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Restless Leg Syndrome Revisited

Posted Sep 26 2008 3:18pm

If you’ve got Parkinson’s Disease, chances are you’ve experienced Restless Leg Syndrome and if you’ve experienced Restless Leg Syndrome, chances are, like me, you’ve spent a good part of the wee hours of the night walking the floor and feeling as if your nerves are going to jump right out of your limbs.

Did you know that Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, affects at least 12 percent of the population? According to the RLS Foundation, a patient must meet the four criteria below for proper RLS diagnosis:

You have a strong urge to move your legs, which you may not be able to resist. The need to move is often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. Some words used to describe these sensations include:creeping, itching, pulling, creepy-crawly, tugging,orgnawing.

Your RLS symptoms start or become worse when you are resting. The longer you are resting, the greater the chance the symptoms will occur and the more severe they are likely to be.

Your RLS symptoms get better when you move your legs. The relief can be complete or only partial but generally starts very soon after starting an activity. Relief persists as long as the motor activity continues.

Your RLS symptoms are worse in the evening especially when you are lying down. Activities that bother you at night do not bother you during the day.

While the drugs Requip, Sinemet, Neurontin and Mirapex are the major contenders for treating RLS, I just read that non-drug treatments are becoming widely known among RLS sufferers. Among those are the following suggestions:

  • Since RLS has been known to be found in patients with an iron deficiency, treating the lack of iron can help.
  • Some have found that cutting back and/or eliminating all caffeine is a big help. This includes chocolate, colas with caffeine, coffees, and teas. SORRY!!!
  • Combining medications can make RLS worse. Check with your doctor if you are being treated for high blood pressure, nausea, a cold, allergies, depression or heart conditions.
  • Taking a hot bath before bed can help to control symptoms.
  • Eliminate alcohol intake.
  • Walking, stretching, yoga, massage, acupressure
  • Keeping your mind ‘distracted’ while sitting, by doing needlework, watching a movie, conversing, etc.

RLS can be extremely bothersome, so make sure that anything you may be doing is not contributing to the symptoms you may be experiencing. If you are taking antihistamines, anti-dizzy or ant-nausea medications, antidepressants or certain psychiatric medications, contact your doctor to see if these may be playing a role in your RLS.

RLS is said to be hereditary. If a member in your family begins to experience symptoms similiar to PD, make sure they see a health care professional as soon as possible.


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