What is restless legs syndrome?
Restless legs is a clinical syndrome of a feeling of discomfort (some people report a “crawling” sensation) and an overwhelming urge to move the legs (or sometimes the arms) for relief, which is worse in the evening or at night. It can prevent sufferers getting to sleep and may be associated with leg movements during sleep, disrupting sleep throughout the night.
Why do I have restless legs syndrome?
Restless legs can be associated with low body stores of iron (even if you are not anaemic). In some individuals, there may be a genetic component. The condition can be aggravated by some medications (including some antidepressants such as sertraline and fluoxetine) and by alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. Restless legs can occur in pregnancy, and usually settles after delivery. Individuals with kidney failure and those on dialysis can also experience the symptoms.
Is there anything I can do to relieve the symptoms of restless legs syndrome?
You should reduce your use of alcohol, caffeine and avoid smoking. Your doctor can check your iron (ferritin) levels. Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule. Moderate daytime exercise can help, as can massaging the legs or using heat or ice packs. In more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe you a medication to reduce the leg movements.