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What To Do For Restless Leg Syndrome

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Could Rls Be Linked To Anything Else

How to Treat Restless Leg Syndrome at Home | WebMD

Restless legs syndrome is considered both a sleep and movement disorder. But at its root, it is a neurological disorder, with symptoms originating in the brain. Dr. Lee-Iannotti stated, we have found RLS to be related to low production of dopamine, a powerful chemical affecting motor skills and many other functions of your brain. This gives us reason to believe that RLS may be linked to Parkinsons Disease, a degenerative condition that can cause tremors and other motor impairments.

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. Berkowski says, as their lack of sleep can cause depression and anxiety.

He says to consult a doctor if either of the following applies 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.

If these home remedies still fall short, your doctor can provide you with more information about the potential prescription medicines that can help.

Surgery For Varicose Veins

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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.


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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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.

Periodic Limb Movements In Sleep


Up to 80% of people with restless legs syndrome also have periodic limb movements in sleep .

If you have PLMS, your leg will jerk or twitch uncontrollably, usually at night while you’re asleep. The movements are brief and repetitive, and usually occur every 10 to 60 seconds.

PLMS can be severe enough to wake up both you and your partner. The involuntary leg movements can also occur when you’re awake and resting.

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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

Restless Legs Syndrome Diagnosis

Thereâs no medical test for RLS. Your doctor might want to talk to your sleep partner about what theyâve noticed.

The five basic criteria for a diagnosis of RLS are:

  • An overwhelming urge to move your legs, especially along with uncomfortable or unusual feelings
  • An urge that starts or gets worse while youâre at rest
  • An urge that goes away, either partly or totally, when you move
  • An urge that starts or gets worse in the evening
  • Another condition, such as leg cramps, arthritis, or muscle pains, isnât causing it

Your doctor may use lab tests to rule out other conditions. A neurological exam can check for nerve damage or blood vessel problems. A sleep study called polysomnography can tell them if you have other sleep disorders that might cause RLS.

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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.

What You Can Do

How to Treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
  • Write down your symptoms, including when they started and when they tend to occur.
  • Write down key medical information, including other conditions you have and any prescription or over-the-counter medications you’re taking, including vitamins and supplements. Also note whether there’s a history of RLS in your family.
  • Take a family member or friend along. Someone who accompanies you may remember information you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor about RLS include:

  • What is the most likely cause of my signs and symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • What tests do I need?
  • What treatment options are available for this condition?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • What self-care steps might improve my symptoms?
  • Do you have educational materials I can have? What websites do you recommend?
  • Where can I find a support group for people with RLS?

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Solutions For Restless Leg Syndrome

    Restless leg syndrome is often misapplied to hyperactive children. Contrary to a common line of thinking, a restless child whos struggling to stay seated doesnt just need to go play or stretch their legs, and use up some energy, to settle them down. In reality, restless leg syndrome is much more serious.

    People who have this disease experience sleepless, pain-filled nights and suffer the consequences the next day as exhaustion hits. Thankfully, there are ways to combat RLS and finally get a good nights sleep.

    Do you think youre experiencing restless leg syndrome and its effects? Stop by The Vein Center in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, to find out for sure. Thomas R. Wieters, MD, can diagnose the disease and work with you to set up a custom treatment plan that will have you feeling 100% in no time.

    Lifestyle And Home Remedies

    Making simple lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms of RLS:

    • Try baths and massages. Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs can relax your muscles.
    • Apply warm or cool packs. Use of heat or cold, or alternating use of the two, may lessen your limb sensations.
    • Establish good sleep hygiene. Fatigue tends to worsen symptoms of RLS, so it’s important that you practice good sleep hygiene. Ideally, have a cool, quiet, comfortable sleeping environment go to bed and rise at the same time daily and get at least seven hours of sleep nightly.
    • Exercise. Getting moderate, regular exercise may relieve symptoms of RLS, but overdoing it or working out too late in the day may intensify symptoms.
    • Avoid caffeine. Sometimes cutting back on caffeine may help restless legs. Try to avoid caffeine-containing products, including chocolate, coffee, tea and soft drinks, for a few weeks to see if this helps.
    • Consider using a foot wrap. A foot wrap specially designed for people with RLS puts pressure under your foot and may help relieve your symptoms.

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    What Research Is Being Done

    The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

    While the direct cause of RLS is often unknown, changes in the brains signaling pathways are likely to contribute to the disease. In particular, researchers suspect that impaired transmission of dopamine signals in the brains basal ganglia may play a role. There is a relationship between genetics and RLS. However, currently there is no genetic testing. NINDS-supported research is ongoing to help discover genetic relationships and to better understand what causes the disease.

    The NINDS also supports research on why the use of dopamine agents to treat RLS, Parkinsons disease, and other movement disorders can lead to impulse control disorders, with aims to develop new or improved treatments that avoid this adverse effect.

    More information about research on RLS supported by NINDS or other components of the NIH is available through the NIH RePORTER , a searchable database of current and previously funded research, as well as research results such as publications.

    Medicines For Aiding Sleep

    Restless Leg Syndrome

    If restless legs syndrome is badly disrupting your sleep, a short-term course of medicine may be recommended to help you sleep.

    These types of medicines are known as hypnotics, and include zopiclone and zolpidem.

    Hypnotics are usually only recommended for short-term use .

    You may find you still feel sleepy or “hungover” the morning after taking your medicine.

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    Nighttime And Sleep Tips To Ease Restless Legs Syndrome

  • Regular, moderate exercise may help you sleep better. Take a walk with the kids, the dog, or a friend.
  • Warm up to bedtime. A heating pad may soothe away symptoms of restless legs.
  • Take it easy! Moderate workouts can relieve RLS symptoms, but excessive exercise may cause them to spike.
  • Sleep a little better tonight by avoiding nicotine and caffeine close to bedtime.
  • You’ll sleep better, and feel better, if you maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Get a better night’s sleep avoid alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Avoid napping during the day for better sleep at night.
  • Count sheep, daydream, or just close your eyes — but whatever you do, try not to make bedtime worry time.
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    Hot And Cold Foot Soak

    When you get restless legs syndrome, hot and cold foot soak is also a wonderful option for you. Why can it be said a wonderful option? Because the heat can promote the blood circulation meanwhile the cold can reduce inflammation. Plus, when using this foot soak, the cramping is reduced and the pain is eased. This is the detailed instruction for you:

    • Now fill a bucket with bearable hot water while filling another with cold water
    • Then put your feet in the first bucket with hot water for 3 minutes
    • After that, dip your feet in the second bucket for 20 60 seconds
    • Do this process again two or three times
    • Keep doing this procedure twice per day daily for the best result

    5. Black Strap Molasses

    Talking about some natural and effective home remedies for restless leg syndrome, you should know this herb called black strap molasses. It is a rich source of iron which can help to treat restless leg syndrome. In addition, iron can help to transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your bodys cells. Besides, black strap molasses has potassium as well as calcium. And here is the detailed recipe for you:

    • Now prepare a tablespoon of black strap molasses as well as a cup of water
    • Then stir the ingredients well together
    • Drink this solution 30 minutes before you go to bed
    • Do this method once a day daily for the best result

    Sometimes, you can mix black strap molasses with apple cider vinegar and then stir this mixture with water.

    6. Epsom Salt Bath

    7. Camphor Oil Or Cream

    8. Tonic Water

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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.

    Can Restless Leg Syndrome Be Prevented Or Avoided

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

    RLS cant be prevented because doctors arent sure what causes it. But there are some things you can do to help lessen your symptoms.

    Lifestyle changes to treat RLS:

    • For mild symptoms, use an over-the-counter pain reliever to reduce twitching and restless sensations.
    • Cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco.
    • Try taking a hot bath and massaging your legs before bedtime to help you relax.
    • Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga, can help you relax before bed.
    • Apply warm or cool packs to your legs, which can help relieve sensations.
    • Try to distract your mind by reading or doing a crossword puzzle while you wait for sleep to come.
    • Moderate exercise may help, but dont overdo it. Exercising vigorously or late in the day may make symptoms worse.
    • Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Also try to get a sufficient amount of sleep each night.

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    Stretching And Movement Tips

    Keeping your body physically active is a great way to lessen RLS symptoms. When you are immobile for too long , this is when those creepy sensations can start up. Try these stretching and movement tips:

    • Go walking for lunch. Take your sandwich and head to the park down the street.
    • Jog in place to give your circulation a boost.
    • If you sit down a lot for work, get up and walk around for five minutes every hour.
    • Right when you get out of bed in the morning and right before you hit the sack at night, take some time to stretch your legs.
    • If on a road trip, stop every hour or so for a stretch.
    • If flying in a plane, request an aisle seat. When it is safe to do so, walk up and down the aisles a couple times every so often.

    How Is It Treated

    People suffering from RLS have many options, said Dr. Lee-Iannotti. There are pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods of treatment, depending on the severity of the symptoms. If mild, simple changes in lifestyle including increased exercise, improving sleep hygiene and avoiding caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol may be solutions. If moderate or severe, medications including dopaminergic drugs can be used to help relieve the discomfort and improve sleep.

    Overall, the prognosis with proper treatment of RLS is good. Any condition that robs you of healthy sleep will lead to further complications. A tired brain is more likely to experience depression, anxiety and poor workplace performance. With time, these effects can damage your internal organs and physical health. Visit your doctor immediately to recover your ability to rest. In fact, restoring healthy sleep habits is key in reducing the symptoms of RLS.

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    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.

    Articles On Restless Legs Syndrome

    7 Steps to Overcome Restless Leg Syndrome

    If you have restless legs syndrome, or RLS, you know that tugging or pulling feeling in your legs. You might feel an overpowering urge to move them, especially at night. This can make it really hard to sleep.

    There is no cure for RLS, but there are some non-drug steps you can try to get relief from your symptoms. Here are a few.

    Good sleep routine. Throwing off your sleep pattern can make your RLS symptoms worse. Try going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. To get deep sleep, it may help to go to bed a little later and get up later. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and comfortable. Keep the TV and computer out of the bedroom.

    Take iron. Because low levels of iron might be linked to RLS, your doctor will likely suggest taking iron supplements.

    Other supplements. There’s not a lot of research to back it up, but some people get relief from RLS symptoms by taking folic acid, magnesium, or vitamin B12.

    Change your temperature. Try a cool shower or a soak in a warm bath before bedtime. Experiment with either a heating pad or an ice pack on your legs. Sometimes just a change in temperature helps.

    Massage. Rubbing your muscles, especially your calves, may help ease your pain and symptoms. Try massage right before bed to see if it helps you get a more restful night’s sleep.

    Acupuncture. There’s no hard proof that acupuncture helps with symptoms, yet many people with RLS give it a try to relieve symptoms.

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