Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a nervous system disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs. The sensation can vary depending on the person and creates an overwhelming need to move the legs. Some of the different ways people describe the feeling include:
For most people with RLS, the condition is at its worst in the evening time, especially when the body is at rest. Since it commonly strikes at night, it can also cause sleeplessness, therefore it is also classified as a sleep disorder.
With most cases of restless leg syndrome, the cause is unknown. Risk factors include:
It is estimated that up to 10% of Americans suffer from restless leg syndrome and that about 2-3% of these cases are categorized as severe RLS. It can affect people of all ages, but is most common in middle-aged and older individuals.
Once diagnosed with restless leg syndrome, it is usually possible to manage the symptoms. While doctors may prescribe various medications to help treat restless leg syndrome, there are some alternative ways to find relief.
*It is best to talk to your doctor before starting a new routine.
Since restless leg syndrome causes pain and tension in the muscles, massage is considered to be an effective way to find relief. A massage can improve blood flow, help ease aches, and relax tight muscles. A regular appointment with a licensed massage therapist may help to prevent future attacks. However, massaging your own legs, or asking a loved one to help, can also be beneficial during an attack.
For an extra boost during your massage, try applying a menthol-based topical pain relief lotion to your legs. Other great ingredients to look for in a topical analgesic include capsicum, arnica, and willow bark.
Hot and cold therapy can help to reduce tension and inflammation in the muscles. Alternating between hot and cold packs is a great way to help distract your mind from the uncomfortable sensations produced by restless leg syndrome.
Some people find that taking a hot shower is beneficial. Also spending time in a sauna may also help reduce symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome.
A warm bath helps increase blood circulation and loosen tight muscles. Add a pain-relieving bath bomb to reduce discomfort even more. A pain-relieving bath bomb containing arnica can help with muscle pain, stiffness, and bruising. Other great ingredients include Epsom salt, willow bark, and chamomile.
Regular gentle exercise improves the health of your nervous system, improves blood flow, and works out the leg muscles. Do activities, such as walking, water aerobics, and yoga. Ask your doctor about what type of exercises are best for your situation. A physical therapist is also a good resource for specific exercises to ease the pain.
Since RLS is commonly associated with sleep trouble, try to avoid exercising late in the day, so it is a good idea to make it a part of your morning routine.
Finding ways to distract your mind from the sensations of restless leg syndrome may help you get some relief. Some ways to do this include alternating between hot and cold packs, relaxation or breathing techniques, exercise, reading, or watching television.
There are a variety of relaxation techniques like meditation and controlled breathing that can help to distract the mind during an RLS attack. Yoga and tai chi can also work wonders.
Check with your doctor to learn if you have any nutritional deficiencies that could be causing your Restless leg Syndrome. According to The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers have identified a link between Vitamin D deficiency and Restless Leg Syndrome.
Researchers have also found a link to iron deficiency and Restless Leg Syndrome.
Restless Leg Syndrome can also be caused by deficiencies in various B vitamins and magnesium. If you are deficient in any of these nutrients, adjustments to your diet could help, but you may need to take regular supplements.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about beneficial supplements that may need to be considered to help manage the symptoms. And try to eat plenty of foods rich in these nutrients.
Restless leg syndrome will affect each person differently. The painful sensations can be different for each person, as well as the frequency and severity of the attacks. Regardless of your specific problems with RLS, there are some things that you should avoid.
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