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6 Ways to Combat Restless Legs Syndrome

By DuPage Medical Group Sleep Medicine

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which you have an uncontrollable desire to move your legs, often caused by discomfort. According to the National Sleep Foundation, RLS affects roughly 10% of adults in the US and about 2% of children. RLS can begin at any age, but usually worsens as you get older. RLS appears to be genetic in nature but is also idiopathic because causes are unknown. In other cases, women can experience RLS when pregnant, especially in their last trimester. The symptoms of RLS typically disappear after delivery.

Symptoms

Signs of RLS include: feeling the sensation after an extended period of time sitting or lying down, relief by moving your limbs, worsening symptoms at night and nighttime leg twitching. Often, RLS is described as an abnormal, unpleasant sensation in your legs or feet, usually on both sides of your body. The sensations are usually described as crawling, creeping, pulling, throbbing, aching and itching. These feelings occur in the limb rather than in the skin.

6 Solutions To Combat RLS
  1. RLS is a serious, but treatable condition. Here are 6 ways you can help combat your RLS symptoms:
  2. Baths and massages: this will help relax muscles and lessen symptoms.
  3. Apply warm or cool packs: this will help limit leg sensations. 
  4. Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga: this will help reduce stress which may lead to RLS symptoms. Learn to relax, especially before bed.
  5. Establish good sleep hygiene: fatigue can worsen symptoms. Try going to bed around the same time each night, and waking up around the same time each morning and make sure to get adequate sleep.
  6. Exercise: moderate, regular exercise can help with RLS symptoms; however, overdoing it or working out too late in the day can worsen symptoms.
  7. Avoid caffeine: cutting back caffeine intake may help your symptoms. Try to avoid chocolate and caffeinated beverages for a few weeks to see if it helps you. 

Topics and Subtopics: Sleep

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