Restless Legs Syndrome Home > Restless Legs Syndrome Treatment

The available options for treating restless legs syndrome (RLS) depend on the type of restless legs syndrome a person has. Most forms of treatment involve lifestyle changes (such as maintaining a regular sleep pattern) or medications (such as dopaminergics or opioids).

An Introduction to Restless Legs Syndrome Treatment

Although movement brings relief to those with restless legs syndrome, the relief is generally only temporary. Therefore, for most people restless legs syndrome, treatment is required. There are two types of restless legs syndrome: primary and secondary. Depending on the type of restless legs syndrome that you have, treatment will include either lifestyle changes or medications.

(Click Types of Restless Legs Syndrome for more information.)
 

Lifestyle Changes

For those with mild to moderate RLS symptoms, prevention is key. Many physicians suggest certain lifestyle changes and activities as treatment because they can reduce or eliminate symptoms. Lifestyle changes can include:
 
  • Decreasing the use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
 
  • Using vitamin supplementation when appropriate to correct deficiencies in iron, folate, and magnesium. Be sure to talk to your doctor prior to taking supplements.
 
 
  • Engaging in a moderate exercise program. However, excessive exercise has been reported by some patients to aggravate RLS symptoms.
 
  • Taking a hot bath, massaging the legs, or using a heating pad or ice pack can help relieve symptoms in some patients.
 
Although many patients find some relief with such measures, rarely do these efforts completely eliminate symptoms.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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