Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Article by Jeff Foster
Restless Legs Syndrome is an affliction that manifests itself as an uncomfortable feeling your legs.
Lying down and sitting has the tendency to aggravate these feelings. The only form of relief for the individual to relieve these uncomfortable feelings in their legs is by getting up and moving around. Most commonly these feelings occur during sleep and when they do; the person must wake up and move around. This is why this syndrome is categorized as a sleeping disorder – it is the constant disruption of sleep that the affected person must deal with.
A hard to describe uncomfortable feeling in the person’s legs (and even arms) is the most common symptom of restless leg syndrome. The feelings themselves are difficult to describe or to put into words… but suffers of RLS know these aren’t feelings of typical cramps or muscle soreness. Restless leg syndrome results in anything from a tingling to a burning type of sensation. These feelings are most prominent during the nighttime or periods of inactivity i.e. trying to sleep. The onset of restless leg syndrome can vary both in frequency and in intensity.
An off chute of RLS is involuntary leg flexing and extension; otherwise known as Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS). The difference is that PLMS occurs during periods of sleep and most people who exhibit this aren’t aware that it is happening… except for anyone who may be in the same bed.
A bodily chemical called dopamine (which controls muscle movement) appears to be the common denominator with restless leg syndrome. The conventional thinking is that RLS may be somewhat hereditary since it occurs in families of 50% of those who suffer.
There are other contributing factors as well such as pregnancy and stress; as either of these can seem to aggravate the symptoms.
Restless leg syndrome can be difficult to diagnose for a number of reasons. First of all, the actual cause can be attributed to a number of reasons or circumstance. Secondly, the vast majority of sufferers don’t seek medical attention for their condition.
In order to accurately evaluate and diagnose, doctors need to ask a variety of questions including the type of pain, when the pain occurs, the frequency of the occurrences, and what seems to make the symptoms go away. Certainly a visit to a sleep clinic can go a long way toward the diagnosis because you can be monitored as you sleep.
Moving about is the preferred method by most people when it comes to seeking relief. Walking stretching and flexing exercises help when no other diagnosis has been arrived at. However, if it is determined that the cause is related to something such as an iron deficiency, treating that specific element can many time alleviate the symptoms and pain.
Many times simple lifestyle changes are prescribed to eliminate the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
Occasionally RLS will be treated by stronger prescription type of medications but to date this type of treatment has had only mixed results.
Non-prescription treatments include over-the-counter pain relievers, hot or cool packs, massage, yoga, exercise and development of a sleep routine that encourages better sleep.
About the Author
For more important information on sleeping be sure to visit www.sleep-good.com where you will helpful find advice and tips on sleep, sleep apnea, sleep insomnia and how you can start getting a good night’s sleep.