Effective Treatments for Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, causes uncomfortable sensations that can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. The urge to move is irresistible, and it happens with rest or at night. Restless leg syndrome results in sleep deprivation and daytime sleepiness if left untreated. Fortunately, treatment options are available to help you get the rest you need and avoid long-term complications.

Whether it happens every once in awhile or multiple times a night, restless leg syndrome can interfere with your quality of life. Now there are many treatment options to choose from. Keep reading to learn more about restless leg syndrome treatment, so you can finally say goodbye to sleepless nights!

Home Remedies

There are several home remedies that offer quick and easy options for treating restless leg syndrome. Many of these options require minimal or no equipment, so you can start getting the quality rest you need without a lot of hassles and fuss!

Stretches and Exercise

Mild to moderate restless leg syndrome can be treated with basic exercises. You need to exercise when you are feeling up for it during the day, because exercise can reduce the symptoms of this condition. You might try doing simple aerobic exercises, like walking, biking, or a light jog, as long as it feels comfortable. Additionally, you can find relief during the day from milder RLS symptoms by doing simple stretches that target your lower limbs, like calves and thighs. If your RLS is severe, it will cause pain when exercising. Also, your doctor should be the person to tell you whether exercising is recommended for you or not.

Massage

Although leg massage may not be a cause of RLS, there are other things you can do that may make your symptoms more tolerable. Many people used leg massage to relax the muscles and increase blood flow to the area around your legs, which for most people will help reduce the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Many people also find massaging their muscles at night before bedtime an extremely helpful way to unwind and curb feelings of anxiety and depression, because it makes them feel relaxed and helps them sleep better.

Yoga

When stress sets in and you find yourself tossing and turning, try mindfulness in yoga. Instead of letting these symptoms get the better of you, engage in a calming exercise that will put your mind at ease. Yoga has many benefits for mental and physical health when practiced in a healthy manner. By performing these relaxing poses at bedtime, you can help prevent restless leg syndrome from getting worse and make sleep possible again.

Hot and Cold Therapy

A hot and cold pack can reduce your muscle pain, relax your muscles. Heat up the pack in the microwave before you go to bed, take a warm bath or get a herbal heating pad for heat therapy at home. When you are done with your workout sweating, for the best results, perform one cold treatment when you finish exercising – it'll relieve inflammation thanks to the vasoconstriction process, which means tightening of blood vessels. An easier alternative is to treat yourself to a cold therapy pack, which can be placed directly onto sore areas. It'll numb nerve endings and give your leg muscles a chance to rest.

TENS Therapy

If you're experiencing symptoms of restless leg syndrome, transcutaneous electrical stimulation may provide some relief. This overstimulates the nerves and disturbs them from feeling pain and other sensations that cause the discomfort associated with RLS. Put some adhesive patches on your legs or feet at bedtime, then turn on the electrotherapy unit. Although it's fairly new, TENS has helped some people relieve their restless leg syndrome symptoms without medications.

Compression

Many people with poor circulation suffer from swelling that occurs at night. Some people recommend wearing compression stockings or a foot wrap to reduce swelling during the night. These products are tight, but not so tight that they cut off circulation to your legs, helping give your body counter-stimuli and alleviating any excess fluid buildup that occurs throughout the day.

Vein Treatment

Recent studies have shown a link between restless leg syndrome and varicose veins. Varicose veins are located in the lower body and occur when patients have faulty valves in their veins, allowing blood to flow backwards through the vein. This enlarges and bulges the vein, causing symptoms such as pain.

The problem with varicose veins is that they can be extremely irritating, especially at night when those pesky legs are restless. Fortunately, though, there is some relief in sight! There are actually multiple treatments that can help reduce the severity of varicose and spider veins (both are types of venous insufficiency), such as compression stockings, which you can purchase at your local drugstore or medical supply store. Of course, this treatment comes with a price tag, but it's far cheaper than the other alternative - getting an appointment with your doctor for surgical treatment like sclerotherapy procedures. This ultrasound based treatment done by doctors specifically trained to do them requires an inpatient setting, and from my experience a lengthy recovery time. Talk to your doctor about what's best for you!

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes restless leg syndrome is a temporary condition that can be treated with a few lifestyle changes. Read below to find out how you might benefit from improved health, as this could lessen your symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Establish Healthy Sleep Habits

Good sleep habits are essential to a healthy body. As someone who suffers from a sleep disorder like restless leg syndrome, it can become difficult to find ways to make your bed an enjoyable environment to relax and recuperate. By utilizing this list of tips provided by qualified health care professionals, you should restore the quality of your rest in no time!


  • Control your bedroom environment: keep your room dark, appropriate temperature, and quiet.
  • Sleep diary: to find patterns in your sleeping habits.
  • Establish a bedtime schedule: go to sleep and wake up simultaneously each day.
  • Minimize distractions: put your cell phone in another room and turn off the TV.
  • Dietary Changes


If you often feel tired, it could be because of an iron deficiency. Anemia is a condition that causes your body not to produce red blood cells in sufficient numbers, which can lead to oxygen deprivation and feelings of weakness and fatigue. One way to eat iron-rich foods like beef liver or dairy products is by consuming fortified cereal, lentils, and other foods containing non-heme varieties of the mineral.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol can worsen the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Try to limit or avoid foods that contain caffeine, such as coffee, soda, tea, chocolate and certain medications. Drinking alcohol may seem like a good way to relax before bed, but it actually makes it more difficult to fall asleep, which could cause restless leg symptoms when you finally get up!

Medications

Restless leg syndrome, or RLS, is a condition in which an individual experiences an uncontrollable urge to move their body because they're experiencing discomfort. It's not uncommon to get restless legs syndrome when induced by an underlying medical problem, such as hypertension, pregnancy, or diabetes. Certain medications can help treat the symptoms with non-pharmacologic techniques, but some may need medication to treat their symptoms. There are multiple types of medications ranging from supplements containing iron to those containing opioids that you can take for your specific needs in mind, and your doctor can guide you in terms of which is best for you based on the situation

Iron

Restless leg syndrome is a common complaint. Thankfully, iron deficiency causes RLS and can be prevented by taking an oral iron supplement. A simple blood test will show if your iron levels are low, but remember that ferrous sulfate may exacerbate the RLS symptoms if these are indeed caused by anemia or hemoglobin-related issues, so don't take anything without talking to your doctor first!

Anti-Seizure Medications

A medication commonly used in the treatment of epilepsy and spinal injuries, gabapentin enacarbil has recently established itself as a drug which could be effective at easing restless leg symptoms. Receptor cells on nerve cells located in the lower extremities act as a trigger that sends pain messages to other parts of the nervous system, and they can become hyperactive in certain cases. Gabapentin enacarbil stimulates these receptor cells, making it extremely important for restless leg patience to talk to their neurologist about whether this new medication may alleviate their symptoms.

Benzodiazepine

As the last line of defense against restless leg syndrome, benzodiazepines can help you get a restful night’s sleep. These medications can cause sleepiness and affect concentration, therefore should be taken just before bedtime. The most common prescribed benzodiazepines are clonazepam and lorazepam. You and your doctor should review your health history before taking a benzodiazepine, as it may affect other conditions you may have.

Opioids

Oxycodone and codeine (both strong painkillers) help relieve discomfort caused by restless leg syndrome by acting on the brain and spinal cord. These drugs are used for people who have not responded well to other treatments, such as caffeine or lidocaine patches. Codeine is less effective than oxycodone, but side effects like constipation can be countered with water, fiber, and exercise.

Treating RLS Symptoms Safely

Restless leg syndrome is a common health problem, and fortunately there are several effective treatment options available. Try one or more of the above suggestions to find relief and see if you can manage it on your own. If you cannot, your doctor may prescribe a medication, such as Clonazepam, to help reduce the urge to move your legs whenever you try to sleep. Converse with your doctor about which course of action would work best for you based on personal factors, such as how severe your RLS truly is!


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