Treating Restless Leg Syndrome Without Drugs

January 31, 2023

Restless leg syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest, which is vital for good health. Sleep deprivation, seen in 88% of RLS cases, can be associated with depression, anxiety, heart disease, and obesity. 

RLS is a neurological (nervous system) disorder causing an overwhelming desire to move one’s legs, and usually strikes when the patient is sitting still or trying to sleep. Patients often describe leg sensations such as “crawly,”, “twitchy,” “need to stretch,” or “legs want to move on their own.” Although it is most frequent in older adults, RLS can affect any age, including children. It is more common in women than in men. 

Although drugs exist for severe, intractable cases, since all medications have side effects, non-drug treatment should always be tried first. Sometimes discontinuing alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, especially before bed, performing regular exercise, and relaxation techniques can be helpful. Good sleep hygiene is another good idea. Getting to bed on a regular schedule, in a comfortable room devoted only to sleep and partner relations, fosters a good sleep routine. Another helpful aid is the Restiffic relief compression foot wrap. This was originally designed to provide pressure to acupressure points in order to lower stress and anxiety, improve blood circulation to the feet, relieve foot pain, and help with sleep. In many patients it was found effective for RLS as well and has since been approved by the FDA.

The device consists of a foot wrap resembling a blood pressure cuff to provide gentle, relaxing pressure to the muscles of the foot. This foot wrap is available with a prescription. The physicians and other prescription providers at QuickMD can write a prescription for Restiffic online after a brief consultation. 

QuickMD can also prescribe medications for restless leg syndrome like gabapentin through video or phone (in most states). 

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