Managing Restless Legs

Restless Legs Syndrome is a type of condition that may affect millions of people at one time or another. For some, it is controllable and temporary, yet for others, it is a miserable sleep disruptor that extremely affects their lives. The occurrence of this condition increases with age, and women are more commonly affected than men.

When one person experiences sleep complications, it frequently affects the entire household’s ability to rest and function. This is mainly true for caregivers whose loved ones struggle with Restless Legs Syndrome. Understanding how the condition affects the body and the best ways for managing the symptoms helps the entire household get better rest.

Drug-Free Treatments

Some prescriptions may help lessen the symptoms of Restless Legs and improve sleep. It is also recommended for people to try non-drug remedies first. It is especially important for elderly individuals who are usually already taking several prescriptions. These are the following different ideas for managing Restless Legs Syndrome:

  • If the symptoms show up after you get into bed, it is best to get up right away. It is better to get up and move around or do something distracting before you try to go to sleep again. You may do mentally challenging activities such as reading and crossword puzzles. These are effective because they distract you without interfering with one’s ability to fall asleep.
  • Sleep hygiene is a good place to start. Limit your exposure to bright lights for about an hour before bed and try to wind down enough to feel tired.
  • A warm bath or shower can help relax the muscles in the legs and other affected areas.
  • Chamomile tea is a wonderful medication for lots of people. It is very relaxing and helps to induce sleep. There are lots of other caffeine-free tea selections on the market that might have therapeutic effects.
  • Massage is helpful especially for those who are incapable to get up and move around. Products having counterirritants can be used in massaging the affected areas to increase blood flow and help distract from movements and pain of the condition.
  • For some people, a hot water bottle provides relief. This is a good approach for elderly individuals. Lots of bandages and heating devices like heating pads must not be used in conjunction with muscle rubs and liniments, so be sure to read the directions on the product.
  • While warmth may help several persons, cold might be more useful for others. Taking a cold shower or applying an ice pack can help lessen the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome.
  • For capable people, low-impact exercise is a good choice for the treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome and improving general health. Exercising too late in the day can keep you up at night, but if you are incapable to sleep, try whatever works best for your schedule.

Prescription Medications

Prescription medications may be the next step if addressing iron levels and the use of non-pharmacological methods is not effective.

The drugs that you may try could be Pramipexole (Mirapex) or Ropinirole (Requip).  Rotigotine (Neupro), dopaminergic agents such as benzodiazepines, Sinemet, opiates, and anticonvulsants may also be used to help patients manage their symptoms, lessen pain and promote sleep.

Triggers to Avoid

Common factors may trigger symptoms, including caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and some prescription and over-the-counter medications. Certain kinds of antipsychotics and antidepressants, beta-blockers, some older types of antihistamines, and dopamine blockers used to treat nausea are the most likely to worsen the symptoms of Restless Legs.

Sleep deficiency is another trigger that may cause a damaging snowball effect. Patients who are having trouble sleeping due to Restless Legs often turn to over-the-counter sleep assistance, but these may worsen their symptoms. Sticking to a set bedtime routine and decreasing stress and anxiety through healthy outlets helps with the condition. Staying active by doing things you enjoy plays a significant role in symptom management as well as physical and mental health.

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