The 8 Effective Ways of Treating Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Most of us look forward to the night to take a break from our busy schedules. This may not be the case for people who experience sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome. It is a condition that affects your nervous system giving you the urge to keep on moving your legs. Your bed may feel like a battlefield due to the uncomfortable sensations in your legs that interfere with your sleep pattern.
Restless legs syndrome leaves one feeling as if they have itchy pins attacking the legs. Though it can occur during the day, it intensifies at night when your body is resting. While some people get mild symptoms of the condition, others have intolerable symptoms which need immediate attention.
Restless legs syndrome can impair with the quality of your life since it leaves you with sleep deprivation which translates to drowsiness during the day. Understanding this condition and its causes can help you get relief and restore your sleep again. We will help you achieve this by sharing more about the syndrome. Read on!
What causes RLS?
Though this condition affects both genders, women seem to be more prone to it than men. It can come at any age affecting both the young and old. Most people misdiagnose restless legs syndrome especially if the symptoms are mild or intermittent. A correct diagnosis can help you receive proper treatment and reverse the situation.
Doctors do not understand where it comes from though they suspect that the leading cause could be genetics. Some suggest that it comes as a result of the poor circulation of blood to the legs while others connect it to problems in the chemical dopamine in the brain.
Some chronic diseases such as kidney failure, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, and diabetes can also cause restless legs syndrome. The lack of adequate iron in the body may also affect your nerves. If you are taking medications such as antidepressants, allergy meds, and anti-nausea drugs, they can worsen the symptoms of RLS.
A lot of pregnant ladies report RLS symptoms especially when they get to the last trimester. The lack of enough sleep or taking alcohol can stimulate RLS symptoms. The lack of treating it can lead to anxiety or even spreading it in other body parts.
How can you manage restless legs syndrome?
Know the cause
A combination of lifestyle changes and some medications can reduce the symptoms of this condition. The first step is identifying the possible cause. Though you cannot control causes such as pregnancy and genetics, you can adjust daily habits and the medications that may trigger RLS symptoms. Limit the use of substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine.
If you are taking medicines like antipsychotic drugs or lithium, talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing for them to give you favorable drugs that don’t cause such side effects.
Improve your sleep habits
Sleep deprivation is linked to the syndrome, therefore the need to work on your sleep habits. Improving your sleep can reduce RLS symptoms. Restore your sleep by getting a comfortable mattress from Puffy mattress. It can keep you cool during the night to help you sleep for hours without waking up.
You should also rest at the same hour every day and keep your room dark to block any light which can interfere with your sleep. Eliminate any distractions which affect your sleep such as electronics in your room.
Take vitamin and iron supplements
These supplements can reduce the symptoms of RLS. Your doctor can conduct a blood test to examine if iron deficiency is the cause of your condition. You can consume oral supplements that increase your levels of vitamin and iron in the body.
Massaging the leg muscles can also relieve the symptoms of RLS. Try different massage techniques such as exerting direct pressure on the leg muscles or conducting a Swedish massage. This exercise stimulates the body to produce dopamine which reduces the sensations in your legs.
It also improves the circulation of blood and helps you relax to boost the quality of your sleep. Cold and hot compresses also minimize the pain in your legs. Make use of ice or a heating pad to conduct the compresses.
Use Foot wrap
The practice exerts pressure on the bottom part of your foot which transmits signals to your brain to relax the affected muscles. Foot wrap is known to be effective in reducing RLS symptoms. You should use foot wrap for at least two months for you to experience some improvements in your legs during sleep.
Consider pneumatic compression
Some doctors treat RLS through pneumatic compression. They use a sleeve which inflates and deflates above your legs. The compression device can boost the circulation of blood in your legs and prevent the formation of blood clots.
RLS can also come from low oxygen in your limbs. Pneumatic compression boost circulation, thus increasing the oxygen levels in the limbs to help in relieving RLS symptoms. It also boosts sleep quality and restores daytime function. You can also attend some forms of therapies. A therapist who specializes in acupuncture can also help you treat RLS.
Stress agitates the symptoms of RLS. You should, therefore, look for ways to curb stress to improve your health and also get better sleep. For instance, breathing techniques and meditation are effective ways of reducing stress. They help you relax at night and reduce tension in your leg muscles.
Light workouts can stretch your muscles and boost blood circulation in your body. Try jogging or walking regularly to keep fit and reduce RLS symptoms. It also helps you relax so that you can boost the quality of your sleep. Stretching can improve your mood, reduce high-stress levels and improve your overall health.
You can also try resistance training and some aerobic exercises since they are effective treatment methods of RLS. Do not to exert excess pressure on areas that feel pain in your legs to avoid worsening the condition.