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Restless Legs Syndrome

Relax those fidgety legs and put an end to the restlessness. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Restless Legs Syndrome: Main Image

About This Condition

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a poorly understood condition that causes leg symptoms shortly before going to sleep—symptoms that are temporarily relieved by movement. Occasionally the condition may also involve the arms. It can cause sudden jerking motions of the legs and can lead to insomnia.

RLS is most common in middle-aged women, pregnant women, and people with severe kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and nerve diseases (neuropathy). Restless legs have also been reported to occur in people with varicose veins and to be relieved when the varicose veins are treated.1


RLS is characterized by an almost irresistible urge to move the affected limbs because of unpleasant sensations beneath the skin, which are described as creeping, crawling, itching, aching, tingling, drawing, searing, pulling, or painful. These symptoms occur primarily in the calf area but may be felt anywhere in the legs or arms. The sensations are typically worse during rest or decreased activity, such as lying down or sitting for prolonged periods.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Anecdotal evidence suggests that RLS symptoms my decrease with a cessation of smoking.2 Although additional research is needed to confirm such reports, a trial of smoking cessation seems prudent for people who suffer from restless legs.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.

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