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Restless legs syndrome causes you to have an urge to move your legs

Restless legs syndrome causes you to have an urge to move your legs
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Restless legs syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is an unusual condition that can make it hard for you to sleep. It is a condition of the nervous system where you have an urge to move your legs to relieve unpleasant sensations. There is plenty you can do that may help.

What causes restless legs syndrome?

The cause is not well understood, but restless legs syndrome:

Signs and symptoms of restless legs syndrome

If you have restless legs syndrome, you might have:

  • an urge to move your legs because of unpleasant sensations like burning, tingling, aching, itching or a feeling of insects crawling under your skin
  • uncontrolled jerking movements of the legs at night
  • similar sensations in the arms or elsewhere.

The symptoms are worse when you are resting or trying to sleep and can keep you awake. Moving your legs (or arms) relieves the symptoms.

Restless legs syndrome treatment

If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor to confirm a diagnosis. You may need a blood test for iron and kidney function.

Medication can be prescribed if the symptoms severely affect your sleep or quality of life.

You may be able to ease the symptoms, and improve your sleep, by:

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist neurologist to further explore the cause and treatment of restless legs syndrome.

Last reviewed: September 2015

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