comes up with an issue rock climbers have with shaking legs. I do it, too, but I can only do it with my right leg. Usually when I'm bored or restless.
Old 08-13-2007, 01:34 PM
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I did this too, starting in elementary and then tapering off my freshman year of college, and then it went away. But I don't know how old the OP is.
Old 08-13-2007, 01:55 PM
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I'm doing it right now.

Why not? It feels better than not doing it.
Old 08-13-2007, 01:57 PM
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Same here. Been doing as long as I can remember. Have to stop doing when eating with others because it bothers them.

It's a sign of great sexual stamina.

Last edited by Hypno-Toad; 08-13-2007 at 01:58 PM.
Old 08-13-2007, 02:10 PM
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I do it too although not all the time. At work if I am not bouncing my leg up and down then I am fidgeting with something in my hand. I have a couple of different fidget toys at my desk.
Old 08-13-2007, 02:26 PM
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I have read that people who fidget are skinnier than people who don't.
Old 08-13-2007, 02:46 PM
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I've done it since high school. It's just a nervous habit.
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Old 08-13-2007, 02:49 PM
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I do it on and off. It's kinda fun but annoying if you cant stop.
Old 08-13-2007, 02:50 PM
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I recently saw a hit movie about someone with this condition.
Old 08-13-2007, 03:51 PM
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Not to offend anybody, but Iíve noticed that there is a very strong correlation between this behavior and tendencies towards substance abuse, which might back up the anxiety disorder hypothesis. I used to do it quite a bit myself in my younger Ďparty animalí days, but when I outgrew the partying, the behavior stopped.
Old 08-13-2007, 03:58 PM
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I never consume coffee, drugs or alcohol and I do this all the time. So there.
Old 08-13-2007, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire
Restless Leg Syndrome?
but probably not.
Very probably not. RLS is not about unconscious leg wiggling, it's about a very conscious desire to move the legs to avoid that horrible feeling.
Old 08-13-2007, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Washoe
Not to offend anybody, but Iíve noticed that there is a very strong correlation between this behavior and tendencies towards substance abuse, which might back up the anxiety disorder hypothesis. I used to do it quite a bit myself in my younger Ďparty animalí days, but when I outgrew the partying, the behavior stopped.
Nope - never done any drugs at all, weaned myself off caffeinated soft drinks, and only drink socially.
Old 08-13-2007, 05:23 PM
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I've done it for about 50 years, on and off. It's really neat when you can get a syncopation going between the two legs, especially when one is moving slightly faster than the other, so they phase in and out of synch.

I also sometimes have RLS, which is an entirely different thing.
Old 08-13-2007, 11:25 PM
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I also do it.... All the time! My father does too. It makes me think of when I was younger and how my dad used to do it while I was sitting beside him at church and it would drive me crazy. And then I realized that I also do it too.
Old 08-13-2007, 11:49 PM
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The hubby does it too and has a couple of other mannerisms that I've been told are Tourettes related.
Old 08-13-2007, 11:58 PM
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Try Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

I was diagnosed (as an adult) last August, and one of the give-aways, my doc tells me, is my constant leg jiggling, fingertapping, teeth clicking or other repetitive behavior. ADD is caused when the neocortex and portions of the prefrontal lobes' executive centers are understimulated. They cannot screen distractions as well as other people's brains, and the result is that someone with ADD or ADHD is extremely easily distracted and impulsive.

The leg jiggling is an attempt to provide stimulus to ramp up the brain and screen out distractions. Washoe pointed out a correlation between leg jiggling and substance abuse. Well, the literature on ADD points to an approximate "self-medication" rate of 50% among those who have ADD and have not received therapy or medication for it. I was in the fortunate 50% who didn't self-medicate. Well, except for caffeine.
Old 08-13-2007, 11:59 PM
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Hnh. Never thought about ADHD, but daHubby has some of the other Tourette's signals.
Old 08-14-2007, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phouka
Try Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

I was diagnosed (as an adult) last August, and one of the give-aways, my doc tells me, is my constant leg jiggling, fingertapping, teeth clicking or other repetitive behavior. ADD is caused when the neocortex and portions of the prefrontal lobes' executive centers are understimulated. They cannot screen distractions as well as other people's brains, and the result is that someone with ADD or ADHD is extremely easily distracted and impulsive.
No way. No way. I think.

Well, I do constantly click my teeth, tapping out musical rhythms. Also, I am indeed impulsive, though not uncontrollably so. Easily distracted, yes in one sense, no in another. The "no" sense is as follows--when I need to work on something for a long time, I actually seek out a workspace where there is a lot of random noise and talking, stuff that others might find "distracting." I actually find it easier to concentrate in such an environment, not sure why. (I think it's because there's so much going on, nothing sticks out to draw my attention.) But the "yes" sense is that it's hard for me to keep working on something because my mind wanders very easily, and because I am constantly thinking of other things I could be doing, like, say, reading the SDMB. I don't know if that counts as being "distracted" or not, since if anything's distracting me in that case, it's me.

Well, anyway, no one has ever suspected me of suffering from ADD, and certainly not ADHD (Kris Rhodes hyperactive?! Ha!) That would be totally weird if I had it.

Quote:
The leg jiggling is an attempt to provide stimulus to ramp up the brain and screen out distractions.
Oh my god. That makes... sense.

I am not interested in having ADD.

-FrL-
Old 08-14-2007, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phouka
The leg jiggling is an attempt to provide stimulus to ramp up the brain and screen out distractions. Washoe pointed out a correlation between leg jiggling and substance abuse. Well, the literature on ADD points to an approximate "self-medication" rate of 50% among those who have ADD and have not received therapy or medication for it. I was in the fortunate 50% who didn't self-medicate. Well, except for caffeine.
I donít know if this helps at all, but thereís something I should have mentioned. Although Iíve noticed a very strong correlation between leg jiggling and substance abuse of all sorts, by far the strongest correlation Iíve noted is between leg jiggling and the use of nicotine. Is there any correlation between ADD and nicotine use?
Old 08-14-2007, 02:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Washoe
I donít know if this helps at all, but thereís something I should have mentioned. Although Iíve noticed a very strong correlation between leg jiggling and substance abuse of all sorts, by far the strongest correlation Iíve noted is between leg jiggling and the use of nicotine. Is there any correlation between ADD and nicotine use?
No, I've smoked a total of two cigarettes in my entire life. And that was over ten years ago. (Geez, that was over ten years ago!)

-FrL-
Old 08-14-2007, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Washoe
I donít know if this helps at all, but thereís something I should have mentioned. Although Iíve noticed a very strong correlation between leg jiggling and substance abuse of all sorts, by far the strongest correlation Iíve noted is between leg jiggling and the use of nicotine. Is there any correlation between ADD and nicotine use?
Oh, yes. For many ADDers, it's the drug of choice. It's a stimulant with exquisite control over delivery. It occupies the hands and the mouth. There is a ritual of lighting and behavior involved with it. Boy, oh, boy, yeah. I can't remember the numbers of the top of my head, but it was something like twice the number of unmedicated ADDers smoked than the general population.

I never smoked either. Caffeine is my stimulant of choice, and I don't even get to abuse it that much anymore, since it gives me heart palpitations.

Frylock, the flip side of distractability for those with ADD is the ability to hyper-focus when under pressure. When I was a kid, I would avoid work until the very last possible moment, but by golly, when that moment came, I was sharp as a laser. You could have had a marching band parade through my room, and I'd never have noticed it. If it's not that, then I usually have a radio playing or I put myself not to far from people who aren't studying, because the background noise actually did make it easier for me to study.

There's a symptoms checklist here, if you'd like to investigate it further. And, BTW, though I originally thought the idea was ridiculous and the last thing I needed was another label, understanding ADD and getting appropriate treatment has drastically improved my life.
Old 08-14-2007, 05:22 PM
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You got the "Jimmy Legs".
Old 08-14-2007, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
Well, I do constantly click my teeth, tapping out musical rhythms.
Oh, yeah. I've got music on the brain 24/7, and my teeth are the rhythm section. Even in my sleep.
Old 08-14-2007, 10:30 PM
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I was super energetic as a kid, and I did the leg up and down thing. I could stop it though. Decades later and I had the loss of control leg jumping that you can't stop. I sat in a chair and within ten minutes the jumping started small, and in the next five it built to a good three to four inch unstoppable motion. I had restless leg syndrome in bed for a couple years about the same time.

I think your talking about having a nervous energy outlet, because you can stop it. I heard some women point to a guy once and say look he like her. They seamd to connect with the fact that guys get nervous energy around women and at least one leg going up and down will talking with the woman shows an interest.

Last edited by Harmonious Discord; 08-14-2007 at 10:34 PM.
Old 08-14-2007, 10:33 PM
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My wife started doing it when she started taking antidepressants.

She feels the medication is worth the side effect.
Old 08-15-2007, 07:47 AM
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Count me in in the "mystery diagnosis" category.

Never taken drugs, don't smoke, no longer taking anti-depressants (it was occurring before I started anyway), have no ADD trouble. If I have my legs crossed it's just the foot moving, if both are on the ground, it's the right leg.

Annoys the shit out of my mom.
Old 08-15-2007, 03:06 PM
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Leg tapper here as well. Wife hates it. Family hates it too. I suffer from OCD, ADHD, ANXIETY, and HYPOCONDRIA as well. I find .5 of Xanax keeps the leg tapping to a minimum.
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