Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a disorder in which there is an urge or need to move the legs to stop unpleasant sensations. Many people can have trouble sleeping due to RLS. It can lead to daytime sleepiness, depression or anxiety, and confused or slow thought processes. Sleep specialists at Gundersen Health System can diagnosis and treat restless legs syndrome.
RLS leads to sensations in the lower legs that make people uncomfortable unless they move their legs. These sensations:
- Usually occur at night when they lie down, or sometimes during the day when sitting for long periods of time
- May be described as creeping, crawling, aching, pulling, searing, tingling, bubbling, or crawling
- May last for 1 hour or longer
- Sometimes also occur in the upper leg, feet, or arms
People will often feel an irresistible urge to walk or move their legs, which almost always relieves the discomfort. Most patients have rhythmic leg movements during sleep hours, called periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).
There is no cure for RLS, but treatments can help reduce stress and relax the muscles. These techniques may help the symptoms:
- Warm baths
- Gentle stretching exercises