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Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome

The International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group described the following symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS):

  • Strange itching, tingling, or "crawling" sensations occurring deep within the legs. These sensations may also occur in the arms.
  • A compelling urge to move the limbs to relieve these sensations
  • Restlessness -- Floor pacing, tossing and turning in bed, rubbing the legs
  • Symptoms may occur only with lying or sitting. Sometimes persistent symptoms occur that are worse with lying or sitting and better with activity. In very severe cases, the symptoms may not improve with activity.

Other symptoms of RLS include the following:

Recommended Related to Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)?

The specific causes of restless legs syndrome (RLS) are not known. Disease in the blood vessels of the legs or in the nerves in the legs that control leg movement and sensation was once thought to cause RLS, but both of these suggestions have been rejected. RLS may be related to abnormalities in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that help regulate muscle movements, or to abnormalities in the part of the central nervous system that controls automatic movements. Research is still being done in these...

Read the What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)? article > >

  • Sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness.
  • Involuntary, repetitive, periodic, jerking limb movements that occur either in sleep or while awake and at rest. These movements are called periodic leg movements of sleep or periodic limb movement disorder. Up to 90% of people with RLS also have this condition.

In some people with RLS, the symptoms do not occur every night but come and go. These people may go weeks or months without symptoms (remission) before the symptoms return again.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on October 29, 2013

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