The 4 Best Treatments for Restless Legs Syndrome
When kids have the urge to move all the time, it’s funny and cute. As an adult, if you can’t stop moving your legs, there’s a problem.
Most people with RLS experience their symptoms in the evenings or at night. Sitting and lying down aggravate the nerves that cause RLS, and only movement makes the feeling go away for a little while.
RLS can affect anyone, no matter how old they are, but it usually gets worse with age. People who suffer from this disease have trouble sleeping through the night, are irritable from lack of rest, and struggle with getting through their day.
It could mean you have restless legs syndrome (RLS). The condition gets its name from the uncontrollable need to adjust your legs, usually because you feel uncomfortable or are in pain.
With a few of these treatments, RLS doesn’t have to control your life. From medications to self-care, you can get relief.
1. Check Your Current Med List
Before you do anything else, let’s see if your RLS has an easy fix. Sometimes, the problem is caused by a medication or something else you’re taking.
Pull out your medication list and start Googling the side effects (or use the pharmacy-provided paper if you saved it). Certain prescriptions are known for causing symptoms similar to RLS, such as:
- Antidepressants in the tricyclic category
- Antinausea drugs
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
If you’re on any of these or another med with restless legs as a listed side effect, talk to your doctor. The medication could be making your RLS worse, or it could be the reason you have it in the first place.
2. Quit Unhealthy Habits
The better your diet and overall health are, the easier it is to manage your symptoms.
For instance, if you smoke or use illicit drugs, they tend to aggravate RLS. Go a few days without whatever your habit is if you can, and see if your symptoms improve.
Caffeine and alcohol make RLS symptoms worse, too. Caffeine is a common stimulant, so drinking too much close to bedtime interferes with sleep to begin with. Add in the trouble of RLS, and it’s a recipe for a rough night.
Alcohol is another thing to avoid. It’ll help you fall asleep, but it also wakes you up in the middle of the night. When it does, your restless legs will kick in and keep you from getting back to sleep.
3. Try Medical Marijuana
A little cannabis in your system before bed can put those moving legs to rest for a change.
Studies show that chronic cannabis users with a history of RLS have fewer symptoms than those who don’t partake. Scientists think there’s a link between the cannabis neurotransmitter system and the body’s method of transmitting dopamine.
If your brain can release dopamine, it can control your movements. But too much of this hormone makes the neural activity go wild, and restless legs are a result.
Cannabis helps balance the production of dopamine, letting your brain keep control of your body.
Want to try medical marijuana without the side effects of smoking? You still have lots of options! Edibles, topicals, oils, tinctures, and concentrates give you the benefits of cannabis, too.
4. Balance Your Vitamins
When was the last time you had your blood work checked? Vitamin or mineral deficiencies could be the cause of your increased RLS symptoms.
In fact, one of the number one causes of RLS is iron deficiency. Adding iron supplements to your daily routine can boost your levels and decrease the severity of RLS. Iron levels that are dangerously low may need IV iron infusions.
Vitamins and RLS
Vitamin D deficiency is another trigger for RLS symptoms. Millions of people aren’t getting enough of this vitamin in their day, but for people with RLS, the effects are worse.
We’re supposed to be able to absorb Vitamin D through the sun and our diet, but it’s not quite that easy. Most of us work or go to school when the sun is shining, and our meals aren’t always balanced.
You can add Vitamin D supplements to your day to help increase your levels.
While you’re at it, check your Vitamins C and E, too. These vitamins boost your energy and immune system and have been linked with decreased RLS symptoms.
When you’re dealing with restless legs syndrome, you know that what sounds like an annoying problem can become dangerous. Without sleep, the rest of your body isn’t getting the relief it needs to repair muscles and get rid of the toxins that built up that day.
All of these factors work together to cause you to suffer from more than irritating legs that won’t stay still. But with these simple treatments, you can take control of your body again.