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Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is more than just annoying; it can ruin a person’s quality of life and rob them of precious sleep as well. If you have family member or friend with RLS, they will at times have an uncontrollable, involuntary need to move their legs. RLS can cause a person’s legs to jerk, twitch and feel like something is moving underneath the skin.

It is very common for RLS sufferers to experience depression, anxiety and an overall sense of lack of well-being.  One can only imagine how it must feel not to be in control of one’s body.  Clinically, there are many causes that can serve as triggers: excess caffeine, sleep apnea, low iron levels, low folic acid levels, electrolyte imbalance and side effects of medications.

Tests to Do:

  • If you have poor quality or interrupted sleep, get a sleep apnea test.
  • Get a blood test for sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D levels.
  • Test for B12 and folic acid levels, check iron levels including ferritin, and also ensure that there is no anemia.

Simple Solutions:

If one or more of the above tests come up positive, it is essential to work with your doctor to address the possible hidden triggers that have been discovered.

Additionally these are helpful tips for patients that are affected with RLS.

  • · Walk it off. A midnight walk about the house can calm down one’s legs.
  • Cut it down or out. Limit coffee, caffeinated tea, chocolate and sources of nicotine.
  • Check out your medications. Allergy and cold medicine can serve as RLS triggers, so can prescription medications that you get from the pharmacist. When it doubt, ask your dispensing pharmacist if the medicine you are on can be triggering or worsening your RLS.
  • Warm them up. Either a vigorous massage of your legs prior to bed or a warm bath with epsom salts can help loosen up and calm RLS.
  • Maybe coldness can help. If warming up your legs doesn’t help, try a cool damp towel draped over your legs.
  • Keep a routine. Go to bed at the same time each evening and try to calm the mind and body at least 30 minutes prior to bed.  Avoid stimulation prior to going to bed.
  • · A little exercise can help. Gentle, non-vigorous exercise, such as walking in place or deep knee bends, can help the muscles calm down.
  • · Stretch and stretch again. Focus on stretching your lower back, gluteal muscles, calves and hamstrings for 5 to 10 minutes prior to retiring to bed.

Bottom line:

Once you rule out nutritional, medication-related or medical causes for RLS, one or more of the 8 simple RLS tips work very well. May you sleep well and your legs remain calm and relaxed.




Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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