Restless legs syndrome is a neurological sleep disorder that makes you have an overwhelming urge to move your legs. Restless legs syndrome makes it difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. The sensation is difficult for some people to describe. You may lie down and begin to feel burning or itching inside your legs. If you move your legs or get up and walk around, these symptoms may go away. The discomfort may return when you try again to go to sleep.
The primary symptom of restless legs syndrome is a sensation of discomfort in the legs that often hard to describe. The feeling is different than leg cramps or numbness from circulation problems. Patients have used the following words to describe this sensation:
Usually this feeling is paired with the urge to move your legs. The desire usually worsens when you lie down or rest.
The symptoms of restless legs syndrome are frequently worse at night than in the morning.
What causes of restless legs syndrome varies from person to person. In some cases the cause is unknown, or it can be caused by or made worse by other health issues or medication. This may include:
Diagnosis can include taking blood tests, including measuring your iron level. In some cases a sleep study is recommended.
A sleep study may be used to ensure that you do not have obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disorders that may be causing sleep disruption. This is helpful but is not required to diagnose restless legs syndrome.
There are a variety of medications available to treat restless legs syndrome. You may take one medication or a combination of drugs for your restless legs syndrome.