Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), or Willis-Ekbom disease, is a neurological condition that contributes to an irritating feeling in the legs along with an irresistible urge to move them. This debilitating nervous disorder affects up to 29% of adults in the Western world(1). Sufferers of this condition often experience the effects of this condition at night, which may affect their quality of sleep.
The exact causes of RLS remain unknown and vary depending on the individual. RLS is often underdiagnosed, especially in individuals suffering from the mild form of the disorder. These individuals may suffer from irritable symptoms for a long period of time, as they may be unaware that they have the condition. It may be something as simple as a natural home remedy that can alleviate their troublesome symptoms to provide long-term relief. Symptom severity and duration also differs from one case to the next.
Symptoms of RLS include:
- Aching and throbbing of the lower limbs
- Shaking legs
- Tossing and turning in bed
- Sleep-deprivation-related effects
In order to treat RLS naturally, there are a variety of effective home remedies and lifestyle changes you may wish to consider. This includes exercising regularly, boosting your magnesium levels, improving sleep quality and altering your diet.
To discover more about this disorder, we had the pleasure of speaking with Ronja Eilts, the co-founder of a recent community of RLS in Germany, ‘’ www.restless-legs-therapie.de.’’
When did you first learn about Restless Legs Syndrome?
I have been suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome since the age of 16. I discovered more about RLS as a few of my family members suffer from the condition.
What symptoms have you experienced and how has it affected your life?
I commonly experience symptoms of RLS closer to bedtime.The burning and aching sensation intensifies during the evenings, and has significantly affected my sleep quality. RLS can be classified as a sleep disorder, and can cause symptoms associated with sleep deprivation. I also feel a constant urge to move my legs.
You recently launched the first community for RLS sufferers in Germany. What was your motivation for starting http://restless-legs-therapie.de/ website?
In countries like America, Restless Legs Syndrome awareness is stronger than countries like Germany. We launched this website to provide people with a supportive platform where they can freely discuss RLS remedies, issues and queries. We also wanted to make sufferers aware of medical alternatives that can be used to naturally provide RLS relief. There are many natural therapeutic methods that sufferers may wish to consider, which will, in turn, improve their sleep quality.
To your knowledge, what are the common causes of RLS?
In my experience, the main cause may be due to familial history and genetics. However, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of RLS, as it is still a grey area. Further research is required to establish potential causes.
What is your experience with RLS remedies?
I have been taking RLS medicine since the age of 16. However, long-term use of one type of medication may reduce its’ effectiveness. As a result, I began seeking alternative therapeutic methods to alleviate my RLS symptoms. I tried everything from foot reflexology massages, cooling creams, life-wave plasters, and magnesium sprays. Most of these remedies significantly improved my symptoms. I am constantly searching for new methods to remedy RLS symptoms.
What advice would you give people suffering from RLS?
Relying on medication to relieve RLS is not the best way forward. Since RLS remains quite unknown, I cannot give one single piece of advice to assist sufferers. RLS therapy involves a combination of lifestyle and dietary changes. It is important to test different remedies to discover what works for you.
What are your future plans for growing your community of people affected by RLS?
Our main goal is to assist people suffering from RLS, and grow to become the largest community of RLS sufferers in Germany. Since this particular syndrome is not well known in Germany, we are hoping to raise awareness of RLS. In fact, RLS may be underdiagnosed in Germany, as many people don’t know enough about the condition. Therefore, our active community allows individuals to receive advice on ways to combat the symptoms, and find the support when they need it.
1) Prevalence of restless legs syndrome in North American and Western European populations: a systematic review. Sleep Med. 2011 Aug;12(7):623-34. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2010.12.018. Epub 2011 Jul 12.