Restless leg syndrome, or Ekbom syndrome, causes unpleasant sensations in your legs that are variously described as painful, like a toothache, a crawling sensation on the skin or twitchy, fidgety legs. It tends to come on at night, especially when you are sitting or lying down and is often worse if you are in a confined space such as a car or cinema seat. Unfortunately, being sleep deprived can often make symptoms worse, but since it often disrupts sleep you can get into a vicious cycle.
Apart from medications, which may be advised if your symptoms are bad, lifestyle measures include: avoiding stimulants like caffeine (in tea and chocolate as well as coffee); not napping during the day, no matter how tired you are; regular exercise during the day, but not within a few hours of bedtime; a warm bath before bed; avoiding getting too hot in bed; massaging your legs if symptoms start.
A recent small study suggested that a type of osteopathic exercise called positional release manipulation might help. It’s not available on the NHS and we need more studies to know for sure whether the benefits are real, but it may be worth considering if you’re still struggling.
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