It’s the middle of the night, you’re exhausted and want to sleep. But your legs don’t. They’re twitchy, nervous, and beckon for you to move them. Once you give in, there’s a brief (way too brief) moment of relief. And then there they go again.
What causes this odd sensation that keeps you up all night? Restless legs syndrome (RLS).
Restless legs syndrome is a fairly common uncomfortable disorder that causes a relentless urge to move or massage your legs while resting. The sensations are a bit different from one person to the next, but restless legs syndrome symptoms are often described as:
- Twitchy legs
- Nervous legs
- An inch you can’t scratch
- Pins and needles
There’s a good chance you found this article while laying in bed unable to sleep with nervous legs nagging at you to move and you asking Google how to get relief.
Here’s how to get instant relief for restless legs: compression therapy.
Studies are showing (and users reporting) that using one of these devices has a good chance of allowing you to get some sleep as soon as it arrives at your doorstep.
In two studies, the researchers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center showed that pneumatic compression boots can alleviate RLS symptoms in patients and even completely resolve the disorder in some people with one month of use.1, 2
Some researchers think that one key cause of RLS is low oxygen in the lower part of your body. To fix the problem, your brain sends messages to contract your leg muscles in order to increase circulation, causing your twitchy legs and urges to move.3
If you’ve ever stayed overnight in the hospital, you may have used a pneumatic compression device. It looks like sleeves or boots that go over your legs which inflate and deflate, gently squeezing and releasing. The purpose of using a pneumatic compression boots in the hospital is to improve circulation and prevent blood clots.
Improved circulation is thought to be the key reason pneumatic compression therapy helps relieve your RLS symptoms.4 Coupled with improving lymphatic flow and removing built up fluids are others.
Some people who use compression therapy for restless legs syndrome get instant relief and don’t need to do anything else. Some need to address underlying problems that may be causing their restless legs, like iron deficiency anemia or magnesium deficiency. And others may need to use a combination of restless leg treatments to get the maximum result.
How to Use Compression Therapy Boots for Instant Relief of Restless Legs
Using compression therapy boots are simple. Wrap the boots around your legs snugly (but not tight) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Wearing compression therapy boots for about an hour near bedtime while winding down and then removing them to sleep is one simple way to do the therapy. Another is to wear them to bed and sleep with them on, if they don’t disrupt you.
How to Choose a Compression Therapy Boots
There are a variety of compression therapy boot styles available for at-home use. Here are the key features to look at:
The amount of area the boots cover. The more surface area covered by the boots, the more circulation you can get moving. Many styles only cover the lower leg, while others cover the feet, lower legs, and the thighs. And others allow give you all three options to use together or separately.
The number of settings. Stronger intensity doesn’t always mean better. You’ll want a variety of settings to give you the ability to find the level of intensity that works best for you.
The option for heat. Heat therapy can help relax your muscles and calm their twitchy actions. Having the option for heat and compression at the same time gives you two therapies in one.
Who Should Not Use Leg Compression Therapy?
Some people with certain health conditions should not use leg compression therapy devices. Check with your healthcare provider before using leg compression therapy if you:
- Have leg ulcers, open wounds, or burns
- Have peripheral vascular disease
- Thin, fragile skin that tears open easily
- Poor sensation that doesn’t allow you to feel the tightness of the boot
- Active infection
- Swelling related to congestive heart failure
Using compression therapy along with making healthy lifestyle choices for RLS, you may get instant relief, or even completely end your restless legs symptoms. Specialists recommend staying hydrated, getting daily movement with increased heart rate, and eating foods rich in magnesium and iron, if deficient. Furthermore, stay away from excess sugar, caffeinated drinks, and omit alcoholic beverages as much as possible.
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