Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also described as the Willis-Ekbom disease, can be defined as a disorder in the nervous system that results in the sufferer experiencing an immense urge to move their legs without any justification.
This disorder is predominant during the afternoon and late hours of the night. In most cases, individuals suffering from RLS have severe attacks when they’re asleep or lying down. Consequently, patients might struggle with sleep, which in turn results in a lack of productivity.
According to a recent report, 7 – 10% of the entire US population suffers from Restless Legs Syndrome. While this disorder can happen at any age, women are more likely to experience RLS than males.
With this worrying statistic, it’s no wonder why people are seeking treatments that can alleviate or expunge the implications of this life-changing disorder. Since RLS can go undiagnosed by doctors, getting ahold of it on time and engaging the right treatments can yield positive dividends.
Below, we’ll be taking a look at noteworthy symptoms that indicate the onset of Restless Legs Syndrome alongside natural and medicinal treatments available to combat this nagging disorder.
Table of Contents
Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
People suffering from RLS usually experience symptoms in a confined space or area such as a cinema or an aircraft. That said, these symptoms can translate into sleep disorders.
Consequently, it’s common for a person suffering from this disorder to experience a lack in productivity levels, irritability, and in most cases, depression.
Although we’ve taken a look at the symptoms, how do patients feel when going through this severe disorder? While the feelings might be tough to describe, most people acknowledge that they had the following sensations:
- Something similar to a sudden burst of electricity pass through their bodies
That said, to get rid of these sensations, the only way they could do it was by moving their legs. According to them, while symptoms are severe at night, they tend to dissipate during the early hours of the day.
What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?
Now that we’ve seen a bunch of related symptoms, you might want to take a look at the leading causes of Restless Legs Syndrome to avoid future occurrences.
However, to date, doctors don’t know the root causes of Restless Legs Syndrome. Regardless, this disorder has been tied to the following circumstances:
Some chronic diseases such as kidney failure, diabetes, and severe iron deficiency have been linked with RLS since they share some associated symptoms.
Some “over-the-counter” medications, including antidepressants, anti-nausea and anti-psychotic meds, can amplify the effects of Restless Legs Syndrome.
RLS during pregnancy isn’t a new development. Usually, this disorder occurs during the third trimester. That said, RLS symptoms might become severe during this period if a pregnant woman lacks folic acid.
Some studies point towards higher estrogen levels resulting in Restless Legs Syndrome during pregnancies.
Not getting enough rest can result in severe RLS symptoms. Also, regular intake of substances like alcohol, caffeine and tobacco can lead to a similar occurrence. In cases like these, applying nature care might result in symptoms subsiding.
Restless Legs Syndrome: How Are Patients Diagnosed?
As things stand, there’s no set diagnostic structure for establishing if an individual is suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome or not.
That said, if you give a complete rundown of the symptoms you’re experiencing, doctors can provide some insight as to whether you’re suffering from RLS. Most times, you’ll have to submit to various tests.
To know for sure that you don’t have a sleep disorder, you might have to undergo observation. This activity is to check your sleeping patterns and see if there’s something out of the ordinary.
Depending on your healthcare provider, you might have to give details concerning your workplace productivity.
Since RLS shares some similarities with other disorders, you’ll need to fulfill specific criteria to relegate the possibility of misdiagnosis to the background.
So, if you have these tell-tale signs, you’re likely suffering from RLS. They include:
- Sudden urge to move your feet or arms. You’ll be asked if this sensation occurs alongside burning and tingling.
- Sensations worsen during the wee hours of the day.
- Symptoms are alleviated when you engage in certain activities.
- Sensations aren’t related to any behavioral patterns.
Restless Legs Syndrome: Medicinal and Natural Remedies
According to StuffThatWorks, RLS can be combated in many different ways using medicinal and natural remedies. With research pointing to the effectiveness of both forms, let’s take a look at what alternatives are attached to both mediums.
If you’re looking to reduce RLS symptoms with medications, here are some mediums to try out. They include:
Dopamine Increasing Medications
The neurotransmitter “Dopamine” is vital in the efficient functioning of the brain and body. To mark an increase in its levels, medications including Requip, Neupro and Mirapex are recommended by the Food and Drug Administration.
Medications That Change Calcium Mediums
Drugs like Horizant, Gralise and Lyrica are drugs used to treat RLS patients. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that these drugs don’t work for every person suffering from this disorder.
Commonly taken to reduce severe pain, RLS sufferers can engage medications like Oxycontin, Codeine and Tramadol. These drugs are highly addictive and should be taken according to a doctor’s description.
RLS is often associated with insomnia, drugs that result in drowsiness can help you sleep better at night. While this might seem positive, these medications don’t stop RLS sensations and could result in you feeling sleepy all day long.
Top mentions include:
- Engage in physical exercises. Top activities include walking, jogging and bike riding. However, it’ll be best to avoid workouts of high intensity.
- Practice proper sleep habits. For context, avoid viewing any digital content while you’re getting ready to sleep. Doing this relaxes your mind and can foster healthy sleep. With RLS symptoms worsening with lack of sleep, this is vital.
- Participate in stress-relieving activities. Here, practicing asana yoga poses and listening to soft music act as instant relievers.
- Remove tobacco, caffeine and alcohol from your lifestyle. By taking natural supplements instead, you can reduce those severe symptoms that stem from RLS.
Suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) can impact the quality of a person’s life. While there’s no set diagnosis to establish the root causes of RLS, partnering with your healthcare provider to perform an extensive evaluation can provide much-needed insight as to whether you’re suffering from RLS or not.
If you’re suffering from an RLS disorder, know that it’s not a death sentence. With so many medical and natural treatment forms to engage, RLS reduction and total elimination is possible.
Nonetheless, if you decide to use “over-the-counter” drugs to treat yourself, seek your doctor’s advice. Taking medications without prescriptions can have negative repercussions such as drug addiction and other health complications.
In the same vein, engage in natural remedies that are proven to work. While striking yoga poses can help, avoiding certain habits and taking natural supplements can go a long way in making you RLS-free.