Restless legs syndrome is an illness of the nervous system resulting to leg movement after a powerful urge that occurs while a person is sitting or lying down. The extreme discomfort felt in the legs is often described as a creeping, tingling or burning sensation.It may make falling asleep and staying asleep a difficult task, frequently leading to insomnia.It occurs at any age but typically worsens with age and is slightly more common in women than men.
Restless legs syndrome may also affect the arms and other body parts, although it is most common in the legs, thus earning its name. restless legs syndrome is also called shaking leg syndrome. Moreover, the pain and discomfort in the leg creates a feeling of wanting to get up and move around. However, moving the legs provides temporary comfort only.Most cases of restless legs syndrome remain undiagnosed because of their sporadic occurrences. However, with appropriate home care tips and lifestyle remedies, restless legs syndrome can be treated and avoid interfering with daily tasks.
Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome
In majority of the cases of restless legs syndrome, the cause is unknown. However, there are certain factors that are known to be associatedwith the aforementioned syndrome.
- Anaemia and iron deficiency
- Certain medications such as H2-histamine blockers and certain antidepressants
- Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol use
- Underactive thyroid from polyneuropathy
- Kidney failure
- Poor venous circulation in the legs
Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome
Symptoms of restless legs syndrome will range from mild to excruciating. There is no definite period of how long symptoms manifest and severity will also vary.
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Leg discomfort that worsens at night and is less severe in the morning
- Leg pain or cramps
- Creeping, tingling or burning sensation
- Pins and needles
- Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
First Aid Treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome
First aid treatment can be given to restless legs syndrome to relieve of pain and reduce discomfort in the legs or any body part affected. The following steps may help reducesymptoms:
- Take over-the-counter pain medications for mild symptoms such as, ibuprofen.
- Soak the affected area in warm baths for 15-20 minutes. Massage the legs to relax the muscles.
- Alternately apply warm and cool packs on the affected area to reduce sensations in the limbs.
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga are known to also improve restless legs syndrome.
- Set a regular, moderate exercise schedule.
- Maintain good sleep hygiene. If one does not yet have good sleep hygiene, establish one.
- Avoid caffeine. Moreover, it is also generally recommended to cut back, or if possible, completely stop drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco.
- In some cases of restless legs syndrome, surgery may be required.
Restless legs syndrome is not generally considered a medical emergency. With sufficient first aid treatment and management, symptoms can be effectively reduced. To learn more about how to handle restless legs syndrome and other pain-causing problems, enrol in First Aid Courses.