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How Do You Get Rid of Restless Leg Syndrome Fast?

Reviewed on 10/16/2020

What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Lifestyle changes and treatment for underlying conditions is the only way to get rid of restless leg syndrome in the long term.
Lifestyle changes and treatment for underlying conditions is the only way to get rid of restless leg syndrome in the long term.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS, and also sometimes called Willis-Ekbom disease) is a condition that causes strange sensations in the legs along with the urge to move the legs at night, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.

What Are Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome?

Symptoms of restless legs syndrome include: 

  • An uncomfortable urge to move the legs when at rest
  • The feeling is often described as crawling, creeping, pulling, or itching
  • Feeling is deep in the legs, usually below the knees
  • Symptoms usually worsen as the day progresses, and are worst at night
  • Symptoms may be particularly bad when trying to stay still 
  • Legs may move on their own while the person is asleep
  • Symptoms may go away when a person moves their legs

A consequence of restless legs syndrome is that it can make it difficult to get a restful night's sleep, so people with RLS may feel tired during the day.

What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

In most cases, restless legs syndrome has no known cause (primary RLS). Some causes of restless legs syndrome may include: 

  • Genetics: it may be passed on in families
  • Iron deficiency anemia: low levels of iron in the blood seem to increase the risk of RLS
  • Dysfunction in the basal ganglia in the brain: this part of the brain controls movement and relates to the use of a neurotransmitter called dopamine

Conditions that can increase the risk of developing restless legs syndrome include:

QUESTION

What kind of disorder is restless leg syndrome (RLS)? See Answer

How Is Restless Leg Syndrome Diagnosed?

Restless legs syndrome is often diagnosed by a doctor based on a patient’s symptoms, along with a physical and neurological exam. 

Laboratory tests may be indicated to rule out other conditions such as kidney failure, iron deficiency anemia, or pregnancy that can cause RLS symptoms.  

  • Blood tests can identify iron deficiencies and other medical disorders 
  • A sleep study may be indicated, where patients spend the night in a lab hooked up to different machines that monitor movements, heart rate, breathing, and other body functions to help diagnose sleep apnea or other sleep disorders 

What Is the Treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome may go away fast if you move your legs. Other lifestyle modifications and treatments that may relieve RLS symptoms include: 

  • Keeping alert during the day with activities that stimulate the brain, such as crossword puzzles
  • Regular exercise
  • Leg massage 
  • Heating pads applied to the legs or a warm bath
  • Avoiding medications that can worsen RLS symptoms such as antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake 
  • Avoiding or limiting tobacco use 
  • Treating sleep apnea

If medical treatment is needed for restless leg syndrome, medications include:

A device called Relaxis is an FDA-approved pad to treat RLS. The patient lies on the pad in bed, and the pad delivers vibrations that gradually ramp down and shut off. It can be an alternative for patients who do not wish to interrupt their sleep by getting up to move their legs, or who do not wish to use medications. 

In people with restless leg syndrome who also have kidney failure, symptoms of RLS may improve with hemodialysis treatment. 

What Are Complications of Restless Leg Syndrome?

The main complication of restless leg syndrome is insomnia.

How Do You Prevent Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome tends to be a lifelong condition but patients may be able to prevent symptoms in some cases with lifestyle changes, such as: 

  • Staying alert during the day with activities that stimulate the brain, such as crossword puzzles
  • Exercising regularly 
  • Massaging the legs
  • Appling heating pads to the legs or taking a warm bath
  • Avoiding medications that can worsen RLS symptoms such as antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake 
  • Avoiding or limiting tobacco use 
  • Treating sleep apnea

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Reviewed on 10/16/2020
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