Restless Leg Syndrome (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Restless leg syndrome facts
- What is restless leg syndrome (RLS)?
- What causes restless leg syndrome?
- What are the symptoms of restless leg syndrome?
- How is restless leg syndrome diagnosed?
- Can other conditions mimic restless leg syndrome?
- What is the treatment for restless leg syndrome?
- What medications are used to treat restless leg syndrome?
- Are there any remedies or complimentary/alternative treatments for restless leg syndrome?
- Restless Legs Syndrome Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Quiz!
- Weird Body Quirks Slideshow
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) FAQs
What are the symptoms of restless leg syndrome?
Many different symptoms are described by people with restless leg syndrome, for example:
- leg pain,
- burning, and
The characteristic nighttime worsening of symptoms in persons with restless legs syndrome frequency leads to insomnia. Because of lack of sleep, children and some adults may be very drowsy, irritable, and aggressive during daytime hours.
Restless leg syndrome usually begins slowly. Over time, the legs become more affected. Less frequently, restless leg syndrome can affect the arms.
How is restless leg syndrome diagnosed?
The National Institutes of Health says that four criteria must be met for the diagnosis of RLS in a person (adult or child):
- A strong urge to move your legs. This urge often, but not always, occurs with unpleasant feelings in your legs. When the disorder is severe, you also may have the urge to move your arms.
- Symptoms that start or get worse when you're inactive. The urge to move increases when you're sitting still or lying down and resting.
- Relief from moving. Movement, especially walking, helps relieve the unpleasant feelings.
- Symptoms that start or get worse in the evening or at night.
Can other conditions mimic restless leg syndrome?
There are many conditions which can mimic restless leg syndrome including:
- Parkinson's disease,
- muscle diseases,
- joint conditions,
- nerve problems such as peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes (diabetic neuropathy), and
- circulation difficulties.
In children, restless leg syndrome is often misdiagnosed as "growing pains."
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