Treatment of restless legs syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) was described as early as the middle of the last century by a renowned Swedish neurologist, Karl Axel Ekbom. However, despite the fact that this disease has been studied for a long time, very few people still know about it today. For this reason, patients rarely seek medical help and blame everything on banal leg fatigue.

However, this problem is quite common. Statistics show that signs of RLS are present in 10-25% of the world’s population. Despite the fact that the disease can occur at any age, patients of middle and old age, as well as pregnant women are most often affected. There is also evidence that female patients are 1.5 times more likely to experience this pathology.


RLS by type of manifestation is divided into such species.

  • Children’s sc. Often it is also mistakenly called the pain of growth. It is assumed that the pathology at this age arises due to insufficient attention of parents, as well as some psychological disorders. Unfortunately, this form of the disease often progresses with age.
  • Sv pregnant. According to statistics, 15-30% of pregnant women suffer from this disorder. It appears in the third trimester and passes on its own after childbirth. It should be said that RLS caused by pathological causes can be transmitted from mother to child. To avoid this, you must seek help from doctors.
  • Idiopathic sc. This is the primary form of the disease. That is, it occurs in the first 30 years of a person’s life, and it is not caused by any adverse factors. In contrast to the secondary form, the primary one is not combined with various neurological disorders and is associated with inheritance from parents of a certain type of genes.

The most common causes of restless legs syndrome include:

  • lowering hemoglobin levels;
  • malfunction of the endocrine organs;
  • long-term hypovitaminosis;
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • spinal cord injury;
  • diseases of the cardiovascular system;
  • rheumatoid arthritis;
  • kidney disease, which lead to a delay in the body of toxic substances;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • autoimmune processes in the body;
  • pinching of the nerve roots;
  • porphyrin disease;
  • severe alcohol poisoning.

Often, RLS is also a side effect of some drugs (usually antidepressants, drugs for treating seizures, antihistamines, and drugs for vomiting and for treating hypertension). In more rare cases, abuse of caffeine can lead to this phenomenon.

The presence of restless legs syndrome in a patient can be identified by the characteristic features:

1. Strange sensations in the legs.. Patients describe this condition in different ways. Someone talks about burning and trembling, and someone has a feeling of stirring, twitching or crawling. About 30% of patients complain of pain during an attack. Localization of discomfort is also always different.

For example, a person may have a feeling of trembling in the thigh, and after a few seconds he may feel a tingling in the area of ​​the feet. It is noteworthy that this discomfort is not constant and has a wave-like character. It lasts, as a rule, from 5 to 30 seconds. The most frequent seizures occur at night.

Enhance discomfort at rest. Moreover, it is especially pronounced when falling asleep. It is worth saying that different people need a different amount of time to start an attack. Someone has characteristic symptoms of the disease after 5 minutes of rest, and someone only after an hour.

When performing any movements, the discomfort disappears. The more the patient moves, the easier it becomes for him to become. Sometimes in this case, the discomfort disappears altogether. Best helps walking, bending and jumping. However, this depends on the individual characteristics of the human body. Unfortunately, exercise gives only temporary relief. In the process of rest, all symptoms return. And sometimes – with even greater force.

2. Cicada nature of the disease. Usually the unpleasant symptoms of RLS do not bother a person in the morning and in the morning. A noticeable deterioration of the situation is observed with about

3. Involuntary kicks during sleep. The interval of this phenomenon is from 5 to 40 seconds. This is a very common symptom of RLS. According to statistics, up to 90% of patients complain of it. In severe cases, the person may have involuntary movements of the legs throughout the night.

4. Insomnia. Unpleasant manifestations of RLS often prevent patients from falling asleep. Even if they manage to do this, then in 2-3 hours awakening will still occur. If you let the pathology to drift, insomnia can become chronic.


Despite the fact that the symptoms of RLS appear quite vividly, to confirm the diagnosis, doctors still conduct a thorough diagnosis. This is necessary, first of all, to identify the underlying disease that provoked the pathological process.

The essence of the diagnosis of RLS is to perform a general (allows you to know the level of hemoglobin in the blood) and a biochemical blood test (shows the amount of hormones, vitamins and minerals), as well as polysomnography (to study the effect of involuntary leg movements during sleep).

To assess the condition of the kidneys is carried out a sample Reberg. It is also desirable to perform a UZDG to assess the nature of blood flow in the legs. It is imperative that a thorough history of the patient and his family be taken.

When diagnosing it is extremely important to distinguish RLS from various types of vascular pathologies, inflammations of the joints, as well as anxiety states.

In no case should not engage in self-diagnosis and self-treatment of this pathology. Only a qualified specialist knows the causes and treatment of RLS reliably.

The essence of the treatment of RLS is to eliminate the underlying disease that provoked the development of this pathology. For example, with endocrine disorders, it will be hormone medication, with low hemoglobin – the use of vitamin-mineral complexes with iron in the composition, with poisoning with toxic substances – detoxification of the body, etc.

As a symptomatic treatment, patients can use the drugs listed below.

Sleeping pills in combination with anxiolytics. These drugs have a positive effect only in case of mild pathology. Most often, doctors prescribe Rivotril, Temazepam and Zolpidem in small doses. The disadvantages of this treatment include addiction.

Dopamine. These drugs have a dopaminergic effect, so that the patient can get good results in a short period of time. The most effective medicine in this group today is Sinemet.

To have a therapeutic effect, it is enough to take the minimum dose. As a rule, after its use, the weakening of the symptoms occurs after half an hour. Moreover, this effect lasts at least 3 hours. If the symptoms of RLS disturb a person not constantly, but only from time to time, then you can take the drug only as needed.

If Sinemet was taken during an attack, and at night the symptoms of the disease returned, the patient can take another dose of the drug. If desired, the drug can also be used for preventive purposes. However, in this case, the person must refuse to perform work that requires quick response. Unfortunately, with long-term use of Sinemet, the body can get used to the medicine.

Treatment of restless legs syndrome

As a result, he will cease to react to him in any way, and the symptoms of the disease will become much more pronounced. That is why before buying this tool you should consult with your doctor and calculate the ideal dose of the drug and the duration of the therapeutic course. Side effects of Sinemet can include disruption of the digestive tract and migraine.

When the body becomes accustomed to this medicine, doctors recommend switching to another dopaminergic drug. For example, on Permaks (Pergolid). Some experts even believe that it is much more effective than Sinemet. In addition, he rarely causes side effects and lacks the effect of addiction.

Drug Mirapex – tablets

Mirapex also performed well in the treatment of RLS. This medicine stimulates the body’s production of dopamine and increases the sensitivity of the receptors to it. The drug is completely absorbed into the blood 1-2 hours after use. It has a very fast action.

Most often it is used in idiopathic RLS. Before treating Mirapex, the patient should consult with a physician, since this drug has a huge number of side effects and contraindications.

Anticonvulsants (anticonvulsants). They must be included in the comprehensive treatment of RLS. As practice has shown, Gabpentin and Carbamazepine give the greatest effect in the treatment of restless leg syndrome. When using these drugs is very important that the patient as closely as possible followed the dosage recommended by the doctor.

Opioids. Drugs in this group are prescribed only for very severe disease. Codeine, Methadone or Oxycodone is most often recommended in this case. The dosage of drugs is selected individually by the attending physician.

With its observance, a person will be able to stop for a long time the unpleasant symptoms of pathology without drug dependence. Unfortunately, when taking opiates, patients often have side effects, including nausea, impaired consciousness, and dizziness.

Drugs that contain beta-blockers. These are analgesics that do not belong to the drug group. They have a composition close to antidepressants. It should be said that these funds are not assigned in each case. This is primarily due to the fact that they have different effects on different people.

And if in one patient they can significantly improve well-being, then in another they will be the cause of the aggravation of the disease. The use of beta-blockers is considered only in those situations when other drugs no longer help.

It is very important to realize that RLS is a disease, which means that patients simply need to be treated. In no case should not allow the pathology to drift. Qualified specialists will help to eliminate the pathology once and for all, or, in extreme cases, to alleviate its symptoms.

In order to improve the results of traditional treatment of RLS at home, you can do everything listed below:

  • When the first symptoms of an attack appear, they can resemble or do light exercises involving the muscles of the legs. If you wish, you can also walk half an hour on the street. The main thing in this case is not to lie and not to sit.
  • During the day, postures change as often as possible. If a patient has sedentary work and he has to sit on a chair for a long time without getting up, you can put a small stool under your legs or put a pillow and change the position of your legs from time to time.
  • With exacerbation of the disease, you can take a contrast shower.
  • Vibromassage will also help to benefit from sc. For these purposes, you must purchase a special massager. The procedure is desirable to perform daily before bedtime.
  • Observe the mode of work and rest, engage in light sports.
  • Abandon a hearty dinner. Eat food should be at least an hour before bedtime. And it should be light (for example, fruit salad, yogurt).
  • Eat products that are high in iron (for example, apples, apricots, pomegranates).
  • Do self-massage of the legs. You can use a little laurel (30 g), mixed with sunflower or olive (100 g). Massage should be done daily until the symptoms disappear.
  • Rub feet with a strong infusion of gold whiskers or make herbal foot baths for the night (you can brew oregano, valerian, sage).
  • Treat the legs with apple cider vinegar.
  • Drink tea with mint and / or linden. To improve the taste, honey can be added to it (honey can only be added to warm tea, and in no case hot, as in this case it loses its healing properties and becomes harmful).
  • Refuse to take alcohol, cigarettes, as well as caffeinated beverages, as these products are the strongest provocateurs of RLS attacks. Often, after rejecting them, the symptoms of the disease disappear on their own.


In addition to the medical treatment of RLS, physicians often prescribe various physiotherapeutic procedures.

Magnetotherapy. The essence of this method of treatment is the impact on the legs of the magnetic fields. Thus, it is analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-edema effect.

Mud treatment. During this procedure, the doctor covers the patient’s feet with healing mud. This leads to increased blood circulation and improved metabolism.

Lympho-pressotherapy is a procedure in which a doctor with a special device puts pressure on the lymphatic system. This increases the tone of the veins of the lower extremities and improves metabolism.

Darsonvalizaya. In this case, a specialist using a special device acts on the patient’s lower leg with a high-frequency current.

When idiopathic restless legs syndrome, as a rule, the symptoms increase with time. However, the course of pathology will not always be uniform. In many patients, exacerbations alternate with remissions. Moreover, the latter can sometimes last for years.

As for RLS caused by a disease, the prognosis here is completely dependent on the course of the underlying disease. With its complete cure, unpleasant symptoms can disappear forever.

Prevention of RLS consists in timely treatment of diseases of internal organs and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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