If you are finding that your RLS is associated with pregnancy, it usually disappears on its own within four weeks of the birth.
A number of lifestyle changes may be enough to ease the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. These include:
- Avoiding stimulants in the evening – such as caffeine, tobacco and alcohol
- Not smoking
- Taking regular daily exercise – but avoid exercising near bedtime
- Practising good sleep habits – for example, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, not napping during the day, taking time to relax before going to bed, and avoiding caffeine close to bedtime
- Avoiding medicines that trigger the symptoms or make them worse – if you think medication is causing your symptoms, continue to take it and make an appointment to see your GP
During an episode of restless legs syndrome, the following measures may help relieve your symptoms:
- Massaging your legs
- Taking a hot bath in the evening
- Applying a hot or cold compress to your leg muscles
- Doing activities that distract your mind, such as reading or watching television
- Relaxation exercises, such as yoga or tai chi
- Walking and stretching
Simple stretching can help stop the symptoms of restless legs syndrome in their tracks. Here’s a handful to help you get started.
- Calf stretch – Stretch out your arms so that your palms are flat against a wall and your elbows are nearly straight. Slightly bend your right knee and step your left leg back a foot or two, positioning its heel and foot flat on the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Now bend your left knee while still keeping its heel and foot flat on the floor. For a deeper stretch, move your foot back a bit farther. Switch legs and repeat.
- Front thigh stretch – Standing parallel to a wall for balance, grab and pull one of your ankles toward your buttock while keeping the other leg straight. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
- Hip stretch – Place the back of a chair against the wall for support and stand facing the chair. Raise your left foot up and rest it flat on the chair, with your knee bent. (Or try placing your foot on a stair while holding the railing for balance.) Keeping your spine as neutral as possible, press your pelvis forward gently until you feel a stretch at the top of your right thigh. Your pelvis will move forward only a little. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
There are different medications that may help to ease the discomfort of Restless Leg Syndrome, but we would recommend that you contact your GP before trying out any of these medications to see what is best suited for you.