What Is Restless Legs Syndrome, And How Do You Treat It?
Florida Hospital put out some statistics whichshow that,just in the U.S.,over 5 million adults suffer from moderate to severe restless legs syndrome (RLS).
Overall, 1 in 10 adults suffers from this issue, and over 1 million school-aged kids have RLS.
The symptoms are an overwhelming urge to move the legs, throbbing, itching,aching, and even creeping sensations on the legs during the night.
Several physical tests can be done in order to properly diagnose this frustrating illness, but there are some highly possible causes that are supposed to trigger and aggravate RLS.
For that reason we will explore some of these causes, and go through a several simple ways that you can make changes to your lifestyle, in order to cure your symptoms.
Thesefew tips will certainly help soothe your symptoms, from spending time outside to cutting out all the harmful substances.
Continue reading and find out more about the treatments and the causes for restless legs syndrome.
What Is Restless Legs Syndrome?
It is tricky to pin down the exact definition and the exact triggers of restless legs syndrome, but in general, it can be considered as a type of sleep ailment.
According to WebMD,it stems from a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs while sleeping.
The symptoms are intense itching andburning sensations, aching in the legs, and throbbing and creeping sensation on the legs.
It happens when the person is relaxing, resting, or sleeping, and usually gets worse during the night. Most people with this issue have trouble falling and staying asleep, and as the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says, the condition very often leads to extreme exhaustion and fatigue throughout the day.
In the worst cases, restless legs syndromecan lead to impaired memory and depression.
Cause #1: Chronic Diseases
Although there aren’t some specific tests to diagnose restless legs syndrome, specialists usually observe the symptoms and some other possible health conditions to determine the severity of the problem.
In many cases of RLS thegenetics play an important role. Lots of people with this issue also have family members who suffer from the disorder, according to NIH.
One of the known factors associated with restless legs syndromeis that of chronic diseases. As WebMD states, that symptoms of some medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, kidney failure, and diabetes, among many others, are known to overlap with symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
Cause #2: Medications And Drugs
There are medications that are known to worsen the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
Antidepressants,anti-nausea drugs,antipsychotic drugs, and allergy medicationscontain some levels of antihistaminesandsedatives, making them major suspects for affecting the nerves while sleeping, as NIH states.
In some cases, symptoms of the restless legs syndromedissipate after patients stop taking the medications. You have to remember that, before doing so, it’s always essential to speak with your doctor first.
Cause #3: Pregnancy
As NIH states, there are women that note they have experienced symptoms of RLS during their pregnancy, mainly during the last trimester of the pregnancy.
According to the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, about 26 % of pregnant women in the U.S. have RLS, starting in the third trimester.
This might be due to a range of factors, such ashormonal changes, mineral deficiencies, or imbalances in the dopamine levels.
On the bright side, symptomsof restless legs syndromedisappear almost entirely within one month after delivery.
Cause #4: Sleep Deprivation
Restless legs syndrome can probably be caused by the sleep deficiency, insomnia, or instabilities in sleep patterns.
As WebMD states, the best natural way to start reversing the symptoms is to sleep on time, go to sleep earlier during the night, and to eliminate as many disturbances and noises as possible.
Cause #5: Alcohol
Substances including tobacco and alcohol are also believed to be culprits that may aggravate and even trigger symptoms of the restless legs syndrome.
The doctors advise against the over consumption of alcohol, in case it may even intensify the already existing symptoms of the issue.
Remedy #1: Massage The Legs
There are some very helpful medications with whom you can deal with RLS, but the truth is, not all drugs are effective for every person.
Moreover, lots of medications over time might start to lose their effectiveness. But you can do a variety of things in order to ease the symptoms.
You can start by implementing slight lifestyle changes, such as simple exercises, more regular sleep schedule, and eliminating tobacco and alcohol.
You can massage your legs frequently as well, to ease the irritation. WebMD recommends to gently massage your legs to “counter-stimulate” the sensations of restless legs syndrome, and to always flex and stretch your ankles, legs, and calf muscles before going to bed.
Remedy #2: Check Your Deficiencies
As we mentioned before, some core nutritional deficiencies might be at the core of certain symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that lack of iron may trigger RLS.
This is because iron helps our body to produce dopamine, which is a chemical that helps our brain control our body’s movements.
Remedy #3: Take A Hot Bath
You can soothe the symptoms by doing various relaxing activities at your home.
Try to get up off the seat and walk or stretch several times during the day. You can also try taking a nice, relaxing bath before going to sleep, or other meditative techniques, such asacupressureor yoga.
Remedy #4: Exercise Moderately
Recent research shows that those who suffer from restless legs syndrome, benefit a lot from just 30 minutes to one hour exercise each day.
They tend to report better sleep patternsandlower levels of fatigue.
You surely don’t have to engage in some difficult exercise. Try yoga, walking, jogging, and light aerobics in order to improve the strength in your legs.