Restless leg syndrome treatments are mostly focused on decreasing the jerking activity of the legs.
Restless leg syndrome, for some people, may not be considered as a disease since it does not have any serious implications to the human body. However, the activity of continuously moving and jerking your legs can become tiresome and bothersome, that it would warrant treatment, be it through pharmacologic or alternative methods. But before we go into the various RLS treatments employed, let us first look into the condition itself.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless leg syndrome, or RLS, is also called Willis-Ekborn disease. It is a considered as a neurological condition wherein the patient has the urge to move his leg, or any part of his body, as a response to stress, anxiety, pain or other uncomfortable sensations. It has been touted as “restless leg syndrome” because the common part affected would be the legs, but it can also have an effect on the torso, the arms and even amputated limbs. By moving the said body parts, a person’s anxiety or stress is somewhat relieved to an extent.
Who are Affected and what are its Causes?
Restless leg syndrome most often occur in adults and is usually associated with, as mentioned earlier, stress. Other aggravating factors would include peripheral neuropathy, kidney conditions, Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, iron deficiency, and as an adverse reaction to some medications.
The causative factor for restless leg syndrome is not yet known. However, there have been studies that showed that genetics plays a major part in the passing on of the condition. This is highly evident in people who have had RLS even when they were young.
How do You Look for Restless Leg Syndrome Treatments?
When looking for restless leg syndrome treatments, it is best to first look for the underlying cause. Once the causative factor has been identified, your doctor would be tailoring your treatment method according to your needs. Let it be known now that there has not yet been a verified cure for restless leg syndrome.
Various Restless Leg Syndrome Treatments
One of the most popular restless leg syndrome treatments would be through pharmacological therapy. There are certain medications prescribed to lessen the jerky movements of your legs. These are Parkinson’s disease medications, muscle relaxants, opioids, sedatives and anti-seizure medication.
Parkinson’s disease medication help lessen the effects of RLS by modulating the production of dopamine in your body. It has been said that low levels of dopamine, also evident in people with Parkinson’s disease, has been found in people with restless leg syndrome. Increasing the levels of dopamine in your body would then significantly lessen the effects of RLS.
Opioids, muscle relaxants, sedatives and other narcotic medication, as mentioned above, are used to treat restless leg syndrome because not only do they lessen stress, but they also help one sleep better. When RLS occurs at night, while you are sleeping, it is called periodic leg movement disorder. This may lead to insomnia as you are jerked awake by your own involuntary movements. Sedatives, therefore, becomes an important part of your therapy.
Another option for restless leg syndrome treatments would be through cold packs. There are a number of people who have stated that placing cold or ice packs on their calf muscles has helped relive their RLS. However, there are some people who are truly sensitive to the cold, so to contradict my previous suggestion, heating pads may be used as an alternative.
The effectiveness of restless leg syndrome treatments really does differ from person to person. Another option to consider is exercising and stretching. Now I want you to be really careful here. Although stretching and exercising has been found to relieve the effects of restless leg syndrome, overdoing it may also aggravate its symptoms. Yoga is a great way to get some exercise and stretch all your body parts, but make sure that you keep it mild.
Another way to go about restless leg syndrome is by avoiding smoking and drinking of alcohol and caffeinated drinks like coffee and sodas. Have you ever noticed that your leg movements get worse whenever you have just consumed a cup of coffee? Well, there you go.
For some people, the traditional Chinese medicine of acupuncture has relieved their RLS symptoms. Acupuncture involves the insertions of very fine needles at certain points of your body to allow your Qi to flow freely. It has been believed that acupuncture can cure all sorts of diseases, from body aches and pains, to infertility, and now, RLS.
There are still a lot of other restless leg syndrome treatments for you out there. The key is to have the patience in finding the right one. It might take you more than a couple of tries, but once you have found your cure, you would be truly thankful that you sweated it out. In parting though, I would advise you to seek medical consultation prior to experimenting with treatments. It might be contraindicated to your other health conditions, so it is best to get your doctor’s opinion first.
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