Ester Marsh Column: Do You Have Restless Leg Syndrome? – Salisbury Post

I’ve had trouble with Restless Leg Syndrome, especially while traveling overseas.

What is Restless Leg Syndrome? Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move at rest. The sensations of RLS are often described by people as burning, crawling, tugging, or like bugs crawling inside your legs. There are different ranges of severity ranging from discomfort to irritation to pain. The most distinctive aspect of RLS is that by lying down and trying to relax, it activates the symptoms. As a result, most people have trouble falling asleep or wake up with symptoms. How did you get it? In most cases, the cause is unknown. A family history of RLS is observed in about 50% of these cases. In other cases, RLS appears to be related to the following factors or conditions (research has not proven whether these factors actually cause RLS):

• People with low iron levels or anemia are at risk of developing RLS

• Chronic diseases such as kidney failure, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and peripheral neuropathy are associated with RLS

• Some pregnant women suffer from RLS

• Certain medications such as antinausea, anticonvulsants, and some cold and allergy medications can make symptoms worse

• Research has also found that caffeine, alcohol and tobacco can worsen or trigger symptoms in patients predisposed to developing RLS

When you have your leg jerking while you’re trying to sleep or rest, the last thing on your mind is exercising that leg! After doing this research, I found that exercising your legs is great therapy.

I have found that yoga is one of the best ways to fight RLS. Yoga has both physical and mental components, allowing you to calm your entire system. You may find that breathing exercises and stretching can also be beneficial.

If you’re dealing with RLS during the day at work, you might find significant relief walking or running in the morning and evening. Walk or run hard, then spend time stretching your legs as deep as possible.

Reflexology will give you relief just like deep tissue massage. Exercising before bed has been successful in some people. For best results, it is mentioned to perform leg exercises as close to bedtime as possible, as leg exercises and walks only provide short-term relief. Exercise helps by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller.

Take your vitamins! As mentioned above, several studies have shown that iron deficiency can trigger RLS symptoms.

Drink a glass of wine! (I like this one!) There are people with RLS who get relief from drinking a glass of wine every night. Please note that there is no scientific evidence that wine helps relieve RLS. Be sure to keep in touch with your doctor (ask your doctor to diagnose you first) as there are medications that are used to treat RLS.

Keep moving, stretch often, and breathe deeply, and what I’ve found is that wearing a compression hose while flying my RLS doesn’t occur or is minimal. And for me, a good glass of wine helps too.

Ester Marsh is Director of Health and Fitness for the JF Hurley Family YMCA.

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