Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, typically due to leg discomfort, according to Mayo Clinic. Moving your legs relieves the unpleasant sensation temporarily.
The leg discomfort usually occurs in the evening and at night when you are sitting or laying down. RLS can begin at any age, but it usually gets worse as you get older.
There are medications that can treat the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome. However, there are several things you can do to naturally relieve the symptoms of RLS.
Restless Legs Syndrome is related to magnesium deficiency in some cases. Magnesium is necessary to our bodies to push excess calcium out of cells so that smooth muscles are able to relax.
Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle tightness, spasms, twitches, and involuntary jerks.
Magnesium deficiency is a common condition these days because modern soil is often depleted of magnesium, as are the crops grown in it.
Additionally, stress causes our bodies to burn through our magnesium stores more quickly. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include leg cramps, muscle aches and pains, high blood pressure, and weakness and fatigue. Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to migraine headaches.
Your doctor can measure your magnesium level with a blood test. He can advise you on the appropriate dose of magnesium for you, if supplementation is needed.
Please Note: Some medications can cause magnesium deficiency. In addition, some medications interact with magnesium supplements. That’s why it is important to discuss magnesium supplementation with your doctor before you begin taking a supplement.
Exercise may help relieve the symptoms of RLS as well. A 2006 study found that lower-body resistance training and aerobic exercise done three times each week for a duration of 12 weeks significantly reduced RLS symptoms.
Exercising early in the day, as some individuals with Restless Legs Syndrome find that exercising too close to bedtime can actually make symptoms worse.
It’s thought that iron deficiency is one of the main causes of RLS. Research has shown that iron supplements can help alleviate RLS symptoms.
You can find out if you have an iron deficiency through a simple blood test. If you have an iron deficiency, your doctor will advise you on the dose of iron you should take each day.
A 2007 study found that twice per week bodywork that focused on the lower legs helped relieve RLS symptoms, such as the urge to move, tingling sensations, and sleeplessness.
You don’t need a deep tissue massage to reap its benefits. A light touch can also help relieve your RLS symptoms.
Tonic water is a carbonated beverage that contains quinine, a compound that can help calm your nervous system and relieve RLS symptoms. It is also a muscle relaxer and can improve blood flow to your muscles.
Large doses of quinine can cause negative side effects. However, there are only 20 milligrams of quinine per one cup of tonic water, and this is a safe dose to take.
Try drinking one-fourth of a cup of tonic water each night before you go to bed to improve RLS symptoms.
Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to Restless Legs Syndrome. A 2009 study found that vitamin D supplements decreased symptoms in individuals with both RLS and vitamin D deficiency.
Your doctor can test you for vitamin D deficiency with a simple blood test. Your doctor will recommend an appropriate dose of vitamin D for you, if necessary.
Hot and Cold Packs
Using a hot or cold pack may also help relieve your RLS symptoms. Place a hot or cold pack on the affected area for 10 minutes. If you use an ice pack, be sure to wrap a towel around it so it isn’t too cold.
You can also try alternating hot and cold packs to relieve your symptoms.
Yoga can help you reduce stress and relieve Restless Legs Syndrome symptoms. Virasana, hero’s, or legs up the wall pose may be the best choices to help relieve symptoms. This YouTube video shows you how to do several yoga poses to help relieve RLS symptoms, including the virasana and legs up the wall poses.
The instructor also explains variations on the poses so that you can do them even if you have limited flexibility or pain.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that how your bed is arranged can have an effect on your RLS symptoms. For instance, tucking your sheets and blankets tightly under your mattress can force you to point your toes when you are in bed, which can trigger cramping and contracting in your calf muscles.
Keeping your sheets and blankets loose allows you to put your feet in a more natural position.
Some individuals with Restless Legs Syndrome report that propping their legs up helps prevent symptoms. Use pillows to prop your legs up higher than your torso when you go to sleep at night.
Epsom Salt Baths
The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt helps calm nerves and relax muscles. This can help you sleep better as well as relieve symptoms from RLS.
To make an Epsom salt bath, pour one cup of Epsom salt into a warm bath. Stir the bath water with your hand to dissolve the salt. Soak in the bath for 30 minutes.
You can also try massaging your legs while you are soaking in the bathtub. You can repeat this daily before you go to sleep at night.
B Vitamin Supplements
Vitamins B12 and B9 (folate) deficiencies can also cause RLS. B vitamins are essential for neurological health and can help relieve RLS symptoms.
If you have folic acid deficiency, your doctor may suggest that you take a folic acid supplement or vitamin B-complex. She may also recommend eating more foods rich in folic acid.
Foods rich in folic acid include fortified cereals, leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, and broccoli, fruits, such as lemons, bananas, and mangoes, tomato juice, legumes, mushrooms, okra, asparagus, beef, liver, and orange juice.
According to a 2011 study, patients with RLS say that orgasms are especially effective at relieving their symptoms.
Researchers hypothesize that perhaps the dopamine and epinephrine released during orgasms may help relieve the symptoms. Alternatively, the distraction sexual excitement provides may help take your mind off the symptoms.
Restless Legs Syndrome is a condition characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move your legs to relieve discomfort. While medication can help alleviate Restless Legs Syndrome symptoms, the tips provided here can help you relieve your symptoms naturally.
If you have Restless Legs Syndrome, try a few of the suggestions in this article to relieve your symptoms naturally.
Changing the position you go to sleep in, adding a vitamin supplement, massage, or taking Epsom salt baths may help you reduce your RLS symptoms and improve the quality of your sleep.