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4 Big Ways to Help Restless Leg Syndrome

by BetterSleep
Jul 7 • 5 min read
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Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable need to move the legs. Odd sensations of itching, pulling, throbbing, crawling, twitching, and more cause this.

People of any age can develop RLS. This condition affects 5 to 10% of adults, with women being the most common. There are no permanent cures for RLS, but symptoms can be controlled with treatment.

What causes restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome can be uncomfortable, and finding the cause can be difficult. While there is no direct cause of RLS, researchers believe it may be caused by an imbalance in the brain.

The chemical dopamine sends messages to control muscular movements. The lack of dopamine can cause involuntary movements and sensations associated with RLS.

RLS can also be caused by other preexisting health conditions like kidney disease, low iron, or Parkinson’s disease.

Other possible causes of RLS

There are a few other things that may trigger RLS symptoms. It’s important to take note of your health condition to understand further how it should be treated.

Pregnancy

RLS in pregnant women can stem from a lack of iron or folate. High estrogen levels may also trigger RLS symptoms. Women who previously suffered from RLS before pregnancy commonly experience worsened symptoms.

Genetics

Many cases of RLS are through genetics. Subtle variations in the genes may cause RLS before the age of 45.

Medications

Over-the-counter or prescription; medications can create or worsen RLS. If you believe that a medication you’ve been taking could be causing RLS symptoms, be sure to talk with your doctor.

How is RLS diagnosed?

There is no specific test that can diagnose RLS. This condition is usually diagnosed when there is a presence of the main symptoms. People with RLS often experience symptoms while sitting or lying down. If you suddenly have urges to move and that movement alleviates symptoms, you most likely suffer from RLS.

Ways to Treat RLS

There is no permanent cure for RLS, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms and live comfortably:

Form good sleep habits.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day improves the quality of rest you get. This includes clearing your sleep environment of distractions, like electronics.

Take vitamin supplements

Because RLS sometimes stems from vitamin deficiencies, try taking supplements to help your problem. Before adding supplements to your diet, be sure to get a blood test to determine whether or not you’re deficient in any area.

Do moderate exercise.

Studies show that people who incorporated aerobic exercise and resistance training into their routine at least 3 times a week saw fewer RLS symptoms. It is important to understand that overworking your body could worsen the condition, so be sure to keep it at a moderate level.

Apply pressure.

Applying pressure on your legs could also lessen RLS symptoms. The most common ways to apply pressure are:

  • Compression socks and sleeves
  • Kinesiology tape
  • Foot wraps

When using any of these things to apply pressure, be sure to add pressure to the right areas to avoid worsening symptoms. Adding pressure sends messages to your brain to help tell your muscles to relax.

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