When you are on the go, your legs are in constant motion. But when you are sitting, relaxing or sleeping, your legs should be still and comfortable. This is not always possible if you have restless leg syndrome (RLS).
RLS is a nervous system disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, particularly at night. The sensation – sometimes described as throbbing, itching or “creepy crawly” – can be very uncomfortable.
RLS is also considered a sleep disorder because it can interrupt your sleep and impact your quality of life. If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, you probably feel exhausted during the day. You may not be able to concentrate at work or school, and your personal relationships might suffer. Untreated RLS can lead to lower work productivity and can potentially cause depression and anxiety.
If you’re feeling sleep deprived because of a weird sensation in your legs, it’s time to talk to your Mercy doctor.
Neurologists and pulmonologists (who specialize in sleep medicine) are able to diagnose and treat RLS. Your doctor will likely ask about your symptoms, family history and other possible medical conditions that could be connected to RLS.
There isn’t one specific test that can determine if you have RLS, but your doctor may order bloodwork, a sleep study and/or additional exams to eliminate other conditions.
There is no cure for RLS, so treatment is focused on relieving your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as exercising, reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, stopping tobacco use and following regular sleep patterns.
If those changes don’t decrease your symptoms, you may be a candidate for medication. Talk to your Mercy doctor about what treatment is right for you.