Restless leg syndrome is a nervous system disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs that result in the individual feeling an overwhelming need to move their legs. The sensation can vary depending on the person. There are many descriptions of the feeling including throbbing, achiness, pain, numbness, tingling sensations, or a creeping sort of feeling as though insects are moving across the skin.
For most people with RLS, the condition is at its worst in the evening time, especially when the body is at rest. Since it commonly strikes at night, many RLS sufferers also have problems with sleep. Due to its connection with sleeplessness, RLS is classified as a sleep disorder.
With most cases of restless leg syndrome, the cause is unknown. Researchers believe that there is a genetic component that makes someone susceptible to RLS. There are several risk factors that can contribute to whether a person is subject to this condition. In some cases, RLS may be a side effect of medications, and there are various lifestyle and dietary choices that may come with an increased risk of RLS. In addition to that, there are some health conditions where restless leg syndrome is a common symptom.
It is estimated that up to 10% of Americans suffer from restless leg syndrome and that about 2-3% of these cases are categorized as severe RLS. This condition can affect people of all ages, but most commonly affects middle-aged and older individuals. PLMS, or periodic limb movements in sleep, is another condition that is commonly associated with restless leg syndrome. With PLMS, the individual may experience involuntary twitching and jerking of the limbs.
Once the issue is identified as restless leg syndrome, it is usually possible to manage the symptoms and limit its effect on the life of the individual. While doctors may prescribe various medications to help treat restless leg syndrome, there are ways to find relief without medication.