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Restless leg syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in the legs that can only be relieved through movement. Because the feeling intensifies when an individual is at rest, it often occurs when at rest, which can result in sleep disturbances. There are various possible causes and treatments for restless leg syndrome. In some cases, home remedies offer inexpensive temporary relief.

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Heat and Cold

Applying warm and cool packs to the affected muscles can help relieve some of the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Taking warm baths or soaking one's legs in a whirlpool or hot tub can also alleviate muscle spasms and tension; heat increases the flow of blood to the area, while cold can help reduce inflammation.

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Massage

Massage is an excellent way to deal with restless leg syndrome. Though treatment with a registered massage therapist is an excellent option, people can also give themselves massages at home. Foot massage increases the flow of blood to the legs, encourages relaxation, and generally improves foot and leg health. This type of treatment can help relieve depression and improve sleep while also alleviating symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

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Exercise

Stress is a common trigger of restless leg syndrome. One of the best ways to manage stress is to exercise regularly. Many studies show that regular aerobic exercise helps elevate mood, reduce stress, decrease nervous tension, and improve sleep and self-esteem.

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Yoga

Yoga is another way to manage stress. It reduces anxiety and improves overall health by enhancing mental wellness, fitness, and flexibility. In addition to relieving the symptoms of restless leg syndrome, yoga can ease chronic issues such as high blood pressure by reducing risk factors such as depression and anxiety. Meditation and tai chi offer similar relief from tension. Simple leg stretches are also helpful for people with restless leg syndrome.

Sleep

The urge to move the legs associated is stronger when resting, so good sleep habits are essential for people with restless leg syndrome. Ideally, maintain a regular sleep schedule with a set evening routine and bedtime. Avoid backlit screens for at least an hour before bed, and cut out caffeinated beverages at least a few hours before. Ensure the pillow and mattress are conducive to a night of good sleep. All these steps can encourage better rest.

Supplements

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause restless leg syndrome. A lack of iron, vitamin D, folic acid, magnesium, or vitamin B are the most common culprits. A doctor can run tests to determine whether a patient has a deficiency, especially in the case of vitamin D deficiency. If he or she does, the doctor will recommend the best supplements or dietary changes for correcting the issue. Do not begin taking supplements for a deficiency without consulting a physician first, as they can affect medication and other factors.

Remove Potential Triggers

Common triggers of restless leg syndrome include stress and caffeine. Stay away from foods and drinks that are high in caffeine, including tea, coffee, chocolate, and soft drinks. Smoking and excess alcohol consumption can also contribute to the syndrome and should be reduced or eliminated. A lack of movements, such as when sitting at a desk for hours, can also trigger the sensations.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains many useful components, including potassium, probiotics, magnesium, and enzymes. Long sought as a home remedy, ACV can ease acid reflux and help lower blood pressure. Rubbing apple cider vinegar on the legs before going to bed can combat restless leg syndrome; apple cider vinegar may also promote heart health and healthy weight loss and has antibacterial qualities. Drinking a glass of lukewarm water with a tablespoon of ACV in it can also improve symptoms.

Coconut Oil

Warming a small amount of coconut oil and rubbing it over the legs can help ease the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Use circular motions to stimulate blood flow and help the muscles relaxed. Daily use of coconut oil, combined with self-massage and other stress-relieving techniques could greatly reduce RLS symptoms.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is a powerful relaxant with a pleasant aroma. It contains compounds that remind the mind it is time to calm down and begin relaxing for sleep, which can improve the quality of rest an individual receives. This essential oil is also a muscle relaxant, relieving nervous tension and decreasing pain.

Weighted Blankets

Weighted blankets are popular for providing stress and anxiety relief, but they can also help with restless leg syndrome. The bead filling in these blankets creates a heavy sensation on the legs, which provides stimulation to balance restless leg syndrome. Weighted blankets can also ease the anxiety that may trigger restless leg syndrome. This calming strategy is most successful with a blanket that's at least 10 percent of the individual's body weight.

weighted blanket AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

Muscle Relaxants

Over-the-counter muscle relaxants may also soothe restless legs. These medications are designed to alleviate muscle spasms and pain. Always check the side effects of current medications to medications, in case they are causing the symptoms, and make adjustments to the dosage as necessary, and only take muscle relaxants as recommended by a doctor or pharmacist.

muscle relaxant pills Dimitri Otis / Getty Images

Deep Breathing and Meditation

A regular routine of deep breathing and meditation before bed can relax muscles and minimize restlessness in the legs, as well as the mind. Focus on each breath in and each breath out to find a rhythm and get comfortable. Research shows that meditation techniques lower stress levels and reduce anxiety, helping people relax into sleep despite symptoms like restless legs.

meditating outside Jordan Siemens / Getty Images

Vibration

Vibration treatment can bring restless leg symptoms under control. Recent studies show that this treatment increases blood flow, which has a positive effect. The more blood that flows throughout the body, especially through the legs, the more relaxed leg muscles will feel. Handheld vibrating devices or vibrating pads can be used at home to help people relax and get a good night's sleep.

When to See a Doctor

While there are plenty of valuable home remedies to assist with restless leg syndrome, some people require medical attention. If symptoms persist or worsen after trying common remedies, it's best to seek a professional opinion and treatment suggestions.

leg exam kali9 / Getty Images

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.