WHAT IS RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME?

Restless Leg Syndrome, is sometimes described as uncomfortable feelings accompanied with an irresistible urge to move the legs.  In practice the most commonly experienced discomfort is muscle cramping. The cramping may be in a leg or a foot or both legs. When leg cramping is experienced it is usually in the calf muscle. 

 

A muscle cramp is a strong, painful contraction or tightening of a muscle that comes on suddenly and lasts from a few seconds to several minutes. It often occurs in the legs or feet. A muscle cramp is also called a charley horse.

Nighttime leg cramps are usually sudden spasms, or tightening, of muscles in the calf. The muscle cramps can sometimes happen in the thigh or the foot. They often occur just as you are falling asleep or waking up.

WHAT CAUSES MUSCLE CRAMPS?

The cause of muscle cramps isn't always known. Muscle cramps may be brought on by many conditions or activities, such as:

  • Exercising, injury, or overuse of muscles.

  • Pregnancy. Cramps may occur because of decreased amounts of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, especially in the later months of pregnancy.

  • Exposure to cold temperatures, especially to cold water.

  • Other medical conditions, such as blood flow problems (peripheral arterial disease), kidney disease, thyroid disease, and multiple sclerosis.

  • Standing on a hard surface for a long time, sitting for a long time, or putting your legs in awkward positions while you sleep.

  • Not having enough potassium, calcium, and other minerals in your blood.

  • Being dehydrated, which means that your body has lost too much fluid.

  • Taking certain medicines, such as antipsychotics, birth control pills, diuretics, statins, and steroids.

WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS OF PEOPLE WITH RLS?

 

RLS is generally a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age, although the decline may be somewhat faster for individuals who also suffer from an associated medical condition. In addition, some individuals have remissions—periods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, or months—although symptoms usually eventually reappear. A diagnosis of RLS does not indicate the onset of another neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease.

HOW CAN YOU STOP A MUSCLE CRAMP WHEN IT HAPPENS?

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