Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common disorder that results in an overwhelming urge to move the legs. While it is not a dangerous disease, RLS can have a negative impact on your quality of life because it often prevents you from falling and staying asleep, causing exhaustion in severe cases. Without treatment, RLS symptoms slowly become worse.
Find the state-of-the-art treatment you need for neurological disorders such as restless legs syndrome in Sacramento and surrounding areas at Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California. We have a team of experienced specialists that provide care with humankindness and medical expertise. Find a Doctor near you today.
What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?
Most of the time, the cause of RLS is unknown. However, doctors think genetics play a role in some cases. A lack of iron in the brain may also be a cause. Studies have also shown a link between RLS and the way the brain uses dopamine, which helps the body make smooth muscle movements.
Restless Legs Syndrome Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of RLS typically occur when you are not moving. For example, they can happen while you are relaxing in the evening. They often occur during the night. Besides the uncontrollable urge to move the legs, other unpleasant or even painful sensations are known to occur with the disorder, including creeping, throbbing or tugging in the legs, especially when sitting or lying down. Many people with RLS also have periodic limb movement of sleep (PLMS), which results in frequent, involuntary leg twitches.
Sitting still for extended periods, such as during a long car ride, plane flight, or movie, can trigger symptoms of RLS.
Expert Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment
At Dignity Health, our treatment options for RLS are generally geared toward managing symptoms rather than curing the disorder. In some cases, controlling an underlying health condition will relieve symptoms. In many cases, lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms.
Our professionals recommend the following treatment strategies:
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption to improve sleep.
- Take an iron supplement if your doctor determines you have an iron deficiency.
- Exercise regularly.
- Experiment with different activities that may provide relief, including warm or cold baths, a heat or ice pack, massage, or acupressure.
- Find ways to keep your mind busy while you are sitting. Try reading, solving puzzles, etc.
- Ask about prescription medications that increase dopamine levels in the brain. Be aware that some antidepressants and sleep medications can make RLS symptoms worse.
No matter your condition, we use the latest techniques to find the best way to treat your RLS. Trust your neurologist to create a personalized treatment plan and support you through any lifestyle changes. Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California provides expert care for restless legs syndrome or RLS in Sacramento and the surrounding areas.