Restless Leg Syndrome


Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is defined as a neurological movement disorder characterized by sensory and motor abnormalities. The condition is typically accompanied by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move them for relief.

In laymen terms, the restless leg syndrome is a condition in which the legs feel extremely uncomfortable while sitting or lying down.

Also known as, the Wittmaack-Ekbom’s syndrome, the restless leg syndrome is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of painful legs. The restless leg syndrome is known to affect 12 million people in the United States.

Key Symptoms

An irresistible urge to move the legs is the most prominent symptom associated with the restless leg syndrome. Those suffering from RLS often describe the sensations as burning, creeping, tugging or as feelings of insects crawling inside the legs.

Also known as paresthesias (abnormal sensations) or dysesthesias (unpleasant abnormal sensations), these sensations hugely vary in severity, ranging from uncomfortable to irritating to being extremely painful.

Here we list the most common signs and symptoms associated with the restless leg syndrome:

Originates during inactivity

Relief by movement

Worsening of symptoms in the evening

Excessive leg twitching at nighttime

Difficulty in sleeping

Causative Factors

Though it can occur at any age, the restless leg syndrome is mostly known to occur in middle-aged and older adults and is worsened by stress and anxiety.

Here we list some of the main causative factors associated with the development of this disorder:

Iron deficiency




Iron deficiency

Nerve disease



Kidney failure

Caffeine, alcohol

Medications (antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-nausea drugs, anti-psychotic drugs)


In general, the restless leg syndrome is also associated to vitamin and mineral deficiency, hyperthyroidism, heavy metal toxicity, toxins and the like.

Treatment Options

The main aim of a treatment plan for the restless leg syndrome is to relieve the symptoms and provide maximum comfort to the sufferer. Here we list some of the advisable forms of treatment for the patients of restless leg syndrome:

Muscle relaxation through warm baths, gentle stretching exercises, massage and similar techniques

Counseling and psychotherapy

Iron supplements

Medications such as Clonazepam, Parkinson drugs, Codeine, Oxycodone, Methadone, Propoxyphene)

Self Care

Research shows that self-care measures are often effective in the treatment of symptoms of the restless leg syndrome. Here we list some of the most important self-care measures that need to be adopted:

Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco

Massage the calf and legs

Stretch your legs at the beginning and end of each day

Maintain a regular exercise regimen

Develop and maintain a regular sleep schedule since fatigue worsens the problem