Restless leg syndrome

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 29th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Diseases & Infections

There are several conditions which can disrupt sleep and in turn affect a person's health or mental health. Today we will talk about restless leg syndrome.


Restless Leg Syndrome: Underlying Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Restless leg syndrome
is the name of a condition where sensations in the legs usually occur when the legs are motionless. These sensations are not necessarily painful and can go away when the legs are moved about. Restless leg syndrome will occur during the early to late evening or when one is sleeping or lying motionless in bed.

How to describe the sensations felt in the legs

Some people feel a burning sensations while others experience what they describe as a pulling, itching, or creeping sensation.

Problems with sleeping

Because of these sensations, the sleepers have problems even getting to sleep in the first place. Then the sleeper tosses and turns during the night. Restless leg syndrome disrupts sleep as the sleeper may be temporarily awakened by twisting around in the bed. The leg jerks are usually about 20 to 30 seconds apart and this many even delay the ability to fall asleep in the first place.

The condition starts slowly and worsens in time. Occasionally the arms are affected as well.

Because of this inability to get a good night’s rest, patients with restless leg syndrome will have mental deficiencies such as poor concentration, lack of alertness, moodiness, or the inability to carry out their daily functions such as working or maintaining social relationships. Continual lack of proper sleep can wreck havoc on a person’s life.

Causes of restless leg syndrome

Causes of restless leg syndrome

There are two forms of restless leg syndrome:

Idiopathic restless leg syndrome

When the exact causes of restless leg syndrome are not known it is called idiopathic restless leg syndrome. This form affects about 1 to 5 percent of the population and occurs mostly in seniors. It affects men and women equally. Though up to 15 percent of pregnant females can get it towards the end of the pregnancy. It will go away when it is associated with pregnancy.

Secondary restless leg syndrome

Secondary restless leg syndrome is associated with an underlying cause. Restless leg syndrome has been associated with iron deficiency, anemia, smoking, obesity, polyneuropathy due to hypothyroidism, diabetes, kidney disease, and vitamin and mineral deficiency.

Certain medications such as Zantac, and Tagamet which are H2-histamine blockers or Elavil, which is an antidepressant are also linked to restless leg syndrome. Also, common drugs such as caffeine or alcohol can induce restless leg syndrome.

Other Risk factors for restless leg syndrome

Family link
Restless leg syndrome sometimes runs in families
Restless leg syndrome becomes more common with age.


Treatment for restless leg syndrome

To treat restless leg syndrome your doctor will first determine if the condition is idiopathic or if is secondary. If it is secondary the doctor will look for the underlying cause.

Your doctor will start with a medical examination and medical history. He or she will do a blood test to test for iron deficiency, and other lab tests where necessary. He or she will advise you to eliminate alcohol consumption and to stop smoking. The doctor will advise losing weight if you are overweight and to eat properly, sleep well, and begin exercising. Some patients may even spend a few nights or so in a sleep lab to see exactly what is happening and why.

Medication for restless leg syndrome

Dopaminergic agents

The first medication usually prescribed are Dopaminergic agents which act upon the nervous system.

Side effects

A big side affect that occurs is known as augmentation. What happens is the symptoms relax at night but occur with more intensity during the day. Doctors will then change the medication if this occurs.


Other common medications proscribed for restless leg syndrome include a variety of opioids such as tramadol (Ultram).

Side affects

Dizziness, headache, sedation, nausea and vomiting, constipation, or hallucination,


Benzodaazepine such clonazepam (Rivotril in Canada; Klonopin

Side effects

These drugs can cause drowsiness and confusion in seniors during the day.


Reduce the unpleasant sensations associated with restless leg syndrome. Medication such as Neurontin is showing great promise.

Side effects

Dizziness, sleepiness, unsteadiness fatigue, and increased appetite.

Other treatments for restless leg syndrome

Patients have found warm or cold baths, acupuncture, electric nerve stimulation, oral magnesium.

All photos taken from the public domain

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author avatar Hibernating Bear
30th Jul 2015 (#)

Are you trying to say it is a spiritual ailment which is not drug induced and happens only in Montreal again?
Well when you sleep you are in comatose state or in deaths domain so the only this possible will be spirits tampering with your spiritual cord of life. Are you trying to cast a spell carol?

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author avatar Carol Roach
30th Jul 2015 (#)

where do you see anywhere that it only happens in Montreal, Montreal is not even mentioned it is not a spiritual state please read the article properly

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author avatar Helen Thomas
30th Jul 2015 (#)

This is an interesting, well-written article ~ Carol. Thanks for sharing.


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author avatar WOGIAM
31st Jul 2015 (#)

I have learnt something new from your article, Carol. Well written.

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