What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome is an often uncontrollable urge to twitch and move your legs – especially when sitting or lying down. It isn’t curable and the cause is unclear, but it’s a neurological problem that researchers theorize may result from a lack of iron in the brain or a physiological in processing and using iron. It’s associated with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, kidney failure, Parkinson's disease, and iron deficiency. Tobacco, caffeine, and obesity tend to make restless leg syndrome worse.
What are home remedies for restless leg syndrome?
Other treatments that have been helpful for some people with restless leg syndrome include:
- Warm/cold baths
- Electric nerve stimulation
- Oral magnesium
- Natural treatments such as quinine water at bedtime (tonic water)
- Anxiety may trigger or increase RLS symptoms according to some researchers. Some people have experienced a decrease in anxiety by using over-the-counter (OTC) products and natural home remedies and naturopathic treatments for anxiety, for example, lavender soap fumes or acupuncture. These natural treatments may reduce symptoms of RLS.
Some of these natural remedies to reduce symptom of restless leg syndrome and may cause side effects. Discuss any problems or side effects you have after using home remedies or alternative treatments for restless leg syndrome with your doctor.
What is the treatment for restless leg syndrome?
Treatment of restless leg syndrome is first directed toward any underlying illness, if known. For example:
- Blood testing to reveal underlying iron deficiency anemia may reveal the underlying cause.
- If varicose veins are thought to be the cause, then surgery to repair the circulation may be considered.
- Reduction or elimination of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol from a person's diet can be very helpful.
- Stopping smoking can significantly diminish or prevent symptoms.
- Getting better sleep and exercise can help some persons affected by restless legs.
- Pregnant women who do not sleep well at night and other people with sleep disorders may develop RLS.
There is no cure for restless leg syndrome; however, the condition usually responds well to home remedies and medications. The outlook is excellent for people with restless leg syndrome as long as it does not weaken or damage the function of the legs.\
Medications used to treat restless leg syndrome include:
- natural supplements (such as iron),
- carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet),
- opioids (such as hydrocodone, or tramadol [Ultram] for intermittent symptoms),
- carbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR, Equetro, Carbatrol),
- clonazepam (Klonopin),
- diazepam (Valium),
- triazolam (Halcion),
- temazepam (Restoril),
- baclofen (Lioresal)
- clonidine (Catapres, Catapres-TTS, Jenloga),
- gabapentin (Neurontin),
- gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant ER),
- ropinirole (Requip), and
- pramipexole (Mirapex).
What specialty of doctor treats restless leg syndrome?
Your primary care doctor may diagnose and treat restless leg syndrome. Your doctor may also refer you to a neurologist or a sleep specialist.