Restless Legs Syndrome

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Restless Legs Syndrome


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What is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

What are the symptoms and signs of restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

How is restless legs syndrome (RLS) diagnosed?

How common is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

What are the treatments for restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

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What is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

Restless legs syndrome is a disorder in which there is an urge or need to move the legs to stop unpleasant sensations. Restless legs syndrome, also referred to as Willis-Ekbom disease (WED), is a treatable neurological disorder.

 

What are the symptoms and signs of restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

Restless legs syndrome is characterized by four primary features:

  • A desire to move in association with unusual or uncomfortable sensations within the legs, usually in the calves
  • Motor restlessness in response to or in an effort to relieve unusual sensations or discomfort, often expressed as a compelling urge to move
  • Symptoms are worse while at rest and may be decreased by voluntary movement
  • Symptoms most frequently occur during the evening or early part of the night

Restless legs syndrome can disrupt sleep, potentially leading to anxiety, depression, and confusion. Symptoms are typically worse during times of increased stress.

 

How is restless legs syndrome (RLS) diagnosed?

Restless legs syndrome is diagnosed through patient history, medical evaluation, and neurological evaluation. A positive diagnosis is typically made when individuals display the four criteria described above. Your healthcare provider may also order additional tests—such as blood tests, muscle function tests, and sleep tests—to rule out other conditions.

 

How common is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

An estimated 10 million adults and 1.5 million children and adolescents in the United States suffer from restless legs syndrome. The condition is often passed down in families, and more women than men are affected.

 

What are the treatments for restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

There is no known cure for restless legs syndrome, however, the condition is treatable through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.

Medication
Several classes of medications, including dopaminergic agents, benzodiazepines, opioids and anticonvulsants, are used to treat restless legs syndrome.

Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes that reduce stress and encourage muscle relaxation may help control restless legs syndrome symptoms. You may benefit from:

  • applying cold compresses
  • following a regular sleep routine
  • gentle stretching exercises
  • massages
  • refraining from alcohol and tobacco use
  • regular exercise
  • warm baths

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How can we help you?

To schedule an appointment with a physician please call (602) 406-6262.

To schedule an appointment with therapy services please call (602) 406-5266.

Community Outreach and Education programs are available to anyone with Parkinson’s disease regardless of where medical care is received. Please call (602) 406-4921 for more information.

Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and Movement Disorders Clinic
Barrow Neurological Institute
240 West Thomas Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85013

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Barrow Neurological Institute
350 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
(602) 406-3000