Nothing can keep you out of a good night’s rest quite like restless leg syndrome, luckily there are ways to overcome this, and we are here to inform you of everything you need to know to deal with this condition.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a health condition that forces the legs to move uncontrollably due to an uncomfortable sensation. Most patients experience restlessness in the evening or late at night while sitting or lying down. The legs move so as to ease the unpleasant feeling in the lower extremities but this relief is only temporary.
Restless leg syndrome can begin at any age and generally worsens as the years pass. With RLS, sleep is the first thing to go and it can interfere with day-to-day activities.
What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?
In the majority of cases, there’s no obvious cause of the condition. This is known as idiopathic or primary restless legs syndrome, and it can run in families.
Some neurologists also believe the symptoms of the condition may have something to do with how the body handles a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is involved in controlling muscle movement and may be responsible for the involuntary leg movements associated with restless leg syndrome.
In some cases, restless leg syndrome is caused by an underlying health condition, such as iron deficiency anemia or kidney failure. This is known as secondary restless leg syndrome.
There is also a link between restless leg syndrome and pregnancy. About 1 in 5 pregnant women will experience symptoms in the last 3 months of their pregnancy, although it’s not clear why this is. In such cases, restless leg syndrome usually disappears after the woman has given birth.
However, some diagnosis of Restless Leg Syndrome has been linked to vein disease or vein insufficiency. According to Phlebology: The Journal of Venous Disease, “98% of RLS-positive study subjects were subsequently diagnosed with Chronic Venous Disease”. People who have Venous insufficiency suffer from blood valve malfunction, this causes the blood in the legs to clog which results in symptoms of RLS.
What Are the Symptoms of RLS?
The defining symptom of RLS is the compelling urge to move the legs. Other symptoms include:
- Movement provides relief: the sensation of restless leg syndrome lessens with movement, such as stretching, jiggling the legs, pacing, or walking.
- Worsening of symptoms in the evening: symptoms occur mainly at night.
- Late-night leg twitching: restless leg syndrome may be associated with another, a more common condition called periodic limb movement of sleep, which causes the legs to twitch and kick, possibly throughout the night, while you sleep.
People typically describe restless leg syndrome as compelling, unpleasant sensations in the legs or feet. They usually happen on both sides of the body. Less commonly, the sensations affect the arms.
The sensations, which generally occur within the limb rather than on the skin, are described as:
Sometimes, the sensations are difficult to explain. People with this condition usually don’t describe it as a muscle cramp or numbness. They do, however, describe the desire to move their legs.
It’s common for symptoms to fluctuate in severity. Sometimes, symptoms disappear for periods of time, then come back. Simple self-care tips and lifestyle changes may help relieve symptoms. Medications can also help.
Treating Restless Leg Syndrome
Mild cases of restless leg syndrome that are not linked to an underlying health condition may not require any treatment, other than making a few lifestyle changes.
- Avoiding stimulants in the evening, such as caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol.
- Not smoking.
- Regular daily exercise for healthy veins
- Good sleeping habits.
- Avoiding medication that triggers the symptoms or makes them worse.
If your symptoms are more severe, you may need medication to regulate the levels of dopamine and iron in your body. If restless leg syndrome is caused by iron deficiency anemia, iron supplements may be all that’s needed to treat the symptoms.
6 home remedies that may help to overcome restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in the legs that can only be relieved through movement. Because the feeling intensifies when an individual is at rest, it often occurs when at rest, which can result in sleep disturbances.
In some cases, home remedies offer temporary relief:
- Heat and cold
Applying warm and cool packs to the affected muscles can help relieve some symptoms. Taking warm baths or soaking one’s legs in a hot tub can also alleviate muscle spasms.
Massage is an excellent way to deal with this condition. Though treatment with a registered massage therapist is an excellent option, people can also give themselves massages at home.
Foot massage increases the flow of blood to the legs, encourages relaxation, and generally improves foot and leg health.
Stress is a common trigger of this condition. One of the best ways to manage stress is to exercise regularly.
Yoga is another way to manage stress. It reduces anxiety and improves overall health by enhancing mental wellness, fitness, and flexibility.
The urge to move the associated legs is stronger when resting, so good sleep habits are essential for people with the condition.
Ideally, maintain a regular sleep schedule with a set evening routine and bedtime.
See One Of Our Experienced Vein Doctors in York or Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Don’t put up with Restless Leg Syndrome. Our qualified and highly trained vein doctors can work with you to address them. Not only can they help you finally heal this condition, but they can also treat the vein issues that caused them in the first place.
Visit one of our centers for an in-depth appointment and put your vein troubles to rest. Ready to book your appointment? Give us a call today.
Dr. Steven Heird, MD, is a distinguished specialist in the treatment of venous disease and vascular surgery. As one of the dedicated doctors at the Advanced Vein and Laser Center, located in York and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Dr. Heird has made a significant impact in the field of vein care. His expertise and commitment to patient well-being have earned him a trusted reputation among his peers and patients. Dr. Heird’s work at the Advanced Vein and Laser Center reflects his passion for providing compassionate and effective vein care, improving the lives of those he serves with precision and care.