Restless leg syndrome (RLS) not only robs you of relaxation and sleep, but it can also impact your performance during the day and disturb bed partners. If you’re sick of shuffling your legs under the covers while trying to fall asleep, a specialist can help diagnose your RLS and provide treatment options.
At The Spine and Sports Center in Houston and Sugarland, Texas, Dr. Benoy Benny and our team can help diagnose RLS and provide drug-free treatment options using knowledge of sleep medicine to help you manage your symptoms.
Understanding restless leg syndrome
An estimated 7-10% of the population experience Willis-Ekbom disease, a sleep and movement disorder that can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep. Also known as restless leg syndrome, this condition causes uneasy sensations and involuntary movement of your legs, hence the name.
The most common symptoms of RLS include:
- Creeping, crawling, itching, or burning feelings in your legs
- Sensations that begin when resting
- Temporary relief when you move your legs
- Worsening symptoms in the evening or at night
- Poor sleep, including insomnia and restless or interrupted sleep
- Involuntary sleep movements like kicking or twitching
The last symptom is actually a condition in itself, known as periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS). Around 80% of people with RLS experience PLMS, and there’s no known cause or cure for either. Restless leg syndrome most often affects adults, mostly women, and the syndrome seems to be genetic.
5 drug-free treatment options
Treatment for RLS varies from person to person, sometimes even requiring the use of medications like opioids and benzodiazepines. However, most patients and doctors prefer to experiment with lifestyle changes and alternative treatments before resorting to drugs.
Five examples of drug-free RLS treatment include:
1. Magnesium and B6 supplements
Both magnesium and B6 supplementation have been known to help reduce RLS symptoms and improve sleep quality.
2. Proper sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene should include following a bedtime routine, limiting caffeine and screen time in the evening, and only using your bed for rest and relaxation.
3. Leg massages
When leg massages are made a part of your routine, especially before bed, they can soothe the nerves causing your restless sensations.
4. Hot/cold therapy
Soaking your legs in hot water or applying heat/ice packs at intervals may help to reduce irritation and restlessness.
5. Exercising earlier in the day
Exercise is good, but if you have RLS you may want to not work out right before bed, as it can trigger an episode of agitation when you lie down due to your recent exertion.
At The Spine and Sports Center, our team works with you to build a personalized RLS treatment plan that’s right for your specific needs. To schedule a consultation, call our location closest to you or book an appointment online today