It is common to experience weaknesses and discomfort in your legs at night. This causes the desire to constantly stretch and test your legs, which inhibits a restful sleep. Several issues can lead to these symptoms. It's critical to receive a correct diagnosis from your physician so you can deal with problem and get the rest you need.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
One of the most frequent causes of weak-feeling legs and the feeling of needing to constantly stretch them during the night is restless leg syndrome, which is a condition with an unknown etiology 1. RLS produces the incessant desire to move the legs, especially when reclining at night. Other medical issues that can produce similar symptoms are fibromyalgia and nerve-related disorders. You might also be experiencing the effects of poor circulation in the limbs that might be the result of diabetes. Only a physician can provide an accurate diagnosis of your particular case. Other conditions that can cause weak legs and a need to stretch are overexertion that occurs from too much physical activity over a short time, over-stimulation before bedtime and excessive stress.
Schedule a visit with your doctor if your leg symptoms continue past two or three days. Be prepared to give your physician an accurate health history because he will depend on your description and accounts to help him form an accurate diagnosis. According to the MayoClinic.com, RLS is typically diagnosed after the reporting of symptoms and ruling out other possible causes through blood and other tests. Take a list of all the medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, you take to provide to your health provider. Include any supplements you take in your medications list.
After a visit to your physician, engage in activities of self-care along with taking any medications the doctor prescribes. Make lifestyle changes that are likely to help you rest better at night even with the problems with your legs. These include getting daily exercise, reducing the amount of caffeine you consume and avoiding tobacco products. At night, you should practice a bedtime ritual that could include stretching, massage, meditation and a warm bath. It might also be helpful to take a pain-relieving medicine such as ibuprofen or aspirin before bedtime. Sleep in socks if your feet tend to get cold or lower the temperature in the room in you get too warm in bed.
Be aware of warning signs associated with nighttime leg issues. Symptoms include numbness in the legs, a change in their color, especially if one or both legs become blue. According to The New York Times Health Guide, coldness and paleness of the limbs can signal something is wrong as well 2. Also, swelling or heat in your extremities could indicate an infection. Contact medical assistance as soon as possible if any of these events occur or if your condition worsens over time, even though you have followed a physician's recommendations and employed home-care methods.
- Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images