Restless Leg Syndrome

restless leg syndrome

More than 3 million people in the U.S. have it. It’s more common in women. It generally worsens with age. And it’s often unrecognized or misdiagnosed.

We’re referring to restless leg syndrome.

People with restless leg syndrome (RLS) experience uncomfortable sensations in their legs, causing an irresistible urge to move their legs in order to relieve these feelings. These sensations cause an uncomfortable pins and needles, itchy or “creepy-crawly” type feeling in the legs. These feelings and sensations seem to get worse when they are laying down, sitting or resting.

RLS symptoms range in severity from mild to completely intolerable. Symptoms can come and go and are generally worse in the evening hours and at bedtime. For some people, this can cause nightly sleep disruptions that can significantly impair their quality of life. While sometimes the causes can be linked to a chronic illness, medication or even pregnancy, in most cases the cause is truly a mystery.

RLS does tend to be genetic – many sufferers have other family members who also struggle with the condition, which may help you discover that you’ve got it too. However, for most people, it is still hard to diagnose, as there is no test for RLS.

Fortunately, Dr. Davis has many years’ experience treating patients with restless leg syndrome. Our approach to the diagnosis of RLS is based on a patient’s symptoms and answers to questions, such as:

  • Family history of similar symptoms
  • Medication use
  • The presence of other symptoms or medical conditions
  • Problems with daytime sleepiness
  • Caffeine, alcohol and tobacco usage

We suggest a referral to a neurologist for a physical evaluation.

There are some effective medications that have helped many of our patients relieve symptoms. So we may recommend medication as part of the treatment plan, once we determine how you would metabolize a specific medication in order to get the best treatment response. As well, there are some non-drug RLS treatments that we are happy to recommend. Leg massages and hot baths can help.