Proven Strategies for Reducing the Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) affects many Americans, and symptoms can vary greatly depending upon the individual. While many sufferers of RLS experience only occasional or light symptoms, there are some individuals who are greatly affected by the condition.
For those who are hit hard by RLS, life can be difficult. For example, RLS causes sleep patterns to be interrupted, resulting in chronic fatigue, and severe RLS can make many ordinary activities difficult or even unendurable. Simple activities such as watching a television show, driving a car, or working at a desk can become uncomfortable.
It is important for RLS sufferers to find relief from their symptoms so they can function and thrive in their lives. Modern medicine still has a lot to learn about RLS, but there are several effective strategies that patients can use to help alleviate their symptoms. Below are a few of the best strategies that have been tested and found useful.
Restore Balance to Your Diet
Restless leg syndrome may be aggravated by a deficiency in one or more essential vitamins and minerals. A lack of magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C and D, or iron may play a role in RLS development and contribute to the expression of symptoms.
Supplementation with vitamins and minerals may help alleviate some of the symptoms, but it is important to keep in mind that some vitamins and minerals can cause serious side effects if taken in high doses. That is why eating a diet rich in some of the above vitamins and minerals is preferred and will help prevent possible problems.
Limit Your Intake of Caffeine
Another key to alleviating the symptoms of RLS is to reduce the intake of caffeine. Caffeine lessens the neuronal threshold required for involuntary movement of muscles, meaning that caffeine permits the muscles in the leg to twitch and jerk without being consciously controlled by the brain.
For sufferers of RLS, caffeine can exacerbate their condition; lowering caffeine intake will lessen these uncomfortable involuntary responses.
In addition, other substances such as nicotine can have a similar effect on neurotransmitters; this means stopping smoking can help provide benefits by reducing the involuntary responses.
Take Advantage of Medicinal Therapy
There are several prescription medications that are used to treat RLS, including drugs in the following broad classifications:
- Dopamine agonists
Keep in mind that many of these drugs may have unpleasant side effects of their own, including digestive upset, daytime sleepiness, and increased dependencies. As a result, a physician needs to supervise patients who are taking prescription medications for RLS.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Many individuals with RLS benefit from practicing relaxation techniques and thus lowering the neural activity that may contribute to the condition. There are several beneficial relaxation techniques, including progressive relaxation.
Progressive relaxation is particularly beneficial due to the ease of which it can be performed and its overall effect on the body. Learning progressive relaxation is easy and can be practiced anywhere that RLS may affect its sufferers.
Look Into Vein Sclerotherapy
A definite link between RLS and the presence of varicose veins has been established, which means treating varicose veins may lead to a reduction in RLS symptoms. Vein disease results in an inflammatory process within the affected veins. The result is a generalized irritation across the legs which in turn also irritates the nerves in the proximity of the inflammation. This venous inflammation can give rise to localized nerve sensations that if present in sufficient amounts, can even manifest as a more global neurologic syndrome like RLS. Vein treatments such as Endovenous laser ablation procedures and Sclerotherapy help to decrease the overall quantity of this inflammation. The result is a reduction in RLS symptoms.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the injection of a chemical sclerosant agent directly into a spider or varicose vein. This causes the treated veins to shrink and close off their connections to other veins. Thus reducing the inflammation that can cause RLS symptoms.
If you are interested in learning more about sclerotherapy or have other questions about RLS, be sure to contact the experts at The Sheen Vein Institute or a qualified vein specialist (phlebologist) near you for help. They will be able to evaluate your condition and prescribe a treatment program that will help give you and your legs some much needed rest.