Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition that occurs when there are throbbing sensations in the legs, causing the person to move continually and usually uncontrollably while trying to sleep.
These feelings are called paresthesias and are the result of a neurological disorder. Sleep deprivation as a result of this condition can really interfere with a person’s success at work and with traveling, as people tend to struggle with sitting for prolonged periods. Depression is also a potential side effect of this disease.
The person isn’t going to be getting restorative sleep when this is going on and although they may be exhausted, they are not likely to fall asleep as long as their legs are kicking and twitching uncontrollably.
Restless leg syndrome can also affect the sleeping partner as it is very disruptive and the partner may wind up being kicked repeatedly during the course of the night. It’s not unusual for such partners to wind up on the sofa or to want separate beds and seriously, who could blame them?
Classified as a movement disorder, people typically find relief from Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS, only from moving their legs.
The disruption of sleep comes when people deal with periodic limb movement of sleep, when they continue to move their legs while they are sleeping, usually waking themselves with the movement. This condition affects about one-tenth of the population of the United States.
The causes of Restless Leg Syndrome are unknown; however, genetics, age and a problem with dopamine production in the basal ganglia of the brain are all known to have some influence on the onset of the issue.
With no real known cause, there are only a few ways to treat the condition. Doctors sometimes suggest some medications that may help a bit, but these are full of side effects that can have negative effects on other parts of the body.
Why People Prefer Natural Remedies
Due to the myriad of side effects on pharmaceutical medications many patients prefer to go the all natural remedy route to treat this condition. Natural remedies can go a long way toward minimizing the effects of Restless Leg Syndrome and improving the sufferer’s ability to sleep well at night.
Therefore, these options are turned to quickly and before any potential medical answer to the problem. People recognize the potential for help simply by altering their routines and changing their diet, adding supplements as necessary. Therefore, the consideration first goes to these types of natural remedies before having a doctor interfere.
Natural Remedies For Restless Leg Syndrome
Sleep on a Regular Schedule
People who have a schedule and stick to it when it comes to sleep find they have fewer occurrences of their symptoms. This is because they follow a specific routine that lets their body know it is time to sleep. Usually, that helps get to the deeper sleep patterns and stay there more successfully.
When the body becomes accustomed to a regular routine it’s much less likely to be keeping you up with twitching legs and kicking.
Set The Stage
Set the stage for bedtime by focusing on routine. You might consider soaking in a warm bath to soothe and relax the legs before retiring for the night. You might want to walk around the yard or the house once or twice to help get the movement out before retiring.
Whatever you do, set it up so that you do it consistently, especially the warm soak, it’s been known to help reduce symptoms in patients by up to fifty percent or more. That alone may be all it takes to help prepare your legs for bed.
Magnesium has been shown to be helpful to the body when it comes to getting a full night’s rest. Potassium and calcium are also helpful to the body as it does various processes while you sleep.
If you are deficient in any of these minerals, it can have a negative impact on your sleep patterns and increase the occurrence of symptoms related to Restless Leg Syndrome.
Heat or Cold
Combining hot and cold treatment is also beneficial. However, choosing to take a warm bath for 10 to 15 minutes before bed or applying a cold pack to your legs can both be good choices, as long as both are done right before you are headed to bed.
Focusing efforts on the leg muscles and providing relaxation to those muscles via massage is another alternative to help cut down on the occurrence of symptoms related to Restless Leg Syndrome.
Some people report visits to a spa have a similar relaxing effect as well, and this in turn, cuts down on the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome.
Meditation is a great way to wind down and begin to relax. Meditate on allowing the legs to relax and stop moving for a few minutes several times per day.
This is a great way to refocus your attention and work toward reducing your restless legs when you’re trying to get your rest.
Take Walks And Stretch Properly
Walking helps because you are moving the legs. Ensuring you do some stretching exercises both before walking and as a cool-down after a walk can relax the legs and work the muscles to ensure there won’t be issues overnight.
Exercise especially walks, helps to reduce the symptoms by working your legs out more. Your muscles won’t be as likely to twitch and thrash about if you give them a workout earlier in the day. Always stretch before and after walking.
People who have intercourse regularly tend to find relief from Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms. While there are not specific scientific studies to back up this idea, the fact that you get exercise through this activity and have endorphins released can both contribute to a reduction in symptoms after sex.
Keep Mentally Sharp
Read, do Sudoku puzzles or the crossword or otherwise find a way to challenge your brain. Activities that stimulate the brain result in fewer occurrences of the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome.
Even a good conversation with a friend that causes your brain to get a workout can be beneficial.
Listen to some relaxing music or focus on something other than your legs when you’re trying to rest. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to reduce the condition when you turn your focus elsewhere.
Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This can be done once you are in bed for the night. Begin by tensing the muscles in your feet, holding for a few seconds and then allowing those muscles to relax.
Repeat the process with your calf muscles, then thigh muscles and further until you have worked your way through your various muscle groups to the top of your body. This should provide relaxation for your entire body and allow you to get a good night sleep.
Simply start at the top of your head and slowly work your way down to your toes. Focus on each muscle group and relax. This can be done in less than five minutes and is a very good way to prepare your body for bed.
Avoid Sugar Before Bed
While this may sound easy, sugar sneaks in where you least expect it. Read labels on any foods that you’re considering eating before bed. Sugar can make you restless and it certainly isn’t going to reduce your restless leg syndrome. Avoid it several hours before bedtime.
Avoid Caffeine Before Bed
Many people in today’s world rely on a cup of coffee to get their day started. But if you’re one of the many who struggles with restless leg syndrome, keep in mind that after dinner cup of coffee may be causing you to have more restless leg issues than you need.
Skip the after-dinner coffee, in fact, skip all caffeine after about three O’ Clock in the afternoon and see if that doesn’t help to reduce your restless leg syndrome. It is amazing what changing just a few things in your life will do.
This is a homeopathic remedy that has been recommended for some. It should be taken at a specific dilution for full effect. Causticum can be found at your local health food store.
Acupuncture is also recommended as a treatment option for restless leg syndrome. This involves the insertion of a number of fine needles into the body at strategic points in order to refocus the energy in the body and help the areas that need attention.
The body’s natural endorphins are released after a session of acupuncture, and those endorphins kill off the pain. Acupuncture for Restless Leg Syndrome has been studied on two occasions.
Those studies showed that the evidence is inconclusive as to the potential success of the treatment. However, it is not conclusive that there is no benefit from attempting acupuncture for Restless Leg Syndrome either.
Seeing a chiropractor is another option for treatment of Restless Leg Syndrome. A chiropractor can manipulate the spine and do some adjustments that will help to reduce the restless leg syndrome as well as help to improve other areas of the body. Their spinal manipulation can alleviate nerves being pressed on that may contribute to the condition.
A chiropractic visit takes just a few minutes and can provide a lot of relief for the condition. Many people say that after a few visits they no longer struggle with the situation at all.
If you hear what sounds like “glass” crackling and popping as if it would if it were walked on and broken when you rotate your neck, pay your chiropractor a visit and get a spinal manipulation.
This just means that something is out of whack, not that you have glass in your neck. Many insurance policies cover a few chiropractic visits to see if your insurance will cover it and take advantage of a great way to treat your condition naturally.
Causes of Restless Leg Syndrome at an Early Age and Later in Life
Scientists have long been studying Restless Leg Syndrome in the hopes of understanding the cause and being able to cure it or give a definitive way to prevent it.
With Restless Leg Syndrome, several factors have been found to contribute to the onset, but no definite explanation was found to determine how those factors weigh into the syndrome.
Now, scientists have determined the reason one factor in the non-sequencing area of the genome influences the onset of Restless Leg Syndrome.
Scientists say that the variant that has been associated with Restless Leg Syndrome causes interference with gene expression in the non-coding region. This leads to slight changes in the way the body forms during the embryonic stage.
Later in life, the weaknesses or predisposition can then lead to the onset of the condition.
With some further, more intensive study regarding some of the variants that are known to contribute to Restless Leg Syndrome, it may be possible to determine how each factor into the condition and which elements can be influenced so Restless Leg Syndrome can be controlled or even cured.
Meanwhile, another study shows that patients taking dopamine receptor drugs to treat conditions like Restless Leg Syndrome would be more likely to suffer from compulsive shopping, gambling issues or increased sexuality.
In a study of 2.7 million reports on drug events from both the US and foreign countries that were received between 2003 and 2012, 710 events were related to the conditions of gambling, increased sexual activity to the point of hypersexuality and compulsive shopping.
These events largely occurred involving people around the age of 55, and they were more common with males than with females. Of the 710 events, 169 were related to a prescription for Restless Leg Syndrome.
The results show, according to scientists, that the dopamine receptor agonist drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease and Restless Leg Syndrome lead to the occurrence or worsening of impulse control disorders.
However, despite the common connection of these two, the FDA has not required a warning that clearly informs the patient that is prescribed the group of drugs.
Yet another study has found another alternative prescription to treat Restless Leg Syndrome, and indications are that this treatment can also ensure that symptoms are halted and prevented from getting worse.
Pregabalin is an FDA-approved prescription that doctors use to treat nerve pain and seizures. After a year-long study, it has been determined that the drug is very effective in treating Restless Leg Syndrome.
In addition, patients who were on Pregabalin were less likely to see their symptoms get worse. This is in comparison to dopamine neurotransmission system activating medications.
Studies have been showing that one-third of the Restless Leg Syndrome patients treated with the dopamine system targeting drugs have actually had symptoms worsen and move into the upper body over time. In contrast, people on Pregabalin did not experience this worsening of symptoms.
The study involving Pregabalin was conducted at 100 sites in both the United States and Europe. It involved 700 adults that were experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome. These symptoms occurred more than half of each month for a minimum of six months.
The study spanned a 12-week period. Other medications were halted for two weeks prior to the study, and then patients received one of four treatments: daily doses of .25 mg of pramipexole, .05 mg of pramipexole, 300 mg of pregabalin or a placebo.
Those receiving pregabalin experienced a significant reduction in symptoms in comparison to those receiving a placebo. Also, those taking pregabalin had a significantly lower rate of symptoms worsening than either group receiving pramipexole (2-percent compared to 13-percent between both groups of pramipexole recipients).
Keeping your mind engaged during the day, giving your muscles a regular workout, taking supplements to ensure you have the sufficient amounts of minerals to allow the body to complete processes overnight while you sleep and practicing various methods of relaxation to help your legs stay relaxed while you are sleeping all are effective ways to fight the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome.
While the cause is unknown, the fact is that changing certain lifestyle preferences can go a long way toward getting past the symptoms and being able to get a full night’s rest again.
Often, just making a few of the above-mentioned lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate your restless leg syndrome entirely. If one method doesn’t work, try another.
If you have success and then it happens again it doesn’t necessarily mean that your method is failing, consider what you’ve eaten and done that day before you begin to pace the floor. Often it’s simply something that you didn’t really think about or ate or drank that is causing it to resurface in your legs before bed.
Focus on relaxing and making the right changes and you’ll feel better much more quickly. Create a routine and stick with it for a few weeks before you move on to another treatment option.