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What are the first steps in treating restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

ANSWER

The first line of defense against restless legs syndrome (RLS) is to avoid substances or foods that may be causing or worsening the problem. Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. This may help relieve your symptoms. In addition, review all medications you are taking with your doctor to determine if any of these drugs could be causing the problem.

Any underlying medical conditions, such as anemia, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, kidney disease, thyroid disease, varicose veins, or Parkinson's disease, should be treated. Dietary supplements to correct vitamin or mineral deficiency may be recommended. For some people, these treatments are all that is needed to relieve RLS symptoms.

You may also benefit from physical therapy and self-care treatments, such as stretching, taking hot or cold baths, whirlpool baths, applying hot or cold packs to the affected area, limb massage, or vibratory or electrical stimulation of the feet and toes before bedtime. Exercise and relaxation techniques also may be helpful.

SOURCES: 

National Sleep Foundation. 

rls.org (Willis-Ekbom Disease Foundation).

eMedicine Health. 

FDA.

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on December 20, 2018

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

SOURCES: 

National Sleep Foundation. 

rls.org (Willis-Ekbom Disease Foundation).

eMedicine Health. 

FDA.

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on December 20, 2018

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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