Restless Legs Syndrome
- Unpleasant sensations in the legs
- An irresistible urge to move the legs
- Involuntary, repetitive, jerking movements
- Interrupted sleep because of periodic leg movements
- Family history
- Certain medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, caffeine, theophylline, 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
- Blood tests
- Monitoring of leg activity during sleep
- Study of leg muscles, such as electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies
|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 medications that may worsen RLS.
Treatment for Conditions That May Trigger RLS
Treatment for More 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-scs.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Cui Y, Wang Y, Liu Z. Acupuncture for restless legs syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(4)CD006457.
Explore 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 June 27, 2013.
Restless legs syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 7, 2013. Accessed June 27, 2013.
Restless legs syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless%5Flegs/detail%5Frestless%5Flegs.htm. Updated June 13, 2013. Accessed June 27, 2013.
Salas RE, Gamaldo CE, Allen RP. Update in restless legs syndrome. Curr Opin Neurol. 2010;23(4):401-406.
What is Willis-Ekbom disease (WED)/RLS? Willis-Ekbom Disease Foundation website. Available at: http://www.rls.org/about-wed-rls. Accessed June 27, 2013.
11/26/2012 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: 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: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline. Sleep. 2012;35(8):1039-1062.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 06/2015 -
- Update Date: 06/02/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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