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kick leg and bounce head in my sleep
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kick leg and bounce head in my sleep

When I was like 5-6 months old I began to bounce my head in my sleep. As I got older  (5-6 yrs old) I would actually do it while I was still awake in order to relieve an awfully  unexplainable sensation and allow me to fall asleep. The relief that bouncing my head gave was much like being intoxicated and it made by body feel soooo relaxed/relieved. As I was nearing my teen years I became very embarrassed with this strange habit, and was made fun of a great deal by friends during sleepovers.  Eventually during sleepovers, I started to try to fight these awful urges to bounce head (with painfully minimal results), but I found that if I would just kick my leg a tiny bit it would reduce the head bouncing urges ever so slightly and allow me to delay the embarrasing bouncing until my friends had fallen asleep, at which time I would commence to bounce and fall asleep. As I came into my mid teens I began abusing marijuana and alcohol, and even had periods during late teen years of using meth. Which brings me to my first question. Has there been any direct connection found linking the symtoms (symptoms) I've described  (RLS? PLMS??) to drug abuse?? I am now 33 yrs old and have been to C/D treatment 6 times in the last 12 years. I did my best to delay any real commitments to love interests to avoid embarrassment. When I did get into relationships I would heavily abuse alcohol/marijuana in order to become highly intoxicated so that I would just pass out cold and avoid the kicking and bouncing in front of my significant other or I would just sneak out and sleep on the couch. There was also several periods where I got into meth pretty deep there-by avoiding sleep altogether. During the last 4-5 years I have been mainly trying to just kick my leg, and I can manage to fall asleep that way without feeling too horribly embarrassed with my girlfriend, but I still tend to bounce my head 1-3 nights a week while fast asleep (and she is very accepting and sympathetic). I guess my next question is, what is the possibility that I actually created my RLS in order to minimize the head bouncing?? From what I've read I fit the RLS bill to a tee, but I havent really found anyone else in these forums who suffer with any similar leg/head bouncing combinations. I am finally at the point where I am on probation for crimes directly related to my chemical abuse. And I have been violated numerous times for using chemicals. I try to explain my disorder to my judge and probation officer and it angers them to no end as they think I am trying to avoid responsibility. In the last year or so I found that pain pills (vicodins/oxys/percocets) gave me huge relief and allowed me to actually get more than 4-5 hrs sleep a night, but now I am 6 weeks away from yet another probation violation hearing for abusing pain pills, and I am now looking at 11 months in jail for it.
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20 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
hi,

I would suggest you to please check into rehab to overcome substance abuse.
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Avatar_n_tn
Interesting.  I've had that same problem (bouncing head/feet) since I was a baby.   Was searching online for answers.  Still resort to it for comfort.
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

I hope you stay strong and positive through all these.This must be a difficult time in your life.

You have mentioned that your condition began when you were only an infant. Would you know certain conditions that surround your birth? Did your mom have any difficulty giving birth to you? Any infections during infancy? Is there a history of psychiatric disorders in the family? How would you describe your family and evironmental conditions while growing up?

While restless leg syndrome (RLS) or periodic limb movement disorder may be considered in your case this does not explain the head bouncing. RLS is associated with tingling or creepy sensation over the legs which worsens at rest.There is also  the urge to move the legs.

I suggest you seek consult with a psychiatrist and discuss the possible differential of an obssesive compulsive disorder .A psychiatrist may also be able to help you with your substance abuse problem.An obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by an obessesive thought or idea and with a compulsion to act on the idea.Acting on the idea may give some degree of relief.This may explain the compulsion to bounce your head.

I wish you well.Good Luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I see that it was a while ago you posted your message but thought I'd reply anyway.

I wonder if the symptoms you describe may have a neurological origin? OCD sounds quite likely, but it may also be worth consulting a neurologist to explore whether a tic disorder or epileptiform activity (e.g. partial seizures) might explain your symptoms. The fact that the nodding occurs while you're asleep doesn't seem consistent with OCD.

I really hope you do find some answers, it's very unfortunate to hear how long you have been suffering these problems and how they have contributed to your drug and alcohol dependency. I wish you all the best.
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Avatar_n_tn
I do appreciate everybodys input. I wish the head bouncing was just an obsessive compulsive issue. It is actually very similar to the RLS, where instead of my leg feeling antsy, its my whole upper torso. Most of the time during the night I am unaware of it. My now wife tells me about it usually. There are other times when while I'm sleeping I can feel the urge to do it and it actually becomes a part of my dream in one way or another, where bouncing my head in real life equates to some other relieving activity in my dream. I had (if I remember correctly) an EKG at UCSD Med Center when I was 10. But they did the test in the afternoon, during a time when the symptoms aren't as pronounced, and they had me laying on my back. Normally the urge to bounce head doesn't hit until I am laying on my stomach. So that test was inconclusive. I believe the head bouncing is just like an exaggerated problem with the dopamine receptors. I did end up going to prison now. I just got out about a month ago. I did 10 months. Probation and the court system dont seem to understand how difficult it is for me to remain sober. I am now on 100mg of Ultram in morning, and 100mg at night, and I am sleeping pretty good. Maybe once a week I have an episode that wakes me up. But Ultram can be so nasty once you quit taking it. I guess for the moment I am choosing the lesser of two evils. I also take a hot bath before bed, and sex seems to help alot too. But on the brighter side, I am going to be a daddy again!! Just found out yesterday. Out of jail for just over a month and already planted my seed...lol. But anyways, I do appreciate the support from everyone. Thanks, Erik
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 27 year old man who has been going thru the same as you erik... i found my self looking to sex and alcohol as a way to make my body just go to sleep. i have been told since the day i was born nurse and the dr. were so suprised that a new born could do so.... since bein in a long term relationship i have stopped doing so, but now just over drink until i pass out or lay for hours until i can sleep. just about four years ago my 2nd born was born and and from day one has been doing the same... i pray he doesnt go thru the same embarassment growin up as i and doesnt result to any form of substance to replace the urge.... thanks for sharing erik
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Avatar_n_tn
hello erik,
first off , congrats on your new addition to the family. I am a 21 year old female. I too have the same disorder with head bouncing to fall asleep. my 2 sisters and my 2 brothers have had the same problem in the past as well. though my brothers and my one sister have seemed to gotten out of the head bouncing, myself and my twin sister continue to do so, although we both are trying other means such as the leg movement and such. i am finally trying to search for the cause and maybe a medical reason for it after years of wondering. i came across this forum and i just wanted to say how happy i am to know that there is another out there. now i personally don't see drinking or drug use as an acceptable alternative. i hope i don't sound insensitive, maybe i have a milder case of your condition i'm not sure, but i have just found ways of coping by continuing to bounce my head and move my leg (if it get bad enough i tend to rock my entire lower body). although it may seem embarrassing at times i always try to think of it as a funny quirk that no one (or very few as i have found out today^.^) has. yes i would still like to know the cause and if there is any way to stop it permanently, but until i find my answer i will live with it. it does not hurt me or anyone else and any preventative measures sound like they would do more damage than good (no offense meant towards you). i hope you will find your answers and your relief soon and i'm sorry i could not give you any answers. i hope this gives you even the smallest of comfort to know you are not alone. again congrats on you family and i wish you all the best.
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Avatar_m_tn
...WOW...tonight was the first time I decided to look up why I do what I do. I HAVE TO BOUNCE my head to sleep. I mean I know I'm not OCD, I know I'm not Autistic or some crazy association to doing this, but I still wonder what causes me to do this. In my life I've only witnessed two people doing it, my brother, and a girl who happened to be driving by in her car who was banging her head against the headrest. I used to bang my head against the headrest, but now it's just into the pillow face down and I've been doing this forever....25 years I suposse.

I found that I was embarressed for a short time in my childhood, but because I've always been so outgoing and outspoken I just figured, you eaither like me...or you don't. I BOUNCE MY HEAD...lol deal with it.

I've been with my man for years, he just ignores it and prays our kids don't do it lol.

I guess I just wanted to know their are more people like me, this is nice to read that their are people like me. For some reason my preferences are HARD SURFACES...my pillow has to be completely flat, I don't like the cushion...so that I can literally feel my hands underneath the pillow tapping my head. I've been getting headaches lately, and I think maybe it's from all the years of head banging.

I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A BOXER, I've been hitting myself in the head all these years (little humor). I've never done drugs or alcohol. I never sit and try to fight it, I'm just me. You know? I think after people see it, they get over it and accept you.
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Avatar_m_tn
my wife bounces her head while sleeping. has anyone been told why they do it ?
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Avatar_f_tn
This is so great to hear about. I as well have had the same issue of bouncing my head to fall alseep and relax, As well as doing it in my sleep. As child I use to bounce my head while awake.  I have done this ever since I can remember.

I have since been able to control this by learning to sleep on my side.  but once I roll over to stomach the urge begins.

I would love to know of any reason for this condition.
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Avatar_n_tn
I think it's Rhythmic Movement Disorder that most of you are talking about. I just found a thread on this site about it, and it completely describes my rocking and head-banging tendencies:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Sleep-Disorders/Rhythmic-Movement-Disorder--Cant-take-it-anymore/show/479691
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm glad I came across this.
As I'm laying in my bed, typing this on my blackberry. I finally realized that other people do exactly what I do every night to fall asleep. If anyone knows any more information about why we do this it would be great. I get a euphoric feeling when I thump my head before bed, its nearly comparable to sex or recreational intoxication. I'm 20.

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Avatar_f_tn
I am 35 years old and have bounced my head to fall asleep since I was a couple of months old. I used to buonce my head every night sometimes for over an hour straight until I started using drugs in my teens. I would sometimes just come home from school and just lay in bed bouncing my head for up to two hours without sleeping just as a way to escape everyday life, then I quit when I got married. Shortly after that my sleep patterns became very screwed up and I was falling asleep all the time including while driving. I was diagnosed with a mild form of narcolepsy. Also in my teens was diagnosed with OCD and bipolar disorder. I made many bad descisions in my life and would like to know if head bouncing contributes to frontal lobe damage of the brain; also if head bouncing help regulate my sleep patterens to a stable state when I was younger.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I've also been bouncing my head at night before going to bed.  I also find that I have to do this in order to sleep or else it takes me a long while to fall asleep.  I also need a harder pillow to bounce my head.  

And I have also gotten headaches.  For the past year, I have developed headaches.  They happen when I wake up in the morning, and my doctor tells me they are tension headaches.  I'm told I cannot really cure these headaches, doctors have suggested acupuncture, but that's about it. I'm starting to wonder as well if my head-bouncing is causing my headaches.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm 47 and have bounced my head into a pillow since I could lift my head...my Mom put my crib on cement blocks to keep it from moving across the room! LOL! I have a cousin on my Dad's side that does the same thing. My family I guess has had one or more head bouncers forever according to my great Grandma on my Dad's side. I do also have an addictive personality...I exercise alot...I think that handles my personality in a healthy way. And It exhausts me so I can sleep better. But not if I workout in the late afternoon or evenings. I've been known to bounce for hours literally! My kids, I have 4 from ages 26-9, love to sleep with me cuz I rock them to sleep they say:) I think it's a destressor of a sort! I always have on music when I bounce. It's a part of me I've always had...I like it! I tell anyone who's close to me that it's just what I do and after a laugh excepts it as another odd "Shelley" thing:) I just worry now that I'm getting older if it will cause any damage?
It's really cool to hear that there are so many of us! I don't fight it...never have! I can rythmically move my hips or leg or foot and get so I can sleep. But I have to say I never have slept well and HAVE to take zanax in order to sleep thru the night...It kinda *****...but it is what it is :)
Has anyone heard any official reason we do this? My great grandma said myth is it's from a traumatic incident during birth or soon after. Only thing is...I don't know of any trauma I experienced according to my Mom.
Oh well, thank you for all the post's! Nice to know I'm not alone out there! Good luck fellow bouncers :)
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have started to feel some serious pains from my head bouncing. Bulged disk in my neck is pinching a nerve. Kinda scary to think about how this is gonna work out when im too old and frail to do my head bouncing correctly. I hate having this!
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Avatar_n_tn
funny you mention the flat hard pillows. I too love a hard flat pillow, I actually made my own pillows now, took stuffing out of a big fluffy one, peeled the fill into 3 sheets, and with a couple pillowcases i made/sewed some perfectly hard/flat pillows. I get way more relief with a nice hard flat one over a big fluffy pillow :)
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Avatar_f_tn
I too bounce my head when laying down or sleepy. I will also move my leg, I've done it since I was a small child. It's soothing and helps me relax. I also rock back and forth when watching tv. If I'm around others besides my kids, I will normally shake my foot. It's also as if some part of my body HAS to be moving. My kids sometimes think I'm awake when I bounce in my sleep. Lol.  I don't abuse drugs or alco. I'm also outgoing, but just as easliy feel fine hanging out by my self. I'm in my forties. I even have a cousin who usef to bounce.
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Avatar_f_tn
I too bounce my head when laying down or sleepy. I will also move my leg, I've done it since I was a small child. It's soothing and helps me relax. I also rock back and forth when watching tv. If I'm around others besides my kids, I will normally shake my foot. It's also as if some part of my body HAS to be moving. My kids sometimes think I'm awake when I bounce in my sleep. Lol.  I don't abuse drugs or alco. I'm also outgoing, but just as easliy feel fine hanging out by my self. I'm in my forties. I even have a cousin who usef to bounce.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm 52 and have been bouncing since I was an infant.  My mom,too, used to tie my crib to the wall so it wouldn't walk across the floor.  I was embarrassed as a young teen, but any friend I had a sleep over with knew me well enough to know my secret.  I still, to this day, bounce myself to sleep.  I did it less frequently when I was married, but bounced my leg when I didn't bounce my head.  I have always used good goose down pillows.  Like one poster I read, I keep my hands right where my head bounces on them, holding them under my pillow with the pillow between my palms.  I think my forehead may be a little flatter due to the bouncing.  I have a very strong upper body.  The bounce is actually from below my shoulders and my head.  I also had no idea that there were this many of us!
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