If you are suffering from restless leg syndrome, then you will feel twitchiness and discomfort in the leg after going to bed. However, it considered a sleep disorder and can lead to insomnia. Mental or physical problems are the main reason for causing restless leg syndrome.
Willis-Ekbom disease is the other word for restless leg syndrome. Moreover, depending on the frequency of the symptoms, it classified as mild or severe. However, some lifestyle changes can resolve the problem of restless leg syndrome. Here in this article, we are going to discuss every possible information about restless leg syndrome.
Restless leg syndrome is the situation in which you will feel uneasy while moving your legs. However, you will experience twitchiness and discomfort in the legs after going to bed.
Moreover, it can begin at any age and generally worsen as you age. RLS can also result in insomnia.
However, adopting some lifestyle changes may relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
Symptoms of restless leg syndrome and how does it feel like
Symptoms of restless leg syndrome can occur if you awaken sitting on an aeroplane seat or at the toilet seat. However, you will feel tired all day because it leads to difficulty falling asleep.
The main symptom of restless leg syndrome is that if you will feel uneasy while moving your leg. However, if you are suffering from restless leg syndrome, then you will feel sensation in your leg while lying or sitting for an extended time.
Restless leg syndrome leads to difficulty in sleeping that can impact on our learning power, concentration and routine activities. Moreover, lack of sleep can also lead to depression, mood swings, impaired immune system and other health problems.
It will less effective on your arms. If you are suffering from RLS, then some feelings will come inside you.
- Seems like an electric shock
If you want instant relief, then you have to move your leg continuously. These symptoms may worsen in the night and may relieve in the morning.
How long RLS last?
At night, RLS get more serious. But sometimes you may pass without any symptoms for some weeks or months. However, RLS may go away as soon as the trigger has gone.
Effects of RLS during pregnancy
RLS bring many problems for women during pregnancy. However, the symptoms get worse during pregnancy if a woman is suffering from restless leg syndrome.
A study shows that pregnancy can lead to RLS in its own and get worse as the pregnancy progresses. During pregnancy, the cause of the increased incidence of RLS is unknown, but some factors involved in this are.
- Changes in the hormones.
- Increased sensitivity of the senses.
- Sleep deprivation.
- Lower in the levels of minerals or vitamins such as iron and folate.
Some drugs such as Rotigotine and gabapentin used outside of pregnancy are not for safe use in women who are pregnant. A healthy sleeping pattern and mild exercise is the first-line treatment for women during pregnancy.
However, oral iron supplements are safe during pregnancy if iron levels are low and thought to be the cause of RLS. Make sure that the drugs should prescribe at the lowest dosage if another cause suspect that may require medication and the above treatment does not work.
Types of restless leg syndrome
Here we are going to show you some types of RLS.
1. Primary or idiopathic RLS
Primary RLS means that the cause is unknown. However, it is the most common type of RLS and has some following characteristics.
- It begins at the age of 40.
- It starts as early as childhood.
- May have a genetic cause.
- It tends to be lifelong.
The symptoms of primary RLS get worse over time. Sometimes you may have no symptoms for a long time in mild cases.
2. Secondary RLS
Secondary RLS caused by another disease, and it usually starts after the age of 45 years. However, secondary RLS does not tend to be hereditary. This type of RLS has the following characteristics.
- Start is sudden
- Its symptoms do not get worse over time.
- Symptoms get worse
Some following diseases and symptoms can trigger secondary restless leg syndrome.
- Iron deficiency.
- rheumatoid arthritis
- kidney failure
- Parkinson’s disease
It is uneasy to understand how RLS happens. But it relates to how the body posses a neurotransmitter that plays a role in controlling muscle movements.
However, some medications like antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can trigger RLS and can affect the activity of dopamine.
A study shows that around 20 per cent of women experience RLS during the last trimester of pregnancy.
3. Periodic limb movement disorder
It is similar to the sleep disorder and sometimes known as the periodic leg movement during sleep. Your legs with twitch or jerk while sleeping. PLMD may wake you up frequently during the night and can undermine the quality and the length of sleep.
RLS can develop at any age, but it is most common in the increasing age. However, RLS is more common in women than in men. Sometimes RLS accompanies other conditions such as:
Iron deficiency: Iron deficiency can cause or worsen the RLS. However, you may have an iron deficiency if you have bleeding from your stomach, experience or heavy menstrual period.
Kidney failure: You may experience RLS if you have a kidney failure. If your kidney is not functioning well, then the quantity of iron will decrease in your blood.
Peripheral neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy is the damage to the nerves of your arms and feet. Sometimes it causes due to some chronic diseases such as alcoholism or diabetes.
Spinal cord conditions: Any damage or injury to your spinal cord can cause or worsen the RLS. However, anaesthesia to your spinal cord also increases the risk of developing RLS.
How to treat restless leg syndrome?
Here we are going to show some treatments for RLS.
Here are some prescribed medications if you can not manage the symptoms of RLS.
Painkillers: If you are experiencing mild symptoms of RLS, then painkillers like ibuprofen and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug is best for curing it.
Iron supplementations: If you have a low iron level in your blood, then iron supplements are going to be helpful. As a result, it may help you to improve the symptoms of RLS.
Alpha 2 agonists: Alpha 2 agonists are helpful for people having primary RLS, but it will not affect on periodic limb movement during sleep.
Anticonvulsants: It is helpful to cure muscle spasms, pain, neuropathy and daytime symptoms. Some examples of anticonvulsants are Neurontin or gabapentin.
Benzodiazepines: It is helpful for people having persistent and mild symptoms of RLS. However, some examples of benzodiazepines are Restoril, temazepam, Xanax, alprazolam and Klonopin.
Dopaminergic agents: These agents are helpful to treat leg sensations and raise the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Some examples of dopaminergic agents are levodopa and carbidopa.
Dopamine agonists: It also treat leg sensations and increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. However, some reports show that it may cause adverse effects in older patients.
Opiates: Opiates are helpful to treat pain and symptoms of RLS. If other medications failed, then the doctor may prescribe this. However, some low dose opiates are codeine, propoxyphene. On the other hand, some common high dose opiates are oxycodone hydrochloride and methadone hydrochloride.
Sometimes epilepsy drugs and Parkinson’s disease can reduce the involuntary movements. However, RLS may improve if certain underlying conditions trigger the RLS.
Adopting some lifestyle changes and some home remedies can also help you to cure the symptoms of RLS. Here we are going to discuss some home remedies for the treatment of RLS.
Warm or cold packs: Using some warm or cold applications is helpful to treat the symptoms of RLS.
Warm baths and massages: It reduces the intensity of symptoms and relaxes your muscles.
Relaxation techniques: Doing some exercises such as yoga, meditation, and tai chi helps to cure the symptoms of RLS.
Exercise: If you are living a sedentary lifestyle like walking instead of driving, exercising the legs in the gym or playing a sport is helpful to alleviate the symptoms of RLS.
Sleep hygiene is the best way to reduce the symptoms of RLS. Here we are going to discuss some tips for sleeping hygienically.
- Avoid taking caffeine or sugar.
- Reduce or avoid the consumption of alcohol or tobacco.
- Try to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time every day.
- Sleeping in a cold and quiet bedroom.
- For an hour before going into bed, reduce the amount of light.
Doing some exercises and physical activities can reduce the symptoms of RLS. However, moderate exercise is helpful because doing too much exercise can make the symptoms worse.
Some other options
A small study in 1998 found that magnesium reduced the symptoms of insomnia in people suffering from RLS and is also the best treatment for PLMD. But keep in mind if you are suffering from any kidney disease, then you should be cautious with the intake of magnesium.
However, you can find magnesium in whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Some people find that it is helpful to spray magnesium oil on the affected part of the body. But consult a doctor before using it.
Most of the studies show that the effects of vitamin D on RLS have mixed results. Moreover, staying hydrated is also helpful in treating RLS. So drink plenty of water and avoid intaking caffeine and alcohol.
Restless leg syndrome FAQ
Here we are going to discuss some frequently asked questions related to restless leg syndrome.
1. What is the connection between restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder?
A study shows that more than 80% of people suffering from restless leg syndrome also have a periodic limb movement disorder. You will experience a twitch or twerk during the night on your arms or legs if you are suffering PLMD.
RLS and PLMD can disturb sleep and can cause chronic sleepiness. Most of the people suffering from the PLMD itself and will never develop RLS.
2. Who gets RLS?
About 10% of people suffer from RLS, and about 2% to 3% of them have moderate to severe symptoms. However, RLS is common among women than in men. Most of the people of middle age or older have severe RLS.
Usually, people with RLS in their family get it at a younger age.
3. How can you get a good night sleep despite RLS?
If you are suffering from RLS, then adopting some lifestyle changes can help you get a good sleep. Here are some steps that can reduce or prevent the symptoms.
- Reduce or avoid intaking caffeine and alcohol.
- Stop smoking
- Exercise regularly, but moderately.
- Use heat or ice packs
- Get to the bed and wake up at the same time every day.
4. What is the right time to see a doctor about restless leg syndrome?
You have to consult a doctor for the confirmation of RLS and to eliminate other conditions that may resemble RLS. However, if you are facing problems such as losing sleep, feeling depressed and having trouble concentrating, then you must have to consult a doctor.
5. Is there any connection between iron and restless leg syndrome?
Yes, if the iron level is less in your blood, then you will have restless leg syndrome. However, taking iron supplements can improve RLS. But keep in mind that intaking too much iron can lead to liver damage and other health problems.
6. What causes restless leg syndrome?
RLS connects to how the brain uses dopamine and iron. However, genetics can also be the reason for causing RLS. Moreover, some medical conditions like iron deficiency, diabetes, pregnancy, kidney disease, and Parkinson’s disease connects to RLS.
But most of the people does not have these medical conditions with RLS. If you are suffering from one of these health conditions, then you can cure it to improve the symptoms of RLS.
7. What more can you do to cope with RLS?
Anxiety and depression are also a reason for causing RLS. So it is vital to find ways to cope with the stress if you have moderate to severe RLS. Below we are going to discuss some ways to take control over the RLS.
- Consult with psychologist or psychiatrists if you feel overwhelmed by RLS.
- Cooperate with your doctor.
- Different drugs are necessary to control symptoms.
8. Does RLS can cure itself?
Sometimes RLS rarely disappear in its way. Most of the time, symptoms get worse over time. If you are suffering from a medical condition with RLS, then treating that condition can improve RLS.
9. What are the medications of RLS?
Some FDA-approved drugs such as Horizant, Neupro, Requip and Mirapex are helpful for RLS. Here are some more medications that not made to treat RLS.
- Sedative-hypnotics such as clonazepam and zolpidem.
- Opiate pain medicines such as hydrocodone, tramadol and propoxyphene.
- Anti-seizure drugs like gabapentin.
10. Can restless leg syndrome get worse?
Most of the people suffering from the RLS have the Idiopathic form, which means that there is no cause. However, there is no risk of RLS turning into something more severe for those people. Some more medical conditions such as iron deficiency, diabetes and pregnancy can worsen RLS.
The purpose of this guide is to provide you with every possible information about restless leg syndrome. However, you will feel experience twitchiness and sensation in your legs after going to sleep if you are suffering from RLS. Adopting some lifestyle changes can improve RLS.