Does this sound familiar? You get all comfortable and prepared to get a good night’s sleep when all of a sudden there is an intense creeping, pulling, or tugging sensation in your legs. In an effort to find relief from these late-night unpleasant sensations, you toss, turn, and restlessly move your legs around. Unfortunately, you often find no relief. That is because you may be suffering from a specific nerve condition known as restless leg syndrome or RLS.
RLS is one of those elusive medical conditions that medical professionals don’t know how to cure, but they can provide treatment that may provide temporary relief from the unpleasant sensation in your legs. Before you can seek symptom relief, you must first know the cause of your restless leg syndrome. We will take a look at several common triggers, or causes, of RLS.
Trigger #1 – Taking Certain Medications
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications have been linked to the worsening of RLS symptoms. Healthcare professionals are unsure exactly why there is a connection between some medications and RLS, but some believe it could be related to how the medication affects your brain.
Specific medications that have been known to increase RLS symptoms include:
- Antipsychotic medications
- Antihistamines such as Benadryl
- Anti-nausea medications
If you suspect your medication may be causing your RLS symptoms, don’t just stop taking it. Speak with your doctor before stopping any medication.
Trigger #2 – Stress or Anxiety
When exposed to extreme stress or anxiety, the brain is overthinking and overworking which results in your restless leg syndrome symptoms starting. Finding natural ways to reduce your stress or anxiety, such as meditating before bed, practicing yoga, or using deep breathing exercises, can help temporarily relieve RLS symptoms.
Trigger #3 – Caffeine
Drinking that cup of coffee or can of soda in the afternoon be triggering that creepy, pulling, tugging sensation in your legs at night.
Caffeine, found in soda, tea, coffee, and other products, is a stimulant. It awakens the body and often interferes with your sleep. When your body is awakened or stimulated, it can trigger the start of RLS symptoms.
Cutting out caffeine intake, especially if you consume it right before bed, could help you find considerable relief from restless leg syndrome. However, not everyone finds caffeine to be a trigger. In fact, some RLS sufferers often claim caffeine helps relieve their symptoms.
Trigger #4- Untreated Vein Problems
Varicose veins can often cause your legs to feel tired, achy, or painful throughout the day. At night, those varicose veins may be causing your RLS symptoms. Your body will encourage you to move your legs around in an effort to increase blood flow or find relief from the pain and sensations caused by varicose veins.
A procedure, known as sclerotherapy, cannot only treat your varicose veins, but it may help you find relief from any symptoms associated with RLS. In fact, a recent study from the National Sleep Foundation discovered that 98% of RLS sufferers found symptom relief after undergoing sclerotherapy.
Other Triggers of Restless Leg Syndrome
Other common triggers of RLS include:
- Alcohol intake right before bed
- Engaging in vigorous exercise right before bed
- Increased nicotine consumption
- Health problems such as diabetes or kidney failure
- Going to bed later than normal
- Being still too long during the day
- Exposure to extreme temperatures
- Consuming too much refined sugar
Are you having trouble sleeping due to RLS? If so, call Vein911 in Tampa, Florida to schedule an appointment with a vein specialist. Our vein specialist will work with you to find a treatment option, or combination of treatment options, that provides you with relief from your restless leg syndrome.