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Does Walking Help Restless Leg Syndrome

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Can Exercising Make Rls Worse

Restless Leg Syndrome: Triggers, Home Remedies and Treatment | Andy Berkowski, MD

Intense exercise could worsen RLS. Running long distances, lifting heavy weights, and high-intensity exercises may put too much stress on your body. This could make RLS flare-up. The timing of exercise is also important. Exercising near bedtime has been shown to cause RLS flare-ups.2,4

Interested in reading more about lifestyle changes for symptom relief? Explore our featured collection on lifestyle changes and alternative treatments for RLS.

How Do You Massage Restless Leg Syndrome

There are many different massages that you can perform to reduce the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. We arent any experts however, we did try to provide some of these certain massage therapies that you can use. Lets find what these methods are, shall we?

However, one method that works for someone may not have the same effect on others. Thus, we suggest trying out different techniques. In addition, you can also work with an expert and find the right one for you.

Releasing Stress From Myofascia:

A masseur can work on reducing discomfort with myofascial release. They do this by massaging the fascia, which is the tissue around the muscles. The normal fascia is smooth and elastic. However, the masseur will massage these places as it gets tight and knotty.

Besides, you can give yourself a self-myofascial release. You will need a soft foam roller to perform this method. Move the tool up and down your leg until you find a soft area. Start giving pressure on that area until its no longer soft. You will usually have to do this for half a minute up to 90 seconds.

Leg Massage:

First of all, remain in a sitting stance and start the massage on the lower leg. Start kneading your calves and shin with mild pressure. Work your way to the hamstrings and quads. Also, you can improve blood flow and oxygen flow by massaging towards your heart.

Trigger Point Therapy:

Restless Legs Syndrome: Seeking Help

Studies estimate that one out of 10 people suffer from restless legs, yet its not always easy to find help and support. Many people with RLS never receive proper treatment. Part of the problem is that its hard to explain and sufferers are often dismissed as being nervous. Those who havent experienced the distressing symptoms may not understand how severely they can impact the quality of your life. Even doctors may not take restless legs seriously, recognize the symptoms, or realize that they point to a real medical condition.

The good news is that recent research has increased our understanding of restless legs syndrome, leading to more effective treatments. At the same time, RLS is becoming more widely recognized. If you or your partner suffers from restless legs, theres never been a better time to find relief.

A night in the life of RLS

If you have restless legs syndrome, a typical night might go like this: You lie down in bed, ready to go to sleep, and just as your body begins to relax, the crawling, tingling, or itching in your legs begin. You try to ignore the uncomfortable sensations, hoping they will go away, but eventually the urge to move is too much. You get out of bed to stretch and pace the floor and, for a moment, you find relief. But when you lie down again, the restless sensations in your legs start all over again.

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Sleep Hygiene For Restless Legs Syndrome

Sleep hygiene is important, as tiredness makes symptoms worse.

Tips include:

  • Sleeping in a cool, quiet bedroom.
  • Going to bed at the same time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning.
  • Reduce the amount of light you are exposed to for an hour before bed.
  • Avoid stimulating drinks, such as caffeine or sugar.
  • Avoiding or reducing alcohol consumption and tobacco.

Exercise and physical activity can help RLS, but it can also aggravate it. Most patients find moderate exercise helpful, but too much can make symptoms worse. Working out late in the evening may also be unhelpful.

Does Walking Help Restless Legs Syndrome

Calming Restless Legs Syndrome

Walking does help restless legs syndrome, as well as other forms of moderate and regular exercise. Be sure not to exercise excessively or too late at night as this may intensify symptoms.

Try taking a leisurely stroll for as little as 20 minutes a day. If you are not able to create specific times for walking in your schedule, try walking to work or pacing the office in between tasks. The key is to do it consistently, not just when you feel the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Also, before walking or exercising, remember to stretch. Stretching will not only prevent you from injuring yourself during exercise, but it will also help to relieve your symptoms. Stretching should be done before and after to help reduce lactic acid build-up stored in your muscles after engaging in a physical activity.

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Restless Leg Syndrome In Children

There is thought to be a genetic link with restless legs syndrome, especially with primary restless legs syndrome . The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation reports that 35 percent of people with the condition say they first experienced symptoms before the age of 20, and that 1.5 million children and adolescents in the United States are believed to be affected.

Children with RLS are likely to be tired during the day, due to disturbed sleep. This can affect their performance in school, social functioning and interactions with peers and family.

RLS is usually diagnosed based on a personâs description of their symptoms. However, it can be difficult for children to express what they are experiencing and accurately report their symptom history. Children exhibiting twitching and fidgeting may be mistaken for having ADHD. There is research to suggest 25 percent of children with RLS or periodic limb movements in sleep may be misdiagnosed as having ADHD.

What Is The Prognosis For People With Restless Legs Syndrome

RLS is generally a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. However, current therapies can control the disorder, minimize symptoms, and increase periods of restful sleep. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age, although the decline may be somewhat faster for individuals who also suffer from an associated medical condition. A diagnosis of RLS does not indicate the onset of another neurological disease, such as Parkinsons disease. In addition, some individuals have remissionsperiods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, months, or yearsalthough symptoms often eventually reappear. If RLS symptoms are mild, do not produce significant daytime discomfort, or do not affect an individuals ability to fall asleep, the condition does not have to be treated.

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How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Diagnosed

Since there is no specific test for RLS, the condition is diagnosed by a doctors evaluation. The five basic criteria for clinically diagnosing the disorder are:

  • A strong and often overwhelming need or urge to move the legs that is often associated with abnormal, unpleasant, or uncomfortable sensations.
  • The urge to move the legs starts or get worse during rest or inactivity.
  • The urge to move the legs is at least temporarily and partially or totally relieved by movements.
  • The urge to move the legs starts or is aggravated in the evening or night.
  • The above four features are not due to any other medical or behavioral condition.

Diagnosing RLS in children may be especially difficult, since it may be hard for children to describe what they are experiencing, when and how often the symptoms occur, and how long symptoms last. Pediatric RLS can sometimes be misdiagnosed as “growing pains” or attention deficit disorder.

Deep Breathing Can Help

How to Treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Stress and Restless Leg Syndrome

As with many medical conditions, stress aggravates restless leg syndrome and makes things worse. Stress is associated with higher levels of cortisol and other inflammatory markers, all of which aggravate RLS. Successful restless legs syndrome treatment incorporates stress reduction techniques. Thankfully, there are many ways to combat stress, all of which may help your RLS.

Less Stress Success

Everyone should incorporate stress reduction practices into their daily routine. If you have a condition that is worsened by stress, it’s even more important to make an effort to reduce stress levels. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing can very quickly activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the branch of the nervous system that is responsible for the “rest and digest” functions of the body. Mindfulness meditation is easy to learn and promotes reduced stress and lower levels of inflammation. Listening to soothing music is a nice way to unwind and distress at the end of a long day.

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Environmental And Dietary Factors

The following environmental and dietary factors can trigger or worsen RLS:

  • Iron deficiency. People who are deficient in iron are at risk for RLS, even if they do not have anemia.
  • Folic acid or magnesium deficiencies.
  • Smoking.
  • Caffeine. Coffee drinking is specifically associated with PLMD.
  • Stress.

Drugs that may worsen or provoke RLS include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Metoclopramide
  • Antihistamines
  • Spinal anesthesia

Feeling Exhausted During The Day

When you have trouble falling asleep at night, or staying asleep, it can cause you to feel exhausted during the day. This means you may not be able to function properly at work or make you feel like youre wandering around in a fog.

This cycle can repeat itself, and make you more exhausted, when you cant sleep well for multiple nights in a row. Trying to reduce the symptoms with soaking in a hot tub or regular exercise can help you to get better sleep at night.

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What Is Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome is a neurological condition that results in an uncontrollable urge to keep shaking or jiggling ones legs. It is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. The shaking is caused by the feeling that something is crawling on or tickling their skin. This condition flares up at night, and it is particular to the legs, although it may affect hands in some patients.

Things To Know About Carbidopa/ Levodopa

Calming Restless Legs Syndrome

This drug is generally taken 1 to 2 hours before symptoms begin.3

Levodopa can also cause rebound. Rebound means there is an increase in symptoms in the morning. About 20 to 30 percent of people who take this drug have rebound.1

Before beginning treatment for RLS, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and supplements.

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Primary Restless Legs Syndrome

Primary restless legs syndrome tends to begin slowly, around the age of 40. This is earlier than most secondary RLS cases. RLS also runs in families, suggesting a genetic link.

There is research that suggests restless legs syndrome may be connected to problems with a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, which uses dopamine to control muscle movement. If transmission of dopamine signals in this part of the brain becomes impaired, it can result in muscle spasms and jerky movements.

Is Restless Legs Syndrome Affecting Your Sleep

You may know it as the urge to move or jerk your legs when youre sitting or lying still, especially at night. Restless legs syndrome occurs when brain cells send false signals of pain, discomfort, tingling and itchiness to nerve endings in the legs . Moving your legs turns off these signals, but the creepy-crawly sensations return as soon as youre still again.

The syndrome is thought to result from an overproduction of the brain chemical dopamine during the day, which leads to an underproduction at night. Heres what to do if your itchy, jerking legs keep you awake at night.

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Testing For Restless Legs Syndrome

Because restless legs syndrome is caused by underlying conditions, there is not a lab test or scan that can be used to diagnose restless legs syndrome. However, your doctor can test for underlying medical conditions such as anemia, diabetes, or kidney disease that is linked to restless legs syndrome. Blood tests can measure your blood count, hemoglobin levels, basic organ functions, and thyroid hormone levels.

I found that the following ranges for hormone levels are where my patients at my clinic thrived, not just lived:

  • TSH levels of 1-2 UIU/ML or lower
  • FT4 levels > 1.1 NG/DL
  • RT3 levels < 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3
  • TPO TgAb levels < 4 IU/ML or negative

Remember, it is the individual level of each hormone that determines if your hormones are in balance. Conventional medicine tests for isolated hormones on their own, which will not pick up on whether your hormones are out of balance.

Labs such as Ulta Labs offer at-home tests for hemoglobin, liver and kidney function, and thyroid hormone levels.

Secondary Restless Legs Syndrome

New Guidelines Help Patients Suffering From Restless Leg Syndrome

There are a number of factors that appear to be linked to restless legs syndrome. These may include:

Iron deficiency anemia

A lack of iron in the body, leading to iron deficiency anemia, appears to be linked to restless legs syndrome. Iron plays a role in the functioning of dopamine and other neurotransmittersâ function in the brain.

Restless legs syndrome and pregnancy

Pregnant women may develop restless legs syndrome, with symptoms more common in the final trimester. Between 10 percent and 25 percent of pregnant women are thought to experience symptoms.

Nobody is quite sure why pregnancy can trigger restless legs syndrome. There are suggestions it may be connected to:

  • Low iron levels
  • Circulation problems
  • Increase in estrogen

Restless legs syndrome that develops during pregnancy very often goes away within a month after birth.

Conditions often observed alongside restless legs syndrome

There are several conditions that can lead to restless legs syndrome as a complication, or have been linked to it, sometimes without yet fully understanding the mechanisms behind the link, such as:

  • End-stage kidney disease, particularly when needing dialysis
  • Nerve damage. This includes peripheral neuropathy, which may itself be a complication caused by diabetes
  • Spinal cord disease
  • Smoking tobacco

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The Role Of Exercise In Alleviating Symptoms

Exercise seems to have elicited mixed results in those who have reported their data to medical professionals. Walking is the most easily accessible form of movement employed to ease the discomfort of RLS. However, timing, as well as the intensity of such exercise, is crucial to its benefits.

Both leisurely strolls and moderate speed walking can be effective even 20-minute increments engaged in once or twice daily prove beneficial. While this activity will fatigue the leg muscles, thereby easing their restlessness at the end of the day, vigorous exercise performed close to ones bedtime may actually swing the pendulum in the opposite direction, exacerbating symptoms and further interfering with a good nights sleep.

What Are Common Signs And Symptoms Of Restless Legs

People with RLS feel the irresistible urge to move, which is accompanied by uncomfortable sensations in their lower limbs that are unlike normal sensations experienced by people without the disorder. The sensations in their legs are often difficult to define but may be described as aching throbbing, pulling, itching, crawling, or creeping. These sensations less commonly affect the arms, and rarely the chest or head. Although the sensations can occur on just one side of the body, they most often affect both sides. They can also alternate between sides. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.

Because moving the legs relieves the discomfort, people with RLS often keep their legs in motion to minimize or prevent the sensations. They may pace the floor, constantly move their legs while sitting, and toss and turn in bed.

A classic feature of RLS is that the symptoms are worse at night with a distinct symptom-free period in the early morning, allowing for more refreshing sleep at that time. Some people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. They may also note a worsening of symptoms if their sleep is further reduced by events or activity.

People with RLS can sometimes experience remissionsspontaneous improvement over a period of weeks or months before symptoms reappearusually during the early stages of the disorder. In general, however, symptoms become more severe over time.

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Restless Legs Syndrome: Signs Symptoms And Relief

Are strange and unpleasant sensations in your legs keeping you up at night? If you are bothered by the irresistible urge to move your legs when you lie down or relax, you may have the neurological disorder, restless legs syndrome .

Restless legs syndrome can happen to anyone. Mild symptoms of RLS may start in early adulthood and can increase with age. Restless legs syndrome is also common during pregnancy.

It is thought that having low levels of iron in the brain may cause RLS. Experts also believe that an imbalance of dopamine can contribute to RLS. No matter what the cause is, it is important to know that help to manage symptoms is available.

Restless Leg Syndrome And Ms

Sleep Disorders

In recent research, there have been investigations into RLS and people with MS. The consensus of the results is that RLS is up to three times more common in people with MS compared to the general population. As previously mentioned, it has also been found that PLMS is common in those with RLS and this has been linked with sleep disturbances and poor quality of sleep. These disturbances due to RLS may be in the form of disrupted sleep and inability to get to sleep, contributing to poor sleep quality and fatigue. Fatigue, already a major symptom of MS, has been linked to poor sleep quality with RLS and PLMS identified as contributing factors to sleep quality. Therefore, it is important that RLS is identified and treated to assist with sleep quality and sleep-related fatigue.

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