What're the symptoms of restless legs syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome symptoms are not the same for every person. They range from uncomfortable to painful and can vary in frequency. A person can have periods when restless legs syndrome does not cause problems, but the symptoms usually return. Another person can have severe symptoms every day.
Most people experience mild symptoms. Unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings or sensations in the legs often described as creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling or painful, often producing an irresistible urge to move the legs. These feelings most often occur deep inside the leg, between the knee and ankle. While rare, they can also occur in the feet, thighs, arms, and hands. Most of these feelings involve both sides of the body, although they can happen on just one side of the body.
Although the muscles of the lower legs are affected most often, restless legs syndrome occasionally can cause symptoms in the arms as well. The discomfort of restless legs syndrome is almost always accompanied by an irresistible need to move the legs, and leg movement, such as walking, stretching and deep knee bends, seems to bring temporary relief. A leg massage or a warm bath also may help.
In addition to leg discomfort, restless legs syndrome also can cause periodic jerking leg movements during sleep. These involuntary leg movements often disturb both the patient and the patient's bed partner. Also, because symptoms of restless legs syndrome tend to be worse at bedtime, people with restless legs syndrome may find it hard to fall asleep and to stay asleep. This can cause chronic insomnia and severe daytime drowsiness that may interfere significantly with work, school and social life.
More than 80% of patients with restless legs syndrome experience periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS). These random movements of arms or legs may result in further sleep disturbance and daytime fatigue. Most patients have restless feelings in both legs, but only one leg may be affected. Arms may be affected in nearly half of patients.
More information on restless legs syndrome
What is restless legs syndrome? - Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that produces an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs caused by or associated with unpleasant feelings in them.
What causes restless legs syndrome? - The cause of restless legs syndrome remains unknown. Restless legs syndrome is a central nervous system disorder. Stress generally makes restless legs syndrome worse.
What're the risk factors for restless legs syndrome? - Risk factors for restless legs syndrome include pregnancy, osteoarthritis, varicose veins, diabetes, iron deficiency anemia, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis.
What're the complications of restless legs syndrome? - Severe and persistent restless legs syndrome symptoms can cause considerable mental distress, chronic insomnia, and daytime sleepiness.
What're the symptoms of restless legs syndrome? - Restless legs syndrome symptoms are unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings or sensations in the legs often described as creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling.
How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed? - The diagnosis of restless legs syndrome is based primarily on the patient's history. Polysomnography may be used to rule out other sleep disorders.
What's the treatment for restless legs syndrome? - Treatment of restless legs syndrome depends on the severity of symptoms. Medications used to treat restless leg syndrome include carbidopa, levodopa, opioids.
What non-drugs therapies are available? - Exercise may be one of the best ways to achieve healthy sleep. Stimulus control is the standard treatment for primary chronic insomnia. Paradoxical intention is a psychological approach.
What medications cure restless legs syndrome? - Daily drug treatment is recommended only for people who have restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms at least three nights a week.
How to prevent restless leg syndrome? - Prevention of sleeplessness is dependent upon the patient's ability to relax. Diet is very important in preventing restless legs syndrome.
What's periodic limb movement disorder? - Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep.