Restless legs syndrome

Learn A to Zee facts on restless legs syndrome

Overview and introduction

Restless Legs Syndrome, also known as RLS, is a sleeping disorder where you have a constant urge to move your legs from one side to another. This happens when a part of your nervous system gets impaired and it interferes with your sleep. Hence RLS is categorized as a sleeping disorder.

Risk factors that can trigger occurrences of a Restless legs syndrome

These are the following risk factors or causes that can interfere with your sleep leading to restless legs syndrome:

Impact of diseases

Deficiency of iron content in your body incidentally leads to RLS. Kidney failure, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes can also lead you to experience painful symptoms associated with RLS. Normally, when you start taking a treatment for diseases as stated above, you can also get relief from the symptoms of RLS.

The role medication plays in you getting diagnosed with RLS

You can conveniently say, that certain anti-depressants, steroids, anti-nausea pills, psychotic pills and certain cold and allergy tablets containing a chemical component namely the antihistamines can also worsen your symptoms of RLS.


Women usually experience restless legs syndrome especially during the last trimester. This usually vanishes a month post your having delivered the baby.

Other factors

Other factors include:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption and
  • Drug abuse

You can thus improve your quality of sleep if you stop consuming alcohol or drugs.

Symptoms associated with RLS

The symptoms associated with RLS are as follows

  • Uncomfortable sensation to constantly move your legs from one side to another
  • You can also feel the similar urge near your arms or other parts of your body
  • Itchy feeling near your arms and legs
  • Feeling of crawly creeping felt near the ankle area
  • Horrible pain especially while you are lying or sitting down.

Treatment options to alleviate the pain or discomfort arising from RLS

On a general note if you adapt yourself to healthier life style changes like reducing consumption of caffeine, tobacco or alcohol or by going in for a regular exercise program, you can find very good improvement from the painful symptoms caused by RLS. You can establish a uniform sleep wake up cycle. In other words, you go to bed at the same time at night every day, and wake up the same time every single day in the morning.

Specific treatment programs targeted at alleviating pain or discomfort caused to you via restless legs syndrome include those of

  • Hot water or hot oil leg massages
  • You can also apply ice packs to the affected zone
  • Warm baths or heated pads can be placed near both your feet
  • You need to maintain healthy sleeping habits
  • You can also use a nerve stimulating pad known as Relaxis

Medication to treat RLS

These are the drugs you can use to alleviate the symptoms of RLS. They are

  • Dopaminergic drugs directly act upon the neuro transmitter center of your brain. Other FDA approved drugs include
  • Neupro
  • Requip and
  • Mirapex

Note: These drugs can effectively be used to treat moderate to severe symptoms for RLS. Here levodopa can also be prescribed by doctors to help cure RLS.

  • You have a class of sedative pills known as Benzodiazepines which can help you sleep. But you tend to feel sleepy or drowsy all through the day.
  • Narcotic pain relievers can also be used to cure painful symptoms associated with RLS.
  • Anti-seizure drugs that help the mind calm down and hence put you to sleep include those of
  • Lyrica
  • Horizant and
  • Neurontin.

These drugs are also known as anti-convulsants.

Although there no standard or specific treatment targeted at completely curing symptoms associated with RLS, the above mentioned treatment options can definitely remove pain, discomfort and thereby give you a better quality of sleep.

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