Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment
What Works?

If you’ve ever had RLS, chances are you’ve been looking for a Restless Leg Syndrome treatment or relief. But does anything really work? We think so – both Dad and I have had bouts of it. And I am happy to say, we have had successful relief.

It is imperative, however, to make sure about your restless leg syndrome symptoms and causes, to be certain that what you are experiencing is not serious. If it is, the underlying medical issue(s) must obviously be dealt with first. The RLS will then often subside or at least lessen. So if you suspect you have RLS (and it is sometimes misdiagnosed) then first see your doctor to rule out or treat the condition. This is Step #1 for best practices in Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment.

But if your doctor cannot give you a specific diagnosis, then you need to narrow it down as best you can, and proceed with a plan, whatever that may be. Like Dad and I had to do.

As I mentioned in my page on Symptoms and Causes, for me it was rather nebulous as to what was causing this very annoying condition. I finally narrowed it down to gender, low dopamine for some reason, possible genetic tendency, pulled and tight muscles in my hip, lack of regular exercise, and sometimes wine in the evening. There was nothing specific or medical. So I had to wing it as to what to do. But I did learn about commonly suggested Restless Leg Syndrome treatment ideas.

Medically-Related Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment

  • First, see your doctor to correct any medical issues, if possible (see page on Causes).
  • Review your medications with your doctor for any that could worsen RLS; (i.e., some antihistamines, sleeping pills, anti-depressants, medicines for heart problems or high blood pressure, nausea control medications).
  • Quit smoking.
  • Lose weight as recommended by your doctor.
  • Get tested for possible iron deficiency (only take extra iron of your doctor recommends it for you, as excess iron can be harmful).
  • Make sure you are not deficient in vitamins or minerals, and take a quality vitamin/mineral supplement.
  • If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend medication. These may include drugs used for Parkinson’s, anxiety, insomnia, anti-convulsants, or narcotic drugs (i.e. codeine).
  • Your doctor may also recommend an RLS support group, for severe cases.

Lifestyle Changes

There is many a Restless Leg Syndrome Treatment that involves a lifestyle change or a natural remedy. Many of these I used myself, as did my elderly dad. They made a tremendous difference.

  • Cut down on caffeine and alcohol (no alcohol in the evening after dinner especially, as it can cause insomnia).
  • Quit Smoking can be added here, as well!
  • Massage your legs throughout the day when sitting for long periods, and especially before bed at night. If they act up during the night, massage them at that time as well.
  • Keep your feet and legs limber – be sure to stretch and exercise; preferably on a daily basis. This makes a great difference. There are many excellent exercises for the elderly too. Walking is also very good.
  • Warm or cold compresses (whichever suits you) also help calm down the tight or jumpy muscles.
  • A warm bath before bed can also reduce symptoms and help you get to sleep.

My Favorite Remedies

When I was searching for a Restless Leg Syndrome treatment, I thought I might find the great panacea that would solve everything. Instead, I found several things that when combined, worked very well for me and also for Dad. Here are the best ones:

  • Above all, making myself exercise has made a huge difference. I like walking when the weather permits. Exercising only has to take about 15 or 20 minutes per day, and I do some of it with Dad as an activity. We especially do a lot of leg stretching. Dad does his own set of exercises at another time during the day.
  • Yoga – You may be familiar with “Easy Yoga for Arthritis,” by Peggy Cappy. This is a fantastic video especially for those over age 50 or those with various disabilities. So once a day Dad and I do about 20 minutes of yoga from this video. It has made an enormous difference in calming down our RLS symptoms.
  • Swimming is also a really good exercise that helps soothe the leg muscles.
  • ”Deep Relaxation” – this is actually the name of a CD that I use produced by a company called Learning Strategies, and it takes you through a sort of guided meditation (called a “paraliminal”) that relaxes you from head to toe. If I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, this will do it! I’ve tried many relaxation, auto-suggestion, and mind-over-matter type CDs, but this is the best I’ve come across. It is my favorite restless leg syndrome treatment.
  • Rescue Remedy – this is the name of one of my most favorite natural remedies, and is made from plants. It is made by a Dr. Edward Bach, and you can get it at any health food store, and often natural food sections of grocery stores. The Bach Remedies have been around for over 70 years. (And it’s said that Jennifer Anniston, Cate Blanchett and Martha Stewart have used them for years – in case you’re interested). This is a tincture and really works to alleviate stress. My grown kids (even the boys) also swear by it. It relaxes within about 45 minutes, so you take a few drops under your tongue before bed, during those times when you’re overly tired or really stressed out. An excellent restless leg syndrome treatment.
  • Rescue Sleep – (made by the same company above). I’ve noticed that when my mind is really revolving stuff during the night or before bed, the tension makes RLS act up. This all-natural plant tincture (which you spray on your tongue) settles your mind and relaxes you. I highly recommend it.
  • Sleeping with a leg pillow – either under my knees if I’m on my back, or between my knees if I’m on my side. There is something about it that really relaxes the legs.
  • Blanket Lift Bar – I’ve also used this gadget to keep the covers lifted off my feet. This alleviates the weight of blankets bending my feet and toes wrong, which can cause strain and then often pain.
  • A warm bath before bed – with lavender scent.
  • Speaking of lavender – I’m a fan of aromatherapy so use lavender a lot as an additional restless leg syndrome treatment. Spraying lavender on my pillow and also using a lavender-scented lotion is very relaxing.
  • Chiropractic – I am a strong believer in chiropractic and have had almost miraculous results. Including for RLS. My chiropractor has used a percussor treatment, as well as cold laser, which has been excellent (including correcting what I thought was carpal tunnel syndrome, for which I thought I would need surgery!)
  • Diuretic – When Dad started using a diuretic for fluid retention associated with another condition, his RLS improved drastically. He used to get up every night at least twice and sit in his easy chair because he couldn’t sleep, largely due to discomfort in his legs.
RLS can be really annoying to deal with, even downright painful and can lead to other serious elderly issues as well; notably, sleep deprivation, leg cramps at night, anxiety, and depression. Hopefully some of the above ideas will work you. And if you have a favorite restless leg syndrome treatment that you’d like to share, please do let me know! (via our Contact Us page).

Be sure to also read:

Senior Activity Ideas -- A nice variety of senior activity ideas for those with more mobility or a higher ability level. Some great to do alone, and some in groups. There are many that can also be modified for those who would like something easy.
Health, Music and Mood -- Is there a correlation between health, music and mood? You may already know that music can make us healthier. Get the amazing scoop on why music and Mozart beat the blues and mend the mind and immunity.

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