Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a chronic, disruptive neurological disorder where one feels an urge to move their legs to stop an unpleasant sensation such as pain, aching, itching or tickling in the muscles while lying down or trying to sleep. Many cases of RLS can be mild but in more severe cases the symptoms can often be intolerable. RLS in known to affect as much as 10 percent of the United States population, is two to three times more common in men than women, and over 50 percent of all sufferers have a family member with RLS as well.
Unfortunately the cause of RLS is not precisely known in most patients. A correlation has been found between RLS and patients suffering from another condition such as Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetes, iron deficiency, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy or pregnancy. Other risk factors include genetics.
Restless Leg Syndrome is characterized by a sensation in the lower legs between the knee and ankle. RLS patients often describe sensations as creeping, crawling, aching, pulling, searing, tingling or bubbling. Sensations can last for an hour or longer and may extend to the upper leg, feet or arms. Those affected will feel the urge to walk or move their legs in an effort to relieve the discomfort. Not only can these symptoms affect a person’s sleep, but they may also make it difficult to sit for long periods such as during car travel, classes or meetings.
Restless Leg Syndrome cannot be specifically diagnosed with one test, but can be diagnosed through a series of tests ruling out other causes and conditions such as a vitamin deficiency. This may be as simple as a normal blood test. Unfortunately there is no cure for Restless Leg Syndrome; however, once diagnosed, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan to decrease symptoms, with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life.
One treatment that has not been scientifically proven but has been reported by patients to be effective is placing a bar of soap under the covers at the foot of the bed.
There are many places to find information about RLS with continued research on the subject. Below are some helpful links to the latest information and research. If you need further information or have questions, .