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How to Get Rid of RLS

The following lists some simple, informative tips that will help you get rid of RLS, the condition of restless and cramping legs.

What is Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)? You may be asking this question if you have experienced strange sensations at night in your legs and perhaps saw a commercial on TV talking about Restless Legs Syndrome.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological condition that leaves your legs with the urge to move. There are 4 criteria that you must meet in order to be diagnosed with restless leg syndrome. The four criteria are:

    You experience strong urges to move your legs that you are unable to resist. You feel uncomfortable sensations in your legs that accompany the urges to move your legs. These sensations feel like creepy-crawly, a tugging or gnawing feeling in your legs.

    The symptoms either start or become worse when you are resting your legs. The longer your legs are at rest the more severe the symptoms get.

    When you move your legs the symptoms get better. As long as you are moving your legs the symptoms are relieved, when you rest your legs, the symptoms return.

    The RLS symptoms worsen at night when you are lying on your bed, especially when you try to sleep.

    The sensations disturb your sleep so that it is difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep because of the sensations in your legs. RLS can lead to sleep deprivation that can have disastrous consequences for you at work, school or at home. The lack of sleep can affect your health, your relationships and your ability to function.

Individuals who have RSL may also have periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS). PLMS are jerks that happen every 20 or 30 seconds periodically during your sleep.

Besides taking prescribed medications for RLS, someone who has RLS can also do the following to help with their symptoms:

Questions to ask your doctor:

1. Ask the doctor to check to see if there are any underlying deficiencies in iron, vitamins or minerals.

2. Ask your doctor if any of the other medications you are taking may in fact be making your RLS symptoms worse. Drugs that may interact with RLS are high blood pressure medications, cardiac meds, nausea, cold or allergy medications and also medications prescribed for depression.

3. It is also important that if you are taking any herbal or other over-the-counter medications that they are not making your RLS symptoms worse – your pharmacist or doctor should be able to answer you regarding this.

Steps you can take at home:

    • Examine your diet to be sure it is healthy and well balanced as getting good nutrition is vital to a healthy, well-working body.

    • Eliminate any alcohol intake you may presently consume.

    • Activities that may help your to relax at night include:

    • Taking a walk

    • Stretching

    • Taking a relaxing hot bath

    • Hopefully the information presented so far has been applicable. You might also want to consider the following:

    • Massaging your legs

    • Acupressure or other relaxation techniques

    • If you experience symptoms while seated try keeping your mind occupied with discussions, craftwork, video games or reading.

    • Explore good sleeping habits to help you fall asleep

    • Eliminate caffeine from your diet (beverages and food items)

RLS is not limited to just your legs, RLS symptoms can occur in your arms and also in the trunk of your body.

Although RLS symptoms are commonly found in middle-aged individuals, it can be diagnosed in individuals of any age including kids. It is also found in pregnant women.

The diagnosis:

A doctor diagnoses RLS by first listening to your complaints so that there is a working list of your symptoms.

A diagnostic interview will be conducted that will give the doctor clues and more information about when and how the symptoms occur.

The doctor will review your medical history and do a thorough physical examination.

The doctor may have to do tests to rule out other conditions before diagnosing you with RLS.

Although there are no exact tests to determine RLS your doctor may beform tests to rule out other conditions or to test for conditions that may be associated with RLS.

The tests that may be performed are:

• Blood ferritin (iron) levels

• Sleep lab study

RLS often appears in other family members, which suggests it could be hereditary. To support this theory, researches found a gene variant in a study conducted in July of 2007.

Sometimes it’s tough to sort out all the details related to this subject, but I’m positive you’ll have no trouble making sense of the information presented above.