Some people experience funny tingling or crawling sensation in the arms. Person has a desire to move arms continuously. This is known as restless arm syndrome. This constant restlessness in arms makes sleep difficult at night. Person feels better after moving or stretching the affected arm.
Restless arm syndrome can occur at any age. Symptoms may worsen as age advances. Simple measures can be taken to reduce the severity of restless arm syndrome.
In many cases, exact cause of restless arm syndrome cannot be traced. Researchers say that it could be due to imbalance of dopamine, a chemical which sends messages to control movement of the muscles.
- Heredity: People who develop restless arm syndrome at an early age are likely to have a family history of restless arm syndrome.
- Peripheral neuropathy: Diabetics or alcoholics may suffer from peripheral nerve damage leading to restless arm syndrome.
- Some pregnant women develop restless arm syndrome during last trimester of pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Symptoms usually disappear after delivery.
- Iron deficiency: People with history of bleeding or menorrhagia or repeated blood donation may develop iron deficiency resulting in restless arm syndrome.
- People suffering from kidney failure may have restless arm syndrome due to low iron levels in their blood and changes in blood chemistry.
Restless Arm Syndrome Symptoms
Patient will complain of uncomfortable, nagging sensations in the arm. They describe these sensations as tingling, crawling, gnawing, pulling, creeping or burning in arms. Person has a constant desire to move the arms. Usually sensation starts at night or in the evening. It may also start when a person is inactive, sitting or lying down for long time.
Diagnosis: Diagnosis is done on the basis of medical history. Blood tests and nerve study is carried out to diagnose underlying condition.
Home Remedies For Restless Arm Syndrome
Medications may be given to relieve the symptoms.
- Keep diabetes under control. Check blood sugar levels at regular intervals.
- Avoid alcohol abuse and also avoid caffeinated products.
- Do moderate exercise regularly. Do not overexert yourself. Overexertion may worsen the symptoms. Moderate stretching exercises will help to a great extent.
- People suffering from iron deficiency must treat the underlying cause. Take iron supplements after consulting your doctor. Include green leafy vegetables, dates, bananas in your diet.
- Live a stress free life. Stress will intensify your symptoms. Practice meditation and relaxation techniques. Practice yoga techniques like ‘Shavasana’ to relax your body completely.
- Take adequate sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene. Go to bed at a fixed time every day. Sleep in a quiet, cool and comfortable atmosphere.
- Massage the affected arm. It will improve the local circulation and will also help in muscle relaxation.
- Apply warm or cold compresses to the affected arm. Alternate application of warm and cold compresses help reduce abnormal sensation in the arms.
- Restless arm syndrome is a condition that may remain lifelong. Accept it and learn to cope with it with the help of friends and relatives. Join a support group.