Do you sometimes feel like your legs won’t stop moving, especially at night? Well, there is a really good chance it is not all in your head. Restless Leg Syndrome is a very real thing and effects 5-10% of adults. Restless leg is usually a benign process with no underlying cause. There is some thought that it might be a sleep related disorder as it is usually experienced at night time. Though, usually there is no direct cause.
Your doctor will likely always want to do some blood work if you bring this up, as iron deficiency can cause restless leg, as well as electrolyte imbalances. There are some medications that can cause this, too. As well as some neurologic conditions, though these are a much rarer causes. If no “fixable” cause, such as low iron, is found, this can last for a while.
So what can be done? Obviously, as with any conditions, fix the underlying cause. If your iron is low, supplement with iron. If your electrolytes are off, such as magnesium or potassium, replenish them. If your medication is the cause, find an alternative.
But what happens if there is no cause? Well, this is where we talk about that “art” of medicine. Stretching will help, just like with cramps. There are medications to try as well. Your doctor may offer pramiprexol, ropinerol, gabapentin, etc. She/He may also want you to see a specialist, such as a sleep specialist or a neurologist. The goal at this point would be to help get you relief from the symptoms, as this can lead to sleep issues, or lack thereof. We all know what happens when our sleep is disrupted. (Oh, you don’t know what that feels like? Let’s trade beds for a night…I promise you will cherish your uninterrupted sleep after one night in my house!)
So rather than spend your entire night running in your sleep and getting nowhere, talk to your doctor about a diagnosis and treatment options. And leave the running to the roads!
…until next time.