Restless leg syndrome is often misapplied to hyperactive children. Contrary to a common line of thinking, a restless child who’s struggling to stay seated doesn’t just need to go play or stretch their legs, and use up some energy, to settle them down. In reality, restless leg syndrome (RLS) is much more serious.
People who have this disease experience sleepless, pain-filled nights and suffer the consequences the next day as exhaustion hits. Thankfully, there are ways to combat RLS and finally get a good night’s sleep.
Do you think you’re experiencing restless leg syndrome and its effects? Stop by The Vein Center in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, to find out for sure. Thomas R. Wieters, MD, can diagnose the disease and work with you to set up a custom treatment plan that will have you feeling 100% in no time.
Perhaps the term restless leg syndrome downplays the seriousness of the disorder. People tend to think of restlessness as something that can be annoying but easily remedied.
Instead, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, RLS is an unpleasant or uncomfortable feeling in the legs along with an irresistible urge to move them. RLS is considered a neurological disorder because it comes from your brain failing to process dopamine properly. Dopamine aids your body in making smooth muscle movements.
Symptoms mostly occur during the evening hours, when you’re sitting or lying down for hours at a time. However, symptoms can occur any time you’re immobile for a long period of time, such as on a long car ride, inside a movie theater, or while sitting at work.
Although movement can relieve discomfort caused by RLS, symptoms often resume soon afterward. The Mayo Clinic notes that many patients describe the discomfort as crawling, creeping, pulling, throbbing, aching, itching, or electric.
While the pain is often reason enough to see Dr. Wieters, the side effects make RLS as debilitating as it is. Even the most active people need to be immobile for long periods of time for sleep.
Almost all people with RLS go through sleepless nights, constantly interrupted by pain and the urge to move. This exhaustion carries with it the usual negative side effects — the inability to concentrate, lack of productivity, depression, irritability, etc.
Unfortunately, RLS is a lifelong disease — there is no cure. There are, however, ways to control RLS and earn back your sleep and comfort. Most home remedies for RLS revolve around lifestyle changes and common remedies. Lifestyle changes include:
Common remedies, like warm baths and cold/hot compresses, can also relieve symptoms. Either end of the temperature spectrum may help, so try both to see what works best for you.
On the medicinal side, there is no true cure for RLS. Most prescribed treatments are intended to only treat symptoms and not the disease itself. Because of this, treating your RLS may feel like a bit of guessing game. Even though most medicinal treatments for RLS are prescribed without knowing the direct cause, 82 percent of treatments are successful.
One of the most popular treatments works to raise your body’s store of iron. Research has indicated a correlation between iron deficiency and RLS in some patients. Sedatives and sleeping medications help patients sleep through their RLS symptoms as well.
Dopamine agents and antagonists, which raise the levels of the neurotransmitter responsible for fine motor functions, may help keep RLS symptoms at bay. Finally, low-dose opiates can dissipate RLS pain enough to help you get some sleep.
Restless leg syndrome ends up impacting 7 of 10 Americans in their lifetime. While there is no known cure for RLS, Dr. Wieters, a vascular surgeon, is well-versed on the condition and its impact. He will diagnose the disease and create a treatment plan that works for your lifestyle. Call his Mount Pleasant office or request an appointment online today!