How to Treat Restless Legs Immediately

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
Blog Image Treat Restless Legs Immediately

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a chronic movement disorder marked by an irresistible need to move one’s legs that can significantly disrupt sleep and negatively impact quality of life. This overwhelming urge to move is often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations such as feelings of throbbing, creeping, crawling, and tingling. These nighttime disturbances can lead to fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and decreased productivity. Fortunately, several effective treatments are available that can provide relief.

In this blog post, we'll explore the causes of RLS and discuss the most effective ways to manage the symptoms quickly and restore quality of life.

What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, restless legs syndrome is a common condition, affecting an estimated 1 in 10 people in the United States to varying degrees. This prevalence underscores the importance of understanding and managing this condition. RLS is more common among white people and those assigned female at birth, per the Clevland Clinic.

The diagnostic criteria, as defined by the National Library of Medicine (NIH), include:

  • An irresistible urge to move the legs
  • Symptoms begin or worsen during periods of rest or inactivity
  • Symptoms occur only at night or are more severe than during the day
  • Movement, such as walking or stretching, can relieve symptoms temporarily
  • Symptoms are unrelated to any other disorder

What causes restless leg syndrome?

The exact cause of RLS, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is not fully understood; however, research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, and physiological factors and underlying health conditions such as varicose vein disease may contribute. The prevailing theories include:

An imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain:

According to Mount Sinai, chemical messengers in the brain, notably dopamine, can trigger nerve impulses in those with RLS similar to that seen in patients with Parkinson's disease.


RLS often runs in families, with 40 to 90 percent of affected individuals reported to have at least one first-degree relative with the condition.

Iron deficiency:

Believed to disrupt the cells that regulate dopamine in the brain, a quarter to a third of people with RLS also report having low iron levels, even at a range too mild to cause anemia.

Kidney failure

Possibly related to anemia and iron deficiency, as many as 25 percent of individuals with chronic kidney disease have RLS, per Science Direct.


Certain drugs can worsen RLS symptoms. These include anti-antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure, and cold and allergy medicines that contain antihistamines. Always speak to your physician before making any changes to your medications.

Lifestyle triggers

Understanding how certain lifestyle factors can impact RLS can help individuals make informed choices to alleviate discomfort and improve quality of life. These include caffeine use, smoking, and alcohol consumption.


Associated with hormonal changes, especially in the last trimester, pregnancy-related RLS often disappears within four weeks after delivery.

Varicose Veins

Chronic venous disease, the root cause of varicose veins, is a known risk factor for RLS. In fact, one in seven patients with RLS will have varicose veins.

In a study reported by the National Library of Medicine (NIH):

“RLS appears to be a common overlapping clinical syndrome in patients with chronic venous disease (CVD).” - Restless legs syndrome in patients with chronic venous disorders: an untold story, Phlebology. 2007;22(4):156-63

In another study reported in the National Library of Medicine, researchers found that:

“Correcting superficial venous reflux (vein disease) improves RLS symptoms, suggesting an association between CVI and RLS. Venous ultrasound study and intervention should be considered for potential patients.” - Treatment of Leg Veins for Restless Leg Syndrome: A Retrospective Review, Published online 2019 Apr 2

Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) is America’s largest physician-led vein center, with 120+ locations nationwide. We radically improve 200,000+ lives annually by providing safe, personalized, and positive outpatient treatment options for vein disease.

Starting with a duplex ultrasound study of the legs, each patient’s treatment plan is customized to address symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

Immediate Treatments for Restless Legs Syndrome

While there is no cure for RLS, there are several effective treatments that can provide immediate relief from the symptoms. Here are some of the most common and effective options:

Lifestyle Changes

Making simple lifestyle changes can be an effective way to manage RLS symptoms. Some recommended changes include:

  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, as these can aggravate RLS symptoms
  • Per WebMD, dietary changes such as adding iron, potassium, and vitamin D can alleviate symptoms by eating leafy greens like spinach, some types of fish, and bananas.
  • Establishing a consistent sleep routine and practicing good sleep hygiene, such as turning off screens before bed and creating a relaxing sleep environment
  • Engaging in regular exercise, such as physical activity, can help reduce RLS symptoms
  • Applying a heating pad or taking a warm bath to soothe the legs and relieve discomfort


According to the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation, medication may be able to provide immediate relief from RLS symptoms. Common medications used to treat RLS include:

  • Dopamine agonists, such as pramipexole or ropinirole, which work by increasing dopamine levels in the
  • Anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin or pregabalin, which can help reduce nerve-related pain and discomfort
  • Benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam, which can help improve sleep quality and reduce RLS symptoms

It's essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate medication and dosage for your needs.


Certain supplements may also be effective in providing immediate relief from RLS symptoms. Some of the most commonly recommended supplements include:

  • Iron supplements, which can help address iron deficiency, a common underlying cause of RLS
  • Magnesium supplements, which can help relax the muscles and reduce discomfort
  • Vitamin B12 supplements, which can help support nerve function and reduce RLS symptoms

It's essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen. Some supplements may interact with medications or have other side effects.

Treating Restless Leg Syndrome with Chronic Venous Insufficiency Therapies

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occurs when the leg veins have trouble pumping blood back to the heart. Evidence suggests a link between RLS and CVI, and treating the underlying vein disease may be necessary to relieve RLS symptoms.

A study published by the NIH examined the effect of treating superficial venous reflux (SVR) on RLS symptoms. SVR occurs when the valves in your veins become weak or damaged, allowing blood to flow backward (called reflux).

The study used endovenous radiofrequency ablation, laser ablation, and ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy to treat SVR in patients with RLS. The study's results showed that these treatments led to a significant improvement in RLS symptoms.

Have Restless Legs? Center for Vein Restoration Can Help!

Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) delivers comprehensive outpatient solutions to address chronic venous insufficiency for patients nationwide. With a focus on compassionate, effective, and affordable vein treatment, CVR consistently earns an impressive 98 percent satisfaction rate among its patients.

CVR accepts major insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Medicare.

Call 240-965-3915 to speak to a Patient Services Representative or schedule your consultation online at a CVR near you today.

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