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Symptoms and Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Restless Legs Syndrome
Written by Dr. Gesner

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a movement disorder that causes an overwhelming urge to move your legs. As many as 10 percent of Americans may struggle with restless legs syndrome.

Learn more about RLS by understanding the symptoms and causes, including how you can find relief.

Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms

Those with restless legs syndrome often experience these symptoms:

▪ Uncomfortable sensations in the legs
▪ Irresistible urge to move the legs (often to relieve the discomfort)
▪ Itchy, creepy-crawly, tugging, or pins and needles sensations
▪ Sensations are stronger at rest – when sitting or lying down
▪ Symptoms typically worsen at night
▪ Exhaustion and sleep disruption due to leg movement and symptoms at night

Symptoms can range on a scale from mild to severe and may come and go or vary in severity.

What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome is more common in women and can begin at any age. Even young children may also be affected by RLS.

The exact cause of RLS is not known by doctors, but it’s suspected that genetics may play a role. Many people who experience RLS have a family member who suffers from RLS as well. RLS may be affected or worsened by:

▪ Pregnancy
▪ Chronic diseases (diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, anemia)
▪ Medications
▪ Sleep deprivation
▪ Alcohol use

How to Stop Restless Legs

While there is no cure for RLS, treatments may help alleviate restless leg symptoms.

For mild to moderate sufferers, making lifestyle changes such as managing sleep and getting regular exercise can help. In addition, eliminating or reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine may bring relief.

Other non-medical treatments may include:

▪ Applying hot or cold packs to the legs
▪ Hot baths
▪ Leg massages
▪ Stretching
▪ Vitamins (iron, folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin B)

Over-the-counter medications may also help relieve symptoms. Be aware, however, that drugs may alleviate symptoms in one user and worsen them in another. Drugs may also lose effectiveness over time.

Restless Leg Syndrome Relief

Another way to gain relief from restless legs syndrome is through a procedure called vein ablation. Vein ablation is often associated with vein disease, but studies show 90 percent of patients with both conditions gain substantial relief from RLS.

This is a safe, ultrasound-guided procedure that treats a diseased vein with a laser after putting a small catheter inside. The vein then closes and the symptoms subside.

Are you or a loved one are suffering from sleepless nights and uncomfortable sensations due to RLS? See if vein ablation is right for you. Contact us today to find out if vein ablation can offer you the relief you’re looking for.

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