Restless Leg Syndrome - Causes - Treatment
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is a disorder in which there is an urge or need to move the legs to stop unpleasant sensations. It is very uncomfortable while you are sitting or lying down, then you have the urge to get up and move
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Restless leg syndrome (RLS) can begin at any age, and it usually worsens as you grow older. It is estimated that 10% of the population has RLS and women are affected more often than men. It typically starts off slowly and increases through the years with the greatest number of people effected being over 65. It can interfere with your sleep, so sleep disorders are common with this disease. It can make traveling difficult or sitting through a movie or play. Typically symptoms are worse in the evening
RLS Information and Treatments
Symptoms of Restless Leg Symptoms
The commonly described symptoms of restless leg are tingling, cramping, crawling, creeping, pulling, painful, electric, tense, uncomfortable, itchy, tugging, gnawing, aching and burning. This is quite a list! Some people refer to this disease as nervous leg syndrome. People perceive discomfort in different ways but all of these descriptions are from people with RLS.
The symptoms start especially when you aren’t active, when you have been sitting or lying down for an extended period of time. Movement gives some relief. There are number of ways that people try to stop the sensation, such as, stretching, jiggling their legs, pacing the floor, exercising or walking.
Periodic Limb Movement
There is another medical condition called periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS) which may be associated with restless leg syndrome. This other condition causes flexing and extending your legs while sleeping and you are not aware, however, if you sleep with someone else they would probably become aware of this continual movement.
If you have a severe cause of this disease you will do involuntary kicking movements while you are awake. PLMS is common in older adults and more than 4 out of 5 people with RLS also have experienced PLMS
Restless leg syndrome
Most people with RLS never get any medical treatment as they really don’t want to go to the doctor and try to explain their problem, or they fear they won’t be taken seriously. Some doctors may attribute these symptoms to nervousness or stress.
There is no known cause but researches think it may be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, with the brain’s chemical dopamine. It does tend to run in families. Pregnancy and hormonal changes can worsen the symptoms as well. Peripheral neuropathy which is damage to the peripheral nerves in the feet can cause RLS, and this is due to diabetes or alcoholism. Iron deficiency can also worsen the symptoms, and kidney failure is also a causative factor. Other possible causes are obesity, smoking and a nerve disease that is associated with hypothyroidism. Toxicity due to heavy metals may also cause the disease.
Legs Causing Insomnia
Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment
The treatment for restless leg syndrome is first directed at any possible underlying illness.
- Stopping smoking and exercise will help provide relief.
- These are some of the medications for restless legs:
- Opiods (propoxyphene) or tramadol (Ultram)
- Clonazepam, diazepam (Valium), triazolam, temazepam, (muscle relaxers)
- Bromocriptine and clonidine
- Gabapentin (Neurontin) recently has been found helpful
- FDA newly approved for RLS ropinirole (Requip) and pramipexole (Mirapex)
Other helpful restless leg syndrome treatments are avoiding caffeine, warm/cold baths, electric nerve stimulation, oral magnesium and acupuncture
How to Treat Restless Legs Syndrome : Massage Treatments for Restless Leg Syndrome
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To summarize, RLS is a leg disorder that is painful an unpleasant, if frequently leads to insomnia and the cause is really not known. Treatment first looks at any other possible underlying diseases that may be causing this problem. There is medication available to give you relief.
Some Good Medical Links
- Restless Legs Syndrome, What Is
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sensory disorder causing an almost irresistible urge to move the legs.
- Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment on MedicineNet.com
Read about restless leg syndrome (RLS) causes, symptoms and treatments. RLS is more noticeable while sleeping and is associated with caffeine, alcohol and pregnancy.