Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment

Learn 11 ways to improve Restless Leg Syndrome

In this page you will learn non-pharmacological restless leg syndrome treatment, such as different activities and abstaining from nicotine, caffeine and alcoholic.

I also covered alternative medicine like herbal remedies and vitamins, and some medication.

Symptoms and Causes of RLS

The Symptoms of Restless Leg 

Usually, the natural restless leg syndrome treatment consists in improving the symptoms rather the causes. The RLS symptoms that can be improved (by following the natural remedies from this article) are:

  • discomfort in the legs
  • moving the legs every twenty seconds or so during sleep.
  • in severe cases the number of leg movements per night can reach five hundred, severely impairing the continuity of sleep.
  • accelerated heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • insomnia
  • difficulty in falling asleep
  • difficulties in maintaining sleep continuity

The Mysterious Causes of RLS

If want to find the cure any type of disorder, including restless legs syndrome, you have to eliminate the causes. But the causes of RLS are somewhat mysterious even for doctors.

The scientists discovered some common risk factors in RLS patients, such as:

  • Dopamine - a brain chemical that is made in the nerve cells - is involved in movement, mood, and alertness of the body, so there are reason to believe that dopamine has an important role in restless legs syndrome.
  • The scientists discovered that the medications that increase dopamine activity in the brain seem to benefit restless legs syndrome.

    In addition, the drugs that block the dopamine signals in the brain can cause the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Isn't it interesting?

  • Iron deficiency has been found to cause restless legs syndrome. Scientists discovered with the help of magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) that there is much more iron in the normal brain than in the brain of the restless legs syndrome patient.So, it's possible that the inability of the brain to maintain an adequate iron level to cause the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
  • Kidney failure - studies have reported a thirty to seventy percent prevalence of restless legs syndrome in patients with kidney problems. The scientists also discovered that a kidney transplantation may produce significant improvement in restless legs symptoms.
  • other risk factors can be:increased age and family historyrare neurologic conditionsmedical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritisuse of nicotine, certain antidepressants and dopamine antagonists such as metoclopramide.

Natural Remedies for Restless Legs Syndrome

I recommend to try the nondrug approach to treat restless legs syndrome, before attempting to use medication. And if you have a milder form of the disorder, you are the best candidate for this type restless leg syndrome treatment.

However, if you have a severe type of RLS, all these nondrug therapies are worth trying because most of them are not harmful.

Mental Activities that can treat restless leg syndrome

You probably know that restless leg syndrome occurs during situations that can make you sleepy, including repose, lack of interesting things to do or to see, and inactivity.

So, the activities that increase alertness should improve restless legs syndrome symptoms, because these activities changes your mental state.

Do you find in the situation in which you cannot move your legs, such as when sitting in a business meeting, in an airplane, bus, or in a church? Then I think that these mental activities can be very helpful:

  • doing crossword puzzles
  • playing logic games
  • reading an interesting book
  • playing video games

These types of activities are successful as long as you maintain the alertness, or the game. If you start to get bored or after you finished the activity, the symptoms of restless legs syndrome will return.

Physical activities for restless leg syndrome treatment

Fortunately, there are a lot of physical activities than can alleviate the symptoms of restless legs syndrome:

  • walking - is the simplest activity which usually relieve the symptoms of mild to moderate restless legs syndrome. However, walking is not so helpful if you have a severe disorder.

  • hatha yoga will often relieve temporarily the symptoms of RLS, because it uses a wide range of stretches which is very helpful.
  • For example, if you are standing on tip-toe until the leg is fatigued, can relieve the RLS symptoms. Choose to do these streaking exercises before bedtime.

    A word of advice here: don't try too hard to make physical exercises, because they tend to exacerbate the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. So, in this case, you need to lower your level of physical training in order to avoid worsening your symptoms.

Stimulation Activities for restless leg syndrome treatment

 Many patients with restless legs syndrome massage their legs or rub them. This can provide temporary relief to fall asleep.

Others have no RLS symptoms for hours if their legs are tickled.

Some people find that engaging in sexual activities can relieve their symptoms of RLS. It doesn't hurt to try this method with your partner, right?

No caffeine, No alcohol and No nicotine

Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can worsen the symptoms of RLS and the caffeine is the most dangerous, especially if consumed in the evening.

Smoking and Alcohol are associated with the aggravation of restless legs syndrome, but their effects are not as strong as that of caffeine.

The intake of alcohol at bedtime shortens the time needed to fall asleep; however, it increases the wakefulness in the second half of the night - which will also increase the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

Some medications are dangerous for RLS patients

Avoid medications that can exacerbate the restless legs syndrome symptoms, especially the medications that can block the dopamine receptors, such as:

  • Antihistamines - even if you think that these drugs help you to sleep, it can worsen your RLS.
  • Antinausea drugs and antiemetics - block the brain's dopamine receptors, even if they tend to have a positive effect (to reduce nausea and vomiting).
  • You should avoid antidepressants medication, because almost all these drugs can worsen the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

Iron replacement for restless leg syndrome treatment

As you probably know, the increased severity of restless legs syndrome has been associated with the low levels of iron from your body.

So, taking supplemental iron may help eliminate the symptoms or RLS; however, not all the people will benefit from this therapy.

You should take a blood test, to determine the serum ferritin level from your blood. If the level is low, the iron supplements can diminish the RLS symptoms.

The low iron levels in your blood is also a sign of you have a blood loss, even if it's not obvious.

Sleep Hygiene for RLS patients

It's very important to have a good sleep, to improve your symptoms of restless legs syndrome. This is difficult to do, because RLS is the disorder that makes your sleep so difficult.

However, there is a proof that the sleep habits can make your sleep easier, no matter how severe is your sleep disorder.

Here are some suggestions that can help you to have a good night's sleep:

  • sleep as much as you need to feel refreshed, but no more than that.
  • make a regular bedtime and an awakening time.
  • make somephysicall exercises in the morning (not in the evening). Do not exaggerate with your training.
  • avoid eating a lot in the evening, or sleeping with an empty stomach. A light bedtime snack can be helpful for a good sleep.
  • avoid alcohol and caffeine in the evening
  • if you cannot sleep, you should turn on a low-level light and do something different, like reading a book.

Alternative Medicine for Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment

Many patients with restless legs syndrome consider alternative therapy to be more natural and safer than pharmaceutical medication. However, some of these remedies may interact with your prescription for RLS and cause side effects.

  • Ayurveda, an East Indian therapy, uses a different medical system from conventional medicine. This type of therapy is based on diet and herbal remedies that emphasizes the use of the body, mind, and spirit in disease prevention and treatment.

  • Proper nutrition - is often mentioned as beneficial for decreasing the symptoms of RLS. For example, some persons realized that ice cream seems to exacerbate restless legs syndrome. They also believe that decreasing carbohydrates in their diet may be helpful.

  • Vitamins and minerals - a small study has suggested that vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin B12 and folic acid may be helpful.However, there is no scientific evidence by larger scale that supplemental doses of any mineral or vitamin can help people with restless legs syndrome. Of course, iron is an exception.

  • Herbal remedies for restless leg syndrome treatment - some patients with restless legs syndrome reported that they improved their symptoms after using:valerian rootkava kavahorse chestnutSt. John's wortlecithingrape seed extractcoenzyme Q10

None of these herbal remedies have been scientifically studied, so they cannot be recommended for use in restless legs syndrome treatment.

Click here to learn more about RLS treatments.

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