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What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Written By northidahodpc

What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

February 7, 2012

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a sensation of burning, aching, crawling, tingling and/or twitching that occurs in the legs while laying down or seated, often making sleep difficult.  It is more common with age, and affects women somewhat more than men.  There is often no obvious cause, although iron-deficiency anemia, kidney disease and pregnancy has been linked to the condition.  Frequently heredity plays a role, and caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, antihistamines, anti-nausea medications and many antidepressants can precipitate the condition or make it worse.

Home remedies used to decrease symptoms include avoiding certain OTC medications that are often taken for sleep (such as Benedryl), taking a mild analgesic like acetominophen, soaking in a warm bath and/or massaging your legs right before bed, meditating or practicing yoga to foster relaxation and exercising regularly (but not in the evening hours).  If these measures don’t help, consult a physician.  He/she will usually order labwork to help rule out a reversible cause, such as iron-defiency anemia, and will probably suggest one or more prescriptions to help with the symptoms.  Commonly used medications include those for Parkinson’s disease (Requip), anti-anxiety benzodiazepines (clonazepam) and anti-seizure medication (gabepentin)…..Richard R Samuel, MD     Family Practice and Urgent Care   Hayden, ID  USA 

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