Restless Legs Syndrome Facts

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a movement disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs that are often described as tingling, pulling or crawling. Learn more about RLS ›

Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome

Of all of the medical terms out there, perhaps restless legs syndrome (RLS) best describes the symptoms experienced by people with the disorder. With RLS, you literally have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. But for many people who have RLS, the signs and symptoms don't stop there. You may also experience the following:

Your legs feel funny. Specific sensations vary from person to person, but they may include throbbing, creeping, pulling, tingling, and other unpleasant feelings. They may range from irritating to painful.

You want to move your legs. There are two reasons this may occur. First, RLS causes the irresistible desire to move your legs. Second, moving your legs helps relieve the discomfort. As a result, you continue moving them to minimize the uncomfortable sensations or to prevent them from coming back.

Read up on the 5 symptoms associated with RLS

Could You Have Restless Legs Syndrome?

RLS affects an estimated 12 million Americans. Are you one of them?

Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is uncomfortable and irritating, and it keeps you awake at night. So what can you do to make it go away? While there is no known cure for the disorder, several different treatment options may help.

The first line of defense is to prevent symptoms. For instance, if caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco causes your RLS, reducing or avoiding these substances may make symptoms disappear. Certain medications can lead to RLS, so stopping or changing them—under your doctor’s guidance—may help. Finally, achieving better control over an underlying condition that’s causing RLS, such as diabetes, may also provide relief.

Learn more about the types of medications used to treat RLS

Living with Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes an overwhelming urge to move your legs when you’re at rest. It’s often accompanied by unpleasant sensations, such as creeping, pulling, tingling, burning, achy, or itchy feelings. Such feelings can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay that way. And that makes it hard to function the next day.

The good news? You can often minimize the misery by making the right lifestyle choices—and avoiding the wrong ones. Many people who have RLS find that lifestyle changes and medication, if needed, provide relief from most symptoms. Help yourself to a healthier life and better sleep by following these six “don’ts”:

Avoid doing these 6 things which can make RLS symptoms worse

More Information on Restless Legs Syndrome

Reference: Sleep Disorders section on Better Medicine

Did You Know?

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A combination of moderate aerobic exercise and lower-body resistance training 3 times per week may reduce symptom severity by about 50%.