Treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome

While there are various treatments for restless legs syndrome there is no cure for it. The treatments help to reduce the severity of the symptoms and give the individual the ability to relax and to help distract from the uncomfortable sensations associated with the condition.

The doctor who is treating the individual with restless legs syndrome will design a treatment plan that is based on the age of the patient, the abilities of the patient to participate in various treatments and the severity of the symptoms. The treatment plan will typically include lifestyle suggestions, relaxation techniques, medications & supplements, physical therapy, and self-help methods.

Lifestyle changes that may be suggested to help alleviate the symptoms will be to:

    • Avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine

    • Stop drinking alcohol if alcohol is presently being consumed

    • Avoid nicotine products

    • Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are known to increase the severity of RLS symptoms.

What Your Doctor Should Know

It is also important to review the list of all of your medications with your doctor; included should be a list of any supplements that you are taking, any over-the-counter medications (antihistamines, sleeping aids, pain relievers etc.), and any street drugs (recreation drugs) you may be taking. It is important to know all the medications that you are taking as some may aggravate RLS symptoms.

Your doctor needs to be informed of all other medical conditions that you have including allergies, diabetes, cardiac disease, nutritional deficiencies, kidney disease, thyroid problems, varicose veins etc., Some of these conditions may affect symptoms of RLS.

Diet

If blood tests show that you have any deficiencies, you may be given prescriptions for vitamins or minerals. It has been shown that for some individuals with RLS, lifestyle changes and supplements are all they need in order to feel a marked reduction in RLS symptoms.

Dietary needs will be discussed with your doctor or you may be given a referral to a nutritionist who can help you to plan nutritious meals that will give your body the fuel it needs to be healthy and increase your energy level.

A daily exercise program of moderation will be discussed. ***It is important that individuals with RLS not exercise excessively***. You may be recommended for physical therapy and self-care treatments.

Self Care

Self-care methods may include:

    • Stretching exercises

    • Cold or hot baths

    • Whirlpool baths

    • Apply hot or cold packs to the limbs that are affected by RLS symptoms.

    • Limb massage may be helpful and you will be instructed on how to do massage on yourself.

    • Vibratory or electrical stimulation may also be part of your treatment plan, which will be applied, to your feet and toes before you go to bed.

    • There are various relaxation exercises that will be taught so that you can use them when you are sitting for any length of time.

RLS Medications

There are some common medications that are usually prescribed for RLS symptom relief they include:

    • Dopaminergic agents (Sinemet)

    • Dopamine agonists (Permax, Parlodel, Mirapex, and Requip)

    • Benzodiazepines (Restoril, Xanax, Klonopin), Opiates (Darvon, Vicodin), which are very addictive are also sometimes used, but only if other medications do not work

    • Anticonvulsants (Neurontin), and also alpha2 agonists (Catapres)

Treatments for Restless Legs Syndrome vary with each patient because the severity of symptoms and even the symptoms themselves can vary. The treatment plan will also change over time as the symptoms worsen, new methods are discovered, or new medications are approved.