Sunday, May 13, 2007

Treatment Options For Restless Leg Syndrome

After many sleepless nights, you finally had the courage to seek help from your doctor to know what's wrong with you. Then he tells you what it is. He calls it Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS. It suddenly makes sense now why you've suffered from painful and unpleasant sensations in your calves and lower legs for many nights now. Now, you may want to ask this question: What are the treatment options available for people like you who suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome?

You've observed that moving your legs, massaging them, doing some deep knee bends and walking seem to provide some temporary relief. You also observed that it often occurs when you are lying down or sometimes when you sit for a prolonged period of time. It occurs most often at night so that you have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Because of this you feel very tired and restless when morning comes.

They say that it is quite difficult to pinpoint the cause of Restless Leg Syndrome. It was linked to anemia and other diseases that are chronic in nature such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes, kidney failure and peripheral neuropathy (where you lose feeling in your hands and feet). They even say that RLS might be a symptom of an underlying medical condition that could be worse.

There is no cure for RLS. Most often, treatments are geared towards alleviating the symptoms of the condition. Generally doctors suggest a change in lifestyle and taking prescription drugs and supplements to relieve the symptoms. The treatment options for Restless Leg Syndrome include the following:

1. Health practitioner advise those who suffer from RLS to stop or even reduce consumption of tobacco products, caffeine and alcohol to prevent worsening of the symptoms.

2. They also advise you to develop a regular sleep schedule in order to regulate your sleeping and waking cycle.

3. Doing some moderate exercises or engaging in activities such as walking, yoga or stretching at bedtime is suggested and has proven to help prevent some occurrences of the symptoms

4. Taking cold or hot baths and massaging the legs or using ice packs or heating pads can be done to relax the muscles in the affected areas.

5. Doctors also advise you to take vitamin and mineral supplements to increase your body's iron, foliate and magnesium levels. It has been observed that RLS generally does not occur in people who have high levels of these minerals.

6. For cases where the symptoms are too severe for other remedies to provide comfort, doctors can prescribe one of the following drugs:

a. Benzodiazepines. They tend to depress one's central nervous system in order for sufferers to be able to sleep better despite the symptoms. However, those who have sleep apnea should not use them.

b. Dopaminergic agents. These are drugs that are most often prescribed for Parkinson's disease patients. They have also proven to reduce symptoms of RLS and leg movements at night.

c. Opoids. These are "relaxants" or painkillers that can often help those who suffer from severe symptoms.

So you see, there are actually a lot of treatment options for Restless Leg Syndrome. Some people falsely claim that RLS is not a very serious condition and can be left untreated. They believe that symptoms would probably go away after a while. Some symptoms do, but most do not.

Seeing your doctor is the first step in treating your condition. It will save you from having a lot of pain in the future, since the likelihood of the symptoms worsening increases the longer it is left untreated.