Restless Leg Syndrome: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Restless leg syndrome is also known as the RLS or the Willis Ekbom disease.

How is the treatment done?

Restless legs syndrome is a situation where the person feels uncomfortable sensations in his/her legs, sometimes even in other parts of the body, and an irresistible urge to move his/her legs to relieve the sensation. It is a disease caused in the nervous system. The sensations are usually worse at rest, especially when lying or sitting. The severity of RLS symptoms ranges from mild to intolerable. Symptoms can come and go and severity can also vary. The symptoms are generally worse in the evening and at night. For some people, symptoms may cause severe nightly sleep disruption that can significantly impair their quality of life. Treatment for this disease is mostly medication or any other activities such as massages. The treatment varies with the intensity of the sensation. This disease cannot be diagnosed through a medical test. It can be found out only by the patient’s symptoms and answers to the doctor’s questions.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

The treatment for this disease varies with the intensity of sensation. Starting with people whose sensation is very moderate, these people are normally asked to make lifestyle changes such as more of exercise, or by establishing regular sleeping patterns or by eliminating or decreasing the use of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Other treatment includes leg massages and hot baths. People with more sever sensation will be given drugs such as Dopaminergic drugs, Benzodiazepines, Narcotic pain relievers, Anticonvulsants, or antiseizure drugs. All these drugs don’t work on every patient with severe sensation. The drug which works the best on one patient may create a worse situation to another patient. Hence, a doctor’s approval is required before taking any drugs. Some of the other treatments which would help RLS are as follows: Yoga and stretching, foot wrap, pneumatic compression, and vibration pads

Out of these foot wrap and pneumatic compression are considered to be the most effective treatments.

The foot wrap puts pressure on certain points on the bottom of your foot. The pressure sends messages to your brain, which responds by telling the muscles affected by RLS to relax. A study has shown that using foot wraps for eight weeks continuously decreases the effect of RLS.

Pneumatic compression uses a “sleeve” that goes over your leg and inflates and deflates, gently squeezing and releasing your limb. RLS is believed to happen due to the lack of oxygen in the limbs and is relieved when the limbs move and get oxygen, this is the same logic which is used in pneumatic compression. Studies have shown that using this method an hour everyday for a month have shown tremendous improvement in RLS.

As of now there is no treatment for RLS to be cured but the current medications give relief from the pain and provide good sleep to the patients.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

The cause of the disease has not yet been discovered, but doctors strongly believe that it is due to the genes. But other causes can be due to pregnancy, other medications, diabetes, anaemia, arthritis and other chronic diseases. Sometimes excessive alcohol consumption can also cause RLS. Following are the symptoms of RLS: Not being able to sleep during the night, there is a strong urge to move your legs and not be able to resist, and there are sensations always that include creeping, itching, pulling, creepy-crawly, tugging, or gnawing.

These symptoms become worse during the night and when the body is at rest. It becomes better when the body keeps moving.

Are there any side effects?

There are no eligibility criteria for the treatments of RLS, anybody can undergo this treatment without any worries.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There are no side effects for any of the treatments of RLS. As far as the post treatment guidelines are concerned, the patient should avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine and tobacco (which is also a treatment method).

How long does it take to recover?

There are no specific post treatment guidelines.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

More than calling it a recovery, it should be called the relief period since there is no cure for this disease. Once the treatment starts the relief can be seen within a month or two. This purely depends on what type of treatment you are undergoing. The relief period depends on the treatment. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months or even days.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The treatment price varies between Rs 1000- Rs 10000. If your doctor recommends medications then it would cost around Rs 2000, maximum, if the doctor recommends treatment such as foot wrap and pneumatic compression then it would cost around Rs 8000- Rs 10000.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The results are not permanent because the treatment doesn’t cure the disease, but it gives a temporary relief from the pain. For some people RLS goes away (RLS during pregnancy goes away in a month) for majority of the people RLS doesn’t go away and suffer with this disease for a very long time.

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