Restless legs

February 2017


Definition


The phenomenon of restless legs syndrome is a neurological disorder whose causes are still unknown. It occurs during sleep, rest or inactivity, and is highly favored by a sitting or lying position. Symptoms tend to be worse in the evening and night, and also worsen with age. Please note that some drugs may be responsible for symptoms related to this disease.

Symptoms


Unpleasant tingling, muscle contractions or small electric shocks are felt periodically in the lower limbs. They are accompanied by an uncontrollable urge to move the legs. In fact, the symptoms tend to disappear quickly when the patient changes position or starts walking, the latter being often necessary to allow patients to fall back to sleep. During the night, sudden and uncontrolled shaking of legs may also disturb sleep or may have an impact on the overall quality of sleep.

Treatment


To temporarily relieve these problems, a patient should walk, stretch, perform leg movements, and occasionally massage the leg muscles. For a more in-depth treatment, there are various medications that can be prescribed if the restlessness proves to significantly interfere with sleep and the quality of everyday life: anticonvulsants, sedatives, anxiolytics or analgesics in case of severe pain.

Prevention
The causes are still poorly identified; prevention requires above all a change in lifestyle habits, which may potentially alleviate the symptoms. The advice that is currently given is to have a healthy and varied diet, to reduce the consumption of caffeine, alcohol or tobacco, if possible reduce potential stress factors, and lastly to engage in regular physical activity.

Related

Published by Jeff. Latest update on July 24, 2013 at 05:57 AM by Jeff.
This document, titled "Restless legs," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (health.ccm.net).