Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes uncontrollable movement in the legs, due to unpleasant sensations. It happens when a person is sitting or lying, it usually occurs during the evening or late at night. Moving around temporarily alleviates the uncomfortable sensation

Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom sickness, can strike at any age and worsens with time. It can interfere with daily tasks by disrupting sleep.

restless-leg-syndrome

Symptoms

The primary symptom is a strong desire to move one's legs. RLS is often accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Sensations in legs while sleeping- The sensation usually starts after lying or sitting for a long period of time, such as in a car, plane, or movie theatre.
  • With movement, there is a relief- With movement, such as stretching, jiggling the legs, pacing, or walking, the sensation of RLS decreases.
  • Worsening symptoms in the evening- Symptoms are most noticeable at night.
  • Leg twitching in the middle of the night- RLS may be linked to a more frequent condition known as periodic limb movement of sleep, which causes your legs to twitch and kick while you sleep.

RLS symptoms are commonly described as strong, uncomfortable feelings in the legs or feet. They most commonly occur on both sides of the body. The arms are less usually affected by the sensations.

The feelings, which are felt inside the limb rather than on the skin, are described as follows:

  • Crawling
  • Creeping
  • Pulling
  • Throbbing
  • Aching
  • Itching
  • Electric sensation

It's normal for symptoms to change in intensity. Symptoms may disappear for a period of time before reappearing.


When to see a doctor?

Some patients with RLS never seek medical help and keep it untreated. RLS, on the other hand, can disrupt your sleep and induce daytime tiredness, lowering your quality of life. If you notice the above symptoms, visit a doctor.

Get the best treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome from the best Neurologist at Medicover Hospitals.


Causes and Risk Factors

RLS may be caused by an imbalance of the brain chemical dopamine, which transmits impulses to control muscular activity. Following factors contribute to its onset.

Hereditary Reasons

RLS can run in families, especially if it develops before the age of 40. Researchers have discovered possible RLS gene locations on the chromosomes.

Pregnancy

RLS symptoms and indications may be temporarily worsened by pregnancy or hormonal changes. RLS strikes some women for the first time during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Symptoms, on the other hand, frequently go away following birth.


Diagnosis

  • You have a strong, often implacable desire to move your legs, which is generally accompanied by unpleasant sensations.
  • When you're resting, such as sitting or lying down, your symptoms begin or worsen.
  • You have a strong, often implacable desire to move your legs, which is generally accompanied by unpleasant sensations.
  • Physical exercise, such as walking or stretching, relieves your symptoms partially or briefly.
  • At night, your symptoms become more severe.
  • Symptoms aren't exclusively due to another medical or behavioural problem.

A physical examination and a neurological examination may be performed by your healthcare practitioner. Blood tests, especially for iron deficiency, may be conducted to rule out other reasons for your symptoms.

Your healthcare practitioner may also refer you to a sleep specialist. If another sleep issue, such as sleep apnea, is suspected, an overnight stay and a study at a sleep clinic may be required. A sleep study is usually not required for the diagnosis of RLS.


Treatment

RLS symptoms can be considerably relieved by treating an underlying problem, such as iron insufficiency. Iron supplements can be taken orally or intravenously to treat an iron deficit. Take iron supplements only under medical supervision and after your blood iron level has been verified by your provider.

If you have RLS without a coexisting disease, your treatment will be focused on changing your lifestyle. If things don't work, your doctor may prescribe medicines.

There are several prescription medicines available to relieve leg restlessness, the majority of which were created to treat different disorders such as

  • Medications that increase dopamine in the brain
  • Drugs affecting calcium channels
  • Muscle relaxants and sleep medications
  • Opioids

Lifestyle Changes and Selfcare

Simple self-care and lifestyle adjustments may be beneficial in alleviating symptoms. Many persons with RLS benefit from medication. Adopting some lifestyle changes will decrease the symptoms of RLS:

  • Do a hot water bath to soothe the muscles and relax it
  • Use warm or cool compression it will help to decrease the limb sensations
  • Obtain sleep hygiene methods, have a cool, peaceful, and comfortable resting environment; go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
  • Exercise regularly it will relieve symptoms of RLS, don't do intense exercises that increase pain.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine and caffeine-containing beverages
  • Consider using a vibrating pad or a foot wrap it will help to decrease pressure to the foot and may help alleviate symptoms. A vibrating pad on the back of the legs will provide relief.

Do's and Don’ts

A person with Restless Leg Syndrome has to follow sets of do’s and don’ts to manage it and its related symptoms. While seeking the treatment, a little care and adherence to given guidelines can help you get relief and recover slowly.

Do’sDon’ts
Take a warm bathDo smoking or take soda and alcoholic beverages
Sleep at least 8 hours a dayConsume caffeine products
Massage the affected areaForget taking your medicines on time
Use hot and cold compressionDo heavy intense exercises that increase pain
Use a vibrating pad or a foot wrap to ease painEat fried foods, processed foods, and foods high in sugar content

Following the above tips will ease your pain and decrease complications.


Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted team of doctors and medical experts who are experienced in providing excellent healthcare services to the patients with compassion and care. Our diagnostic department is equipped with modern technology and equipment to conduct the tests required for the diagnosis of Restless Leg Syndrome based on which a dedicated treatment plan is designed. We have an excellent team of Neurologists who diagnose and treat this condition with utmost precision that brings successful treatment outcomes.

Citations

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1936366/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4318015/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1834895/
https://www.sleep.theclinics.com/article/S1556-407X(15)00039-9/fulltext
https://jpgmonline.com/article.asp?issn=0022-3859;year=2010;volume=56;issue=2;spage=157;epage=162;aulast=Natarajan