Nutritional supplements: your doctor can also tell you whether certain dietary supplements may interfere with the way your prescription medications work or may pose health risks for you.
If blood tests show that you are deficient in any of the following nutrients, your doctor may recommend taking dietary supplements as part of your treatment plan:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B
More research is needed to reliably establish the safety and effectiveness of all of these supplements in the treatment of RLS.
There is no research that links complementary and alternative therapies to the treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome. Here are some descriptions of a few treatments that have assisted pain conditions and other related disorders.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants to support and balance the mind, body and spirit. It has most been used by patients with cancer in an effort to improve quality of life and reduce stress and anxiety. Some anecdotal reports exist to suggest that placing a small amount of lavendar oil on the temples with light massage can reduce migraine symptoms, and other reports suggest that lavendar applied to the pillow can assist with insomnia. None of these reports has been the subject of any published, controlled trials.
There is no documented research related to RLS and massage therapy. What may be helpful for persons with RLS are the reported outcomes of improved relaxation and decreased anxiety, which may improve quality of life. It is not known if timing of massage therapies could benefit outcomes related to sleep and RLS. Since massage therapy has shown to have effects on endorphins, which interact with opiate receptor neurons to reduce the intensity of pain, it may be possible to get some benefits from those RLS symptoms which may also respond to treatment with pharmacological opiates. Unfortunately, none of this has been researched and cannot be assumed or prescribed.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world. It has been studied for a variety of conditions, including arm and shoulder pain, pregnancy-related pelvic and back pain, and temporomandibular joint (jaw) dysfunction. Although some studies have produced some positive results, more evidence is needed to determine the efficacy of acupuncture for any of these conditions.
There is evidence that people’s attitudes about acupuncture can affect outcomes. In a 2007 study, researchers analyzed data from four clinical trials of acupuncture for various types of chronic pain. Participants had been asked whether they expected acupuncture to help their pain. In all four trials, those with positive expectations reported significantly greater pain relief.
There is no documented research related to RLS and acupuncture. If one of the suspected biomechanisms for the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat pain is correct (the release of endorphins) then it may be possible to get some benefits from those RLS symptoms that also respond to treatment with opiates. Unfortunately, none of this has been researched and cannot be assumed or presribed.