Other Restless Legs Triggers
Other health conditions can also cause restless legs. This is whats called secondary restless legs syndrome:
- Pregnancy. According to Dr. Avidan, about 20 percent of pregnant women report restless legs symptoms. This is more likely in the last three months of pregnancy, and iron deficiency is usually the culprit. If symptoms crop up when youre expecting, your doctor will probably test the level of iron in your blood and prescribe iron supplements if its too low. The good news is that your restless legs symptoms will probably go away soon after you have your baby.
- Medical conditions. Restless legs symptoms are also seen in some people with kidney failure and diabetes. Treating these conditions will often calm the restless legs.
The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation suggests using a sleep diary to pinpoint your personal triggers and gauge the severity of your symptoms. Always tell your doctor if your symptoms get noticeably worse.
I Cant Sleep Is This Restless Legs Syndrome
Its the middle of the night, youre exhausted, but your legs wont stop moving. Weve all felt something like this after a long day of hiking or after forgetting to apply sunscreen to your legs. But for some, this is a nightly routine leading to exhaustion and mental fatigue. If you are frequently feeling the uncontrollable urge to move your legs while you rest, you may be experiencing restless legs syndrome .
To help answer questions about this often mysterious condition, we spoke with Joyce Lee-Iannotti, MD, a neurologist and sleep specialist at Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona.
Avoid Extended Periods Of Inactivity
Sitting still for too long can make the symptoms of RLS worse, so try to break up periods of sitting with movement or stretches.
- Find or create a work setting where you can be active. If you work at an office, look into a desk that lets you stand and type, or walk while talking on the phone.
- Tell friends, family, and coworkers why you have to move around more than others. Theyll likely try to accommodate you and want to help you create a healthy environment.
- Schedule activities that may require long periods of sittingsuch as car journeys, flights, or waiting for appointmentsin the morning rather than late in the day.
- Choose an aisle seat at movies and on planes so that you can get up and move.
- Give yourself stretch breaks at work and during long car rides.
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Restless Legs Syndrome Triggers
You want to relax but your legs have other plans. Where does that creepy-crawly feeling come from? It could be iron deficiency, pregnancy or even weak veins. Here’s how to treat these common restless leg symptoms..
Millions of women cant sit or lie still long enough to take a flight, see a movie, watch their daughters dance recital, make love or fall asleep.Blame restless legs syndrome , a neurological sleep and movement disorder that causes painful, crawling sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them.For some women, the only solution is to walk all night, says Mark Buchfuhrer, M.D., an internist and pulmonary specialist at SomnoMedix Sleep Disorders Center in Los Angeles and co-author of Restless Legs Syndrome: Coping with Your Sleepless Nights .
To isolate triggers, record your eating, exercise, medication and sleep habits in a diary and watch for patterns, Bainbridge says. If symptoms dont quit, see your doctor. You may need blood tests for iron deficiency, thyroid disease, kidney disease, liver disease and/or diabetes all of which are associated with RLS, says Dr. Buchfuhrer.Read on for 8 things that trigger restless legs syndrome symptoms and how to prevent them.Restless Legs Syndrome #1: MedicationThe most common RLS triggers are prescription and over-the-counter medications, Dr. Buchfuhrer says.Because they block dopamine, the worst culprits include:
To Avoid a Flare:
Restless Legs Syndrome #3: Boredom
To Avoid a Flare:
The 11 Best Treatments For Restless Legs Syndrome
What is restless legs syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome , also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a condition that causes uncomfortable sensations, most often in the legs. These sensations have been described as tingly, crawling, creeping feelings, and cause the overwhelming urge to move the affected limb.
RLS symptoms typically occur when the person is sitting, resting, or sleeping, and often happen at night. The movements caused by RLS are called periodic limb movements of sleep . Because of these movements, RLS can cause serious sleep problems.
For most people with RLS, symptoms are mild. But if your symptoms are moderate to severe, RLS can have a big impact on your life. It can prevent you from sleeping enough, and thus cause problems with daytime focus and thinking, your job, and your social activities.
As a result of these problems, RLS can lead to anxiety and depression. And the longer you have the condition, the worse it can get. It can even spread to other parts of your body, such as your arms .
Here we list the best treatments for RLS. Some of these you can try on your own. Others you can discuss with your doctor, who can help you create a treatment plan to help relieve your RLS symptoms.
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So How Do You Treat Restless Legs Syndrome
Magnesium this is the one that you will see mentioned over and over again on menopause Facebook groups.
Many people think Restless Legs Syndrome is simply a lack of magnesium or the body not using its stores correctly. But Ive used different forms of magnesium over the years in an effort to help my RLS and its NEVER had any effect on me.
However, I know people for whom its helped a lot. Some take tablets, others use a magnesium spray . And while it didnt work for me, it is the first thing I advise new sufferers to try because I know it has helped others.
But please, if you see me or anyone else talking about RLS who has suffered for many years, dont prescribe magnesium as the wonder cure. Im now at the stage where Ill throw my laptop out the window if Im RLS-plained once more that I simply havent used enough.
Trust me on this.
Exercise yeah, I know. I sound like a broken record, but exercise can help with restless legs. A good, brisk walk for about 30 minutes three to four times a week can make the difference between sleeping well or performing the can-can each night.
Swimming is also a good one, as is yoga. I always swear by Chas Rough and his Yogamazing workouts. Theyre short and leave you feeling amazing.
However, be wary if you exercise before you go to bed because that can make it worse. Similarly, dont overdo your workout as that can also have a negative effect.
As possible treatments go, its not a bad one.
Restless Leg Syndrome And Pregnancy
Symptoms of RLS can spring up for the first time during pregnancy, usually in the last trimester. Data suggests that pregnant women may have two or three times higher risk of RLS.
The reasons for this arent well-understood. Some possibilities are vitamin or mineral deficiencies, hormonal changes, or nerve compression.
Pregnancy can also cause leg cramps and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms can be hard to distinguish from RLS. If youre pregnant and have symptoms of RLS, talk to your doctor. You may need to be tested for iron or other deficiencies.
You can also try some of these home care techniques:
- Avoid sitting still for prolonged periods, especially in the evening.
- Try to get a little exercise every day, even if its just an afternoon walk.
- Massage your legs or perform leg stretching exercises before bed.
- Try using heat or cold on your legs when theyre bothering you.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
- Avoid antihistamines, caffeine, smoking, and alcohol.
- Make sure youre getting all the nutrients you need from your diet or from prenatal vitamins.
Some of the medications used to treat RLS are not safe to use during pregnancy.
RLS in pregnancy usually goes away on its own within weeks after giving birth. If it doesnt, see your doctor about other remedies. Be sure to mention if you are breast-feeding.
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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.
What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome
In most cases, the cause of RLS is unknown .; However, RLS has a genetic component and can be found in families where the onset of symptoms is before age 40.; Specific gene variants have been associated with RLS.; Evidence indicates that low levels of iron in the brain also may be responsible for RLS.
Considerable evidence also suggests that RLS is related to a dysfunction in one of the sections of the brain that control movement that use the brain chemical dopamine.; Dopamine is needed to produce smooth, purposeful muscle activity and movement.; Disruption of these pathways frequently results in involuntary movements.; Individuals with Parkinsons disease, another disorder of the basal ganglias dopamine pathways, have increased chance of developing RLS.
RLS also appears to be related to or accompany the following factors or underlying conditions:
- end-stage renal disease and hemodialysis
- iron deficiency
- certain medications that may aggravate RLS symptoms, such as antinausea drugs , antipsychotic drugs , antidepressants that increase serotonin , and some cold and allergy medications that contain older antihistamines
- use of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
- pregnancy, especially in the last trimester; in most cases, symptoms usually disappear within 4 weeks after delivery
- neuropathy .
Sleep deprivation and other sleep conditions like sleep apnea also may aggravate or trigger symptoms in some people.; Reducing or completely eliminating these factors may relieve symptoms.
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Home Care Tips For Restless Legs Syndrome
The following approaches can reduce symptoms in patients with mild or moderate RLS and may be used in combination with medication in RLS patients who have severe symptoms.
- Sleep hygiene: Good sleep hygiene means maintaining a bedroom environment and a daily routine that supports high-quality sleep. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine is especially important for RLS patients because these substances can worsen symptoms.
- Exercise: Because physical inactivity often triggers RLS symptoms, exercise may be helpful. A research study found that RLS patients showed af 39% reduction in symptom severity after six weeks of engaging in an exercise program compared to an 8% symptom reduction in patients who did not exercise.
- Pneumatic pressure therapy: Pneumatic compression devices increase blood flow to the legs by filling with air to squeeze the legs. Researchers found that the device improved RLS symptoms, quality-of-life, and fatigue after one month of daily use compared to a control group.
- Massage and hot baths: Using massage and hot baths to stimulate the legs is widely recommended in RLS literature; however, there is limited scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of these methods at this time.
Learn more about treating RLS here.
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What Antidepressant Does Not Aggravate Restless Leg Syndrome
farmerswife over a year ago
Guest over a year ago
over a year ago
In reply to marti on 2012-11-20 – click to read
over a year ago
I suddenly started with this RLS problem. Then I checked out this site. I quit the St. John’s wort I had been taking three times a day and the problem has subsided. I was taking the Research Grade as prescribed. So, It must be true that something that affects seratonin which, I believe tamps down dopamine will do this. It is scary. As movement disorders from medication can become permanent. I would stay away from Ldopa or the others that help RLS as they , as far as I can gather from reading about this up dopamine. Maybe wrong, but experience is the best teacher.
Trying to cope with mild depression and anxiety with upbeat thinking and exercise.
Once I took Celexa for six years and woke up one morning with my little finger on my right hand moving and it did not stop for days. I took benedryl finally and it stopped. But, needless to say, this scared me big time. Then I went to St. John’s Wort. Must be careful with that too.
I quit all meds and am trying my best to get by without. I know for some this is not easy.
Good Luck To All Of You
How Is Rls Diagnosed
Dr. Lee-Iannotti mentioned the first thing we do is rule out any other causes for the discomfort. In some cases, the sensations may be associated with leg cramps, arthritis or neuropathy. There are subtle details to pay attention to when diagnosing RLS. The four basic criteria for diagnosis of RLS include the following:
- Symptoms include an overwhelming urge to move your legs, associated with a discomfort or unusual feeling
- Symptoms usually worsen at rest
- Discomfort typically goes away, either partially or totally, with movement
- The urge starts or gets worse in the evening
Depending on your situation, your physician may recommend participation in a sleep study. During these studies, you will be given a private room with a comfortable bed and everything you need to rest. These studies can reveal a lot about your sleep that youve never noticed. Dr. Lee-Iannotti is an expert in creating a welcoming, relaxing environment where you can sleep naturally without the pressure of feeling watched.
Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome
The main symptom of restless legs syndrome is an overwhelming urge to move your legs.
It can also cause an unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs.
The sensation is often worse in the evening or at night. Occasionally, the arms are affected, too.
Restless legs syndrome is also associated with involuntary jerking of the legs and arms, known as periodic limb movements in sleep .
Some people have the symptoms of restless legs syndrome occasionally, while others have them every day.
The symptoms can vary from mild to severe. In severe cases, restless legs syndrome can be very distressing and disrupt a person’s daily activities.
Restless Legs Syndrome Symptoms
People with restless legs syndrome have unusual feelings in their legs and a powerful urge to move their legs to make the sensations go away. The condition can also happen in other areas like the arms, chest, or head. The feelings usually happen on both sides of the body. They can also happen on only one side, or they might start on one side and then move to the other.
RLS symptoms range from mild to unbearable. They might come and go, and the intensity can vary between episodes. Theyâre generally worse in the evening and at night.
Symptoms almost always go away in the early morning, so people who have RLS can often sleep well then.
The severity of RLS symptoms ranges from mild to intolerable. Symptoms can come and go and severity can also vary. The symptoms are generally worse in the evening and at night. For some people, symptoms may cause severe nightly sleep disruption that can significantly impair their quality of life.
Articles On Restless Legs Syndrome
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 you’re resting.
Doctors don’t 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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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.
Diagnosing Restless Legs Syndrome
No laboratory test can confirm a diagnosis of restless legs syndrome. To diagnose RLS, your doctor will need:
- A complete medical history.
- A diagnostic interview, to rule out other medical conditions.
- A blood test for low iron levels.
- A list of medications and supplements youre taking.
- A survey to see if anyone else in your family has similar symptoms.
If a medical condition, such as iron deficiency, diabetes, or nerve damage is triggering your restless legs, treating the underlying problem may relieve your symptoms. If not, you may benefit from medication or other treatments.
Health conditions linked to restless legs
- Iron deficiency .
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