Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is increasingly recognized as an important neurological disorder. It is nearly twice as common in women versus men and increases in incidence with aging. RLS symptoms can range from the very mild or transient (for example a few times during pregnancy) to severe, occurring every evening and being excruciatingly uncomfortable. The following are typical symptoms associated with RLS:

Patients may display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A strong, often irresistible urge to move the legs.
  • Discomfort in the legs characterized by pain, creeping sensations, itching, pulling, tugging, or gnawing.
  • RLS symptoms start or increase when resting. 
  • RLS symptoms are worse in the evening especially when lying down and often occur around the same time of the day.
  • RLS symptoms improve with movement of the legs. The relief can be complete or partial but generally starts soon after initiation of movement. Relief persists as long as the movement continues.
  • RLS can cause difficulty in falling or staying asleep, leading to daytime sleepiness.

A substantial number of people who have RLS also have periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS). These are jerks that occur every 20 to 30 seconds on and off throughout the night. This can cause partial awakenings that disrupt sleep. Typically, these movements affect the legs but may also affect the entire body. Poor sleep can seriously impact work, relationships, and health.