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Restless legs syndrome is a rare but potentially debilitating illness if its symptoms are ignored. From unexplained itchiness to an uncontrollable urge to move to disrupted sleep, it can lower quality of life for the person who has it and anyone they meet. If you know someone with this condition, there are ways to help.
Helping someone with restless legs syndrome is not as hard as you think. It may require time, effort, and compassion, but offering a sympathetic shoulder to lean on can go a long way. Here is what else you can do.
One of the best ways to treat any medical problem, besides getting help from a licensed professional, is to educate your friend and yourself about the condition in question. Broadly speaking, most Americans are wholly unaware of what certain medical conditions are, what causes them, and what treatment options are available. As a result, there is widespread ignorance and stigma about medical problems, which makes enlightenment difficult.
Here are the basics about restless legs syndrome. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition leading to an overpowering urge to move your legs, generally due to an uncomfortable feeling. It typically occurs after dusk or during nighttime hours when you are resting. Unfortunately, the movement offers only temporary relief.
Restless legs syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease, can happen regardless of age and generally worsens the older you get.
Just because your friend has a pins and needles sensation does not mean an RLS diagnosis will follow. Knowing how the condition makes a person feels is key to identifying what is wrong and may help with diagnosis and treatment options. Any of the feelings listed below may indicate restless legs syndrome, so if you notice these in your friend, speak up. There may be feelings of crawling, creeping, aching, pulling, throbbing, itching, and an electrical sensation in the legs or feet.
Many Americans do not like to talk about their illnesses, let alone what may cause them, but having a good idea of what could be triggering RLS makes diagnosis and effective treatment more likely. This condition may be caused by:
Not everyone with restless legs syndrome wants professional medical attention. Some people may avoid seeing a healthcare provider for religious or other reasons. Still, if you care about that person’s wellness, you owe it to them to talk about what can help ease pain symptoms besides ketamine or other medicine. Here are self-help remedies worth talking about.
Encourage your friend to see a medical professional for diagnosis and learn about other treatment options. If any of the methods above failed, it is time to seek an unbiased opinion from someone who specializes in treating RLS patients. If your friend still needs help, offer to provide transportation to and from the doctor’s office.