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The Facts About Restless Leg Syndrome
Written By : M. Lieberman 
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Restless Legs Syndrome or RLS is a very poorly understood disorder and it is often misdiagnosed. It is believed to be neurological in origin. It is a common cause of pain in the legs or abnormal sensations and the sensations can range in severity from a feeling of uncomfortable to irritating or painful.

It is generally characterized by the unpleasant sensations in the legs, with an uncontrollable urge to move the legs for relief. Most patients with RLS may also suffer from sleep disturbances with periodic movements of the legs, either during sleep or while they are awake. It can make you feel like you must get up and move around and when you do get up and move around, the unpleasant feeling seems to go away.

The most distinctive aspect of the condition seems to be that when lying down and trying to relax, the symptoms are activated. Patients with RLS often use words such as tingling sensations, burning sensations or a creeping and crawling to describe how they are feeling.

When they move their legs, it seems to ease the feelings, but only for a short time. The same unpleasant feelings can occur in the arms too. Restless leg syndrome normally begins very slowly, but over time, the legs will become more affected and although less frequently, it can affect the arms.

Restless legs syndrome does occur in both sexes, although the women may be more at risk. It can affect members of the same family and it may even be an inherited condition. Symptoms usually get gradually worse over time and can become severe enough to be disabling. The symptoms seem to be more severe during the evening and night and much less severe during the morning.

What are the most common symptoms in restless leg syndrome?

There is a desire to move the legs, along with both unusual and uncomfortable sensations within the legs. The restless movements are actually a response to try and relieve the discomfort. The symptoms are progressively worse at rest or during inactivity and can be temporarily improved by moving the limbs.

Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition that is present for life and it can get even worse over time. There are other medical conditions that are similar to restless leg syndrome, such as: diseases of the muscles, conditions involving the joints, nerve disorders and circulation problems. Some of the available treatments can help to reduce the symptoms and improve function.

The common causes and risk factors of Restless Leg Syndrome include the following: family history of RLS, smoking, an iron deficiency, any type of chronic disease, stress, fatigue and anti-nausea or anti-seizure drugs.

The common symptoms include: problems sleeping, unpleasant feelings in the legs and twitching of the legs during the night.

The common treatment consists of: pain relievers to help with the mild to severe symptoms. Patients with severe varicose veins in their legs may receive some benefit from wearing support hose, getting some daily exercise to help your mobility.

You may also find some benefit from physical therapy. This might involve some stretching exercises. You might also consider the use of Jacuzzi baths, alternating hot or cold packs, massage of your limbs or the use of vibratory or electrical stimulation to your feet and toes before going to bed.

If you smoke, consume caffeine or alcohol, you might try to decrease the amounts of each to provide some relief.

 
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