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What Can Help Restless Leg Syndrome

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Where Can I Get More Information

How to Treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

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All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

When To Seek Help

Of course, home remedies have their limits. If these ideas dont work for you and they dont work for everyone dont hesitate to seek out the advice of a sleep expert.

Not everyone with restless legs needs to see a doctor, but severe cases can be debilitating.

Some people feel so desperate and helpless, Dr. Vensel-Rundo says, as their lack of sleep can cause depression and anxiety.

She says to consult a doctor if either of the following apply to you:

  • Your difficulties falling or staying asleep lead to you feeling sleepy or unrefreshed.
  • Your sleep is disrupted at least two or three times a week.

How To Help People With Restless Leg Syndrome

The 11 Best Treatments for Restless Legs Syndrome

  • Ruling out potential causes. Your first step in addressing RLS should be to figure out
  • Healthy sleep habits. Having good sleep habits is advisable for anyone,
  • Iron and vitamin supplements. Iron deficiency is thought to be one of the main causes of RLS.
  • Exercise. Exercise can help you feel
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    Abnormalities Of Iron Metabolism

    Iron deficiency, even at a level too mild to cause anemia, has been linked to RLS in some people. Some research suggests that RLS in some people may be due to a problem with getting iron into cells that regulate dopamine in the brain. Some studies have reported RLS in a quarter to a third of people with low iron levels.

    Staying Active Throughout The Day

    Pin on Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

    Long periods of sitting or lying down may trigger symptoms of RLS. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, doctors recommend that people with RLS perform moderate exercise throughout the day to keep RLS symptoms at bay.

    However, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom note that people should avoid exercising close to bedtime, as this could make RLS symptoms worse.

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    Skip Cigarettes And Nightcaps

    Skip the Nightcap

    It might be tempting to reach for a drink to help you slumber, but it’s actually counterproductive. Alcohol interferes with the quality of your sleep and may provoke sleep apnea, as well as symptoms of the condition at hand. Try a hot cup of tea or a warm glass of milk before bed instead. Herbal teas like chamomile, lemon balm, and passionflower can help you relax and drift off to sleep. Having a cup of tea or warm milk before bed every evening can become a habit that helps you associate the activity with winding down. Make sure the tea you choose does not contain caffeine. Evening caffeine consumption is too stimulating and may keep you up at night. Milk is high in tryptophan, an amino acid that’s used to make the calming neurotransmitter, serotonin. Drinking a warm glass of milk before bedtime may give you the natural tryptophan boost you need to drift off to sleep.

    Snuff Out the Cigarettes

    Tobacco is another substance that can trigger RLS symptoms or make them worse. Smoking and tobacco aren’t good for anyone, especially if you have this disease. Nicotine is a stimulant that affects the nervous system. Abstain from nicotine use of all types including smoking cigarettes and cigars and chewing tobacco. If you need help quitting, nicotine gums and patches are available to help you wean off slowly. Talk to your doctor if you need help quitting tobacco products.

    Weighted Blankets Can Reduce Prickly Feeling And Anxiety

    A weighted blanket can offer a constant but gentle counterstimulation to override the feeling of restless legs.

    Theres one more reason to suspect weighted blankets might help, Dr. Vensel-Rundo says.

    Some research suggests restless legs may be connected with anxiety. So, if it helps you relieve anxiety, a weighted blanket may also help with your restless legs.

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    Living With Restless Leg Syndrome

    Keep your doctor posted on how youre feeling. He or she can suggest different relaxation techniques and can change your medicine if its not helping. You may want to join a support group to talk to other people who are suffering from RLS. Also, because RLS tends to run in families, you may want to talk to your relatives about your RLS and see if they have similar symptoms.

    Low Iron Can Lead To Restless Legs

    Restless Leg Syndrome – How we treat the root of the problem

    Every cell in our bodies contains some of the mineral iron. Brain cells use it for a special purpose: to make a chemical called dopamine, which our nerves use to communicate with our muscles and control our movements.

    When we dont get enough iron, the messages between our brain and body sometimes go awry. One consequence is restless legs syndrome , in which uncomfortable sensations cause a strong urge to move your legs.

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    Restless Leg Syndrome And Medical Cannabis Treatment

    When an individual has an overwhelming impulse most often in the p.m. to move their legs due to an uncomfortable sensation, they suffer from restless leg syndrome . Also called Willis-Ekbom disease, the Mayo Clinic reports, the condition worsens with age, yet can start early in life. While lifestyle changes can ease the condition, medical cannabis is another effective method that sufferers of the syndrome are turning too for relief.

    The Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation blog reported in 2015 though marijuana is not FDA approved for medical indications in the disease, anecdotal evidence from some patients experiences with the drug have shown improvement in some of the symptoms commonly associated with RLS.

    The detailed report, authored by Jacquelyn Bainbridge, PharmD, and Mark Buckfuhrer MD, again prefaces. At the same time, no there were no clinical studies at the time, anecdotal evidence proved that ingested marijuana does not seem to benefit RLS very much, while inhaled marijuana works very quickly and effectively.

    Furthermore, most RLS sufferers report that after only a few puffs of a marijuana cigarette or a few inhalations of vaporized medical marijuana, even very severe symptoms are relieved within minutes.

    Treatment Of Restless Legs Syndrome

    Treatment for RLS includes medicines and lifestyle changes. Medicines used to treat Parkinsons disease can help reduce tremors and twitching in the legs. If your iron levels are low, your doctor may prescribe an iron supplement.

    In some cases, an anticonvulsant medicine can be helpful. Historically, sleep aids, muscle relaxants , and pain medicines have been prescribed by doctors to relieve symptoms. Use of these medicines is becoming more and more limited for RLS because of their known side effects and potential drawbacks. Opioids, if not taken exactly as instructed by your doctor, can be addictive.

    For many cases of RLS, a combination of medicines is usually needed to best treat the condition. Your doctor may prescribe several trials of medicine before finding one that works best for your case of RLS.

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    Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms Causes & Treatments

    By Jillian Levy, CHHC

    Its estimated that restless leg syndrome affects more than one in 10 American adults every year . RLS is a condition characterized by uncomfortable feelings in your legs, giving you a strong urge to move them in order to find relief. Because symptoms tend to get worse overnight, RLS is associated with a higher risk for insomnia and daytime fatigue, plus increased use of sleep-aid medications, alcohol and caffeine.

    Middle-aged women, including those going through or past menopause, tend to experience RLS more than any other population. Most people describe the symptoms of restless leg syndrome which can include experiencing jittery sensations, tingling, burning and aching in one or both legs as more annoying than actually painful. Some people equate the sensations associated with RLS as the feeling of bugs crawling up your leg. In other words, although its not very dangerous long term, RLS causes some downright unpleasant side effects.

    The desire to quickly get RLS sensations to stop makes people twitch, jiggle or move their legs throughout the night, leading to poor sleep. The worst part is that moving the legs usually doesnt help RLS symptoms stay away for long they usually return pretty quickly, and the cycle continues.

    Treatments For Restless Leg Syndrome

    Home Remedies for Restless Legs Syndrome

    Restless leg syndrome can be tricky to treat if no potential cause is evident from your test results. Generally speaking, there are two potential routes that you can take when it comes to treating restless leg syndrome: medications and lifestyle changes.

    Medications that were originally developed to treat other diseases may be effective in treating restless leg syndrome. Some of these medications include:

    • Muscle relaxants and sleep medications
    • Medications that increase dopamine in the brain
    • Medications that affect calcium channels

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    If Im Pregnant Are My Dietary Needs The Same

    According to a 2009 study, up to 26 percent of pregnant women have RLS. The exact cause isnt clear, but changing hormones, low dopamine levels, and nutrient deficiencies may be responsible.

    If youre pregnant and have RLS symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about getting your iron levels checked. If theyre low, your doctor may recommend eating more iron-rich foods or taking iron supplements.

    If diet and lifestyle changes dont help, your doctor may prescribe antiepileptic drugs, opioids, and certain benzodiazepines. According to a 2008 study, these drugs are safe to use during pregnancy. Because all drugs pass through the placenta to your unborn baby, you should use the least amount necessary for the shortest amount of time.

    In many cases, pregnancy-related RLS goes away on its own after your baby is born.

    Iron Supplementation May Be All It Takes To Reduce Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome But Many Doctors Dont Know About It

    People with restless legs syndrome experience an overwhelming need to move the legs, particularly at night or as they fall asleep. But a simple treatment that may help reduce RLS symptoms is often overlooked as a potential first line of defense.

    âThe concern is that people are being started on medications first when iron might be a valuable treatment. Itâs simple, with relatively few side effects,â says Dr. John Winkelman, an RLS specialist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

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    • Research health conditions

    Restless legs syndrome, or RLS, is a common nerve condition where you have unpleasant creeping, tugging, or pulling feelings in your legs. You might also have an overwhelming urge to move your legs. The symptoms are usually worse at night or when youre resting.

    Doctors dont know the cause of RLS, and thereâs no cure. But certain things can trigger symptoms. Knowing your triggers and how to avoid them will help.

    Possible triggers include:

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    Maintain A Consistent Bedtime

    Having a Routine Helps

    Everyone, regardless of whether they have restless leg syndrome, slumbers better when they go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time every day. The body functions best when we stick to a schedule and have a predictable routine. Maintaining consistent sleep and wake times helps minimize fatigue and reduces your chances of experiencing the exhausting problems associated with this disorder. Aim to get at least 7 to 8 hours per night, or more if you need it. Then prioritize your life so you get the snooze time you need to keep restlessness at bay.

    Helpful Bedtime Practices

    Certain activities will help you drift off more easily. Sipping a cup of tea, taking a warm bath, and reading a relaxing book can help you wind down and fall asleep. Avoid reading anything too stimulating. Indulging in complex or frightening reading before bed may not be helpful. Another health tip is to avoid emotionally charged conversations in the evening. Emotional upset may prevent you from falling asleep and staying asleep.

    Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

    Today’s Anatomy Question #20: Can you help with restless leg syndrome?

    PLMD is a similarly related sleep disorder, sometimes called periodic limb movement during sleep . In people with PLMD, the limbs twitch or jerk uncontrollably while sleeping. It is also considered a type of sleeping disorder. The movement may cause the individual to wake up frequently during the night, and this can undermine the quality and length of sleep. It can lead to RLS.

    Lifestyle changes and common medications that may help alleviate RLS symptoms include:

    • Warm baths and massages: These can relax the muscles and reduce the intensity of symptoms.
    • Warm or cool packs: Some people prefer warm, some cold, and others say that alternating hot and cold is helpful.
    • Relaxation techniques: Stress can make RLS worse, so exercises such as yoga, meditation, and tai chi may help.
    • Exercise using legs more can help alleviate symptoms. If the patient has a sedentary lifestyle, walking instead of driving, taking up a sport, or exercising the legs in a gym can help.

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    Tips For Coping With Restless Legs Syndrome

    Learning to recognize and avoid your personal triggers can help you manage RLS over time.

    Effective techniques for minimizing RLS symptoms vary from person to person. Many people find relief from keeping active throughout the day and using acupuncture, massage, stretching, or relaxation techniques at night. During the day, you may be able to ward off RLS symptoms by keeping your mind busy even when you are sitting still with activities like reading or chatting to a friend.

    Though RLS is not life-threatening, the frustration of not being able to sleep well can take a toll on mental health. Cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, or reaching out to family and friends may provide additional emotional resources for coping with RLS.

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    Surgery For Varicose Veins

    12 ).

    Varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels, often in the legs, that overfill with blood. This increased amount of blood can lead to superficial venous insufficiency , which means your body cant properly circulate blood. As a result, the blood pools in your legs.

    In a 2008 study, 35 people with SVI and RLS had a procedure called endovenous laser ablation to treat their varicose veins. Of the 35 people, 84 percent of them had their RLS symptoms significantly improved or completely eliminated by the surgery .

    Again, more research is needed on this surgery as a treatment for RLS.

    BOTTOM LINE

    If youre interested in any of these less-researched treatments, ask your doctor about them. Of course, you can try hot and cold treatments on your own, but your doctor can tell you more about the other treatments and whether they might be able to help you.

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    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.

    Things To Know About Iron Supplements

    Using CBD for Restless Leg Syndrome: What the Research ...

    Taking iron on an empty stomach with orange juice or a Vitamin C pill will help the body absorb the iron better. You should not take iron with calcium supplements, antacids, or dairy products such as milk. These can decrease the amount of iron that is absorbed. Taking iron at night may help the brain absorb iron better.1,2

    Your doctor will need to monitor your blood work during this time to avoid the serious complication of iron overload.2

    There are many different types of iron available over-the-counter . Talk to your doctor about which type and what dose is right for you.

    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 drugs.

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