Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS is a condition that is characterized by a series of uncomfortable and sometimes painful reactions that affect the legs,forcing them to move constantly (even when the individual is sleeping or resting).
These reactions include sudden twitching; tingling, crawling, burning or painful sensation that remains in the legs at all times of the day, making it very difficult for the concerned individual to relax his/her legs (and body) properly.
Although there are standard medications and treatments that can cure RLS in individuals, certain home remedies can help treat the condition and control its symptoms effectively for extended periods without causing any harmful side effects in the process. These home remedies would also help provide intermediate relief to the concerned individual until he/she gets further help or medical aid from a qualified professional. Given below are some of the most common home remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome in individuals.
Home Remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome
The symptoms of RLS are usually most aggressive when the concerned individual is resting or trying to sleep. The tingling, burning or twitching sensation that shoots through the legs at this time would be very uncomfortable (and painful) for the individual to deal with.
The best home remedy to thwart this issue is to opt for a walk right before going to bed every night. Walk around the house and up and down a flight of steps to calm your legs into letting you sleep. Make sure you take long strides, bending your legs at regular intervals in between to stretch and relax the muscles.
If you are in bed and start to notice the symptoms of RLS kicking in, stretch your legs immediately, pointing your toes outward as you do so. Rub your legs simultaneously to get rid of that uncomfortable tingling sensation. Alternatively, stretching your legs (including the butt, hamstrings and calves) every night before going to bed would relax the muscles in them and control the symptoms of RLS.
Regular exercises can help control the symptoms of RLS to a great extent. Opt for exercises that target the leg muscles. Don’t opt for rigorous exercises though that can possibly aggravate the symptoms. Rather, choose moderate exercises that you can perform at regular intervals throughout the day to keep your leg muscles calm and relaxed.
Massage your legs frequently to get rid of the tingling sensation that is common with individuals suffering from RLS. Massaging your lower back and legs (including the calves and feet) regularly would both stimulate the muscles in them, and send appropriate signals to your brain indicating that your legs are healthy and active. This would in turn control the symptoms of RLS effectively for extended periods.
Lack of certain nutrients like iron, magnesium or folate etc. in your diet could possibly lead to RLS. So make sure you include plenty of nutritious foods in your existing diet. In certain cases, you can opt for certain supplements (natural or prescribed) to provide your body with the necessary minerals and vitamins it needs to thwart the condition and its symptoms. For instance, foods like strap molasses can both replenish the nutrient levels in your body and relieve the symptoms of RLS to a great extent.
Certain foods or habits can cause RLS in individuals or aggravate the symptoms of an existing condition. Some of the common triggers of RLS include:
Studies have linked caffeine with RLS and its symptoms. So if you experience intense symptoms, try cutting down on your caffeine intake. Avoid tea, coffee, chocolate, drinks, beverages, sodas and even medications that contain caffeine as an active ingredient. Try opting for suitable alternatives. If you cannot avoid them altogether, try reducing their intake to a minimum.
Alcohol can cause sleep disorders in individuals. It is also known to aggravate the symptoms of RLS. So limit your intake of alcohol to a minimum (if you are a regular drinker) or avoid drinking alcohol altogether until the condition is cured completely.
Tobacco contains nicotine, a substance that is known to cause RLS and aggravate the symptoms of the condition in individuals. Stay away from products that contain tobacco or limit using them until the condition is cured or comes under control to an extent.
Opting for a warm bath (not too hot and not too cold) every night before going to bed can sooth the muscles in the legs and help relieve the symptoms of RLS. Try adding some baking soda, Epsom salts or apple cider vinegar to the warm bath water beforehand for better results.
Studies have revealed that individuals with RLS tend to have cold feet at night, a factor that could exacerbate the symptoms of RLS. A suitable way to thwart this is to wear a pair of socks to bed in order to keep the feet warm throughout the night. Doing so would relax the muscles in the leg and reduce the symptoms of RLS in the process.
Opting to place either a hot or cold pack on the legs can help bring down the tingling/twitching sensation caused by RLS. Alternatively, you can drape a warm/cold towel around your legs. Dipping your legs in warm/cold water would also help. The sudden change in temperature (from hot to cold, or from cold to hot) can help relieve the uncomfortable sensation felt in the legs. In certain cases, you can alternate between hot and cold packs until your legs feel better.
Regularized Sleeping Habits
Sticking to a particular bed time routine would help your body and mind relax as nap time approaches every day. Make sure you get adequate sleep in order to prevent fatigue which can cause RLS in individuals.
Make it a point to go to bed at the same time every day and minimize all kinds of disturbances like sounds, noises or lights that can wake you up or disturb your sleep. This way both your body and mind would feel relaxed throughout the day, thereby controlling the symptoms of RLS to a great extent.
Meditation and Stress Relieving Techniques
A stressful body and mind can aggravate the symptoms of RLS to a great extent. So make sure you remain stress free or bring down your stress levels in order to thwart the symptoms of the condition. Opt for meditation classes, deep breathing exercises, yoga and visualization etc. to reduce stress. You can also take up an interesting hobby like reading or painting to reduce stress.
Alternatively, just doing something that you enjoy (for instance listening to music, dancing or watching a movie) can also help reduce the stress levels and effectively control the symptoms of RLS in the process. Try doing these activities at night just before you go to bed for better results.
Kitchen Counter Remedies
Individuals with RLS can benefit greatly from certain over the kitchen counter remedies. Some of the more common remedies used to reduce the symptoms of RLS and offer relief from the condition for extended periods include chamomile tea, quinine, mucuna pruriens, kava and valerian etc.