What Is the Best Treatment for My Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a type of sleep disorder. It causes a compulsive urge to move your legs (and other body parts) and is accompanied by other physical sensations, including creeping, tugging, pulling, itching, aching, burning, or crawling.

RLS tends to be the worst when you’re lying in bed or sitting for prolonged periods. It most often occurs in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.

At Dallas Vein Institute and Texas Vascular Institute, Dr. Dev Batra and our team diagnose and treat restless legs syndrome at our Dallas and Hurst, Texas, offices. We understand how uncomfortable and unsettling the condition can be and provide effective treatment so you can get a good night’s sleep.

The potential causes of RLS

Many cases of RLS have a genetic cause. According to the Cleveland Clinic, up to 92% of RLS patients have a first-degree relative with the disorder, and those patients often develop symptoms at a younger age than those who don’t have the genetic link.

There are also several medical conditions associated with RLS, including:

Medications, such as antidepressants, allergy drugs, anti-nausea medications, as well as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, can either contribute to the development of RLS or make existing symptoms worse.

Interestingly, some studies show that people with vein disease often also develop restless legs syndrome, as vein disease irritates and inflames the muscles and other soft tissues in your legs, producing uncomfortable sensations. That means treating RLS patients with therapies designed for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) can prove effective.

Diagnosing restless legs syndrome

When you come to Dallas Vein Institute and Texas Vascular Institute for an evaluation, our team asks about your sleep habits (including insomnia), daytime sleepiness, and ability to focus on tasks. To confirm an RLS diagnosis, you have to meet the following five criteria:

  1. Have a compulsive urge to move your legs (or arms), especially when lying down, usually occurring together with uncomfortable muscle sensations
  2. Symptoms begin or worsen during periods of inactivity
  3. Symptoms partially or totally relieved by stretching, walking, or exercising
  4. Symptoms get worse or develop only in the evening or at night
  5. Symptoms are not due to another medical or behavioral problem

In addition, Dr. Batra examines your legs for signs of vein disease and uses vascular ultrasound to check for evidence of CVI, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or other vascular health issues.

What is the best treatment for my restless legs syndrome?

Every person is unique, and what works best for one won’t necessarily work best for another. We always start by suggesting conservative and non-drug treatments and lifestyle changes, especially if your symptoms are mild. These include:

If you have low iron levels, iron supplementation may also be a good option.

Treating varicose veins (or another vein disease) may also have a positive effect on RLS symptoms. A National Sleep Foundation study found that 98% of patients who received such treatment also noticed a decrease in their RLS symptoms.

Vein treatments we might recommend include:

Want to learn more about restless legs syndrome and what you can do to get a good night’s sleep? Contact Dallas Vein Institute and Texas Vascular Institute to set up an evaluation with Dr. Batra by calling us at either location or by booking your appointment online.

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