Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) – RLS is a condition that causes an overwhelming urge to move the legs, particularly in the evenings. It occurs most often when sitting or lying down and may worsen with age. RLS can disrupt sleep patterns. It can be treated with self-care and various medications.
When you're ready to rest and relax at the end of a long day, RLS symptoms tend to be at their worst. You may notice a creepy, crawly feeling in your leg or experience itching or an uncomfortable pulling sensation. When RLS strikes, it's almost impossible to sit still. Moving your legs may decrease your symptoms, although movement probably won't stop the symptoms completely.
The day after a bout of RLS, you may feel fatigued due to lack of sleep. If RLS becomes a chronic problem, you may become irritable and find it difficult to focus at work or school.
RLS can be accompanied by periodic limb movement of sleep (PLSS), a sleep disorder that causes your legs to jerk or twitch during the night. The combination of RLS and PLSS can make it very difficult to get a good night's sleep.
What you can do about RLS
Stimulants, like nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, may make RLS worse. Stopping or limiting these substances might reduce your symptoms. RLS symptoms might be caused by a side effect of a prescription, over-the-counter or herbal medication. If the feelings in your legs started after you began taking a new medication, the drug may be responsible for your symptoms. In some cases, your doctor may be able to prescribe another medication that is less likely to cause RLS.
A low iron level could also cause RLS. If a blood test reveals a lower-than-normal iron level, your doctor may recommend that you begin taking iron supplements.
Meditation and other stress-relief techniques can be helpful, as can massaging your legs or soaking them in warm water in the evening. A healthy diet and regular exercise may also help you reduce RLS symptoms.
If RLS symptoms occur often, your sleep medicine doctor can offer medications that can reduce the uncomfortable feelings in your leg and improve your sleep.
Whether you have restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, insomnia, excessive sleepiness, snoring or another sleep problem, Dr. Labanowski can help you manage your symptoms and improve the quality of your sleep. Call our Dothan, AL location today to schedule an appointment.