If you’ve heard of restless leg syndrome, or RLS, and not experienced it for yourself, you may be one of the many people that believe it is a ‘made up’ condition, or that it is a condition that has been dreamed up by pharmaceutical companies. You need to understand the reality of restless leg syndrome.
How New is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition that has only had a name for less than two decades – while the name for the condition may be relatively new, the condition is not new. It’s been around for a very long time. Most people have never heard of it because medications for the condition have only been put on the market in recent years.
Is Restless Leg Syndrome Mental or Physical?
Many people mistakenly think that restless leg syndrome is a mental issue, and not a physical issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. RLS is definitely a physical condition. A person who suffers from RLS will start feeling strange sensations in the legs – usually while lying down – and they will have to quickly reposition their legs. This, of course, disrupts sleep drastically. The affected person must move their legs to get relief from the sensations that they are experiencing.
Typically, after repositioning the legs, it isn’t long before the strange sensations return. In fact, for many, those sensations return almost immediately. Others – who are luckier – can leave their legs in the same position for two or three minutes before those sensations return. The sensations are often described as pain, while others describe it as discomfort. Many can’t even put words to the sensations that they are feeling, but know that pain or discomfort is not the correct terms for them.
What Can Be Done for Restless Leg Syndrome?
There are no clinical tests that can be done to diagnose RLS. Most diagnosis are given based on complaints of symptoms from the patients, and in some cases, the doctor may order a sleep study before making a diagnosis. If your condition is severe enough to warrant medication, the appropriate medication will be prescribed – but most doctors will try other types of treatment that do not involve medication first. Taking a hot bath immediately before going to bed will usually take care of the problem for those with mild cases of RLS. Some patients may be prescribed a mild sleeping pill to resolve the problem as well.
January 19th, 2011
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