Everyday, or evening, millions of people all over the world look for a treatment for their restless leg syndrome. It is a painful and frustrating condition that robs these people and their partners of a good nights sleep. The exact cause of RLS is not known, although most research points to a problem with brain chemistry. Fortunately there are treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms but it can take some trial and error to find what will work best for each individual.
There are two trains of thought when it comes to treating restless leg syndrome; natural treatments and over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Both have been shown to be effective in relieving the symptoms associated with RLS.
Natural Treatment For many people with restless leg syndrome simply getting up and walking around alleviates the symptoms. The only problem is that its effects are most often felt in the evening or just after going to bed causing them to lose sleep.
For other taking warm baths, using a heating pad, rubbing a liniment such as Ben Gay on the are and even massage have all proven effective at symptomatic relief. The idea is to promote blood flow to the legs which has the benefit of soothing and relieving the symptoms.
Another area where many people can find relief is limiting or stopping the drinking of caffeinated drinks. A stimulant such as caffeine may be a cause of the signals sent by the brain through the nervous system to the legs that cause the creepy-crawly sensations that are a sign of RLS. It has been found that stopping the consumption of caffeine can have a positive effect when treating RLS.
Because it is believed that RLS may also be caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies taking vitamin and mineral supplements may be encouraged. For people with restless leg syndrome iron, along with a B12 or folate supplement, is an important part of any treatment regimen. Increasing iron in many cases can decrease or eliminate the symptoms all together.
Drug Therapy Prescription drugs are used only for those who suffer the more severe symptoms of RLS and are used to treat the symptoms only; there is no known cure for this disease. There are four classes of drugs that are used to treat restless leg syndrome.
1. Dopaminergics Used primarily to treat Parkinson's disease, they increase the level of dopamine in the brain.
2. Benzodiazepines Works as a sedative on the central nervous system. Prescribed primarily to help RLS sufferers sleep through the night.
3. Opiates These drugs are used primarily to relieve pain and have been found to be effective in the treatment of restless leg syndrome.
4. Anticonvulsants A class of drugs that work by suppressing sensory disturbances and severe muscle spasms.
As with any medical condition it is best to consult with your doctor before undertaking any type of treatment. If your restless leg syndrome symptoms continue or worsen when trying a new treatment it is in your best interest to talk to your doctor.