Causes Of Restless Leg Syndrome
Cause of restless leg syndrome is unknown in most patients however, stress appears to make the condition worse. Restless leg syndrome can be primary or secondary.
Secondary restless legs syndrome causes by an underlying medical condition.
Primary RLS has no known underlying cause. Primary restless leg syndrome is far more common than secondary restless leg syndrome.
Primary restless legs syndrome causes are unknown, but some of the risk factors are known.
In most people with restless legs syndrome , poor sleep and daytime sleepiness are the most bothersome symptoms. Many people do not link their sleep problem with the strange sensations in their legs.
If you are having these sensations, be sure to mention it to your health care provider. This provides a very important clue to what is causing you to sleep poorly. Sleep disturbances have many different causes. Your health care provider may ask you many detailed questions.
These questions concern current medical problems, prior medical problems, family medical problems, medications, work history, travel history, personal habits, and your lifestyle. Your health care provider will look for signs of an underlying cause for your sleep problem.
There is no lab test or imaging study that can prove that you have RLS. However, certain tests can identify underlying medical cause of restless leg syndrome such as anemia, other deficiencies, and metabolic disorders that are the causes restless leg syndrome.
Go To Bed Later Stretch Before You Sleep Cut The Caffeine And Try These Other Helpful Tips
Restless legs syndrome, also called RLS, makes it hard to sleep. Your legs may ache, burn, tingle, twitch, or jerk. To get the deep sleep you need, try going to bed a little later and sleeping later in the morning. Those morning hours may be some of your best rest.
Keep a Regular Bedtime
Going to sleep and waking up at the about the same time every day helps just about everyone sleep better. When you have RLS, it may stop a bad cycle where fatigue makes your symptoms worse, and then the twitching and tingling ruins your sleep for another night. Pay attention to how much sleep you need to feel your best. Most adults need seven to nine hours each night.
Stretch Before You Sleep
Gentle stretching before bed might help. For a calf stretch, step forward and bend your front leg while keeping your back leg straight, in a small lunge. You can put your hand on a wall for support. Repeat on the other side. Stretching also helps if youve been sitting for a long time.
Cut the Caffeine
Coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola can all give you a little burst of energy, thanks to the caffeine, but they can also make your RLS symptoms worse, even hours later. Cut out this stimulant and you may find it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you cut down, keep in mind that caffeine can affect some people for as long as 12 hours.
Soak in a Warm Bath
Chill or Warm Your Legs
Make Exercise a Habit
Exercise Your Brain
Move Your Legs
Massage Your Legs
Restless Legs Syndrome Treatment: How To Stop Restless Legs With Home Remedies
Regular daily exercise can help, says Dr DAnna. But avoid exercising close to bedtime, he warns. Talk to your doctor about a plan that could work for you.
2. Find ways to relax
Relaxation exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, may help relieve your symptoms, says Dr DAnna. So can activities that distract your mind, such as reading or watching television, he suggests. A leg massage late in the day may also relax you and reduce RLS symptoms.
3. Say goodbye to stimulants
Avoid stimulants in the evening, such as caffeine, tobacco and alcohol, says Dr D Anna. In some cases, caffeine makes the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome worse. Try to avoid drinking tea and coffee and see if it makes a difference. Alcohol can also cause issues so consider giving up booze. According to the RLS-UK website, alcohol consumption also increases the span or intensity of symptoms for most individuals and smoking wont help your symptoms either, so cut down or give up. These NHS services can help you quit.
4. Try hot and cold therapy
A warm bath before bed can help you relax and may ease symptoms. Alternatively, apply a hot or cold compress to your leg muscles, says Dr DAnna. You can also alternate between hot and cold compresses to relieve the twitching or pain.
Magnesium may help relax the muscles and lesson symptoms.
5. Give magnesium a go
6. Get your iron levels checked
7. Practice good sleep habits
8. Avoid certain medications
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Can Estrogen Help Restless Leg Syndrome
Estrogens. There is a complex relationship between estrogens, dopamine, and movement disorders in RLS . Estrogen acts as a dopamine antagonist in schizophrenia and this has been hypothesized as its role in RLS, but it may be changes in level rather than the absolute level that influence RLS expression .
Can Caffeine Cause Leg Pain
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What Are The Common Side Effects Of Restless Legs Syndrome Medication
All medications may have side effects, and different classes of medications have different side effects. However, this is not a complete list, and you should consult with your healthcare professional for possible side effects and drug interactions based on your specific situation.
Prescription dopamine agonists, gabapentinoids, and opioids all cause sleepiness, fatigue, confusion, and dizziness as common side effects.
Some severe side effects of dopamine agonists are hallucinations and serious impulse control problems, such as overeating or gambling recklessly. However, the most common serious side effects of dopamine agonists are augmentation and withdrawal.
Dopamine agonists have a high risk of withdrawal, called dopamine agonist withdrawal syndrome . Even when the drug is tapered, one out of five patients will experience psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts, as well as physical symptoms, including pain, nausea, and drug cravings.
The most serious side effects of gabapentinoids and opioids are drug abuse and overdose. An overdose of either drug can be fatal, but gabapentinoids, unlike opioids, do not have an antidote.
Pain relievers such as over-the-counter NSAIDs and acetaminophen are widely available and safe. NSAIDs, unlike acetaminophen, interfere with blood clotting, so their most serious side effects are bruising and bleeding, which may present in the digestive system.
Iron Deficiency And Rls
Are you pumping iron? Ferritin, that is? Ask your physician about testing your serum ferritin levels for abnormalities. Unlike a regular iron measurement, this test records the proteins that store iron in other words, the bodys reserves. If this reading is low, you are considered deficient.
Whether your iron shortage is related to anemia, or pregnancy , a dearth of this vital nutrient can be problematic. In many cases, iron supplementation is an easy solution to this. If youre looking to increase your iron intake naturally, incorporating dark leafy greens and red meat are a great place to start.
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Restless Legs Syndrome And Mental Health
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Restless legs syndrome and mental health have a chicken and egg relationship. People with RLS often have depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. And, people with mental health issues often have restless legs.
Plenty of evidence exists to prove that restless legs syndrome and mental health are closely tied, including:1-3
- About 4 of every 10 people with RLS also have a psychiatric condition like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder .
- RLS can cause insomnia and insomnia is one of the 9 symptoms used to diagnose major depression.
- The worse the RLS symptoms, the more likely someone is to be diagnosed with a serious mental health issue.
- In most people, their mood disorder appeared after their RLS symptoms began, which means RLS may cause or aggravate depression or anxiety.
Caffeine: Absorption Metabolism And Toxicity
Caffeine is absorbed into the blood from the small intestine. This takes place within 45 minutes after ingestion and the peak concentration is reached within an hour.
Caffeine is well distributed in the body and the time it takes for the body to eliminate half the ingested dose varies between 5 – 6 hours. The rate of elimination of caffeine depends on various factors including liver function, drugs that are taken, hormone levels, and even pregnancy.
Caffeine is metabolized by the enzyme, cytochrome P450, into 3 metabolites which are then further broken down before they are excreted in the urine.
|Metabolites of Caffeine|
Paraxanthine 84% increases the breakdown of lipids and the release of fatty acids
Theobromine 12% dilates blood vessels and responsible for the diuretic effect of caffeine
Theophylline 4% relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchi
Caffeine toxicity can occur after the ingestion of a very large dose of caffeine especially when ingested quickly.
A lethal dose of caffeine is estimated at 150 200 mg per kilogram of body weight.
However, caffeine toxicity can still occur following the ingestion of 1 g or more of caffeine. Symptoms of caffeine toxicity vary from one individual to another.
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How To Get Rid Of Anxiety
When this symptom is caused by stress, including anxiety-caused stress, some people have found these short-term strategies beneficial:
- Light to moderate exercise before resting or going to sleep
- A short leisure walk before resting or going to sleep
- Deep relaxation
- Quit smoking if you are a smoker
- Avoid alcohol
- Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your medications
- Donât engage in stimulating activities before you want to rest or sleep
Overall, eliminating anxiety-caused restless leg syndrome requires reducing and eliminating the bodys hyperstimulation. As the body recovers from the adverse effects of hyperstimulation, it stops exhibiting symptoms, including restless legs.
You can speed up the recovery process by faithfully practicing healthy stress reduction strategies, such as reducing your stress load, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about this symptom. Yes, restless legs can be bothersome, but again, when your body has recovered from the adverse effects of hyperstimulation, this symptom will subside.
If you are having difficulty managing worry, you may want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to overcome what seems like unmanageable worry and anxiety.
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Be Active But Don’t Overdo It
You need to be active, just like everyone else, for your best health. With RLS, you should avoid sudden changes in your activity level, such as suddenly starting to train for a marathon or quitting your usual routine.
“People who have RLS function best with the same amount of activity daily,” Asher says. Doing a lot more or less than that might worsen your RLS symptoms.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome
People with RLS experience uncomfortable feelings in their legs when sitting or lying down.
People with RLS frequently describe these feelings as:
- Hard to describe
Some individuals experience symptoms throughout the day, but the symptoms will always be worse at night.
In general, getting up and walking will immediately relieve the symptoms but they usually return as soon as you settle back into a restful state.
Periodic Limb Movements In Sleep
Up to 80% of people with restless legs syndrome also have periodic limb movements in sleep .
If you have PLMS, your leg will jerk or twitch uncontrollably, usually at night while you’re asleep. The movements are brief and repetitive, and usually occur every 10 to 60 seconds.
PLMS can be severe enough to wake up both you and your partner. The involuntary leg movements can also occur when you’re awake and resting.
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What Is The Best Home Remedy For Restless Legs Syndrome
Lifestyle changes are a key component of RLS treatment. Of the recommended home remedies, the most effective is eliminating habits that worsen symptoms. These include avoiding caffeine or alcohol, nicotine-containing products, and using certain antihistamines. Other remedies, such as exercise, massage, and maintaining good sleep hygiene may help some people, but not all.
No Rest For The Weary
As our DVR was groaning from the amount of TV we had recorded recently, I decided to test my reaction to caffeine by drinking the espresso sized pod at 12:00 midday. Oh, my good lord! By 4:00 PM, I was still awake! No napping for me!
In the back of my head, a thought was shouting at me and jumping up and down, waving. “Remember what caffeine does!!” Wafting it away with my imaginary hand, I sat down to watch more television, surprised by the fact I actually wasn’t asleep.
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When Does Restless Leg Syndrome Happen
Symptoms occur when the person is at rest or inactive, such as:
- Lying down
- In bed
- In a restricted space, like on a plane or at the movies
As a person is more likely to be at rest in the afternoon and evening, those are the parts of day when RLS symptoms are usually at their worst. For some of those affected by RLS, the symptoms may only occur occasionally, while for others they are present every day.
Symptoms tend to improve in the mornings with getting up, and whenever the person starts to move or walk around. Moving around as a remedy can cause problems when the person is trying to go to sleep.
Symptoms can vary in severity, from mild discomfort to being so disruptive and painful they affect day-to-day life. Sleep can be so disturbed that people have difficulty functioning during the day, which can commonly lead to depression and anxiety.
Worried you may have RLS? Start a symptom assessment on the Ada app.
The Impact Of Chocolate On Restless Leg Syndrome
How then can you doubt the benefits of chocolate when talking about restless leg syndrome?
Many patients with this syndrome confirm an increase in their symptoms after consuming chocolate.
Whether its chocolate ice cream or a simple square of dark chocolate, they claim to have triggered a major crisis within hours of following the ingestion.
Chocolate contains caffeine and any source is contraindicated when suffering from restless legs.
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Is There A Known Cause For Restless Leg Syndrome
Extensive research into the cause of RLS is occurring worldwide. A single unifying cause has not been identified, but we are getting closer. Here is what we do know:
- RLS often runs in families. This is called primary or familial RLS. Researchers are currently looking for the gene or genes that cause RLS.
- RLS sometimes appears to be a result of another condition, which, when present, worsens the underlying RLS. This is called secondary RLS.
- Up to 25% of women develop RLS during pregnancy but symptoms often disappear after giving birth.
- Low iron levels with out without anemia frequently contribute to a worsening of RLS.
- RLS is very common in patients requiring dialysis for end-stage renal disease.
- Damage to the nerves of the hands or feet from any number of causes including diabetes contributes to RLS.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rls
RLS produces a set of uncomfort-able sensations, most often in the area of the leg above the ankle but below the knee. Other possible locations include the upper legs, feet, and arms. The discomfort can start during the day when you have been sitting for a long period of time, or at night when you lie down to sleep. It may subside after an hour or so, but it may be present for so long that sleep is disrupted. The discomfort of RLS can be described as an aching, creeping, tingling, crawling, pulling, searing, or bubbling sensation.
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Ways To Relieve Rls Symptoms
Want help calming the telltale tingling, burning, itching, creeping, crawling, tugging, or pulling of RLS? Here are seven strategies to try for relief.
Even with all the right lifestyle tactics, including a healthy diet, supplements for nutrient deficiencies, and exercise,restless legs syndrome symptoms can act up. When RLS triggers those uncomfortable sensations in your legs, you want a strategy to stop them right away. Fortunately, there are many on-the-spot RLS relief strategies that you can try.
7 Strategies for RLS Relief
Everyone responds differently to RLS treatment. It may take a trial-and-error approach to find the strategies that work best for you and fit with your lifestyle. Some of these approaches are hands-on, while others are based on distraction or a change of environment. As you try these tips, make a note of what works and what doesn’t to create the ultimate action plan for when your symptoms flare.
Also talk with your doctor about over-the-counter pain medications and prescription drugs you can take when RLS flares seem overwhelming.
Symptoms: What Does Restless Leg Syndrome Feel Like
The main symptom of RLS is an overwhelming urge to move the legs because of uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings in one or both legs.
The sensations in the legs and, in severe cases, the arms are variously described as:
- Having an electric current
Some people may experience the feelings as painful, but most people feel the sensations as an ache rather than sharp or sudden pain.
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