If you are experiencing an uncomfortable, sometimes painful sensation in your legs that makes it hard to relax or stay still, you may be suffering from a condition known as restless legs syndrome (RLS). This disorder can cause an irresistible urge to move the legs and can affect people of any age. Here’s what you need to know about RLS and how it can be managed.
What is Restless Legs Syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterised by an overwhelming urge to move the legs. This urge often occurs when the legs are at rest, such as when sitting or lying down for prolonged periods of time. RLS is a lifelong condition in many cases, though it can vary in severity and frequency over time. Symptoms range from mild discomfort to severe pain, often worsening late in the day or during nighttime hours.
What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?
The exact cause of RLS is unknown, but scientists believe it is related to a problem with the body’s chemistry. People with iron deficiencies, diabetes, kidney failure, peripheral neuropathy, and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop RLS. Pregnant women also have an increased risk of developing RLS due to changing hormone levels during pregnancy.
Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome
Common symptoms include an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, often accompanied by an uncomfortable tingling or burning sensation. The sensation usually worsens when the person is at rest or trying to sleep. Moving or stretching the legs can provide temporary relief from the symptoms. Symptoms tend to get worse in the evening or late night hours and can vary in intensity over time.
Treating Restless Legs Syndrome
Fortunately, there are several ways that individuals with RLS can find relief from their symptoms. Physicians may recommend lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol and exercising regularly before bedtime. Doctors may also prescribe medications that address dopamine levels in the brain, which can help reduce symptoms of RLS. Additionally, supplements such as iron or magnesium or non-invasive treatments such as massage and acupuncture may provide relief for some patients.
Restless legs syndrome is a common condition affecting many people worldwide. Fortunately, there are several treatments available that can help manage RLS symptoms so individuals can live their lives without being constantly disrupted by this disorder. If you think you may be suffering from RLS, talk to your doctor about possible treatments and lifestyle changes that could help relieve your symptoms so you can get back to living comfortably!
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. Always speak to a medical professional before using any sleeping aids to make sure they are right for you.