Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Restless leg syndrome is often described
as being an unexplained twitching, tingling, creeping, crawling, restlessness or
discomfort of the thighs, legs and ankles. Patients with the condition
find that they have an irresistible urge to move the legs to relieve the
discomfort, making rest and sleep very difficult. Many patients find that
they spend much of the night pacing the floor. In this sense, RLS can be
classified as a chronic sleep disorder.
The condition is known by several other names,
including Anxieties Tibialis, Wittmaack-Ekbom
Syndrome, or Ekbom Syndrome, and
it involves an abnormal function of the peripheral nerves. RLS may be
associated with poor circulation, muscle disorders, nerve disorders, vitamin
deficiency, smoking, and medications, and it is said to affect 5% of the
population at some point in their life, particularly in middle and older age
It is unfortunate that many health professionals are less aware of this
condition than they should be, because a referral to a specialist can save years
What can you do if you feel you have these symptoms?
See your podiatrist or family physician for an examination and referral to
Do lots of leg stretching, which seems to help many with the condition.
Try massage, which is often helpful.
Soak in a warm bath, which often relieves the condition temporarily.
Apply heat or ice packs, which will help many when they're experiencing
Rest when your legs are less actively troubling you.
Extend rest time when driving or traveling.
Cut back on caffeine and smoking.
Consider joining a support group.
Try prescription medications. The
condition can be treated successfully with prescription medications such as
Benzodiazepines, Dopaminergic medications, or Opiods.
Consider a support group.