Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation. It typically happens in the evening or nighttime hours when you’re sitting or lying down. Moving eases the unpleasant feeling temporarily.

Restless legs syndrome, now known as restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease (RLS/WED), can begin at any age and generally worsens as you age. It can disrupt sleep, which interferes with daily activities.

Simple self-care steps and lifestyle changes may help you. Medications also help many people with restless legs syndrome.

The chief symptom is an urge to move the legs. Common accompanying characteristics of RLS/WED include:

  • Sensations that begin after rest. The sensation typically begins after you’ve been lying down or sitting for an extended time, such as in a car, airplane or movie theater.
  • Relief with movement. The sensation of RLS/WED lessens with movement, such as stretching, jiggling your legs, pacing or walking.
  • Worsening of symptoms in the evening. Symptoms occur mainly at night.
  • Nighttime leg twitching. RLS/WED may be associated with another, more common condition called periodic limb movement of sleep, which causes your legs to twitch and kick, possibly throughout the night, while you sleep.

People typically describe RLS/WED symptoms as abnormal, unpleasant sensations in their legs or feet. They usually happen on both sides of the body. Less commonly, the sensations affect the arms.

The sensations, which generally occur within the limb rather than on the skin, are described as:

  • Crawling
  • Creeping
  • Pulling
  • Throbbing
  • Aching
  • Itching
  • Electric

Sometimes the sensations are difficult to explain. Affected people usually don’t describe the condition as a muscle cramp or numbness. They do, however, consistently describe the desire to move their legs.

It’s common for symptoms to fluctuate in severity. Sometimes, symptoms disappear for periods of time, then come back.

For more information about how we can help treat restless legs syndrome, contact us today at (775) 507-2000.

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