Sitting at your desk, your legs just can’t handle it anymore and start moving. You may not even notice it, but the person in the next cubicle does and gets really frustrated with what sounds like fidgeting. But is it? No, it’s RLS, Restless Leg Syndrome.
Restless Leg Syndrome isn’t fidgeting or hyperactivity, it’s a neurological condition. If you have this condition, you absolutely can’t make your legs stay still when the urge to move hits. Your legs may feel itchy or cramped. Some people with RLS say that their legs feel like something is creeping or gnawing on them.
The longer you sit in one place, the worse the RLS symptoms become. When you sit for hours at the job, that’s the condition in which RLS symptoms get more severe. Depending on your job, it may not be possible to get up from your desk and move around when your legs feel uncomfortable.
But that’s exactly what you need to do. RLS symptoms improve when you get up and walk around. The first steps are uncomfortable which causes some people to give up and sit down again. Don’t do that – keep moving until you feel relief.
Your RLS symptoms are likely to feel worse at night or when you lay down to go to sleep. There just does not seem to be any position where your legs are comfortable. So you toss and turn or wake up with leg pains. The sleep interruptions from RLS pain are often what send you to a doctor to find out what’s wrong.
There are a few medications used to treat RLS under physician supervision. Before prescribing a new drug, your doctor will evaluate any medications that you currently take.
Drugs for high blood pressure, allergies and depression might contribute to the leg pains. Not just prescriptions medications, but also anything you regularly take form over-the-counter medications can be a contributing factor. Common antihistamines are also known to be offenders with this condition.
Your doctor will also want to test for vitamin or iron deficiency. Insufficient iron, folate or Vitamin B12 may be the root of your RLS symptoms. If so, this can easily be corrected. Establishing a balanced diet is also important. You definitely want to eliminate alcohol and caffeine.
You want to plan regular, calming activity. Walking, particularly in the early evening hours helps relax the legs and prepare for sleep. You may want to learn yoga or basic stretching exercises.
It’s important to do these correctly for maximum benefit. Treating yourself to massage or acupressure weekly is worthwhile as well as comforting. If you’re inclined to sit for hours when you’re at home, set a timer to remind you to get up and walk every hour. Or you can get up during commercials and walk around the house. Planned movement helps moderate the erratic movements of RLS.