What is Restless Legs Symdrome?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is an often painful condition which occurs in the legs of a person. Uncomfortable sensations caused by RLS most often take place at night and create a strong desire to walk around as a way of relieving these symptoms. Seeking pain treatment may be necessary for those with severe forms of this condition.
Anyone can develop restless legs syndrome. The older a person is however, the greater they risk developing this condition and experiencing more severe symptoms. When severe pain occurs, inhibiting a person’s ability to live life, pain treatment at a pain treatment center may be necessary.
Poor sleep quality at night, and thus fatigue during the day, are common symptoms of those with restless legs syndrome. Crawling sensations, burning, and itching are a few common ways people describe this condition. Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is another condition which commonly occurs in those with RLS. When someone has PLMD they experience uncontrolled spasms of the legs.
Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome
Symptoms may include:
- Sensations in the legs
- Feeling like one’s legs are on fire
- Strong desire to move the legs in some way
- Daytime fatigue
- Feeling like bugs are creeping inside the legs
- Frequent night-time episodes
Those with this disorder have an increased chance of having arthritis, diabetes, or conditions like depression. Pain treatment should be sought out in order to prevent such problems from arising. In some cases, the feet and arms are also affected. Long periods of staying in one place at a time (which often aggravates RLS) can become unbearable for those with this condition, making plane flights and long car rides rare instances.
What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?
Specific causes of RLS include:
- Age. Older adults are more likely to develop this condition.
- Stress. Constant stress may initiate or worsen episodes of RLS.
- Pregnancy. The hormone changes associated with pregnancy can cause RLS to arise, however, after pregnancy these symptoms usually disappear. Symptoms of this condition may also worsen during pregnancy.
- Iron deficiency. A lack of iron in the bloodstream may cause restless legs syndrome.
- Alcohol & Caffeine. Consuming things such as alcohol and soda (which contains caffeine) may trigger the signs of restless legs syndrome.
- Genetics. Some argue that restless legs syndrome is primarily caused by one’s genetic history.
- Medication. Certain types of medications can encourage the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
- Disease. Parkinson’s disease and arthritis are two of the conditions associated with the presence of RLS. Both of these disorders require the use of pain treatment for effective recovery to take place.
Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome can be treated in a number of different ways, although an actual cure for this condition is not known. Methods of pain treatment include:
- Relax – Massage the legs or take a bath. These methods may help to reduce symptoms.
- Determine any underlying disorders – Conditions such as diabetes, iron deficiency, or peripheral neuropathy may be present at the same time as RLS or may have caused the condition to arise. By determining and treating these disorders, signs of restless legs syndrome may diminish or disappear completely.
- Sleep – Having a regular pattern of sleep may reduce the symptoms associated with restless legs syndrome.
- Medication – Types of medication can be very useful in reducing the symptoms of RLS. Anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines, and opioids have been known to be used. Also, medications taken by those with Parkinson’s disease have been proven especially effective. Unfortunately, with medication, negative side effects may also occur, worsening daytime side effects.
- Heat or Ice Packs – Applying cold or heat to the area may temporary relieve symptoms of RLS.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco – The use of these three substances can increase the intensity of RLS as well as keep you awake at night.
- Exercise – Constantly exercising and stretching the body will help to maintain overall health and in the case of RLS, may decrease pain and discomfort.
In severe cases of RLS, treatment for pain offered at a pain treatment facility may be necessary. Past sufferers of conditions such as restless legs syndrome have found recovery at these pain treatment centers.