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Treatment for RLS is based on the type of symptoms you have and how bad they are. Getting regular exercise and enough sleep may be enough for mild symptoms. But if your symptoms get in the way of how well you can function, you may need medicines.
Changing your daily routine is sometimes enough. It may help if you do things like stretch, walk, exercise regularly, get a massage, or take a hot or cold bath. Losing weight and avoiding smoking, alcohol, and caffeine can also help.
If your symptoms are caused by another medical problem like diabetes or iron deficiency anemia, you will be treated for that problem first. For example, you'll take iron supplements if you aren't getting enough iron.
If RLS starts during pregnancy, your doctor may just recommend exercise and stretching.
For children, regular exercise and sleep routines are usually tried first. If those don't work, the doctor may prescribe medicine.
If your symptoms don't improve, you may try medicines. These include:
Dopamine agonists, such as ropinirole (for example, Requip).
Anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin (for example, Neurontin) or gabapentin enacarbil (for example, Horizant).
In some cases, your doctor may recommend an opioid pain medicine.
If your doctor recommends medicine, be sure to talk about the possible benefits and risks. Let your doctor know about all of the other medicines you take. Medicines for other conditions sometimes help cause RLS. For example, antidepressants may improve symptoms. Or they may make them worse.
Over time, a dopamine medicine may not work as well.
You may also notice that your symptoms start earlier in the day. Or they may be more intense. Or they may spread to another part of your body.
If you're taking a dopamine medicine and your symptoms change, tell your doctor. Don't stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first. You can work with your doctor to find the best treatment for you.
If you make lifestyle changes, and you still have symptoms, you may need a doctor to reevaluate your symptoms. Many other health problems have similar symptoms. These include several vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Your doctor may recommend different medicines. Or your doctor may recommend a combination of medicines. Follow up with your doctor if your symptoms don't improve.
Your doctor may have you try other treatments. These include:
A pneumatic compression device. This machine pumps air in and out of sleeves to make them tight and loose around your legs while you are resting.
Vibrating pads (Relaxis). The pads send vibrations to your legs. They may improve sleep for some people with RLS.