Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, is a condition in which your legs experience uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings. As soon as you relax or go to sleep, you feel like you have to move your legs constantly because of a tingling or tugging feeling. Experiencing this discomfort disrupts sleep, leaving you exhausted.
Persistent leg pain shouldn't prevent you from living your best life. RLS diagnosis and treatment are Dr. Eric Mai's areas of expertise at STL Vein & Cosmetics. Here’s what you need to know about RLS, treatment, and what you can do to find relief on your own.
RLS: a difficult diagnosis
RLS is often overlooked for a long time and is only recognized because it can’t be seen or measured. These five criteria indicate RLS:
- Urge to move
- Worsening at rest
- Improvement with exercise
- Circadian rhythm (symptoms are more pronounced in the evening than during the day)
Also, no clear laboratory values or X-ray findings secure the diagnosis, so RLS is a frustrating condition that Dr. Mai can help you with.
What causes RLS?
RLS can have a number of causes:
- Advanced kidney failure
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Spinal cord damage
- Parkinson’s disease
- Iron deficiency
If the symptoms first appear during pregnancy, they usually go away on their own after delivery.
Often, no cause for the disease can be found. Hereditary factors also play a role in more than half of those affected.
Could it be CVI?
A frequently overlooked cause of RLS is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Dr. Mai relieves restless legs brought on by venous insufficiency by treating vein disease.
Dr. Mai uses cutting-edge diagnostic techniques and tools to identify the cause and severity of vein issues that aren’t always obvious. Depending on your screening results, he might advise additional tests like a diagnostic ultrasound. There is hope if venous disease is the source of your restless legs.
What you can do at home
What helps best against restless legs differs from person to person. The following tips could help you handle RLS on your own.
The right diet
Make sure you get enough iron in your diet. Vitamin C promotes iron absorption. Regular medical checks of your iron levels are advisable.
Exercise and relaxation
Warm and cool showers, foot baths, cold or warm wraps, massage, cardio exercises, and stretching can help relax your body and relieve RLS symptoms.
Keep bedtimes on a tight schedule. An afternoon nap can make you sleep less well at night, so avoid napping and set an alarm for the same time every morning.
Try not to sleep after exercising, running errands, or cleaning the house. If possible, avoid heavy physical work, stress, nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee or black tea a few hours before bedtime.
Most importantly, let Dr. Mai and our team of RLS experts know if your symptoms change or worsen. You’re not alone with your illness. We can help. Our STL Vein & Cosmetics team focuses on treating leg conditions like RLS. With two offices in St. Louis, Missouri, call or request an appointment online today at your preferred location.