Restless Legs Syndrome
- Unpleasant sensations in the legs
- An irresistible urge to move your legs
- Involuntary, repetitive, jerking movements
- Interrupted sleep because of periodic leg movements
- Family members with RLS
- Pregnancy—Some women have RLS during pregnancy. The symptoms usually go away after giving birth.
- Low iron levels—with or without anemia —may happen if you give blood a lot.
- Northern European descent
- Chronic disease, which can lead to secondary RLS:
- Certain medicines, including tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs], lithium, caffeine, dopamine antagonists, and sedating antihistamines
- Feelings of tingling, creeping, pulling, prickling, pins and needles, or pain in the legs during periods of rest or inactivity—may also occur in the arms
- Symptoms typically get worse at night
- A strong urge to relieve uncomfortable sensations with movement
- Restlessness, including floor pacing, tossing and turning in bed, and rubbing the legs
- Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
- Hypersomnia—recurrent episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep
- Tests to check for conditions that may trigger RLS include:
|Nerves of the Leg|
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Treatment for Mild Cases of RLS
- Massage your legs.
- Use a heating pad or ice pack.
- Take a hot bath.
- Avoid using tobacco, alcohol, or caffeine.
- Follow a sleep routine.
- Begin a safe exercise program with the advice of your doctor.
- Avoid the use of medicines that may worsen RLS.
Treatment for Conditions That May Trigger RLS
Treatment for Severe Cases of RLS
National Sleep Foundation http://www.sleepfoundation.org
Willis-Ekbom Disease Foundation http://www.rls.org
Canadian Sleep Society http://www.css.to
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php
Bradley WG, Daroff RB. Neurology in Clinical Practice . Philadelphia, PA: Butterworth Heiemann; 2004.
Cui Y, Wang Y, Liu Z. Acupuncture for restless legs syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews . 2008;CD006457.
Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment . 45th ed. McGraw-Hill; 2006.
Restless legs syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated December 19, 2012. Accessed February 19, 2013.
Salas RE, Gamaldo CE, Allen RP. Update in restless legs syndrome. Curr Opin Neurol . 2010;23(4):401-6.
What is restless legs syndrome? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/rls/ . Updated November 1, 2010. Accessed February 19, 2013.
What is Willis-Ekbom disease (WED)/RLS? Willis-Ekbom Disease Foundation website. Available at: http://www.rls.org/page.aspx?pid=477 . Accessed February 19, 2013.
11/26/2012 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Aurora R, Kristo D, Bista S, et al. The Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder in Adults—An Update for 2012: Practice Parameters with an Evidence- Based Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Sleep . 2012;35(8):1039-1062.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013 -
- Update Date: 00/31/2013 -