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Restless Leg Syndrome Basics

Author: Donald Saunders

Published: 2009-01-06 : (Rev. 2014-03-14)


Whenever a person sits down or lays down at night their legs start to feel as if pins and needles are sticking them or suffer a creepy crawling feeling.

Main Digest

A number of recent news stories and TV commercials have clearly shown the discomfort of Restless Leg Syndrome sleep disorder (normally referred to as simply RLS) to everyone. While of course those who have suffered with the disorder for many years know only too well the ways in which RLS can disrupt everyday life.

As information about RLS becomes more widely known people might well discover the cause of their mystery symptoms and start to ask questions when they see their physician. More importantly they will come to see their symptoms as real and not simply imagined and they are not alone.

The easiest description of how RLS affects a person is to say that it is a disorder in which you find that you simply cannot relax. Whenever a person sits down or lays down at night their legs start to feel as if pins and needles are sticking them or suffer a creepy or crawling feeling and the need to continually move their legs, making it almost impossible to sleep. This in itself explains why one of the main effects of RLS is insomnia.

As research data has become available it has become clear that many people with RLS also have family members who suffer from this disorder and that there is therefore almost certainly a genetic component to RLS.

This genetic component is important when diagnosing children because they frequently do not vocalize their pain or discomfort in the same way as adults and the condition is often misdiagnosed, as muscle cramps, arthritis, stress and insomnia and focus is often put on the child's inattentiveness, restlessness and irritability as what is referred to as merely growing pains.

Also, pregnant women will at times find themselves suffering from the symptoms of RLS throughout their pregnancy with the most intense symptoms of the condition appearing in their final trimester. Because of their pregnancy, medication is not recommended until the last two or three months of their pregnancy when the effects on their unborn baby are going to be minimal.

Diagnosis should be the principle concern for anyone with RLS because it is after diagnosis that treatment can become the focus and relief begins.

Treatment for RLS varies widely from one person to the next and depends upon the severity of the symptoms. Medication is normally used for severe cases with Requip and Mirapex being two of the most well known used medicines. For individuals who do not like to take medication there are alternative treatments such as acupuncture and a range of homeopathic remedies. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as using hot and cold packs, exercise and relaxation can also be used to provide symptomatic relief.

While it might seem appropriate to find the best relief for your symptoms by yourself you ought to consult your doctor first because RLS can sometimes appear as a secondary condition and be caused by another condition or disorder as, for instance, when it appears during pregnancy. Using your own treatment plan can result in further problems and thus not result in the relief you are looking for.

Because each person is unique individual so too are our symptoms and an understanding of this fact is vital when it comes to treating RLS. It is only with sound knowledge of this disorder that proper treatment can begin and that the leg pain of RLS will become a memory.


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