Restless legs syndrome is a disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move your legs due to sensations that patients describe as tugging, itching, throbbing and aching. Sebring restless legs syndrome mainly occurs after you have sat or lied down for long hours. Besides affecting the legs, this disorder can also have the same effect on your arms. It can affect both adults and children, but the risk of this condition increases as you advance in age. The disorder can affect your sleep quality and get in the way of daily activities. The good news your doctor can help you reduce the symptoms using the following treatment methods.
Treatment for restless legs syndrome
The extremity of the symptoms determines the treatment method your doctor uses and sometimes the cause of the problem. For example, if the syndrome is due to iron deficiency, the doctor focuses on treating the underlying problem to help relieve restless legs syndrome symptoms. If the symptoms are mild and hardly interfere with life quality, your doctor may recommend the following non-drug treatment.
Lifestyle changes and home remedies
- Soak in a warm bath and massage your legs to relax the muscles.
- Alternate between hot and cold compresses to reduce the sensations which trigger legs movement.
- Engage in moderate exercise regularly but avoid working out close to bedtime as this may accelerate the symptoms.
- Use a foot wrap specially designed for restless legs syndrome.
- Cut down on caffeine intake for some weeks to see if you will experience relief from symptoms. Limit how much tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and any other caffeine-containing products.
- Develop a healthy sleeping pattern. Symptoms of RLS tend to worsen due to fatigue which can result from inadequate sleep. Ensure you rest in a quiet place and get at least seven hours of sleep. Sleep and wake up at the same time each day if you can.
- Dopamine agonists. They include drugs such as rotigotine and ropinirole, which increase dopamine levels in the brain when taken. These drugs can be helpful to patients with moderate to severe symptoms. Dopamine agonists offer relief from symptoms such as involuntary leg jerks and sensory leg symptoms. Previous patients have reported short-term side effects like dizziness, nausea, and tiredness and impulse control disorders like drowsiness during the day and compulsive gambling.
- Opioids. Drugs such as methadone can help relieve severe symptoms of restless legs syndrome. It is usually the last recommendation when you fail to respond to other treatment options or if your case is severe because it risks addiction. They are used in low doses and over a short period.
- Anti-seizure medications. They include drugs such as gabapentin which can block pain signals from the nerves in your legs. Your doctor may recommend this if your RLS symptoms are accompanied by pain.
Although restless legs syndrome may not cause any complications, the symptoms can be incapacitating without treatment. If you have further inquiries about this disorder, consult with your doctor today at Vein and Cardiovascular Center.