Have you ever tried to drift off to sleep, only to be woken by an annoying tingling feeling in your feet and legs? If the answer to this question is yes, you’ll know just how frustrating Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) can be. You’ll also know that the only ‘relief’ that can be had is to move your legs around.
Goldman Vein Institute offers a variety of services, including treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome in Jupiter, Florida. If you are struggling to sleep because of RLS, we can advise on certain lifestyle as well as medical solutions that can help minimize your symptoms.
What Exactly is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome is characterized by tingling, crawling sensations in the legs and feet which result in an overwhelming desire to move the legs, as this provides relief. RLS most often occurs at night, when the body is at rest, or during periods of inactivity (such as sitting at a computer). The restless feeling lessens with activity. Some sufferers experience painful throbbing and aching in the legs in addition to the more common tingling.
Restless Leg Syndrome is similar to Periodic Limb Movement Disorder in that both conditions occur at night, during rest. The key difference is that RLS causes discomfort, which results in a sudden urge to move, while PLMD is characterized by sudden, involuntary limb movements and occurs only during sleep.
What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?
The actual cause of Restless Leg Syndrome is unknown, although there are certain risk factors that seem to make some people more susceptible.
Risk Factors of RLS
- Women are most likely to suffer from RLS as opposed to men, with the risk increasing with age. However, people of all ages and sexes can experience RLS.
- Certain diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure and peripheral neuropathy seem to increase the incidence of RLS.
- Medications can be a factor too – Antihistamines, antipsychotics, anti-nausea medications and antidepressants can increase the risk of RLS or worsen symptoms.
- RLS is more common in middle-aged women or older, but all ages can experience it.
- Pregnant women are also at a higher risk of developing RLS, especially in the third trimester.
How Do You Treat Restless Leg Syndrome?
RLS has no definite cause, making it difficult to treat, however, treatment that focuses on the symptoms can provide huge relief and allow sufferers to get a decent night’s sleep.
Changing lifestyle habits such as reducing intake of caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can lessen the symptoms of RLS. Partaking in regular exercise helps many sufferers, as does heat (such as taking a hot shower or bath, or heat pads) and massage.
If RLS is severely impacting your ability to sleep, a variety of FDA-approved medications can be prescribed to lessen or treat the symptoms, such as neurotransmitters (dopaminergic), benzodiazepines (sleep aids), painkillers, and anticonvulsants.