Though many varicose vein sufferers experience little more than unattractive lumps and veins on the legs and other places, in certain circumstances they can experience significant varicose vein pain that makes the legs ache, feel heavy and can also result in swelling at the ankle at the end of the day. The affected leg or area can also feel like it is burning or can trigger muscle spasms during the night.
In the early stages of the condition there are a number of lifestyle changes that you can adopt that may slow down varicose vein development, however if you are pregnant or you have a definite family history of developing varicose veins, there may be limits to what you can achieve.
That said, the varicose veins that appear during pregnancy can often fade after the birth, though after multiple pregnancies they are unfortunately likely to become more permanent. It is recommended that you eat probably and sensibly, are careful about fat and salt intake (both of which can have a very negative impact on heart and venous health), reduce alcohol, stop smoking and ensure that your diet is rich in vitamin C and E that have proven benefits for the skin and veins.
It is also advised that you try to avoid crossing your legs at the knee as this also has a detrimental effect on the circulation in the legs. You can also manage minor varicose vein pain by taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory painkiller like Ibuprofen or Aspirin that will work on the affected area to bring down any swelling and heat that is being generated. Some people also swear by applying a cold compress to the affected area to bring relief.
If you have the kind of occupation that requires standing or being on foot for extended periods of time and you are being made uncomfortable by your varicose veins, it is advisable to put your feet up for a while to allow the blood to drain away from the affected area, making sure that you raise your feet above the level of your heart. This also works well if you do not have to stand up all day, but it is also not a licence to not move about.
Making sure that you rest your legs and also move about (by going for a short walk for example) is important. While the resting allows for drainage, the walking promotes good circulation and will help maintain fitness and cardiovascular health. Having stronger muscles can also help ease the pain, as well as helping you maintain a healthy BMI that will lessen the strain on your circulatory system that excess weight causes.
Compression stockings are a commonly prescribed method of easing the discomfort of varicose veins as they help to support the circulation and encourage the blood to flow back towards the heart as it is meant to. As well as preventing the blood pooling in the varicose vein which gives the sensation of pressure and burning, it also prevents the swelling that can occur at the ankles, generally improving all round leg comfort.