If you experience uncomfortable “pins and needles” or “creepy crawly” type feelings in your legs, then you are probably suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome. It is a nervous system disorder, and it causes the urge to move the legs. It is also considered a sleep disorder as it interferes with sleep.
It is thought that Restless Legs Syndrome affects up to 10% of the US population. It is more common in women, though it does affect both the sexes. Those who are severely affected are generally in middle age or older, but Restless Legs Syndrome can start at a young age.
The severity can range from mild to intolerable. Symptoms – which come and go – are generally worse at night. For people who suffer severely, their sleep is badly disrupted, which affects their quality of life.
For most cases, doctors do not know what causes Restless Legs Syndrome. As nearly half of sufferers also have a family member with, it is thought that genes play a role.
Chronic diseases, medications, and pregnancy worsen Restless Legs Syndrome. Alcohol use and sleep deprivation may also trigger symptoms.
As there is no real known cause, treatment is focused on reducing the symptoms. If your Restless Legs Syndrome is mild to moderate, lifestyle changes can help. A regular exercise program, reducing alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, and having a regular sleep pattern will make a difference. You can also try leg massages, hot baths or heating pads.
There are certain drugs available that can help with the symptoms. The problem is that not everyone responds in the same way to them. For some, the symptoms may actually worsen. If a drug does work, there is a chance it may lose effectiveness after some time of use.
These treatments – while they will not cure Restless Legs Syndrome – will at least control the condition.