Restless leg syndrome or RLS is a disorder where the legs feel tremendously uncomfortable, typically in the evening when the individual is sitting or lying down. There is a feeling that forces the individual to get up and move around. These sensations temporarily heal by without medical intervention.
Restless leg syndrome can be acquired at any age and can become worse as the person ages. This syndrome can cause interruption of sleep and can cause daytime drowsiness and there is difficulty while travelling.
Some symptoms of restless leg syndrome can be described as abnormal and unpleasant sensations in the calves, feet and thighs, but it can also happen in the arms. The symptoms can be described like throbbing, itching, creeping, pulling, burning, gnawing and tugging.
Some common symptoms of restless leg syndrome:
- The symptoms start after lying down or sitting for a long period of time such as inside a car, airplane or inside a movie theatre.
- The sensation will be minimized by getting up and start doing stretching, jiggling the legs, exercising and walking.
- Symptoms seldom happen during the day, but it occurs during night time.
- Another condition called periodic limb movement disorder can occur where there is involuntary flexing and extending of the knees while sleeping.
Causes of restless leg syndrome
- It can be genetic if some family members have the conditions at an early age.
- Hormonal changes or pregnancy can worsen the symptoms of restless leg. Pregnant women can experiences restless leg syndrome during their last trimester of pregnancy but these symptoms disappears after giving birth.
Restless leg syndrome can cause damage to the nerves found in the hands and feet caused by some diseases such as diabetes and alcoholism. A deficiency in iron can worsen restless leg syndrome, especially if there is history of bleeding of the stomach or bowels, a heavy menstrual period and always donating blood. Another condition that can worsen a restless leg syndrome is kidney failure.
Treatment and home remedies
- For mild symptoms, take an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen to minimize the twitching and sensations. If you want to learn more about this condition, read here.
- Soaking the legs in a warm bath and massaging the legs to help relax the muscles
- Apply hot and cold compress alternately to lessen the sensations in the limbs.
- Perform some relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga before going to bed.
- Sleep in a cool, quiet and comfortable environment. The individual should go to bed and rise at the same time to feel rested.
- Perform some moderate and regular exercises to help relieve symptoms of the condition.
- Avoid caffeine-containing products such as coffee, tea and soft drinks as well as tobacco and alcohol.
Some vitamins that can help a person suffering from restless leg syndrome include the following:
It helps improve the delivery of oxygen, vitamins and nutrients to the muscles found in the legs. It also minimizes the attacks of involuntary leg movements during sleep. Some sources of Vitamin E include kale, dairy products, cornmeal, brown rice, alfalfa and eggs.
It helps in the proper absorption of proteins as well as fats that are required for the maintenance of the muscles. Some food sources of vitamin B6 include eggs, cabbage, potatoes, corn, soybeans and fish.