How to Treat Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) can cause a person to have strange sensations in their legs as they are trying to fall asleep. This disorder affects the nervous system.

It can also cause a person to have uncomfortable sensations in other areas of their body. These sensations can make a person toss and turn in bed and have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Although restless legs syndrome can affect anyone, it tends to occur mostly in adults and seniors. It affects both men and women. Keep reading to learn more about restless legs syndrome.

RLS Symptoms

Restless legs syndrome can cause severe or mild symptoms. Restless legs syndrome can cause a variety of symptoms which may include:

  • Strange sensations that happen deep within the legs or arms
    • Common feelings include itching, tingling, crawling, prickling and more
  • Issues sleeping
    • Restless legs syndrome may cause involuntary and jerky movements especially when a person is trying to sleep.
    • Repetitive and jerky movements may occur while a person is sleeping, awake or trying to be still
      • These movements are called periodic leg movement
      • Urge to move limbs
        • Those who have restless legs syndrome will often have a need to move their arms or legs in order to relieve themselves of these sensation
  • General restlessness
  • May toss and turn in bed
  • Can feel a need to alleviate their uncomfortable sensations by rubbing the legs
  • Feel the need to pace and walk around in order to prevent or alleviate symptoms

Some people will experience symptoms of restless legs syndrome very regularly. Other people may experience weeks or months without any symptoms, but will then have the symptoms return.

RLS Causes

Restless legs syndrome often goes undiagnosed and misdiagnosed. The cause of restless legs syndrome is unknown, but certain factors have been linked with the disorder. There is a strong chance that there is a genetic link as many people who are diagnosed with restless legs syndrome also have a family member that suffers from the disorder. A few factors that are associated with the development of restless legs syndrome include certain chronic diseases, medications, smoking, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, pregnancy, sleep deprivation, substance abuse, withdrawal from medication and more.

How to Stop Restless Legs Syndrome

There is no cure for RLS, but there are many treatment options that can help to relieve symptoms. A few of the most common treatments for restless legs syndrome include:

  • Avoiding triggers
    • Certain foods and substances can make the symptoms of restless legs syndrome worse,
    • Common triggers may include alcohol, caffeine and more.
    • Some medications may also be triggers.
  • Taking dietary supplements
    • Certain minerals and vitamins may be recommended for those who are deficient in them. 
  • Treating underlying medical conditions
    • Some medical conditions may affect restless legs syndrome including varicose veins, kidney disease, anemia, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.
  • Physical therapy
    • Stretching and physical activity may help to alleviate symptoms. 
  • Medications
    • Some medications may be recommended for people who have severe or persistent symptoms.
    • Medications may aid in sleep and alleviate symptoms.
  • At-home treatments
    • Practice a healthy and consistent sleep routine
    • Take iron supplements
    • Massage
    • Get regular mild exercise
    • Manage stress
    • Acupuncture

The right treatment plan can allow for those with restless legs syndrome to manage their symptoms. 

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