Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common but frustrating condition. The Mayo Clinic says it can start in childhood, and it affects most sufferers throughout their lives. It tends to get worse with age and affects both men and women. While most drugs used to treat RLS are only available by prescription, there are some over-the-counter options. These can be combined with other home care techniques and medical treatment.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which people feel odd sensations in their legs and feet. The arms may also be affected. Common sensations include tingling, aching and burning. The symptoms are often helped by moving around, which is what gives the condition its name. RLS can happen at any time of the day, especially if a person sits still for a long time period, but it is usually worse at night.
The Mayo Clinic says that common over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications like ibuprofen can be used to treat mild cases of RLS. You should take the pills as soon as you feel the symptoms beginning. Ibuprofen can often relieve the twitching and annoying sensations caused by RLS. In addition to using OTC medication, you can take a warm bath or put warm packs on your legs. If RLS is keeping you awake, you can use an OTC sleeping medication. It won't reduce your symptoms, but it may help you get some rest.
Most medications used to treat RLS require a prescription. The Mayo Clinic says that commonly used drugs include muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, and epilepsy or Parkinson's disease medication. Narcotics are sometimes used, but they can be addictive. Certain narcotics like oxycodone or hydrocodone may be combined with an OTC medication like acetaminophen.
Sometimes RLS is triggered by an iron deficiency. When this is the cause, it can be relieved through the use of an OTC iron supplement. Have a blood test to check your iron level before trying this treatment.
You can supplement OTC or prescription medications with other home treatments. The Mayo Clinic says you should stay away from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. All of these may cause RLS symptoms to worsen. Doing moderate exercise regularly can help, but you shouldn't do it late in the evening or it can make the problem worse. Fatigue is a common RLS trigger, so if you go to bed at the same time every evening and get enough sleep, you may be able to avoid it.