Restless leg syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is a condition where there is an uncontrollable urge to move the legs and usually caused by discomfort in the legs. It usually happens in the evenings or nights while sitting or lying down. By moving, it lessens the unpleasant sensation temporarily. Restless leg syndrome affects a person at any age and becomes worse as the person ages. It causes disruption in sleep and result to drowsiness in the daytime and also makes traveling difficult.
- The sensation usually begins after being at rest, lying down or sitting for long periods of time such as riding in a car, airplane or sitting in a movie theater.
- The pain is minimized with movement such as jiggling the legs, stretching, pacing or walking.
- The symptoms become worse in the evening.
- Nighttime leg twitching is similar to another condition called periodic limb movement of sleep which also causes the legs to twitch and kick while sleeping at night.
- The sensations in the limb can be described as creeping, pulling, throbbing, aching, crawling and itching.
- Restless leg syndrome can be hereditary or runs in the family, especially if the condition begins before reaching 50 years old.
- Hormonal changes or during pregnancy can cause restless leg syndrome in women especially during the last trimester.
- Soak the body in a warm bath and massage the affected legs helps in relaxing the muscles.
- Apply alternately hot or cold compress to help lessen the sensations felt on the affected leg. Immerse the legs in hot bathtub for at least 2 minutes and then apply a cold compress on the leg for a few minutes several times before going to sleep at night.
- Perform relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation to lessen stress that can make restless leg syndrome worse especially during bedtime.
- Avoid being fatigue, sleep in a cool, quiet and comfortable sleeping environment. Maintain a regular sleeping pattern such as going to bed and waking up in the morning the same time every day and have plenty of sleep every day.
- Perform moderate exercises regularly such as walking outside in a mall or on a treadmill at least 30-60 to help minimize fatigue and symptoms of restless leg syndrome but avoid overdoing it by walking late in the day since it can make the condition worse. Perform stretches for the calves, Achilles tendons, thighs and the hamstrings can also help with the condition. Pedal in a stationary bike also helps with the condition. If these exercises cause shortness of breath, stop and sit down for a few minutes.
- Avoid foods that contain caffeine such as chocolate and caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and soft drinks at least for a week.
- Drink mineral water that has high level of magnesium content at least 100 milligrams per liter of water.