Restless Leg Syndrome, otherwise referred to as RLS, is a central nervous system disorder that is characterized by creeping, crawling, aching, tingling, and burning sensations in the legs that results in an urgent need to move the lower limbs. Most often, the sensations and need to move happens right before bedtime and can disrupt normal sleep cycles to cause insomnia and a host of other unhealthy issues.
The symptoms of this condition are categorized as follows:
- Visible Movement
When an RLS sufferer sits down, they may often move their legs or feet in a jerking or rocking motion. When in bed at night, frequent leg shaking and toe movements may occur as well.
Although not as severe during the daytime, sitting at a desk or table can still provoke the feelings associated with this disorder. The intensity of RLS escalates at night especially when a person is lying down or trying to be still (reading a book or watching a movie).
The urge to get up and move about the many people with RLS report say that they find relief with movement in order to abate the sensations and give them peace.
The leg sensations that accompany this condition can range from irritating to painful. With uncomfortable feelings in the lower and upper legs, the feet, and even sometimes the arms, RLS can interfere with an ability to live a normal life.
The culprits that cause this condition range from high caffeine ingestion, chronic diseases like kidney disease, Parkinson’s or even rheumatoid arthritis, to pregnant women with iron deficiencies. Another cause of RLS is reported as individuals that suffer from spinal cord injuries or tumors.
Although this condition cannot ever be completely cured, if managed properly, the sensations and severity can be diminished drastically. A few ways to non-pharmacologically treat this condition are with routine massage treatments, specifically concentrating on areas like the legs. Moderate exercise followed by hydrotherapy before bedtime and compression to reduce the sensations. All of these methods may be helpful in decreasing nighttime movements and thus setting the stage for better sleep and better all around health.