"WORMS CRAWL UNDER MY SKIN IF
I DON'T KEEP
MOVING MY LEGS."
"MY LEGS DECIDE
THEY WANT TO RUN,
AND I HAVE TO FOLLOW"
"AFTER I GET IN BED,
A GREMLIN GRABS MY LEGS AND
LEADS ME AROUND LIKE A PUPPET."
Restless Legs Syndrome is essentially a
movement disorder. It involves an intense urge to move
your legs at bedtime . The symptom can be hard to
describe but are quite different from the pain of a
muscle cramp. Some people also have symptoms in the arms
and other parts of the body. It can occur at any age in
both men and women. It is also common, effecting about 1
out of every 10 people at some point in their lives.
Some people with RLS have symptoms only at certain times. Others have them on a regular basis. This may prevent you from falling asleep or staying asleep. As a result, people with RLS often have poor sleep quality and feel very tired or sleepy during the day. Sufferers may find it hard to travel by car or airplane because it is hard to sit still for long periods of time. The sleep loss and disturbance of daytime activities can even lead to anxiety and depression.
Most people (about 3/4) with RLS also have periodic limb movements (PLMs). These movements tend to consist of an extension of the big toe together with an upward bending of the ankle, knee, or hip. These “ jerks” or “kicks” occur at regular intervals (usually 20 to 40 seconds) and in clusters, when you are asleep. You are usuallty unaware of them. In contrast, RLS may cause movements when you are awake.
Like RLS, PLMs may contribute to poor sleep quality. These leg movements often cause you to briefly wake
up from your leep. These brief awakenings are called "arousals” and they disturb your sleep causing you to wake up unrefreshed or you may have difficulty falling asleep. PLM also may disturb the sleep of your bed partner who will no doubt complain when repeatedly kicked or bumped during the night.
To assess the severity of your symptoms. One of our staff will call you to advice on getting the right treatment.
WHAT Causes RLS?
We have not as yet found the exact cause but recent advances have shown a direct link to a problem with a brain chemical known as dopamine. Medications that increase dopamine in the brain have been effective at relieving symptoms. Some medical conditions may increase the chance of developing RLS. These include:
Some medications may trigger RLS.
These include over-the-counter allergy and cold medications.
Caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco use may make the condition worse.
HOW is RLS Treated?
The first step in treating RLS is to see if you have any conditions predisposing to the problem. Iron deficiency is a typical situation where replacing the iron may help alleviate the symptoms. For many people however, symptom continue even after receiving treatment for the related conditions.
Home remedies are enough to help some people with mild or occasional RLS. These remedies include:
When symptoms are severe or home remedies are
ineffective, you can take prescription medications.
There are many drugs and you will need to talk to
your doctor or sleep specialist about tailoring one
to suit your level of severity and acceptance of