10 Remedies of Restless Legs

By james
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. https://sleepfoundation.org/content/restless-legs-syndrome-rls-treatment
  • 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurological_disorder
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Restless leg syndrome is a condition that manifests itself with irritation, discomfort and pain in the legs. Sufferers have an urge to move their legs to provide relief, hence its name. In addition to the unpleasant sensation, it also causes sleepless nights which in itself can be very detrimental to health.

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological condition that is thought to be caused by a variety of factors and there is still much to be learned. Despite this, there are various remedies that are used on the legs that have been shown to provide relief. Some treatments simply try and help the sufferer feel more comfortable to help them get enough sleep at night. Treatments can be quite varied, with people reporting different degrees of effectiveness.

Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #1: Exercise

In a condition that makes you want to move your legs, it seems only fitting that moving your legs more often may help alleviate symptoms. Studies have shown that people that exercise in moderation do find that their symptoms are relieved after a while. Working the legs directly with weight training has been shown to help, as has aerobic exercise.

It isn’t necessary to undergo heavy exercise. In fact, studies have shown that exercising too hard can make things worse. For infirm people, even just a walk around the block once a day could make the difference. Even a mild improvement could mean the difference between sleeping and not sleeping for many people.

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Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #2: Massage

It would make sense that improving the flow of blood in and around the legs could help, and massage helps to do exactly this. In addition to helping the blood flow, massage will also help to keep the muscles subtle, potentially adding to your comfort. There is also the fact that massage can help us to feel relaxed overall, which could also help to contribute to a good night’s sleep.

While massage has not been officially recognised as a remedy for restless leg syndrome medically, it is still recommended by the National Sleep Foundation1https://sleepfoundation.org/content/restless-legs-syndrome-rls-treatment Studies have also indicated that it can be quite effective in relieving symptoms and helping sleep. Regardless, a good massage will feel good anyway, so it is certainly worth trying.

Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #3: Vitamins and Iron

Iron is very important to the health of our blood as it helps oxygen adhere to our red blood cells, enabling it to be transported around the body. While unconfirmed, it is thought that a lack of iron could be a primary cause of restless leg syndrome, so it is advisable to make sure that there is plenty of iron in your diet.

Foods that are rich in iron include liver, shellfish, spinach and red meats. In addition to eating an iron-rich diet, you will also find iron supplements readily available at your local pharmacy. Having plentiful iron in your diet may not only help with RLS but also with your overall wellbeing.

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Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #4: Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS)

One suspected cause of restless leg syndrome is a lack of oxygen circulating in the legs. With this in mind, it would make sense to improve the circulation in the area to help ensure that enough oxygen can be distributed.

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a treatment that uses light to cause blood vessels in the leg to dilate, improving circulation. It is a painless and non-intrusive treatment that has been shown to be effective in some studies. One drawback of the treatment is access to the equipment.

Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #5: Camphor

Camphor is a fairly common ingredient that is found in remedies for a number of conditions. Among the best-known uses of camphor is in Vicks Vapo Rub and similar products. In addition to being inhaled, it can also be used topically and is known to help relieve pain and irritation, while also helping to improve the circulation of the area it is applied to.

Camphor has been shown to relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome within minutes of being applied. It is safe to use, provided it is not used on broken skin, and very affordable. It is readily available at pharmacies and there is nothing to lose in at least giving it a try to see if it helps.

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Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #6: Foot Wrap

Restless leg syndrome is thought to be a neurological condition. In layman’s terms, it means that it is likely caused in the brain and not in the leg itself 2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurological_disorder. This means that if you are able to tell the brain that there is not a problem then the symptoms should, hopefully, go away. One method of achieving this could be to use foot wrap.

The foot wrap and other items available on the market work by way of the “gate theory” or counter stimulation where, essentially, the brain can only interrupt one sensation at a time; therefore, pressure, vibration, temperature, etc. will override the sensation of needing to move. A foot wrap will gently apply pressure to the bottom of your foot. This, in turn, could help to relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome, making for a good night’s sleep. A study in 30 sufferers showed that a footwrap can be effective at relieving symptoms.

Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #7: Prescription Medicines

Modern medicine may not have a cure for everything, but it can still help in a wide range of causes and symptoms. There is no specific drug for restless leg syndrome, but there are still medicines available that can help suffers feel more comfortable. Even if symptoms cannot be overcome completely, helping the sufferer to sleep can improve their quality of life significantly

Drugs that help to stimulate the release of dopamine can help us to feel more comfortable, in turn helping to relieve symptoms. One commonly prescribed drug is Gabapentin, an anti-seizure medicine which has been shown to be effective. As always, a medical professional should always be consulted before using drugs to treat symptoms.

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Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #8: Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is often cited as a remedy for a wide range of conditions, and it is thought to be able to help with restless leg syndrome also. It is known for its ability to help the body to fully absorb nutrients, helping us to get what we need from our diets. It is also able to help us maintain a healthy pH balance.

Apple cider vinegar is often taken orally, usually in lukewarm water. Tablets are also available for people that don’t like the taste. Additionally, it can also be used topically by rubbing directly onto the skin. Apple cider vinegar is safe and affordable and might just be what you need to sleep at night. Despite the notoriety that apple cider vinegar receives, there is little evidence that it actually makes a significant change in what it is claimed to do.

Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #9: Lavender Oil

It is easy to see how relaxing the muscles could help with restless leg syndrome, and lavender oil helps to do just that. In addition to relaxing the leg muscles, the aroma is also known to be calming which could help the sufferer to get a good night’s sleep.

Many sufferers soak their feet in warm water that has had lavender oil added to it before they go to bed each night. Another method is to rub some on the bottom of the feet just before bedtime. Lavender oil is generally welcome around the home regardless because of its pleasant scent. It could also be just what you need to wake up feeling refreshed after a night with reduced RLS symptoms.

Restless Leg Syndrome Remedy #10: Tonic Water

While very popular in a glass with some gin, tonic water can be more than just a mixer. It is also rich in a naturally occurring compound known as quinine, which is widely thought to be able to relax muscles and improve the flow of blood. Quinine is often used by people that are looking for relief from leg cramps.

While quinine itself is potentially harmful in large quantities, it is found only in safe levels in tonic water. It should be drunk before you go to bed at night, drinking it slowly to allow the body to absorb it properly. Tonic water is affordable, readily available and easy to use. Although it may be worth a try, tonic water and quinine unfortunately are not scientifically backed as a source of relief for restless leg syndrome.

Restless Legs

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