Restless Leg Syndrome
A condition that is characterized by an irresistible urge to move one's body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations. It most commonly affects the legs, but can also affect the arms or torso, and even phantom limbs. Moving the affected body part modulates the sensations, providing temporary relief. RLS causes a sensation in the legs or arms that can most closely be compared to a burning, itching, or tickling sensation in the muscles.
- An urge to move, usually due to uncomfortable sensations that occur primarily in the legs, but occasionally in the arms or elsewhere.
- Limbs described as uncomfortable, "antsy", electrical, creeping, painful, itching, pins and needles, pulling, creepy-crawly, or numbness. The sensation and the urge can occur in any body part; the most cited location is legs, followed by arms.
- Worsening of symptoms by relaxation
- Variability over the course of the day-night cycle, with symptoms worse in the evening and early in the night.
Treatment of restless legs syndrome involves identifying the cause of symptoms when possible. Pharmacotherapy involves dopamine agonists which are first line drugs for daily restless legs syndrome; gabapentin and opioids can be used for treatment of resistant cases. The dopamine agonists Requip and Mirapex are preferred over Sinemet since this has problems a rebound effect. Secondary RLS has the potential for cure if the precipitating medical conditions are managed effectively. In many instances the alleged secondary conditions might be the only conditions causing the RLS; these include iron deficiency, varicose veins, and thyroid problems.