What is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Tanuja Bisht

, Health A2Z

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition or a disorder of the part of the nervous system that causes an urge to move the legs. Because it usually conflicts with sleep, it also is known as a sleep disorder.


Restless legs syndrome is usually because of an uncomfortable sensation in legs. It typically happens in the nighttime or evening hours when you’re lying down or sitting. Moving eases the unpleasant feeling temporarily.


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The syndrome is also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease (WED), it can begin at any age and commonly worsens as you age. It can disrupt your sleep, which interferes with daily activities.


Simply some self-care steps and lifestyle changes may help you to prevent this syndrome. Medications can also help many people with restless legs syndrome.




What are the Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome?

There are several common symptoms of restless legs syndrome including;


Sensations that begin after rest-

The sensation typically begins when you are lying down or sitting for an extended time like in a car, airplane or movie theater.


Relief with movement-

The sensation of the disease lessens with movement like jiggling your legs, stretching, pacing or walking.


Worsening of symptoms in the evening-

Its symptoms usually occur at night.


Nighttime leg twitching-

May be associated with another but the common condition called periodic limb movement of sleep, which causes the legs to twitch and kicks, probably throughout the night, while you sleep.

The sensation of the legs is actually on the limb not in the skin such as;

  • Crawling
  • Creeping
  • Throbbing
  • Aching
  • Pulling
  • Electric
  • Itching


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What are the Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome?

Researchers doubt that the condition may be caused due to an imbalance of the brain chemical called dopamine, which sends messages to control the muscle movement.

Other common causes of restless legs syndrome include;

  • Heredity
  • Pregnancy




What are the Risk Factors Associated with Restless Legs Syndrome?

The syndrome can be developed at any age and increases with the increase in age. Usually, the syndrome is more common in women than men.

Several risk factors associated with restless legs syndrome include;

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Iron deficiency
  • Kidney failure
  • Spinal cord conditions


What are the Treatments Available for Restless Legs Syndrome?

Mild restless legs syndrome can be managed through lifestyle changes. If symptoms are more severe, the patients might be needed medication.

Lifestyle changes;

  • Avoid stimulants (like caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco ) in the evening.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Taking regular exercise.
  • Having good sleep habit.
  • Avoid those medicines that trigger the symptoms.
  • You can massage your legs during the night.
  • You can take a hot bath in the evening.


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