If you are experiencing sensation or twitching on your leg, then you are suffering from restless leg syndrome. However, RLS will lead to difficulty falling asleep that can impact on your learning power, concentration and daily routine activities. Moreover, you will feel tired all day due to lack of sleep and can result in depression, mood swings and other health problems.
Some health conditions like diabetes, iron deficiency, kidney disease and pregnancy can be the reason for causing RLS. It links to how our brain uses dopamine and iron. So here in this article, we are going to discuss some best restless leg syndrome treatment.
What do you mean by RLS?
RLS or restless leg syndrome is a situation in which you will feel uncomfortable to move your limbs. However, it also considered a sleeping disorder.
You will experience sensation, crawling, creeping and twitching on your affected leg if you are suffering from RLS. Most commonly, the symptoms of RLS occurs if you are sitting or lying down for a long time. The feelings caused by the RLS can lead to difficulty falling asleep.
There are two types of RLS one is primary RLS, and the other is secondary RLS. However, the primary has no known cause and secondary connects with the nerves problems like iron deficiency, pregnancy or kidney disease.
Most of the time, people have mild RLS symptoms. But if you have moderate to severe RLS symptoms, then it will have an impact on your life. However, it will prevent you from sleeping enough and as a result, will affect your concentration power, learning abilities and other daily routines.
The lack of sleep can also lead to mood swings, depression and other health problems. If RLS last for long in your body, then it can spread to other parts of your body like arms.
However, the symptoms of RLS get worse at evening and night. So it becomes vital to have restless leg syndrome treatment because of it’s effects on your life. Some researchers suggest that RLS connects to how your brain uses dopamine and iron.
On the other hand, others suggest that it relates to poor circulation. Further in this article, we are going to show you some best restless leg syndrome treatments. Some of these treatments you can try your own and others you have to discuss with your doctor. However, the doctor will help you to create a treatment plan that will relieve your RLS symptoms.
1. Figure out the causes of RLS
Your first step must be addressing the causes of RLS. However, RLS connects to several things that are out of your control, such as pregnancy or genetics.
On the other hand, some of your habits, medications you are taking or some health conditions are in control that can trigger the symptoms of RLS. Here we are going to discuss some of your daily habits that can cause RLS habits.
- Intaking caffeine
- Consumption of alcohol.
If you have these habits, then you have to limit or avoid them to reduce your RLS symptoms. Below we are going to discuss some medications that you are taking can cause or worsen the RLS symptoms.
- Antinausea drugs such as metoclopramide or prochlorperazine
- Antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol or olanzapine
- Older antihistamines such as diphenhydramine
- A tricyclic antidepressant such as amoxapine or amitriptyline
Talk to your doctor if any of the medications above is making your RLS symptoms worse. Now below, we are going to discuss some health conditions that relate to RLS.
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Iron deficiency
These health conditions can be the reason for causing the symptoms of RLS. If you are facing any of these health conditions, then you have to consult your doctor how your health history might impact your RLS.
However, some people claim that wearing tight clothes or eating lots of sugar can aggravate the symptoms of RLS.
2. Perform moderate exercise
If you are suffering from RLS, then doing some exercise is helpful to get relief. A study shows that performing exercise at a moderate level is useful if you have mild RlS symptoms.
A study in 2006 shows that if you are doing aerobic exercise and lower body resistant training three times per week for 12 weeks, then the symptoms of RLS will decrease. Some other studies show that performing exercise is effective for RLS in people with ESRD.
Exercise seems to be a natural fit for people with RLS and is helpful to improve your sleep. Keep in mind that you do not have to do too much exercise because it can worsen the RLS symptoms.
3. Bed timing is must
Adjusting your bedtime is the best home-based restless leg syndrome treatment for RLS. A study shows that going to sleep earlier in the evening and sleeping later in the morning is helpful to reduce the symptoms of RLS.
If you have low evening cortisol levels, then the RLS symptoms will increase. Therefore, getting adequate sleep is best to sustain normal cortisol levels. Make sure to avoid doing too many activities in the evening to remove over-stimulation.
Have a relaxing bedtime routine and try to turn it from half an hour to one hour earlier than your usual bedtime. However, you can prepare your breakfast one night before to allow for the little more time to rest in the morning.
We can say that spending more time on the bed is going to decrease the symptoms of RLS. Moreover, try to sleep and wake at the same time every day. It is a fact that if you are stick to a routine, then your body will function better.
However, maintaining your sleep time and wake time is helpful to reduce the chances of exhausting problems and fatigue associated with RLS. If you are facing difficulting falling asleep, then doing certain activities will help you to drift off more easily.
You can take a warm bath, have a cup of tea or read a relaxing book to fall asleep. Moreover, you have to avoid emotional conversations in the evening because it may prevent you from falling asleep. So start maintaining your bedtime and aim to get at least 7 to 8 hours sleep to improve the symptoms of RLS.
4. Yoga and stretching
Performing yoga and some stretching exercise helps to cure the symptoms of RLS. An eight-week study of ten women found that yoga helps to reduce the RLS symptoms as well as improve mood, stress levels and sleep.
However, a study in 2012 shows that yoga improved sleep in twenty women having RLS. Another research shows that doing some stretching is helpful to improve the RLS symptoms of people on hemodialysis.
Stretching your legs before the bedtime can alleviate the uncomfortable and irresistible urge to move the legs. You can extend your calves by standing against the wall and lean towards the wall until you feel a stretch in your calves.
Make sure to have it a part of your daily habits to ensure the best quality sleep. However, it is not clear why yoga and stretching are helpful for RLS. SO start adding some calf and upper leg stretches to your daily exercise routine to get improvement in the symptoms of your RLS.
5. Healthy sleeping habits
Most of the people suffering from RLS feel trouble in sleeping. So it becomes vital to have a good sleep to reduce the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
However, getting a healthy sleep could help you offset the nap loss you suffer from your condition. Moreover, maintaining your sleeping time is also helpful. Here we are going to discuss some tips that will make your sleep restful and restorative.
- Try to make your sleeping area cold and dark.
- Keep all the distractions things like Tv and mobile phone away from your bedroom.
- Before going to sleep, try to avoid seeing electronic screens. However, blue light coming from the electronic devices throw off the circadian rhythm that helps you keep a natural sleep cycle.
Lastly, making healthy sleep, your habit may not resolve the symptoms of RLS, but it can improve your sleep and can set off the effects of RLS.
6. Enjoy taking a warm bath
Having a warm bath or shower is going to be another home-based restless leg syndrome treatment to reduce the symptoms of RLS. When you take a bath with warm water, it will relax your muscles and prevent spasms and twitching.
Moreover, you can add Epsom salt in the water while bathing for more benefits. The salt can reduce aches and pains. Having a warm bath can help you to wind down and give you a restful sleep.
If you want a more relaxing experience, then you can add several essential oils, bath crystals and other ingredients. Some essential oils are lavender, rose, chamomile and eucalyptus that can give you the soothing effect.
Moreover, some additives like baking soda and bentonite clay are also beneficial for people having RLS. So now start taking a warm shower to reduce your RLS complaints and get a relaxing night sleep.
7. Intake vitamin and iron supplements
If you have iron deficiency, then your chances to get RLS increases. However, most of the studies show that iron supplements can improve the symptoms of RLS. You can have a blood test to check for iron deficiency in your body.
If your test finds positive, then you have to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will recommend you take oral iron supplements and in some cases, they suggest intravenous iron.
On the other hand, deficiency of vitamin D also relates to RLS. A study shows that vitamin D supplements are helpful for people having RLS. And vitamin C and E supplements are also useful to improve the symptoms of RLS in people with hemodialysis.
Massaging your affected leg can improve the symptoms of RLS. Most of the health organisations suggest that it is the best home remedy for giving relief to your RLS symptoms.
However, many other types of research show that massage is beneficial for RLS symptoms. If you had a 45 min leg massage twice a week for three weeks, then it is going to improve your RLS symptoms throughout that period.
However, the efficient techniques of massage include Swedish massage and direct pressure to leg muscles. A study shows that the increase in the release of dopamine through massage is the reason for improving the symptoms of RLS.
Moreover, massage can also improve circulation that might be the reason for its effects on RLS. Additionally, massage can aid in relaxation that could improve your sleep.
9. Prescription medications
Medication is the best restless leg syndrome treatment. It is efficient for moderate to severe symptoms of RLS. The first medication prescribed for RLS was Dopaminergic drugs. However, medication can improve RLS symptoms but also cause side effects and other problems.
Here we are going to show you some types of drugs that can help to relieve RLS symptoms without causing any problems.
These drugs increase the release of dopamine in your brain. However, dopamine is a chemical that enables body movements. RLS relates to the problems in the body’s production of dopamine. So dopaminergic drugs are helpful to improve the RLS symptoms.
Here are three dopaminergic medications approved by the US food and drug administration to treat moderate to severe RLS.
As we see, dopaminergic drugs are helpful to treat RLS, but long-term can worsen the RLS symptoms. So the doctor prescribes the lowest dosage of these drugs to delay this problem.
Additionally, these drugs become less effective over time. So the doctor may also prescribe a combination of dopaminergic drugs with other types of drugs to delay or prevent both these problems.
Gabapentin is an antiseizure medication approved by the FDA to treat RLS symptoms. However, it is not understandable how gabapentin work to treat RLS.
In a study, twenty-four people suffering from RLS treated with placebo and gabapentin for six weeks. So it seems that some people get improved sleep, and reduced movements from RLS treated with gabapentin. On the other hand, others treated with placebo did not get any results.
Benzodiazepines drugs are helpful to treat anxiety and sleeping problems. The combination of clonazepam with other types of pills is useful to treat RLS.
However, these drugs will improve your sleep that can be helpful to treat RLS symptoms.
Opioids drugs are best for getting relief from the pain. However, you can use opioids in low doses to treat RLS symptoms when other medications are not helpful or cause augmentation.
You can use prolonged-release oxycodone to relieve the symptoms of RLS and improve sleep. Due to the risk of misuse and dependence, the use of opioids drugs should oversee by the doctor.
The bottom line is that your doctor must suggest one or more medications if your RLS symptoms are moderate to severe.
10. Eliminate caffeine
Caffeine is known to trigger the symptoms of RLS. So cutting out the caffeine from your daily life is the best restless leg syndrome treatment. However, as we all know, caffeine gives a temporary boost of energy.
But if you are suffering from RLS, then caffeine is going to worsen its symptoms. However, most of the people rely on a cup of coffee to get going in the morning. But you cant get to the dreamland later at the night because caffeine is going to make you restless.
It means that you will not get the restful sleep, and the next morning you will again need to rely on more caffeine. So you have to cut the cord to eliminate the caffeine to get restful sleep and improve the symptoms of RLS.
Here are some hidden sources of caffeine that you have to avoid.
- Energy drinks
- Soft drinks
- Certain flavoured liquids for electronic cigarettes.
11. Pneumatic compression
In this treatment, a sleeve will go on your affected body part, and it starts squeezing and releasing your limb. However, this compression will improve circulation and prevent blood clotting.
And improved circulation is the reason that you will get relief from the symptoms of RLS. Then improved circulation can improve the RLS symptoms. However, some researches show that low oxygen level in limbs can also cause RLS.
So we can say that pneumatic compression is a non-drug restless leg syndrome treatment that can improve RLS symptoms, sleep quality and daytime function.
12. Vibration pad
A vibration pad is also the best way to treat your RLS and help you get better sleep. When you are sleeping, you can place the pad on the affected part of your body part and set it to the desired vibration intensity.
However, the pad will vibrate for 30 seconds and stops itself. The vibration pad override the uncomfortable sensations due to RLS.
So, you will feel vibrations instead of RLS symptoms. However, there is no research on the vibration pad and has not shown to relieve the RLS symptoms. It only improves your restless sleep.
Near-infrared spectroscopy is a painless restless leg syndrome treatment. A light beam of long-wavelength used to penetrate the skin that causes blood vessels to dilate and increase circulation.
A theory shows that low oxygen level can be the reason for causing RLS symptoms. So the NIRS will cause circulation that increases the oxygen level to relieve the RLS symptoms.
However, this treatment is going to cost you several hundred dollars. But the long-lasting effect of NIRS could be worth the investment.
14.Treatment with less scientific backups
Above we discussed some treatments that have some research to support their use. Now below, we are going to discuss other treatments that have less evidence, but still, work to treat the RLS symptoms.
Hot and cold treatment
A lot of research shows that backing up with using heat and cold is helpful to relieve the symptoms of RLS. However, most of the organisations recommend that taking a hot or cold bath before going to bed is useful to treat RLS.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
It is a type of non-invasive treatment that helps to reduce depression and is useful to treat the RLS symptoms. However, RTMS treats depression by transferring magnetic impulses to several areas of the brain.
A theory shows that the rise in the impulses increases the level of dopamine in the brain. And another study shows that this treatment calms the hyperarousal in different parts of the brain linked to the RLS.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
The transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device sends small electrical currents parts of your body to relieve pain and treat the symptoms of RLS.
However, a study shows that the regular use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device with a vibration treatment completely relieve the symptoms of RLS.
Acupuncture is helpful in several health conditions, including RLS. In a study, 38 people having RLS treated with acupuncture for six weeks. Then their abnormal leg activity gets reduced by this treatment.
However, more research needs to confirm that acupuncture is a reliable treatment for RLS.
Surgery for varicose veins
If you are suffering from several circulatory issues, then this surgery is an efficient way to treat your RLS. However, varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels present in the legs that overfill with blood.
It increases the amount of blood in your body, which means that your body can not circulate blood. And result in blood pooling in your legs. However, the surgery for varicose veins can improve the blood pooling and treat the symptoms of RLS.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with some best restless leg syndrome treatment. However, RLS can cause sleep issues and problems with daily functioning. Firstly, you can try the at-home options and if you do not get the results, then talk to your doctor. Your doctor will give you complete information about every treatment in this article.