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Living With Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) often is a lifelong condition. Symptoms may come and go often or go away for long periods. Symptoms often get worse over time.

If a condition or medicine triggers RLS, the disorder may go away if the trigger is relieved or stopped. For example, RLS that occurs due to pregnancy tends to go away after giving birth.

Although RLS has no cure, treatments can relieve or prevent RLS symptoms. Mild cases of RLS often are treated with lifestyle changes and sometimes with periodic use of medicines. More severe RLS usually is treated with daily medicines. (For more information, go to "How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Treated?")

Ongoing Medical Care

If you have RLS, see your doctor regularly so he or she can watch for changes in your symptoms. This will show whether your treatment is working and whether it will continue to work over time.

Call your doctor if you notice your treatment is no longer working or if you have new symptoms.

Other Considerations

Try to plan long car trips and other long periods of inactivity at the times of day when your symptoms are least severe. Give yourself time to stretch or take walking breaks.

Choose an aisle seat at the movies or on airplanes and trains so you can move around if needed.

Consider finding a work setting where you can stand or walk around.

Emotional Issues and Support

Living with RLS may cause anxiety and stress. It's important to talk about how you feel with your health care team.

Joining a patient support group may help you adjust to living with RLS. You can see how other people who have the same symptoms have coped with them. Talk with your doctor about local support groups or check with an area medical center.

Support from family and friends also can help relieve stress and anxiety. Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you.

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Restless Legs Syndrome Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Restless Legs Syndrome, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.


 
November 01, 2010 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.