Restless Legs Syndrome Home > Cure for Restless Legs Syndrome

There is no cure for restless legs syndrome (RLS). However, there may be an underlying disease or condition, such as peripheral neuropathy or diabetes, that is causing it. Treating the underlying disease can relieve many of the symptoms of RLS. Other things that can be done include reducing the use of caffeine, keeping a regular sleep schedule, and getting moderate exercise.

Is Restless Legs Syndrome Curable?

There is currently no cure for restless legs syndrome (RLS). Therefore, treatment is focused on relieving symptoms, increasing the amount and quality of sleep, and treating or correcting any underlying condition that may be causing restless legs syndrome.

(Click Restless Legs Syndrome Causes for more information.)
 

Can Anything Be Done for RLS?

Although restless legs syndrome has no cure, there may be an underlying disease or condition, such as peripheral neuropathy or diabetes, that is causing it. Treating the underlying disease can relieve many of the symptoms of RLS.
 
For people who have restless legs syndrome and do not have an underlying disease or condition, treatment will focus on symptom relief. For those with mild to moderate symptoms, lifestyle changes are often suggested, including:
 
  • Reducing or stopping use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco products
  • Taking supplements to increase iron, folate, and magnesium in the body
  • Developing and keeping a regular sleep schedule
  • Getting moderate exercise
  • Taking hot or cold baths, rubbing or massaging the legs or other affected body parts, or using a heating pad or ice pack.
 
Healthcare providers may prescribe medicine for symptom relief, including:
 
  • Benzodiazepines, which are drugs that depress the central nervous system and allow people to sleep more, despite RLS symptoms. However, people with sleep apnea (a disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep) should not use benzodiazepines.
 
  • Dopaminergic agents, which are drugs that are used to treat Parkinson's disease. These drugs have been shown to reduce RLS symptoms and nighttime leg movements.
 
  • Opioids, which are painkillers and relaxing drugs that can sometimes help people with severe symptoms of RLS.
 
Current RLS research suggests that correction of iron deficiency may improve symptoms for some patients.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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