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What's the treatment for restless legs syndrome?

Treatment of restless legs syndrome depends on the severity of symptoms. The severity of restless legs syndrome varies from patient to patient. If the symptoms are mild, simply exercising, stretching or massaging legs, or taking a hot bath may bring relief. Lifestyle changes also may help, especially following a balanced diet and avoiding caffeine, alcohol and

cigarette smoking. If the restless legs syndrome is linked to anemia or a low iron level, the doctor may prescribe iron.

Although pharmacologic treatment is helpful for many patients with restless legs syndrome, those with mild symptoms may not need medications. Because no single medication or combination of medications will work predictably for all patients, treatment must be individualized. Physicians and patients may need to work together over time to find the medication or combination of medications and the dosages that will work best. Sometimes, treating an underlying condition such as iron deficiency or peripheral neuropathy greatly relieves symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Correcting the iron deficiency may involve taking iron supplements. However, take iron supplements only under medical supervision and after the doctor has checked your blood iron level first.

Medications used to treat restless leg syndrome include carbidopa- levodopa, opioids (such as propoxyphene) or tramadol (Ultram) for intermittent symptoms, carbamazepine, clonazepam, diazepam, triazolam, temazepam, baclofen, bromocriptine and clonidine. Recently, gabapentin (Neurontin) has been found helpful. Other treatments that have been helpful for some patients include avoiding caffeine, warm/cold baths, electric nerve stimulation, oral magnesium, and acupuncture.

More information on restless legs syndrome

What is restless legs syndrome? - Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that produces an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs caused by or associated with unpleasant feelings in them.
What causes restless legs syndrome? - The cause of restless legs syndrome remains unknown. Restless legs syndrome is a central nervous system disorder. Stress generally makes restless legs syndrome worse.
What're the risk factors for restless legs syndrome? - Risk factors for restless legs syndrome include pregnancy, osteoarthritis, varicose veins, diabetes, iron deficiency anemia, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis.
What're the complications of restless legs syndrome? - Severe and persistent restless legs syndrome symptoms can cause considerable mental distress, chronic insomnia, and daytime sleepiness.
What're the symptoms of restless legs syndrome? - Restless legs syndrome symptoms are unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings or sensations in the legs often described as creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling.
How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed? - The diagnosis of restless legs syndrome is based primarily on the patient's history. Polysomnography may be used to rule out other sleep disorders.
What's the treatment for restless legs syndrome? - Treatment of restless legs syndrome depends on the severity of symptoms. Medications used to treat restless leg syndrome include carbidopa, levodopa, opioids.
What non-drugs therapies are available? - Exercise may be one of the best ways to achieve healthy sleep. Stimulus control is the standard treatment for primary chronic insomnia. Paradoxical intention is a psychological approach.
What medications cure restless legs syndrome? - Daily drug treatment is recommended only for people who have restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms at least three nights a week.
How to prevent restless leg syndrome? - Prevention of sleeplessness is dependent upon the patient's ability to relax. Diet is very important in preventing restless legs syndrome.
What's periodic limb movement disorder? - Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep.
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