What Are Some Treatment Options For Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome is a condition marked by an undeniable desire to move the legs, usually occurring after one has been sitting or lying down for a bit. This often happens in a car, airplane, or a movie theater. Some people describe the feeling as a “creeping” or “deep-seated,” “jittery,” “burning,” or “tingling.” Others can’t find the word for the feeling, and even let this lead them to avoiding medical care. Without some form of treatment, restless leg syndrome can be annoying or downright painful.

Drugs For A Restless Leg Treatment

In 2005, the first drug was approved by the FDA for use with restless leg syndrome. It is known commonly as Requip. In 2006, another drug, Mirapex, also hit the market. Many other drugs that are approved for other medical conditions have also been found to help restless leg syndrome. These are of four different types.

First, there are the dopaminergic agents. These are drugs that increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical that the brain uses to send messages to control the movement of the muscles. Researchers believe that restless leg syndrome may be caused by an inbalance in this chemical.

There are also sleeping aids, which can help the sufferer sleep better at night. Restless leg syndrome, without treatment, can interfere with sleep, giving the sufferer insomnia on top of the restless leg syndrome. The negative effects of using sleeping aids are that they won’t eliminate the weird leg sensations and they may cause the person to be drowsy during the day.

Anticonvulsants, opiates (pain relievers), and benzodiazephines (sedatives hypnotic drugs) are also sometimes used, though they can become addictive. This treatment for restless leg syndrome is generally avoided, and other measures are usually attempted first, like over-the-counter pain relievers and vitamin supplements (especially folic acid and iron).

Non-Drug Treatments for Restless Legs – Natural Cures

If you want to steer away from drugs altogether, there are many other things you can try to ease the discomfort of restless legs. These methods include such things as the following:

Clean up your diet. Eliminate caffeine and alcohol, at least for a few weeks, to see if that helps. Be sure you are eating a healthy, balanced died. Add vitamins and minerals that you might be lacking, either with a supplement or with healthy foods.

See if you are taking any medicines that might make your restless leg syndrome worse. These can be drugs of all sorts. They can be to treat allergies, a cold, nausea, heart conditions, depression, or high blood pressure. Also consider any over the counter medicines or herbal remedies.

Take a look at your routines, and change any that contribute to your discomfort. If sitting in front of the TV aggrevates it, maybe don’t sit there so long.

Conversely, adding exercise, stretching, and other movement can help. So can accupressure, massage, hot or cold baths, and relaxation strategies.

Distract yourself when you do have to sit, with handwork (knitting, needlepoint, etc.) or video games or talking with the others. These can help the time go by faster if you really have to stay in one place.

Focus on getting better sleep habits.

All of these treatments for restless leg syndrome can help you avoid drugs and medications. Drugs can – even if they worked previously – stop to work so well, and having non-drug alternatives is a powerful strategy for anyone with restless leg syndrome.