Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is an often-ignored condition that causes extreme discomfort in the legs. These sensations have been described as tingly, crawling, creeping feelings, and cause the overwhelming urge to move the affected limb. The symptoms most often occur when the person is sitting, resting, or sleeping, and they happen at night most often.
BUT, before you address any of the symptoms of RLS, you need to figure out if something is causing it. While RLS can be related to things that are largely out of your control, such as genetics or pregnancy, other possible factors can be addressed such as:
- Bad Habits
- The use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can aggravate RLs symptoms.
- Genetic Health Conditions
- Renal (kidney) disease, or ESRD, and nerve damage from diabetes have been linked with RLS. Iron deficiency anemia also has a strong connection with RLS.
- Sugar, Sugar, and Tight Clothing?
- Eating lots of sugar or wearing tight clothing can aggravate RLS symptoms. While there’s not a lot of research to back up these connections, trying these solutions is good to try.
See below for some other great ways to treat RLS:
Sleeping well and a lot is great for anyone, but it’s especially important for those who suffer with RLS. This method is not proving to fully fix the issue, but it certainly will help your body deal with the symptoms.
Add a Consistent Source of Iron to your Diet
Iron is one of the things that can help you deal with RLS, which is why an iron deficiency can exacerbate the problem. Some studies have shown that iron supplements can help ease RLS symptoms. In some cases, RLS symptoms can be totally solved by adding iron to your diet.
Start Exercising…Like Now!
Exercise can help many things run smoother in your body, and you can RLS to that list. Studies done by the National Sleep Council have proven that by mildly exercising 3 times a week you can significantly improve the symptoms of RLS. The recommendation from the Restless Legs Foundation is to exercise in moderation often, but not to the point of significant aches and pains.
Stretch like you Mean It
Like other types of exercise, yoga and stretching exercises have been shown to have benefits for people with RLS. A 2013 eight-week study of 10 women found that yoga helped reduce their RLS symptoms. It also helped improve their mood and reduce their stress levels, which could in turn improve their sleep. It’s not entirely clear to researchers why yoga and stretching works, and more research would be beneficial.
A Weekly Massage Keeps the RLS Away
Massaging your leg muscles could help ease your RLS symptoms. Although there’s not a lot of other research that backs up massage as an RLS treatment, a 2007 case study illustrated its benefits. A 35-year-old woman who had 45-minute leg massages twice a week for three weeks had improved RLS symptoms throughout that time period. Her massages included a range of techniques, including Swedish massage and direct pressure to leg muscles. Her RLS symptoms eased after two massage treatments, and didn’t start to return until two weeks after the massage regimen ended.
Try Hot & Cold Treatment
While there’s not a lot of research backing up using heat and cold to relieve RLS symptoms, many healthcare organizations recommend it. They include the National Sleep Foundation and the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation. These organizations suggest taking a hot or cold bath before going to bed, or applying hot or cold packs to your legs. Some people’s RLS symptoms are aggravated by cold, while others have problems with heat. So be weary of what you’re doing.
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