Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet (2023)

What is restless legs syndrome?
What are common signs and symptoms of restless legs?
What causes restless legs syndrome?
How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed?
How is restless legs syndrome treated?
What is the prognosis for people with restless legs syndrome?
What research is being done?
Where can I get more information?

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also called Willis-Ekbom Disease, causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Symptoms commonly occur in the late afternoon or evening hours, and are often most severe at night when a person is resting, such as sitting or lying in bed. They also may occur when someone is inactive and sitting for extended periods (for example, when taking a trip by plane or watching a movie). Since symptoms can increase in severity during the night, it could become difficult to fall asleep or return to sleep after waking up. Moving the legs or walking typically relieves the discomfort but the sensations often recur once the movement stops. RLS is classified as a sleep disorder since the symptoms are triggered by resting and attempting to sleep, and as a movement disorder, since people are forced to move their legs in order to relieve symptoms. It is, however, best characterized as a neurological sensory disorder with symptoms that are produced from within the brain itself.

RLS is one of several disorders that can cause exhaustion and daytime sleepiness, which can strongly affect mood, concentration, job and school performance, and personal relationships. Many people with RLS report they are often unable to concentrate, have impaired memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks. Untreated moderate to severe RLS can lead to about a 20 percent decrease in work productivity and can contribute to depression and anxiety. It also can make traveling difficult.

It is estimated that up to 7-10 percent of the U.S. population may have RLS. RLS occurs in both men and women, although women are more likely to have it than men. It may begin at any age. Many individuals who are severely affected are middle-aged or older, and the symptoms typically become more frequent and last longer with age.

More than 80 percent of people with RLS also experience periodic limb movement of sleep (PLMS). PLMS is characterized by involuntary leg (and sometimes arm) twitching or jerking movements during sleep that typically occur every 15 to 40 seconds, sometimes throughout the night. Although many individuals with RLS also develop PLMS, most people with PLMS do not experience RLS.

Fortunately, most cases of RLS can be treated with non-drug therapies and if necessary, medications.

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What are common signs and symptoms of restless legs?

People with RLS feel the irresistible urge to move, which is accompanied by uncomfortable sensations in their lower limbs that are unlike normal sensations experienced by people without the disorder. The sensations in their legs are often difficult to define but may be described as aching throbbing, pulling, itching, crawling, or creeping. These sensations less commonly affect the arms, and rarely the chest or head. Although the sensations can occur on just one side of the body, they most often affect both sides. They can also alternate between sides. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.

(Video) Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) | Causes, Signs & Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Because moving the legs (or other affected parts of the body) relieves the discomfort, people with RLS often keep their legs in motion to minimize or prevent the sensations. They may pace the floor, constantly move their legs while sitting, and toss and turn in bed.

A classic feature of RLS is that the symptoms are worse at night with a distinct symptom-free period in the early morning, allowing for more refreshing sleep at that time. Some people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. They may also note a worsening of symptoms if their sleep is further reduced by events or activity.

RLS symptoms may vary from day to day, in severity and frequency, and from person to person. In moderately severe cases, symptoms occur only once or twice a week but often result in significant delay of sleep onset, with some disruption of daytime function. In severe cases of RLS, the symptoms occur more than twice a week and result in burdensome interruption of sleep and impairment of daytime function.

People with RLS can sometimes experience remissions—spontaneous improvement over a period of weeks or months before symptoms reappear—usually during the early stages of the disorder. In general, however, symptoms become more severe over time.

People who have both RLS and an associated medical condition tend to develop more severe symptoms rapidly. In contrast, those who have RLS that is not related to any other condition show a very slow progression of the disorder, particularly if they experience onset at an early age; many years may pass before symptoms occur regularly.

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What causes restless legs syndrome?

In most cases, the cause of RLS is unknown (called primary RLS). However, RLS has a genetic component and can be found in families where the onset of symptoms is before age 40. Specific gene variants have been associated with RLS. Evidence indicates that low levels of iron in the brain also may be responsible for RLS.

Considerable evidence also suggests that RLS is related to a dysfunction in one of the sections of the brain that control movement (called the basal ganglia) that use the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine is needed to produce smooth, purposeful muscle activity and movement. Disruption of these pathways frequently results in involuntary movements. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease, another disorder of the basal ganglia’s dopamine pathways, have increased chance of developing RLS.

RLS also appears to be related to or accompany the following factors or underlying conditions:

  • end-stage renal disease and hemodialysis
  • iron deficiency
  • certain medications that may aggravate RLS symptoms, such as antinausea drugs (e.g. prochlorperazine or metoclopramide), antipsychotic drugs (e.g., haloperidol or phenothiazine derivatives), antidepressants that increase serotonin (e.g., fluoxetine or sertraline), and some cold and allergy medications that contain older antihistamines (e.g., diphenhydramine)
  • use of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
  • pregnancy, especially in the last trimester; in most cases, symptoms usually disappear within 4 weeks after delivery
  • neuropathy (nerve damage).

Sleep deprivation and other sleep conditions like sleep apnea also may aggravate or trigger symptoms in some people. Reducing or completely eliminating these factors may relieve symptoms.

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How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed?

Since there is no specific test for RLS, the condition is diagnosed by a doctor’s evaluation. The five basic criteria for clinically diagnosing the disorder are:

  • A strong and often overwhelming need or urge to move the legs that is often associated with abnormal, unpleasant, or uncomfortable sensations.
  • The urge to move the legs starts or get worse during rest or inactivity.
  • The urge to move the legs is at least temporarily and partially or totally relieved by movements.
  • The urge to move the legs starts or is aggravated in the evening or night.
  • The above four features are not due to any other medical or behavioral condition.

A physician will focus largely on the individual’s descriptions of symptoms, their triggers and relieving factors, as well as the presence or absence of symptoms throughout the day. A neurological and physical exam, plus information from the person’s medical and family history and list of current medications, may be helpful. Individuals may be asked about frequency, duration, and intensity of symptoms; if movement helps to relieve symptoms; how much time it takes to fall asleep; any pain related to symptoms; and any tendency toward daytime sleep patterns and sleepiness, disturbance of sleep, or daytime function. Laboratory tests may rule out other conditions such as kidney failure, iron deficiency anemia (which is a separate condition related to iron deficiency), or pregnancy that may be causing symptoms of RLS. Blood tests can identify iron deficiencies as well as other medical disorders associated with RLS. In some cases, sleep studies such as polysomnography (a test that records the individual’s brain waves, heartbeat, breathing, and leg movements during an entire night) may identify the presence of other causes of sleep disruption (e.g., sleep apnea), which may impact management of the disorder. Periodic limb movement of sleep during a sleep study can support the diagnosis of RLS but, again, is not exclusively seen in individuals with RLS.

(Video) 2-Minute Neuroscience: Restless Legs Syndrome

Diagnosing RLS in children may be especially difficult, since it may be hard for children to describe what they are experiencing, when and how often the symptoms occur, and how long symptoms last. Pediatric RLS can sometimes be misdiagnosed as "growing pains" or attention deficit disorder.

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How is restless legs syndrome treated?

RLS can be treated, with care directed toward relieving symptoms. Moving the affected limb(s) may provide temporary relief. Sometimes RLS symptoms can be controlled by finding and treating an associated medical condition, such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, or iron deficiency anemia.

Iron supplementation or medications are usually helpful but no single medication effectively manages RLS for all individuals. Trials of different drugs may be necessary. In addition, medications taken regularly may lose their effect over time or even make the condition worse, making it necessary to change medications.

Treatment options for RLS include:

Lifestyle changes. Certain lifestyle changes and activities may provide some relief in persons with mild to moderate symptoms of RLS. These steps include avoiding or decreasing the use of alcohol and tobacco, changing or maintaining a regular sleep pattern, a program of moderate exercise, and massaging the legs, taking a warm bath, or using a heating pad or ice pack. There are new medical devices that have been cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), including a foot wrap that puts pressure underneath the foot and another that is a pad that delivers vibration to the back of the legs. Aerobic and leg-stretching exercises of moderate intensity also may provide some relief from mild symptoms.

Iron. For individuals with low or low-normal blood tests called ferritin and transferrin saturation, a trial of iron supplements is recommended as the first treatment. Iron supplements are available over-the-counter. A common side effect is upset stomach, which may improve with use of a different type of iron supplement. Because iron is not well-absorbed into the body by the gut, it may cause constipation that can be treated with a stool softeners such as polyethylene glycol. In some people, iron supplementation does not improve a person’s iron levels. Others may require iron given through an IV line in order to boost the iron levels and relieve symptoms.

Anti-seizure drugs. Anti-seizure drugs are becoming the first-line prescription drugs for those with RLS. The FDA has approved gabapentin enacarbil for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS, This drug appears to be as effective as dopaminergic treatment (discussed below) and, at least to date, there have been no reports of problems with a progressive worsening of symptoms due to medication (called augmentation). Other medications may be prescribed “off-label” to relieve some of the symptoms of the disorder.

Other anti-seizure drugs such as the standard form of gabapentin and pregabalin can decrease such sensory disturbances as creeping and crawling as well as nerve pain. Dizziness, fatigue, and sleepiness are among the possible side effects. Recent studies have shown that pregabalin is as effective for RLS treatment as the dopaminergic drug pramipexole, suggesting this class of drug offers equivalent benefits.

Dopaminergic agents. These drugs, which increase dopamine effect, are largely used to treat Parkinson's disease. They have been shown to reduce symptoms of RLS when they are taken at nighttime. The FDA has approved ropinirole, pramipexole, and rotigotine to treat moderate to severe RLS. These drugs are generally well tolerated but can cause nausea, dizziness, or other short-term side effects. Levodopa plus carbidopa may be effective when used intermittently, but not daily.

Although dopamine-related medications are effective in managing RLS symptoms, long-term use can lead to worsening of the symptoms in many individuals. With chronic use, a person may begin to experience symptoms earlier in the evening or even earlier until the symptoms are present around the clock. Over time, the initial evening or bedtime dose can become less effective, the symptoms at night become more intense, and symptoms could begin to affect the arms or trunk. Fortunately, this apparent progression can be reversed by removing the person from all dopamine-related medications.

Another important adverse effect of dopamine medications that occurs in some people is the development of impulsive or obsessive behaviors such as obsessive gambling or shopping. Should they occur, these behaviors can be improved or reversed by stopping the medication.

Opioids. Drugs such as methadone, codeine, hydrocodone, or oxycodone are sometimes prescribed to treat individuals with more severe symptoms of RLS who did not respond well to other medications. Side effects include constipation, dizziness, nausea, exacerbation of sleep apnea, and the risk of addiction; however, very low doses are often effective in controlling symptoms of RLS.

(Video) Restless Leg Syndrome: Triggers, Home Remedies and Treatment | Andy Berkowski, MD

Benzodiazepines. These drugs can help individuals obtain a more restful sleep. However, even if taken only at bedtime they can sometimes cause daytime sleepiness, reduce energy, and affect concentration. Benzodiazepines such as clonazepam and lorazepam are generally prescribed to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia. Because these drugs also may induce or aggravate sleep apnea in some cases, they should not be used in people with this condition. These are last-line drugs due to their side effects.

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What is the prognosis for people with restless legs syndrome?

RLS is generally a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. However, current therapies can control the disorder, minimize symptoms, and increase periods of restful sleep. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age, although the decline may be somewhat faster for individuals who also suffer from an associated medical condition. A diagnosis of RLS does not indicate the onset of another neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease. In addition, some individuals have remissions—periods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, months, or years—although symptoms often eventually reappear. If RLS symptoms are mild, do not produce significant daytime discomfort, or do not affect an individual’s ability to fall asleep, the condition does not have to be treated.

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What research is being done?

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

While the direct cause of RLS is often unknown, changes in the brain’s signaling pathways are likely to contribute to the disease. In particular, researchers suspect that impaired transmission of dopamine signals in the brain’s basal ganglia may play a role. There is a relationship between genetics and RLS. However, currently there is no genetic testing. NINDS-supported research is ongoing to help discover genetic relationships and to better understand what causes the disease.

The NINDS also supports research on why the use of dopamine agents to treat RLS, Parkinson’s disease, and other movement disorders can lead to impulse control disorders, with aims to develop new or improved treatments that avoid this adverse effect.

The brain arousal systems appear to be overactive in RLS and may produce both the need to move when trying to rest and the inability to maintain sleep. NINDS-funded researchers are using advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure brain chemical changes in individuals with RLS and evaluate their relation to the disorder’s symptoms in hopes of developing new research models and ways to correct the overactive arousal process. Since scientists currently don’t fully understand the mechanisms by which iron gets into the brain and how those mechanisms are regulated, NINDS-funded researchers are studying the role of endothelial cells—part of the protective lining called the blood-brain barrier that separates circulating blood from the fluid surrounding brain tissue—in the regulation of cerebral iron metabolism. Results may offer new insights to treating the cognitive and movement symptoms associated with these disorders.

More information about research on RLS supported by NINDS or other components of the NIH is available through the NIH RePORTER (http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm), a searchable database of current and previously funded research, as well as research results such as publications.

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Where can I get more information?

For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute's Brain Resources and Information Network (BRAIN) at:

BRAIN
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
800-352-9424

Information also is available from the following organizations:

(Video) What is restless legs syndrome and why does it matter? - BBC REEL

Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
3006 Bee Caves Road, Suite D206
Austin, Texas 78746
512-366-9109

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
203-744-0100
Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)

National Sleep Foundation
1010 N. Glebe Road, Suite 310
Arlington, VA 22201
703-243-1697

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Room 4A21
Bethesda, MD 20892-2480
301-592-8573

"Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet", NINDS, Publication date May 2017.

NIH Publication No. 17-4847

Back toRestless Legs Syndrome Information Page

See a list of all NINDS disorders

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Síndrome de las Piernas Inquietas

Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

(Video) Restless Leg Syndrome evidence based treatment

FAQs

What triggers restless leg syndrome? ›

In most cases, the cause of RLS is unknown (called primary RLS). However, RLS has a genetic component and can be found in families where the onset of symptoms is before age 40. Specific gene variants have been associated with RLS. Evidence indicates that low levels of iron in the brain also may be responsible for RLS.

What relieves Restless legs fast? ›

During an episode of restless legs syndrome, the following measures may help relieve your symptoms:
  • massaging your legs.
  • taking a hot bath in the evening.
  • applying a hot compress to your leg muscles.
  • doing activities that distract your mind, such as reading or watching television.

What is your body lacking when you have restless legs? ›

Dopamine. There's evidence to suggest restless legs syndrome is related to a problem with part of the brain called the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia uses a chemical (neurotransmitter) called dopamine to help control muscle activity and movement.

What neurological conditions cause restless legs? ›

They include sleep apnea, spinal cord injuries, stroke, narcolepsy, and diseases that destroy nerves or the brain over time. Certain drugs, including some antidepressants and anti-seizure medications, may also contribute to PLMD. About a third of people with PLMD also have RLS.

What vitamin cures restless legs? ›

After adjusting for all other significant factors in the multivariate logistic model, vitamin D was significantly associated with RLS (OR 3.1, P < . 002, 95% CI 1.51–6.38).

Who is prone to restless leg syndrome? ›

People of any age, including children, can have RLS. Symptoms of RLS may begin in childhood or adulthood, but the chance of having the syndrome increases significantly with age. RLS is more common in women than in men. Up to 10 percent of the United States population has RLS.

What calms restless legs at night? ›

Hot and cold treatments

They include the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation (40). These organizations suggest taking a hot or cold bath before going to bed, or applying hot or cold packs to your legs (18). Some people's RLS symptoms are aggravated by cold, while others have problems with heat.

How should you sleep with restless legs? ›

Depending on what position your prefer to sleep in, try using standard pillows between your legs (for side-lying) or a leg rest pillow under your legs (for lying on your back). These options promote blood flow and happy joints and muscles in the legs and throughout the body.

What can make restless legs worse? ›

A number of medications can make RLS worse. In particular, anti-nausea drugs and sedating antihistamines (like Benadryl) block the brain's dopamine receptors, causing restless legs symptoms. Antidepressants that increase serotonin and antipsychotic medications can also aggravate the condition.

Why wont my restless legs stop? ›

The cause of restless legs syndrome in most cases is unknown. Research shows that affected people often have too little or malfunctioning iron in the brain. “We also know that there's some problem with the dopamine system, and patients often have a good response to dopamine medicine,” says Allen.

Is restless legs physical or mental? ›

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a chronic neurological disorder.

Is Restless Leg Syndrome mental or physical? ›

RLS can is classed as either primary or secondary. Many people can treat the issues at home. The condition is often caused by a combination of mental and physical factors. Women are more likely to be affected with RLS during pregnancy.

Does RLS lead to Parkinson's? ›

Does having RLS increase the risk of developing PD? Since RLS affects as much as 4-10% of the US adult population, it is clear that the vast majority of those with RLS do not ever develop PD. Despite this, it still might be the case that RLS increases the risk of subsequently developing PD.

How do neurologists treat restless leg syndrome? ›

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ropinirole, pramipexole, gabapentin enacarbil, and rotigotine to treat moderate to severe RLS. Drugs that increase the effect of dopamine (called dopaminergic agents) also have been approved to reduce symptoms of RLS.

Is Restless legs linked to anxiety? ›

Restless Leg Syndrome is a common symptom of anxiety. We traced this symptom to the adverse effects of chronic stress. Specifically, apprehensive behavior stresses the body. A body that becomes chronically stressed can exhibit symptoms of stress.

Do bananas help restless legs? ›

Since bananas are high in potassium, they can be a natural and effective way to reduce the discomfort associated with RLS.

Is there a permanent cure for restless leg syndrome? ›

There's no cure for RLS. But if you have the disorder, lifestyle changes and medication can help improve your quality of life. The goals of RLS treatment are to prevent or relieve symptoms, improve sleep, and correct underlying conditions or habits that trigger or worsen RLS symptoms.

Can't sleep because of restless legs? ›

While sleepless nights caused by RLS can be frustrating, there are several ways to alleviate symptoms and maximize your Zzz's: Exercise regularly. Daily exercise has been known to reduce feelings of restlessness in the limbs, but strenuous activity right before bed can lead to an even stronger desire to move around.

What is the best muscle relaxer for restless leg syndrome? ›

Rotigotine (Neupro) and pramipexole (Mirapex) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS .

Will restless legs ever go away? ›

Does Restless Legs Syndrome Ever Go Away by Itself? There are some cases of restless legs syndrome disappearing on its own. But this is rare. Instead, for most people symptoms get worse over time.

Can you walk off restless legs? ›

Daily activity, including aerobic exercise and lower-body resistance training, can significantly reduce the symptoms of restless legs syndrome in most people.

How serious is restless leg syndrome? ›

Restless legs syndrome is not life threatening, but severe cases can disrupt sleep (causing insomnia) and trigger anxiety and depression. The charity Restless Leg Syndrome UK (RLS-UK) provides information and support for people affected by restless legs syndrome.

How can a doctor tell if you have restless leg syndrome? ›

There's no single test for diagnosing restless legs syndrome. A diagnosis will be based on your symptoms, medical history and family history, a physical examination, and test results. Your GP should be able to diagnose restless legs syndrome, but they may refer you to a neurologist if there's any uncertainty.

Is RLS related to dementia? ›

RLS-associated behaviors are also important indicators in older adults with dementia and may present as wandering and restlessness, particularly in the evening (Bliwise, 2006).

Does RLS cause dementia? ›

In this longitudinal study, we found that patients with SRMD are at high risk for dementia. RLS and PLMD, 2 common types of SRMD, have been shown to be causes of chronic daytime sleepiness and sleep loss. They have been suggested to have impact on cognitive function associated with sleep deprivation.

Is RLS a form of epilepsy? ›

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) or the urge to move the legs, is more common in people with epilepsy than the general public, according to a study published in the scientific journal Epilepsy and Behavior. The authors suggest that the syndrome could in fact be an early warning indicator for seizures.

Is Restless Leg Syndrome vascular or neurological? ›

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, is a neurological condition associated with abnormal sensations in the legs. It is estimated that 5% of the general population and as many as 10% of those over the age of 65 have this disorder.

Can MS feel like restless leg syndrome? ›

People with MS can experience symptoms that can mimic restless legs syndrome, such as neuropathic pain or spasms, so evaluation requires a careful interview. Severe symptoms may require the help of a sleep specialist.

Is restless legs a symptom of neuropathy? ›

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) occurs in polyneuropathy with small fiber involvement, possibly as a peculiar form of neuropathic pain; however, the relationship between pain and RLS has been poorly investigated in polyneuropathy.

Is Restless Leg Syndrome neurological or musculoskeletal? ›

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs, often accompanied by unpleasant sensations.

How do doctors test for restless leg syndrome? ›

There's no single test for diagnosing restless legs syndrome. A diagnosis will be based on your symptoms, medical history and family history, a physical examination, and test results. Your GP should be able to diagnose restless legs syndrome, but they may refer you to a neurologist if there's any uncertainty.

What are the 10 early signs of MS? ›

There are lots of symptoms that MS can cause, but not everyone will experience all of them.
  • fatigue.
  • numbness and tingling.
  • loss of balance and dizziness.
  • stiffness or spasms.
  • tremor.
  • pain.
  • bladder problems.
  • bowel trouble.

What are the red flag signs of MS? ›

Red flags for other diagnoses
  • Normal MRI.
  • No abnormal findings on neurological exam.
  • Bilateral vision loss.
  • Peripheral neuropathy.
  • Rigidity; sustained dystonia.
  • Seizures.
  • Headache.
  • Early dementia.

What were your first signs MS? ›

Difficulty thinking. Fatigue. Pain, which may be acute or chronic, caused by the nerves that carry sensation "short circuiting." Types of pain can include band-like pain around the chest, or MS hug, caused by spastic nerves along with other types of painful sensations in the neck, arms, legs and feet. Sexual problems.

When should I see a doctor about restless leg syndrome? ›

If you have RLS, you should also see a doctor if you are: Losing sleep often. Feeling depressed or anxious. Having trouble concentrating.

Is Restless Leg a muscle or nerve problem? ›

Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a common condition of the nervous system that causes an overwhelming, irresistible urge to move the legs. It can also cause an unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs.

Do compression socks help with restless legs? ›

Compression socks rank high among restless leg syndrome treatments because of how simple they are. You wear them like you would your regular socks. The applied pressure serves to offset the discomfort caused by RLS.

Can MRI detect restless leg syndrome? ›

Studies using MRI have shown decreased iron concentrations in the substantia nigra, one of the primary brain regions where dopamine-producing cells reside. One study using MRI found a strong relation between iron concentrations in the substantia nigra and the severity of the RLS symptoms.

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