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Restless Legs Syndrome Treatment Overview

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Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • If you have symptoms of restless leg syndrome—an irresistible urge to move them—it’s important to see a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis.
  • To help manage symptoms, try to improve your sleep habits and try warm baths, gentle stretching, and massage before bed.
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Emergency Care

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Call 911 or go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • You cannot control your urination or your bowel movements.
  • You have numbness in your hips or genital area.

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All treatments for restless legs syndrome
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When to see a healthcare provider

If you have symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS), you should see a doctor. They can prescribe medications to help with your symptoms. These include iron supplements, prescription medications that target the brain chemical called dopamine, and nerve medications that treat pain.

Because RLS can be confused with other disorders that cause leg discomfort, it’s important for your doctor to make sure you don’t have these conditions.

How do they test for restless legs syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome is diagnosed based on your symptoms. Sometimes your doctor will check your iron levels, because it can be linked to restless leg syndrome.

What to expect from your visit

  • Your doctor will review your medication list to see if anything you take might be contributing to RLS. Some medications for depression, nausea, or psychosis can worsen the problem.
  • You may be prescribed dopamine agonists, including ropinirole (Requip) and pramipexole (Mirapex). These help with dopamine activity that is causing RLS symptoms.
  • You may also be given nerve medications, including gabapentin (Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica), and gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant), which change neurotransmitter activity.
  • Your doctor may refer you for acupuncture, which uses thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body to change how the body reacts. It has been shown to help RLS symptoms.

Types of restless legs syndrome providers

  • A primary care provider can treat mild to moderate symptoms.
  • A sleep specialist can do additional testing, like a sleep study, and may be more knowledgeable about treatment options.
  • Physical therapists can help create a graduated exercise program.
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