Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is not dangerous, but, it sure can interrupt your sleep and quality of life.
RLS sufferers generally have more leg discomfort when sitting or lying down than when standing. The leg discomfort is worse at night, making it hard to fall asleep.
The uncontrollable urge to move your legs around can strike at any age, but usually occurs after the age of 40. Often, it gets worse over time. The origin of the urge is unknown. However, researchers suspect an imbalance in the brains chemistry – possibly a deficiency of the neurotransmitter “dopamine”.
Here are a few techniques that may help give you some relief and let you fall asleep without that “urge” to move your legs.
1. This technique is good for leg cramps or the feeling of RLS.
– Lie down with legs and arms outstretched, keeping the toes touching one another and the heels apart.
– Extend the legs as far as possible, maintaining the toe to toe contact and heels apart.
– Repeat this stretch 10 times. Do this one to three times a day.
2. This is also a great stretching technique.
– Start with standing about three feet away from a wall. Facing the wall, keeping your feet together, place your forearms (not your hands) flat on the wall.
– Lean forward keeping your heels flat on the floor. Feel the stretch in the back of the calves?
– To make the stretch more intense, stand further from the wall – keep your feet together and those heels flat on the floor.
3. Walk. Since RLS seems to strike when you are at rest, fulfill the legs urge to move with a walk around the bedroom -or- walk before going to bed. Exercise changes chemical balances in the brain (endorphins are released), this may promote a more restful sleep.
4. Wiggle your feet back and forth when symptoms flare up.
5. Try changing sleeping positions. Some people develop symptoms while sleeping in one position than another.
6. Soaking your feet in cool water works for some people. Do not use ice – it could cause nerve damage.
7. Some people find using a heating pad is effective. Others claim that cold gives them relief.
8. Massage your legs with an electric vibrator. Some people said it made their symptoms worse. Others claim this is an effective practice.
9. Some people claim taking two aspirin before bed helps reduce their symptoms.
10. Take a multivitamin daily. Several studies have found a connection between iron deficiency and RLS. In addition, a folic acid deficiency has also been connected. If you suspect any deficiencies consult with your physician. However, a multivitamin can protect you against deficiencies of either/or both.
11. Ginkgo biloba is known as an effective herb for RLS. It helps with circulation. Take 2, 40 milligram tablets of ginkgo biloba extract three times a day. With your physician’s approval of course.
12. Chinese herbalist suggest soaking your feet in a ginger bath before bed. Grate 1/2 of a ginger root into a pot of steaming water. Let it cool and soak your feet for ten minutes.
13. Lower your stress level. Stress worsens the symptoms. Give yourself some quite time and practice various relaxation techniques.