How To Treat Restless Leg Syndrome

Updated March, 2021
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There are numerous ways to treat RLS. You may just need to practice healthier sleeping habits, such as limiting distractions in the bedroom and going to sleep at the same time every night. For people with more severe RLS, your doctor may need to prescribe you medication to help manage symptoms.

What is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

Restless legs syndrome is a condition in which uncomfortable sensations occur in the legs. They're often described as creeping, crawling, or tingling feelings. It gives the sufferer the urge to get up, move around, or shake their legs.

RLS symptoms are more likely to occur at night. The individual tries to sleep, but they feel the urge to move their legs. As a result, many people with RLS suffer from a lack of sleep, which makes them fatigued and irritable during the day.

What causes restless legs?

There are several explanations for what can cause RLS. You need to undergo examination from your doctor to determine the root cause of your specific problem. The cause of RLS helps determine the best treatment.

  • Iron deficiency
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Dopamine imbalance

What are things I can do to relieve my restless legs?

There are things you can do in the moment to relieve restless legs. You can try walking around and stretching to manage your symptoms. However, people who consistently experience RLS should look into long-term treatments to manage it. Here are just some of the treatments your doctor may recommend.

  • Take or switch medication - Depending on the root cause of your RLS, your doctor may prescribe you dopaminergic drugs, Gabapentin, or benzodiazepines to help control it. Additionally, some medications, like Benadryl, can cause RLS. You may need to switch if the side effects are severe.
  • Take iron or vitamin supplements - Since iron deficiency is commonly linked with RLS, you may need to take an iron supplement every day. You need to undergo a straightforward blood test to determine your current iron levels.
  • Exercise regularly - Research has shown that people with RLS who exercised often saw a reduction in their symptoms. Light aerobic exercise a few times a week can help immensely. Plus, exercise is also great for falling asleep more easily at night.

Will a new mattress help with restless legs?

An old, worn out mattress doesn't help you, even if you don't suffer from RLS. If your current mattress sags or has bumps, then it's tough to get in a comfortable position to rest.

Getting a new foam or hybrid mattress can help you greatly. You may still need to undergo other treatments to help your RLS. But at least you can get cozy at night and not feel uncomfortable in other parts of your body.

When can I expect my restless legs syndrome to end?

Once you locate the source of your RLS, you need to start treatment immediately. At that point, expect it to take a few weeks to take effect.

It may take longer if you require medication. Certain drugs work better for some people than others. Continue talking with your doctor as you try different prescription medications. It may take several tries to find one that works for you.

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