If you experience an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, you could be suffering from restless leg syndrome (RLS). Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease (WED), this disorder is characterized by tingling, itching, and pins and needles sensations in the lower limbs. The symptoms usually manifest at rest, making it more noticeable at night.

While RLS typically doesn’t pose a severe or immediate health concern, it can still affect your sleep schedule and quality of life. Thankfully, there are ways to manage RLS and enjoy a peaceful night’s rest.

How Common Is RLS?

RLS is a very common condition, affecting up to 10 percent of the US population. Women have a slightly higher risk of developing the disorder than their male counterparts. RLS is also more common in middle-aged and older adults than children. Regardless, anyone can develop RLS at any age.

What Causes RLS?

RLS is often diagnosed as being idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. There are certain risk factors, however, that play a role in this disorder. One study found that 20 percent of individuals with RLS suffered from iron deficiency. It’s unknown exactly how low iron levels in the blood contribute to RLS, but some medical experts cite the mineral’s role in brain activity.

Genetics can affect a person’s risk of developing RLS. Statistics show that roughly one in two people suffering from RLS have a family history of the disorder. If one of your parents or grandparents has RLS, you’ll have a higher risk of developing it than someone without a family history of RLS.

Certain types of medications have also been linked to an increased risk of RLS, including the following:

  • antimetrics
  • antihistamines
  • antidepressants
  • anticonvulstants
  • RLS treatment options

Treatment for RLS typically involves therapy and lifestyle changes to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms. Performing some basic leg stretches, for instance, may offer temporary relief. Of course, this isn’t a viable option when you’re trying to sleep at night.

If you have low iron levels, increasing your intake of this mineral may curb some of the symptoms of RLS. Iron-rich foods include dark chocolate, spinach, beef liver, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, lentil and eggs. Alternatively, you can take an iron supplement.

A professional chiropractor can also provide treatment of RLS. Going back to the basics of RLS, this neurological disorder is attributed to ghost signals sent by nerves. When a nerve in the leg is compressed or otherwise not functioning properly, it sends false signals to the brain; thus, creating the symptoms of RLS. A professional chiropractor can help to relieve nerve pressure and restore function.

Don’t let RLS control your life. Contract a chiropractor today to learn more about this disorder and how to treat it.

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