Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that is fairly common
but often unrecognized or misdiagnosed and is characterized by
uncomfortable sensations in the legs, which are worse during periods
of inactivity, resting or whilst sitting or lying down. The condition
is not dangerous or life-threatening and does not indicate a serious
disorder however, it is uncomfortable and can disrupt sleep. The
diagnosis of RLS is based on the patient’s description and
personal history of their affliction. The condition most commonly
occurs among older people and pregnant women. Because it presents
no external secondary symptoms, RLS can be difficult to identify
but its main characteristics are:
leg movements during sleep hours. Symptoms occur most frequently
during the evening or early part of the night.
urge to move the legs.
sensation in the legs, occasionally, feet, thighs, arms, which
entail creeping, burning, tingling, cramping, aching, pulling
or crawling sensations within the affected extremities.
or discomfort (not pain, not cramps) are relieved by movement
of the legs
during the day.
when lying down and may be temporarily diminished by voluntary
movements of the affected limb.
The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects
of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general
Some of the
conditions associated with RLS are:
Amyloidosis (metabolic disorder of organs and tissues)
Anemia and related hemoglobin deficiencies
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Uremia (kidney-related toxicity)
Some disorders have similar symptoms. The clinician, therefore,
in his diagnostic attempt, has to differentiate against the following
disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.
Limb Movement Disorder - The condition is characterized by behavior
ranging from shallow, continual movement of the ankle or toes,
to wild and strenuous kicking and flailing of the legs and arms.
Periodic limb movement disorder affects people only during sleep.
Usage or Abuse.
syndrome (RLS) occurs most often in middle-aged and older adults.
It is worsened by stress. The cause is not known
There is no known cure for
restless leg syndrome The main treatment is to relieve the symptoms
and make the sufferer more comfortable. Warm baths, gentle stretching
exercises, massage or similar techniques may promote muscle relaxation.
Recent research has found that although there are no
unique pathological changes in the brains of patients with RLS,
it appears that cells in a portion of the mid-brain are not getting
enough iron. (Penn State College of Medicine and
Johns Hopkins University)
and Psychotherapy [ See
Therapy Section ]:
stress and promoting muscle relaxation are often helpful in reducing
episodes of restless leg syndrome through appropriate counselling
Psychopharmacology Section ] :
following list of medications are used in the treatment of RLS
however, many of these do have have side effects.
Parkinson drugs - levodopa/carbidopa
research suggests correction of iron deficiency may improve symptoms
for some patients.