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Freedom from Restless Legs: A Comprehensive Guide to Treating RLS

Do you struggle to fall asleep at night due to an uncontrollable urge to move your legs? You may be suffering from restless leg syndrome (RLS), a disorder that affects 10% – 15% of the U.S. population. This frustrating condition can significantly impact your quality of life, leaving you exhausted and irritable during the day.


While there is no definitive cure for RLS, there are several effective treatments that can significantly reduce symptoms and help you regain control over your sleep and daily functioning. As a leading vein treatment center, Colorado Skin & Vein has helped countless patients find relief from RLS.


“Many of my patients are surprised to learn that their restless leg symptoms are often connected to underlying vein issues,” says David Verebelyi, MD, RVT who is Chief of Laser Surgery at Colorado Skin & Vein. “By treating venous insufficiency, we’re able to provide significant relief from restless leg.”


Understanding Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs, usually accompanied by uncomfortable sensations like tingling, crawling, or aching. These symptoms typically worsen at night and during periods of rest, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.


While the exact cause of RLS is still being studied, several factors can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. The main issue seems to be swelling in the lower limbs but other issues can include iron deficiency, pregnancy, certain medications, and chronic conditions like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. In most cases, RLS is connected to underlying vein problems.


“In my experience, identifying any underlying vascular issues is a crucial first step in developing an effective treatment plan for RLS,” notes Dr. Verebelyi. Venous insufficiency, a condition in which the veins struggle to efficiently return blood to the heart, can contribute to the uncomfortable sensations and urge to move that characterize RLS.


To understand the cause of Restless Leg Syndrome, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms, medical history, and family history.  In most cases they will need to perform some basic imaging studies such as ultrasound to check the blood flow in the lower limbs.   In addition they may also order blood tests to check for iron deficiency or other underlying conditions. In some cases, a sleep study may be recommended to evaluate the severity of your symptoms and rule out other sleep disorders.


Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies

For mild to moderate cases of RLS, lifestyle modifications and home remedies can be effective in managing symptoms. Establishing good sleep hygiene is crucial – aim for a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure your sleep environment is cool, dark, and comfortable.


Regular exercise can also help alleviate RLS symptoms. Activities that maximally active the calf muscles are best.  Cycling, elliptical or swimming tend to be best and  can reduce the intensity and frequency of symptoms. Stretching, especially before bedtime, can also help relax the muscles and ease discomfort.


Certain dietary changes may also be beneficial. Limiting caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the evening, can improve sleep quality. If you have iron deficiency, increasing your intake of iron-rich foods or taking an iron supplement may help reduce RLS symptoms.


Elevating the lower legs and wearing compression hose may also help.  Some have reported that applying heat or cold to the affected area can also provide relief. Try taking a warm bath before bed, using a heating pad or ice pack, or massaging your legs to alleviate discomfort.  


While these lifestyle changes can be effective, it’s important to know when to seek medical help. If your symptoms are severe, persistent, or significantly impacting your daily life, it’s time to consult with a doctor.


Medical Treatment Options

For cases where RLS exists with potential venous reflux, medical intervention may be necessary. Treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause of your symptoms.  63% of patients with RLS and venous reflux got either complete or significant relief of their RLS symptoms after their venous reflux was properly treated. 

As noted above, for many RLS sufferers, treating underlying venous insufficiency can provide significant relief. At Colorado Skin & Vein, we offer several minimally invasive treatments to address vein issues:


  • Radiofrequency ablation: This procedure uses heat to close off damaged veins, redirecting blood flow to healthier veins.
  • Endovenous laser treatment: Similar to radiofrequency ablation, this treatment uses laser energy to seal off problematic veins.
  • Sclerotherapy: This involves injecting a solution into the damaged vein, causing it to collapse and fade away.


“In many cases, a combination of lifestyle modifications and medical interventions can make a world of difference for RLS sufferers,” says Dr. Verebelyi. “The key is working closely with your doctor to find the right treatment plan for you.”


After undergoing treatment, ongoing care and follow-up appointments are important to monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed.


Overcoming Restless Leg Syndrome

Living with restless leg syndrome can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. With the right combination of lifestyle changes, medical treatment, and support, most people with RLS are able to significantly reduce their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


If you think you may be suffering from RLS, the expert providers at Colorado Skin & Vein are here to help. As a national leader in vein treatment and aesthetic medicine, we have the knowledge and experience to accurately diagnose your condition and recommend the most effective therapies.

Don’t let restless leg syndrome control your life any longer. Schedule your consultation and take the first step towards restful, symptom-free nights. A better night’s sleep is within reach – contact us today to get started.

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