Restless leg syndrome is a real medical condition, though many individuals dismiss it as a nervous twitch. In fact, an individual with restless leg syndrome feels significant discomfort in their legs, which is why they shake or otherwise move them. The swift movements help alleviate the discomfort, but this is only a temporary fix. Often, the discomfort returns within minutes after the individual stops moving their legs. Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, restless leg syndrome can have serious consequences. While it isn't life-threatening, the condition can inhibit sleep, and a sleep deficiency can cause a wide range of mental and physical problems. While a rapid movement of the legs provides temporary relief, there are several ways to treat the condition more effectively.
Cool Or Warm Compresses
Using cool or warm compresses can provide longer-lasting relief from the discomfort that characterizes restless leg syndrome. Temperature variations reduce the pain or discomfort in the legs, while also helping reduce the muscle twitching that occurs. While research on the effectiveness of this type of therapy is limited, many patients have reported experiencing success in trying temperature therapy. For heat, patients are advised to opt for the moist heat provided by heating packs, hot baths, and steamed towels, since this type of heat is more effective than dry heat. After exposing the legs to heat therapy for fifteen to twenty minutes, minor tension and muscle stiffness may be alleviated.
Alternatively, applying cold via frozen gel packs or ice packs may help by reducing the activity in overactive nerves. The exposure to cold reduces blood flow in the legs, which works to lessen the pain felt in the legs. However, it's important to limit exposure to cold to fifteen-minute intervals. Applying cold packs for longer can result in nerve, muscle, and skin damage.
Continue reading to discover the next way of treating restless leg syndrome.