Do you have an uncomfortable sensation in your legs at night? It might be Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).
This neurological disorder affects up to 10% of people, mostly adults and is characterized by an irresistible urge to move your legs when lying or sitting still.
In this article, I’ll explain what restless legs syndrome is, its potential causes, symptoms, treatments and how to manage it.
Let’s get started.
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What is Restless Legs Syndrome?
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes you to have an uncomfortable sensation in your legs at night time which often leads to you feeling the urge to move your legs while you lie down or sit still.
This need to move your legs can become so strong that it interferes with your ability to rest or sleep peacefully at night.
RLS can be temporarily relieved by moving your legs but will often return once the movement stops. But luckily for you, there are several effective treatments to help relieve your restless legs symptoms.
But first, let’s find out what causes restless legs syndrome.
Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome
The exact cause of RLS is unknown but several factors may contribute to its development such as genetics, dopamine imbalance in the brain, low iron levels, kidney disease or certain medications used for treating Parkinson’s disease or depression.
It is also sometimes associated with pregnancy and menopause in women. In addition, alcohol consumption and lack of sleep can trigger episodes of RLS in some people.
Symptoms of RLS
Common signs and symptoms associated with RLS include an uncomfortable burning sensation or itching deep within the muscles of the legs.
A pain that gets worse when lying down; an irresistible urge to move the legs; difficulty sleeping; and an inability to stay asleep during the night due to leg movement or sensations occurring during these times.
Some people also experience similar sensations in their arms although this isn’t as common. Let’s explore some common ways to treat RLS.
Treatments for RLS
The best way to treat RLS is to try lifestyle modifications such as getting regular exercise, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, staying well hydrated, quitting smoking and ensuring you get enough restful sleep.
If that doesn’t help you can try supplementing the mineral magnesium via a transdermal application using magnesium spray to relieve restless legs so you can get a peaceful night’s sleep.
Studies suggest supplementing magnesium can reduce or even eliminate RLS symptoms in some people. Medications such as dopamine agonists may be prescribed for more severe cases.
According to NHS, Dopamine is involved in controlling muscle movement and dopamine levels naturally fall towards the end of the day, which may explain why the symptoms of restless legs syndrome are often worse in the evening and during the night.
Keeping a diary of symptoms can also help identify what triggers your flare-ups so that any necessary lifestyle adjustments can be made to reduce their frequency and intensity.
In some cases, RLS may go into long-term remission with no apparent cause. However, people with this condition should still take the necessary steps to minimise the symptoms as much as possible.
With the right care and management, it is possible for individuals living with RLS to lead happy lives.
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How Long Does Restless Legs Last?
Unfortunately, RLS is a chronic condition which means it can last for months or even years. Symptoms usually come and go in waves so you may have periods where the symptoms are more severe than at other times.
The severity of symptoms, as well as the duration of flare-ups, can vary from person to person.
In some cases, symptoms may be mild and last for a short time. However, in some individuals with RLS, the symptoms can be very severe and last for days or weeks at a time.
Restless Legs Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects up to 10% of people around the world causing them immense discomfort at night and interfering with their sleep.
Although there is no definitive cure for this condition there are various treatments available which can help reduce symptoms of RLS.
As I have mentioned above, try supplementing magnesium via a magnesium spray oil. It has been proven to be effective in relieving restless legs and leg cramps.
Lastly, consider a total lifestyle change and implement a daily exercise routine, supplement magnesium and eat a healthy balanced diet.
FAQ: Everything You Need To Know About Restless Legs Syndrome
What is the main cause of restless leg syndrome?
The underlying cause of restless legs syndrome is unknown but there are certain risk factors associated with the development of the condition. These include genetics, certain medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease, pregnancy, lifestyle factors such as stress and lack of exercise, and exposure to certain medications.
How does restless legs feels?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is an irresistible urge to move the legs due to uncomfortable sensations. It can range from mild to severe and usually occurs in both legs at once. Typical symptoms include itching, burning, tugging, or crawling sensations in the legs that can become overwhelming and disrupt sleep and daily activities.
Does restless leg syndrome lead to dementia?
No, there is no evidence that restless legs syndrome leads to dementia or other neurological conditions. However, sleep disturbances caused by the condition can lead to poor sleep quality and potentially further impair cognitive functioning.
What vitamins help restless leg syndrome?
Vitamin B12 and folic acid are both thought to be beneficial for treating restless legs syndrome. Supplementation of these vitamins may help reduce symptoms and improve the overall quality of life of some people with RLS.