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I am 87 years old, with a problem of the prostate gland. Before I met Dr. Baum, I went to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes. After Dr. Baum's treatment on my prostate, I go only 5 times per day and only 1 time at night! You turned my life around. I am so very grateful!

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-Gerald Wallace


Have you ever awakened at night with cramps in your legs and the pain just won't go away? . If so, you may have restless leg syndrome or RLS. Sometimes the pain of RLS is so severe that it causes you to get out of bed and walk around to get relief. RLS usually occurs at night during sleep and can result in insomnia. This article will describe RLS and what you can do treat this common condition.

What causes RLS? The cause of RLS is unknown in most patients. However, RLS has been associated with pregnancy, obesity, smoking and anemia or low blood counts. Other causes include thyroid deficiency, diabetes, and kidney failure. There are some drugs and medications that have been associated with RLS including caffeine, alcohol, and certain antidepressants (such as Elavil).

What is the treatment for restless leg syndrome? Treatment of RLS is first directed toward any underlying illness. For example, a search for iron deficiency by blood testing may reveal underlying iron deficiency anemia. Reduction or elimination of caffeine and alcohol can be very helpful. Stopping smoking can also diminish symptoms. Getting more exercise, which promotes better sleep, can help some persons affected by RLS.

Medications used to treat restless leg syndrome include carbidopa-levodopa, opioids (such as propoxyphene) or tramadol (Ultram) for intermittent symptoms, carbamazepine, clonazepam, diazepam, triazolam, temazepam, baclofen, bromocriptine, and clonidine. Also, recently, gabapentin (Neurontin) has been found helpful. The FDA has now approved ropinirole (Requip) and pramipexole (Mirapex) for the treatment of restless leg syndrome.

Other treatments that have been helpful for some but have less scientific validation include avoiding caffeine, warm baths, electric nerve stimulation, oral magnesium, and acupuncture.

Bottom line: Restless leg syndrome is a condition marked by unpleasant leg sensations at bedtime. The cause of restless leg syndrome is unknown in most patients, but many conditions have been associated with it. Treatment of restless leg syndrome is directed toward any underlying illness, if known. There are a number of medications, which are available for restless leg syndrome.