Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder causing an urge or need to move your legs to stop unpleasant sensations (which may be described as, for example: creeping, crawling, aching, pulling, searing, or tingling). This restlessness can make it difficult for you to sit still, and it is likely to disturb your sleep as symptoms of RLS worsen in the evenings (many with RLS also experience uncontrollable movements in their arms or legs during sleep, called periodic limb movement in sleep [PLMS], which usually occur every minute or so during the course of the night). RLS can occur suddenly or as a result of another condition, such as damage to the nerves in your hands or feet from diabetes or alcoholism. Often, there is no known cause to RLS, and is thought to possibly be due to genetic predisposition or an imbalance in the brain chemical dopamine. RLS is also more common with people with Parkinson's disease, kidney disease, iron deficiencies (including pregnant women), and those using certain drugs such as caffeine, calcium channel blockers, sedatives, lithium and neuroleptics.
Although most do not seek treatment for RLS until their symptoms are severely affecting their sleep, it is important that you seek treatment soon after experiencing symptoms, as RLS is often a sign of a more serious underlying disease. Usually, blood tests and a general exam can help identify what may be causing your restlessness. For more severe symptoms, your doctor may prescribe anticonvulsants, dopaminergic drugs (to boost dopamine levels), muscle relaxants, or opioids. Unfortunately, all of these drugs have side effects.
Diet modification such as eating smaller, more frequent meals to stabilize blood sugar is recommended. Seeing a nutritional counsellor is a great idea, as your diet may be contributing to your symptoms.
Acupuncture and TCM is excellent for balancing brain chemicals and ceasing the restlessness you may be experiencing. It can also help your sleep tremendously.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you manage the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
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