Causes and Treatments for Restless Leg Syndrome
By Pacific Sleep Program
November 16, 2018
Category: Health

Find out why your feet feel so restless at night and what you can do about it.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes sensations within the legs that make you feel the urge to move. These symptoms most often appear in the afternoon and evening hours when you are sitting down or lying in bed. Unfortunately, a lot of people with RLS find that they can’t get the proper sleep that they need because these unpleasant sensations in their legs are keeping them up or causing them to toss and turn. If this sounds like you, our Portland and Astoria, OR, sleep medicine specialists Dr. Gerald Rich, Dr. Radhika Breaden and Dr. Gregory Clark are here to help.

What are the symptoms of restless leg syndrome?

As we mentioned above, there are sensations within the legs that make it difficult to sit still. These sensations can range from a creeping, crawling feeling to a feeling of “pins and needles”. Lying down will usually exacerbate these symptoms and it may cause sleep disturbances throughout the night.

What causes restless leg syndrome?

While restless leg syndrome can affect anyone, it’s more common in women than men. While there is still a lot that we do not know about this condition it is believed that genetics plays a role in who develops restless leg syndrome. After all, the majority of those with RLS have a family member who also has this same condition.

Of course, there are certain factors that can make RLS symptoms worse such as:

  • Chronic health problems (e.g. diabetes; peripheral neuropathy)
  • Certain medications (e.g. antidepressants; anti-nausea medication)
  • Pregnancy

Alcohol and lack of sleep are other factors that can also aggravate your RLS symptoms.

What are my treatment options if I have restless leg syndrome?

Since there isn’t a treatment available to get rid of restless leg syndrome, our goal as your Portland, OR, sleep doctor is to determine the best ways to reduce the severity and frequency of your symptoms. This can often be managed through:

Medication: Anti-seizure medications are becoming the most common medication prescribed to those with RLS and it can be effective for handling moderate-to-severe cases.

Lifestyle changes: You may find some relief from your symptoms once you avoid or limit the use of nicotine, caffeine or alcohol. It’s also important to get regular exercise to boost blood flow to the legs. You may also massage your legs everyday or take a warm bath to ease symptoms.

Here at Pacific Sleep Program in Portland and Astoria, OR, we are dedicated to making sure that you get the quality sleep you deserve. No matter whether you have been diagnosed with restless leg syndrome or you think you might have this condition, it’s the perfect time to turn to our sleep doctors for the answers you’re looking for.

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