Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that can cause pain and unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to keep them moving. Here are some tips for controlling RLS on your own at home.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people with RLS should limit how much caffeine they consume, as it may ease symptoms. Products that contain caffeine include chocolate and caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and some sodas.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco
In addition to limiting caffeine, the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation recommends that people with RLS avoid alcohol and tobacco. Talk to your doctor about safe, healthy ways to stop smoking and cut back on drinking.
If you have restless legs syndrome, you should consider exercising on a regular basis. Certain exercises have been shown to improve symptoms of RLS, but be careful about exercising too hard or too late in the day, as doing so may make symptoms more severe.
Stress may worsen symptoms of RLS, so try relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and yoga. Untreated chronic stress can lead to a host of health issues, including anxiety, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses like the cold and flu.
Take a hot bath
Soaking your body in a warm bath and massaging your legs can help relax your muscles and possibly make symptoms of RLS less severe. Hot baths can also help with other painful and uncomfortable conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Ask your doctor about iron supplement
Some experts believe that certain dietary deficiencies may cause RLS, so make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Ask your doctor about iron supplements, as they may help reduce symptoms.
Develop a night time routine
Fatigue can make RLS symptoms worse. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and try to develop healthy routines like going to sleep at the same time each night. Fatigue can be brought on by different things, including the flu, heart problems, MS and even cancer.
Ask your doctor about folate and magnesium
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, supplements that correct deficiencies in folate and magnesium may alleviate symptoms of RLS. In addition to helping with RLS symptoms, magnesium may lower risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Keep your blood sugar steady
If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, you may be at risk for restless legs syndrome. Talk to your doctor about ways to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Basic pain medication
Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may help with certain mild symptoms of restless legs. Always talk to your doctor and pharmacist about any medication you’re taking.
Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD