What is RLS?
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a condition that affects approximately ten percent of American adults. RLS is a neurological sensorimotor disorder that causes uncomfortable and sometimes painful tingling and tugging sensations in the legs.
People that suffer from RLS frequently feel as if they need to move their legs in order to make the discomfort go away. Sitting for a long period of time or even just trying to relax and watch TV or read a book will cause the sensations to worsen. People that suffer from RLS feel as though they need to walk around or stretch to make the uncomfortable feeling lessen. These feeling are amplified during the evening and at night.
How do I know if I have RLS?
There are no lab tests that are going to diagnose you with RLS, however your health care professional may be able to make an official diagnosis just by asking you a few simple questions:
- Do you have an urge to move your legs, usually accompanied by uncomfortable leg sensations?
- Do your sensations begin or worsen during rest or inactivity, such as laying down or sitting?
- Are your sensations partially or totally relieved by movement, such as walking or stretching?
- Are your sensations worse in the evening or at night, or do they only occur in the evening and at night?
How is RLS treated?
Prevention is the first step in managing your symptoms. There are a variety of lifestyle changes and activities that may help reduce symptoms. These are some changes that may reduce your symptoms:
- Decrease caffeine intake
- Reduce alcohol and tobacco intake
- Take iron supplements
- Maintain a regular sleep pattern
- Develop an exercise routine
- Take a hot bath
- Massage the legs
- Use a heat pad or an ice pack
For those who continue to suffer from RLS symptoms and are unable to find relief, there are medical treatments as well.