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Natural Alternatives for Restless Legs Syndrome
by Jon Barron
(The Best Years in Life) Restless Legs Syndrome is indeed one of the hot new "conditions" being pitched in TV ads. It's even got it's own Foundation. Rest assured (no pun intended). There really are options.
What is RLS?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move them for relief. Individuals affected with the disorder describe the sensations as burning, creeping, tugging, or like insects crawling inside the legs. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.
What Causes It?
No one really knows what causes restless leg syndrome. It does tend to run in families, however, and may appear as "growing pains" in children or as pregnancy-related "leg cramps." And it tends to get worse as people get older.
For those with mild to moderate symptoms, many physicians suggest certain lifestyle changes and activities to reduce or eliminate symptoms. Decreased use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco may provide some relief. Physicians may suggest that certain individuals take supplements to correct deficiencies in iron, folate, and magnesium. Taking a hot bath, massaging the legs, or using a heating pad or ice pack can help relieve symptoms in some patients.
Physicians also may suggest a variety of medications to treat RLS, including dopaminergics, benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants), opioids, and anticonvulsants. In 2005, ropinirole became the only drug approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS.
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