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Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is is a disorder that is experienced by many people in the U.S.  It is an ailment of the part of the nervous system that affects the legs and causes an urge to move them.  It happens during sleep, so it is also considered to be a sleep disorder.

People with restless legs syndrome have uncomfortable sensations in their legs (and sometimes arms or other parts of the body) which can be described as "itchy," "pins and needles," or "creepy crawly" feeling in the legs. The sensations come on when at rest, especially when lying or sitting. The ailment can lead to sleep deprivation.

Restless leg syndrome symptoms vary 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 and less severe in the morning. For some people, symptoms may cause severe nightly sleep disruption that can significantly impair a person's quality of life.

Restless legs syndrome may affect up to 10% of the U.S. population. This ailment affects both sexes but is more common in women and may begin at any age, even in young children. Most people who are affected severely are middle-aged or older.

This ailment is often unrecognized or misdiagnosed. In many people it is not diagnosed until 10 to 20 years after symptoms begin. Once correctly diagnosed, restless leg syndrome can often be treated successfully.

About half of people with restless leg syndrome also have a family member with the condition, which may imply that family genes can influence the occurrence of the ailment.

Other factors associated with the development or worsening of restless legs syndrome include:

  • Chronic diseases. Certain chronic diseases and medical conditions, including iron deficiency, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy often include symptoms of this ailment. Treating these conditions often gives some relief from restless legs symptoms.
  • Medications. Some types of medications, including antinausea drugs, antipsychotic drugs, some antidepressants, and cold and allergy medications containing antihistamines may worsen symptoms.
  • Pregnancy. Some women experience restless legs during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. Symptoms usually go away within a month after delivery.

Other factors, including alcohol use and sleep deprivation, may trigger symptoms or make them worse. Improving sleep or eliminating alcohol use in these cases may relieve symptoms.

There is no medical test to diagnose restless legs syndrome; however, doctors may use blood tests and other exams to rule out other conditions. The diagnosis of restless legs syndrome is based on a patient’s symptoms and answers to questions concerning family history of similar symptoms, medication use, the presence of other symptoms or medical conditions, or problems with daytime sleepiness.

Treatment for RLS is targeted at easing symptoms. In people with mild to moderate restless legs syndrome, lifestyle changes, such as beginning a regular exercise program, establishing regular sleep patterns, and eliminating or decreasing the use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, may be helpful.

Other natural restless legs treatments may include:

  • Leg massages
  • Hot baths or heating pads or ice packs applied to the legs
  • Good sleep habits

Although there is no cure for restless legs syndrome, current holistic treatments and natural supplements can help control the condition, decrease symptoms, and improve sleep.

Product Category Recommendation: Musculoskeletal Health

Words from our in House Expert:

dr.-dave-bordered.jpgDr Dave States: This neurological condition can be caused by a number of traumas to this system of the body.  Clearing out the body of some of these bad memories or traumas to the nervous system.  Chiropractic and acupuncture are two key components to getting the system to calm down.  B complex vitamins are key to supporting the nervous system.

 

 

Should you have any further questions, we would love to hear from you!