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Is Restless Leg Syndrome A Nerve Issue

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Avoid Extended Periods Of Inactivity

Neurological Disorders & Treatment : Electric Nerve Stimulation for Restless Legs

Sitting still for too long can make the symptoms of RLS worse, so try to break up periods of sitting with movement or stretches.

  • Find or create a work setting where you can be active. If you work at an office, look into a desk that lets you stand and type, or walk while talking on the phone.
  • Tell friends, family, and coworkers why you have to move around more than others. Theyll likely try to accommodate you and want to help you create a healthy environment.
  • Schedule activities that may require long periods of sittingsuch as car journeys, flights, or waiting for appointmentsin the morning rather than late in the day.
  • Choose an aisle seat at movies and on planes so that you can get up and move.
  • Give yourself stretch breaks at work and during long car rides.

Signs And Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome

Not only do the signs and symptoms of restless legs syndrome differ from person to person, but they can be tricky to describe. Common descriptions include: a creepy-crawly feeling, tingling, itching, prickling, burning, pulling, tugging, and aching. Some people have said it feels like bugs are crawling up their legs, a fizzy soda is bubbling through their veins, or they have a deep bone itch. Sometimes the symptoms are painful, but usually they are simply uncomfortable and disturbing.

When Does Restless Leg Syndrome Happen

Symptoms occur when the person is at rest or inactive, such as:

  • Lying down
  • In bed
  • In a restricted space, like on a plane or at the movies

As a person is more likely to be at rest in the afternoon and evening, those are the parts of day when RLS symptoms are usually at their worst. For some of those affected by RLS, the symptoms may only occur occasionally, while for others they are present every day.

Symptoms tend to improve in the mornings with getting up, and whenever the person starts to move or walk around. Moving around as a remedy can cause problems when the person is trying to go to sleep.

Symptoms can vary in severity, from mild discomfort to being so disruptive and painful they affect day-to-day life. Sleep can be so disturbed that people have difficulty functioning during the day, which can commonly lead to depression and anxiety.

Worried you may have RLS? Start a symptom assessment on the Ada app.

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Restless Leg Syndrome And Multiple Sclerosis Connection

Cases of restless leg syndrome in multiple sclerosis patients greatly vary from 13.3 percent to 65.1 percent. These numbers are still larger than rates of restless leg syndrome in the general population. Multiple sclerosis patients with RLS rate higher on the Expanded Disability Status Scale compared to MS patients without RLS. RLS can negatively impact a persons sleep and cause further complications such as worsened fatigue and greater inflammation, which can contribute to pain. Further research will be conducted to better understand the connection between RLS and MS and provide more effective treatment.

About Restless Legs Syndrome

6 Surprising Facts about Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a common condition of the nervous system that causes an overwhelming, irresistible urge to move the legs.

It can also cause an unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs. The sensation is often worse in the evening or at night. Occasionally, the arms are affected too.

Restless legs syndrome is also associated with involuntary jerking of the legs and arms, known as periodic limb movements in sleep .

Some people have the symptoms of restless legs syndrome occasionally, while others have them every day. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe. In severe cases, restless legs syndrome can be very distressing and disrupt a person’s daily activities.

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How To Treat Grumpy Old Man Syndrome

If your irritable male syndrome is caused by a decrease in testosterone levels, one of the main treatment options is testosterone replacement therapy. Regular injections of a synthetic version of the hormone can often help restore vitality and other characteristics affected by declining hormone levels.

If You Think You Have Rls Or Neuropathy

It can be very difficult to self-diagnose whether you have RLS or neuropathy. If you suspect something is wrong, discuss your symptoms with your health care provider and get evaluated to rule out other causes for your discomfort. If your symptoms are severe, your provider may refer you to a neurologist or sleep specialist for further evaluation.

Often a comprehensive history, thorough neurological examination and even neurological testing may be required to help determine diagnosis and appropriate treatment options, Dr. Lee-Iannotti said.

To find a Banner Health specialist near you, visit bannerhealth.com.

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How Long Will Restless Legs Syndrome Last

Symptoms of primary or idiopathic RLS typically worsen over time, but, for some people, weeks or months may pass without any symptoms. If the RLS stems from a condition, illness, pregnancy, or medication, it may go away as soon as the trigger has gone.

RLS can pose problems for women during pregnancy.

Women who already have RLS can find that symptoms get worse during pregnancy. However, becoming pregnant can lead to RLS in its own right. Symptoms tend to get worse as the pregnancy progresses and are especially likely in the third trimester.

The cause of the increased incidence of RLS during pregnancy is unknown, but the following factors are believed to be involved:

  • low levels of minerals or vitamins, such as iron and folate
  • sleep deprivation as a result of changes in the body and discomfort
  • changes in the hormones
  • increased sensitivity of the senses

This condition has not been widely researched during pregnancy. However, some of the drug treatments used outside of pregnancy, such as rotigotine and gabapentin, have not been assessed for safe use in women who are pregnant.

Behavioral treatments, such as mild exercise and a healthy sleeping pattern, are often recommended as a first-line treatment for women during pregnancy.

If iron levels are low and thought to be the cause of RLS, oral iron supplements are safe to prescribe during pregnancy. In severe cases, higher concentrations may be administered intravenously through a drip.


There are two main types of RLS:

Relieving Restless Legs In The Moment

Ron S Restless Leg Syndrome and Peripheral Nerve Pain Surgery

Sometimes, despite your best self-help efforts, the symptoms of restless legs flare up. The following tips will help you find quick relief:

  • Get up and walk around. Fighting the urge to move can make the feelings worse.
  • Distract yourself with a game or activity.
  • Apply hot or cold packs to your legs.
  • Try calf stretches, yoga poses, knee bends, or a simple ankle or foot rotation.
  • Relax your muscles with massage or a hot bath.
  • Pressure can help relieve the discomfort of restless legs syndrome. Try wearing compression socks or stockings or wrap your legs in bandages .
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    Where Can I Get More Information

    For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:

    Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892

    NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.

    All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

    Early Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms: Restless Leg Syndrome Numbness And Weakness

    Written byEmily LunardoPublished onOctober 19, 2015

    Sensory problems, including restless leg syndrome , numbness and weakness, are the first sign of multiple sclerosis . Sensory problems can occur in 20 to 50 percent of individuals with multiple sclerosis with a condition known as paresthesia. The condition can be caused by prolonged sitting or standing or remaining in a certain position for a long period of time.

    Restless leg syndrome is a condition that makes the legs feel tingling when they are at rest and creates an overwhelming sensation to move them. Studies have shown that individuals with MS are three times more likely to experience restless leg syndrome compared to the general population. Cervical cord damage plays a large role in the development of RLS and can occur more in those with multiple sclerosis.

    Feelings and sensations of restless leg syndrome include crawling underneath the skin, tingling, burning or creeping. Symptoms may be relieved with movement of the legs, but this relief is temporary. Furthermore, its impossible to keep your legs moving constantly, which makes the hours during sleep the most difficult. Many individuals suffer from sleep deprivation when they have RLS.

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    What Is The Difference Between Parkinsonism And Parkinson Plus Syndrome

    PSP causes trouble with balance and stability that can mimic Parkinsons disease. Unlike Parkinsons disease, people with PSP dont experience tremors. They do have difficulty with eye movement and are likely to experience more trouble with speech, swallowing, and mood than people with Parkinsons disease.

    Conventional Treatment For Restless Leg Syndrome

    Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

    If you suspect you might have RLS, visit your doctor to talk about your symptoms, risk factors and medical history. Your doctor will likely want to rule out other health problems, discuss your sleep habits, use of medications, and perform tests to check if you might be anemic, diabetic, or suffering from any nutrient deficiencies that can affect the nerves and muscles.

    Today, the most commonly used medications to help control RLS include:

    • Dopaminergics to help control the amount of movement in the legs. These include the drugs pramipexole, ropinirole, carbidopa or levodopa.
    • Sleep medications, including benzodiazepines, to help people fall and stay asleep .
    • In some cases, strong painkillers to reduce wakefulness and act like a tranquilizer, such as codeine.
    • Medications to help control nerve damaged caused by diabetes.
    • Medications used to control side effects of epilepsy or cognitive disorders, such as Parkinsons.

    The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that medications are usually helpful for a period of time, but no single medication effectively manages RLS for all individuals. In addition, medications taken regularly may lose their effect over time, making it necessary to change medications periodically, and they can become addictive.

    Keep in in mind that the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation reports that certain medications used to control common health conditions can also contribute to symptoms of RLS or make them worse. These include:

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    Primary Restless Legs Syndrome

    Primary restless legs syndrome tends to begin slowly, around the age of 40. This is earlier than most secondary RLS cases. RLS also runs in families, suggesting a genetic link.

    There is research that suggests restless legs syndrome may be connected to problems with a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, which uses dopamine to control muscle movement. If transmission of dopamine signals in this part of the brain becomes impaired, it can result in muscle spasms and jerky movements.

    How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Treated

    RLS can be treated, with care directed toward relieving symptoms. Moving the affected limb may provide temporary relief. Sometimes RLS symptoms can be controlled by finding and treating an associated medical condition, such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, or iron deficiency anemia.

    Iron supplementation or medications are usually helpful but no single medication effectively manages RLS for all individuals. Trials of different drugs may be necessary. In addition, medications taken regularly may lose their effect over time or even make the condition worse, making it necessary to change medications.

    Treatment options for RLS include:

    Lifestyle changes. Certain lifestyle changes and activities may provide some relief in persons with mild to moderate symptoms of RLS. These steps include avoiding or decreasing the use of alcohol and tobacco, changing or maintaining a regular sleep pattern, a program of moderate exercise, and massaging the legs, taking a warm bath, or using a heating pad or ice pack. There are new medical devices that have been cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration , including a foot wrap that puts pressure underneath the foot and another that is a pad that delivers vibration to the back of the legs. Aerobic and leg-stretching exercises of moderate intensity also may provide some relief from mild symptoms.

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    Secondary Restless Legs Syndrome

    There are a number of factors that appear to be linked to restless legs syndrome. These may include:

    Iron deficiency anemia

    A lack of iron in the body, leading to iron deficiency anemia, appears to be linked to restless legs syndrome. Iron plays a role in the functioning of dopamine and other neurotransmittersâ function in the brain.

    Restless legs syndrome and pregnancy

    Pregnant women may develop restless legs syndrome, with symptoms more common in the final trimester. Between 10 percent and 25 percent of pregnant women are thought to experience symptoms.

    Nobody is quite sure why pregnancy can trigger restless legs syndrome. There are suggestions it may be connected to:

    • Low iron levels
    • Circulation problems
    • Increase in estrogen

    Restless legs syndrome that develops during pregnancy very often goes away within a month after birth.

    Conditions often observed alongside restless legs syndrome

    There are several conditions that can lead to restless legs syndrome as a complication, or have been linked to it, sometimes without yet fully understanding the mechanisms behind the link, such as:

    • End-stage kidney disease, particularly when needing dialysis
    • Nerve damage. This includes peripheral neuropathy, which may itself be a complication caused by diabetes
    • Spinal cord disease
    • Smoking tobacco

    Pins And Needles Rls Style

    Restless Leg Syndrome – How we treat the root of the problem

    If youve been diagnosed with RLS, then you know that timing is typically though not always a factor in your diagnosis. RLS, which may happen at any time of day, brings uncomfortable sensations and movements in the legs during periods of relaxation or inactivity.

    This is why RLS is considered a sleep disorder, as it can become unbearable right at bedtime when the brain and the rest of the body wants to fall asleep.1 But RLS isnt experienced only at bedtime. It can strike at any time of day and may be especially problematic for people who are traveling long distances or sitting at desks for long periods of time.

    This is why RLS is also considered a neurological movement disorder.2

    By and large, the best way to find immediate, if temporary, relief is to get up and move around or massage the legs. Those with RLS discomfort may find it annoying or a nuisance when trying to fall asleep, but for many, its also quite painful. However, some people who have been diagnosed with painful RLS may ultimately discover later that what theyre actually experiencing is something known as neuropathy.3

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    Sleep Hygiene For Restless Legs Syndrome

    Sleep hygiene is important, as tiredness makes symptoms worse.

    Tips include:

    • Sleeping in a cool, quiet bedroom.
    • Going to bed at the same time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning.
    • Reduce the amount of light you are exposed to for an hour before bed.
    • Avoid stimulating drinks, such as caffeine or sugar.
    • Avoiding or reducing alcohol consumption and tobacco.

    Exercise and physical activity can help RLS, but it can also aggravate it. Most patients find moderate exercise helpful, but too much can make symptoms worse. Working out late in the evening may also be unhelpful.

    How To Tell The Difference Between Rls And Neuropathy

    RLS symptoms are often described as creepy crawly or jumpy leg sensations, but they can also be described as painful at times. To see if you have RLS, your health care provider will look for the following specific features:

    • You have an urge to move your legs to stop discomfort or unusual feelings.
    • Your symptoms worsen during rest or inactivity, such as lying or sitting.
    • Your symptoms tend to go away with movement, such as walking or stretching.
    • The urge to move or unpleasant sensations occur in the evening or nighttime.
    • The disorder is not explained by another current sleep disorder, medical or neurological disorder, medication use or substance abuse disorder.

    Neuropathy symptoms are often described as burning, shooting, electrical or pins-and-needles in the arms, legs, feet and hands.

    While both can cause leg discomfort, there are some hallmark differences between the two.

    Whereas RLS tends to occur at night, neuropathy doesnt only occur at night, but typically occurs during the day and night, Dr. Lee-Iannotti said. Rest doesnt make neuropathy worse, but movement doesnt make it better either. In fact, patients often say that movement makes the pain worse.

    As well, RLS tends to run in families, but there may or may not be a familial link with neuropathydepending on whether it is inherited or acquired.

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    Causes Of Restless Legs Syndrome

    In many cases, the exact cause of restless legs syndrome is unknown.

    When no cause can be found, it’s known as “idiopathic” or primary restless legs syndrome.

    Research has identified specific genes related to restless legs syndrome, and it can run in families. In these cases, symptoms usually occur before the age of 40.

    Diagnosis Of Restless Legs Syndrome

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    These are the diagnostic criteria for RLS, published by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group . All five criteria are required for the diagnosis:

    An urge to move the legs, usually caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in the legs. Sometimes the urge to move is present without the sensations, and sometimes the arms or other body parts are involved as well as the legs.

    The urge to move or sensations in the limbs begin, or become worse while resting.

    The urge to move or sensations in the limbs are partially or totally eased by moving. Relief lasts as long as the movement continues.

    The urge to move or sensations in the limbs are worse in the evening or night, or only happen in the evening or night.

    Symptoms are not explained by another medical or behavioral condition.

    Check whether this matches your symptoms with the Ada app.

    A doctor will diagnose based on a description of symptoms and triggers. A physical and/or neurological exam may be done, a family history taken and possibly blood tests to look for underlying factors or other treatable conditions.

    A sleep study may be helpful to check for sleep disruption and periodic limb movement in sleep.

    The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation produces an RLS Symptom Diary which can be printed off and used to track symptoms, activities and sleep patterns. RLS-UK also has a tool to help affected people monitor symptoms and medication.

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