Restless Legs Syndrome Health (cont.)

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Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) Treatment

There is no cure for primary restless legs syndrome, although various treatments often can relieve symptoms. Treatment should be tailored for the individual's symptoms. Treatment for secondary restless legs syndrome involves treating the underlying cause.

Restless Legs Syndrome Self-Care at Home

In many cases, personal habits can make a sleeping disorder worse. Sometimes they are the main cause of the problem. Here are some things a person with RLS can do that may relieve symptoms.

  • Avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine for several hours before bedtime.
  • Take medications (prescription and nonprescription) only as directed.
  • Get some exercise every day.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal close to bedtime.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid daytime naps.
  • Use the bed only for sleeping or sex.
  • Try not to use bedtime as worry time.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) Medical Treatment

The first principle of therapy to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS) is to avoid substances or foods that may be causing or worsening the problem. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine may partly relieve symptoms. The health care professional should review the patient's medications and determine whether any drug he or she is taking could be causing the problem.

Any underlying medical conditions, such as anemia, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, kidney disease, thyroid disease, varicose veins, or Parkinson's disease, should be treated. Dietary supplements to correct vitamin or mineral deficiency may be recommended. In some cases, these treatments relieve RLS symptoms.

Affected individuals may benefit from physical therapy, such as stretching, hot or cold baths, whirlpool baths, hot or cold packs, limb massage, or vibratory or electrical stimulation of the feet and toes before bedtime. Exercise and relaxation techniques also may be helpful.


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