Natural Remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome affects about fifteen percent of adults. But there are many natural remedies to deal with restless syndrome that you can try.

Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition which causes sensations in the legs such as tingling, or the feeling of bugs crawling on the skin. It can also produce the need to move your legs. It occurs in about 15% of adults and can be seen as a symptom of another medical condition. In this instance the Restless Leg Syndrome will disappear when the primary condition is treated. RLS can also be caused by certain medications and will go away when you stop taking it. The cause of Restless Leg Syndrome is not always easy to determine and can be difficult to live with. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available including home remedies and prescription medications.

Home Remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome

There are a number of home remedies for restless legs. These include:

1.    Try Dietary Supplement

RLS can be caused by certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies, so you should discuss supplementation with your doctor. Blood tests can determine these deficiencies and your doctor can tell you what to take and the proper dosage. Some of these deficiencies can include magnesium, iron, folic acid, and B Vitamins.

2.    Try Mild Exercise

Any daily mild or moderate exercise is good for the body and can help with your symptoms of RLS. Leg stretches and walking for at least thirty minutes a day are especially good for your RLS. Just be sure you don’t overdo it which can cause muscle strain. This could only make the condition worse.

3.    Relaxation Techniques

Muscle tension and stress can be a cause of Restless Leg Syndrome and relaxation can reduce tension and as a result, the RLS symptoms. Light stretching, yoga, tai chi, and meditation before bed can all help reduce symptoms.

Yoga involves stretching, relaxation, and deep breathing, all of which helps relieve symptoms of RLS. Find a video or a class to learn the proper poses and avoid injury and then try them on your own. A podcast is also a good way to learn poses and follows up with guided relaxation. The following video might also help:

4.    Hot and Cold Compresses and Massage

This is one of the most commonly used home remedies for restless leg syndrome. Warm and/or cold compresses can help alleviate tense muscles and reduce the symptoms of RLS, as well as easing any achiness or leg pain associated with it. You can also soak in a warm bathtub. Massaging your legs before bed can help with RLS symptoms as well.

5.    Change Your Sleep Pattern

Restless Leg Syndrome can greatly interfere with sleep which causes fatigue. Establishing a sleep schedule can help with this problem. Go to bed at the same time every night and create a bedtime routine that can help alleviate symptoms of RLS. You should also remove anything from your bedroom that can be a distraction and make your bedroom as comfortable as possible.

6.    Stretch Before You Sleep

Gentle stretching before bed may help alleviate symptoms of RLS. For a calf stretch, step forward and bend your front leg while keeping your back leg straight, in a small lunge. Use a wall or sturdy chair back for support. Repeat on the other side. Stretching also helps if you've been sitting for a long time as it helps relieve tension and loosen taut muscles.

7.    Try Pressure to Relieve Symptoms

Compression stockings or wrapping your legs snugly in ace bandages can help to alleviate symptoms of RLS.

8.    Try a Pillow Between Your Legs

Using a pillow between your legs in bed or when lying down can help prevent nerve compression in the legs, alleviating symptoms.

9.    Exercise Your Brain

Sitting still for long periods of time can trigger symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome such as watching television or being seated at a desk for work. If sitting can’t always be changed, activities that distract your brain can help, such as playing video games, doing word puzzles, or reading.

10.    Move Your Legs

These stretches are the most effective home remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome. Moving your legs can alleviate the twitching sensation or pain caused by RLS. In some cases, shaking your legs while in a seated position can help. If you will be sitting for a period of time, move your legs periodically. If in a theater or on a plane, sit in a seat on the aisle so you can move or get up. In many cases, simple stretches can help alleviate your symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Hip stretch – Place a chair against the wall and stand facing the chair. Place your left foot flat on the chair seat, bending your knee. You can also do this on the bottom of a stairway by placing your foot flat on a step and holding on to the railing to keep your balance. Keeping your spine straight, press your pelvis forward slowly until you feel the stretch in your right thigh. Your pelvis should move forward just slightly. Hold the position for twenty to thirty seconds, then switch legs and repeat the stretch on the other side.
  • Front thigh stretch – While standing next to a wall or using a sturdy chair back for balance, pull one of your ankles toward your backside while keeping the other leg straight. Hold for twenty to thirty seconds, then switch legs and repeat the stretch on the other side.
  • Calf stretch – Place your palms flat against a wall so your elbows are almost straight. Bend your right knee slightly and place your left leg back about a foot back, placing your foot flat on the floor. Stay in place for twenty to thirty to seconds. Bend your left knee while still keeping your foot flat to the floor. If you want a deeper stretch, you can move your left foot back a bit. Switch legs and repeat the same stretch on the other side.

Exercise Tips for Treating Restless Leg Syndrome

11.    Consider a TENS Unit

You can consult with your doctor about whether or not a TENS unit may be right for you based on health history and any risk factors. A TENS unit uses a high-voltage, but low-current of electricity for a set period of time. It is applied to the skin and uses pulses to treat pain.

12.    Try Taking Pain Relievers

If you have mild symptoms, as one of the home remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome, over-the-counter pain medications can alleviate its symptoms like pain and achiness. It may also help with the twitching and other sensations.

13.    Review Your Medications

Some cold and allergy medications can trigger RLS symptoms, especially antihistamines. Some antidepressants and drugs to treat nausea can cause the same problem as well. Discuss with your doctor all medicines and supplements you take.

Are There Medications to Treat Restless Leg Syndrome?

Initial treatment of Restless Leg Syndrome is typically aimed at finding an underlying cause or treating the medical condition in which RLS is a symptom.

It has been approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that three Parkinson's medications for Restless Leg Syndrome, in addition to the dermal patch Neupro, can be used. The three are:

  • pramipexole (Mirapex)
  • rotigotine transdermal system (Neupro)
  • ropinirole (Requip)

Other Parkinson’s drugs that can be used to treat RLS include cabergoline, pergolide and Sinemet (carbidopa/levodopa). When taking these Parkinson's medications, you may experience side effects such as lightheadedness, nausea, fatigue, and higher risks for heart disease.

Other common medications used include:

  • Prescription painkillers (such as codeine, Vicodin, oxycodone, and Percocet) can help with severe causes of RLS. You should know that prescription painkillers can be addictive and that side effects can include dizziness, nausea, and constipation.
  • Anti-seizure medications (such as Tegretol, Neurontin, and Epitol) can help the painful daytime symptoms of RLS. The side effects of these medications are dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Sleep medications and muscle relaxants (such as Sonata, Ambien, and Klonopin) can help you sleep better if the symptoms of RLS prevent sleep. However, these medications can cause daytime drowsiness and do not eliminate symptoms. 

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