Restless legs syndrome is a condition that causes a feeling of burning, tingling, pain and itching, under the skin of the lower legs and sometimes in the thighs, feet, hands, and arms too. These uncontrollable sensations can trigger an urge to move your legs. The severity and duration of symptoms is different in every patient and moving their legs provides them comfort in easing the sensations for most patients. This occurrence usually happens in the evening or at night when you are sitting or lying down. The discomforting feeling goes away for some time because of moving, but can come back again easily. Restless legs syndrome, which is also called Willis-Ekbom disease, can develop at any age but mostly gets worsened as you get older. This can affect your basic daily tasks such as sleep.
The unpleasant sensations or feelings in the feet can be extremely discomforting for some people. You can talk to your doctor if you experience any symptoms of this syndrome. The tingling and pain usually happens on both sides of the body. In rare cases, the sensations can have an effect on the arms too. In a lot of patients, there is no known cause for RLS. Many researches say that this condition might be caused by an imbalance of the brain chemical dopamine, which is responsible for the communication to manage muscle movement. Simple self-care tips and some lifestyle changes can help in easing the symptoms. Read this article further to know about some natural ways for restless leg syndrome.
Natural ways for restless leg syndrome
It might take a lot of trials for your doctor to understand what course of treatment or medication is working the best for you in treating restless leg syndrome. Managing your lifestyle can play a major role in alleviating the symptoms of RLS. So, here are 9 natural ways for restless leg syndrome:
1. Hot and cold compression
Your blood vessels and muscles start opening up with cold or hot compression. It can be a cold compress, cool showers, damp cloth, ice pack or even cold water can bring immediate relief and can help ease the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Compress it gently for more effective healing. Do this 3-4 times a day, and there will be a reduction in symptoms such as pain. Heated or cool pads are used for many other injuries and conditions as well. It basically creates a new sensation for the brain to focus on, thus reducing the uncomfortable sensations of restless legs syndrome.
2. Distract yourself
Another natural way to ease the symptoms of restless legs syndrome is distracting yourself. This will help in keeping your mind away from the unpleasant sensations and from the urge to move your legs. It can be difficult to break those sensations, but that can be done only if you make your brain focus on something else. You can engage in some activity or keep your mind of those sensations by adding another sensation on your legs.
Also read: Restless Legs Syndrome Triples The Chances Of Suicidal Thoughts, Says A Study. Tips To Manage
Just like vitamin D and calcium, magnesium is also an important mineral for your muscles and bones. It is a natural muscle relaxant and can effectively help in coping up with this syndrome. You should consume a healthy diet with magnesium rich foods. There are magnesium supplements that can be taken after talking to your doctor or dietician. However, do not overconsume as that has its own side effects as well. Maintaining the levels of multivitamins and multiminerals is important for your health.
4. Avoid caffeine
Sometimes, restricting the caffeine intake can also help with restless legs. You should try and avoid caffeine rich products, such as chocolate, coffee, tea and soft drinks, for some time to see any changes or improvement. This will not only help with this syndrome, but can also be an aid in preventing many other diseases. In fact, heavy sugar, dairy products and fried food intake should also be avoided in such conditions. These foods should especially be avoided before bedtime.
5. Deep breathing and meditation
Deep breathing and meditation will manage your stress and put your mind at ease. Establishing a meditation schedule is a proved natural way to calm your brain and distract it from any sensations of pain or tingling in the legs. There are various yoga poses that can help in relieving stress, thus dealing with RLS. You have to get active and keep your mind busy and deep breathing can be an effective way to do so. Deep and diaphragmatic breathing can very quickly activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the branch of the nervous system for the functions of the body.
6. Relieve stress and take good sleep
Another useful natural way to deal with RLS is not live a stress-free life and take good sleep everyday. Fatigue and stress can worsen the symptoms of RLS, so it is important for you to get into a proper sleeping schedule. Try and sleep in a calm, peaceful and comfortable sleeping environment and fix your bedtime and rising time daily. It is also essential to take enough amount of sleep, for atleast 7-8 hours. Taking good sleep will not only relax your muscles and brain, but also relieve your mind from any kind of stress and anxiety. You might be at a higher risk of getting RLS if you take too much stress or have a poor sleeping hygiene.
Also read: Do You Have Swollen Ankles and Feet? These Could Be The 5 Possible Causes
7. Massages and baths
Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs with oils can also relax your muscles. This will open up your muscles and reduce the effect of RLS symptoms. You can also add beneficial essential oil in your bathtub and massage your legs with same, but only after mixing it with a carrier oil. You can also hire a professional to massage your legs. Massaging increases the amount of dopamine in the urine, hence modulating the way your brain receives messages from the uncomfortable sensations.
Physical exercise is a friend for your body and can help in coping up with many health conditions, including restless leg syndrome. Getting moderate and regular exercise is also believed to relieve the symptoms of RLS, but overdoing it can worsen the symptoms. Therefore, you have to keep a balance between working out your muscles and giving them rest. You don't have to go for any kind of heavy and intense workout. Even doing pilates and yoga can help in dealing with restless legs syndrome.
Also read: Try These Home Remedies To Cure Leg Cramping
9. Foot wrap
A foot wrap is basically designed especially for RLS patients and it helps in putting pressure under your foot and plays a major role in reducing its symptoms. This pressure sends messages to your brain, telling the muscles affected by restless legs syndrome to relax and calm down. It is affordable and can be easily found in stores and online. There are compression socks available to relieve the discomfort. It is a drug free natural option to treat this syndrome.
So, these were some natural ways to reduce the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. For proper diagnosis, your doctor will do a full physical and neurological exam. Blood tests are also conducted to check for any iron deficiency and to rule out any other underlying condition or possible cause for your symptoms. Sometimes, treating an underlying condition, can reduce the symptoms of RLS. Taking iron rich foods and supplements can also help in dealing with this syndrome.
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