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What's the Deal with: Restless Leg Syndrome

What's the Deal with: Restless Leg Syndrome

There are so many things that can keep me up at night, from worrying about mundane details to my husband's snoring. I just learned of a recently named syndrome that keeps an estimated 12 million Americans up at night. While it sounds almost completely fabricated, it is real and it is known as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).

It is more than the little leg fidget folks get when bored during the slow part of a movie. People with RLS describe the sensations as a "tugging" or "creepy crawly" feeling in the leg. It is clinically defined as a neurologic movement disorder characterized by unusual, uncomfortable sensations deep within the calves and/or thighs, resulting in an irresistible urge to move the legs in attempts to alleviate the discomfort. Because the majority of people with RLS experience symptoms at night that prevent them from sleeping the syndrome has been classified as a sleep disorder, although extended inactivity, such as long periods of sitting, can also trigger the symptoms.

The cause of the condition remains a mystery, but the handful of scientists researching the syndrome have differing theories. One thinks there may be a genetic component, while another believes low levels of iron in the brain are a contributing factor. Treatment options vary as well. Sedatives are an option, as is acupuncture. A healthy lifestyle can ameliorate the symptoms - exercise, not smoking, consuming only moderate forms of alcohol.

If you think you have RLS, you should definitely visit the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation. You are sure to find some answers to the many question you might be having.

Join The Conversation
Hope5 Hope5 10 years
They've meds for it - I would hate to have this!
Laurg628 Laurg628 10 years
I have this and its horrible! I have to wear these like surgical sock things on my legs that really really old people wear when i sleep. It is the only thing (having a little pressure on my legs when i sleep) that helps! I know it sounds like such a far fetched disorder but for the people that have it, it really sucks! haha and to the jimmy leg post i always think of that when i heear of RLS!
PrissyLilBadAss PrissyLilBadAss 10 years
If you only get that irritating, tingly, bug-like feeling every now and then, try a calming cream. I like Eucerin's calming cream, its soothing and helps me shake off the feeling.
rachelattack rachelattack 10 years
Haha, sorry but is this what Seinfeld was talking about with Jimmy Leg? I know it's not funny, but... JimmyLeg!
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
When i am driving sometimes, on longer trips, It gets to where I can't find a comfy position for my legs. It feels like it is more in the bottom part of my kneww is kind of tingly but i need to rub it, and i am about to go nutso by the time i get to where i am going, but then it goes away once I have stood up.
AucuneRancune AucuneRancune 10 years
I've heard about this before and that it is commonly misclassified as a sleep disorder. I get it a lot when I am juuust about to fall asleep at night - that in between phase - and then my leg spontaneously twitches and it wakes me right back up.
Heidi_Fleidi Heidi_Fleidi 10 years
I get this too. It bugs sooo bad! For me I have the uncontrollable urge to stretch my legs over and over. I usually just get out of bed and go read so I don't bother my husband. I've even had it in my arms! There really isn't any good way to describe the sensation. I guess "creepy crawly" works as good as any.
KerryG KerryG 10 years
I had that when I was pregnant and it was murder, ohmigod. I had such an easy pregnancy otherwise, I really shouldn't complain, I guess, but it got to the point that my husband would be giving me 20 minutes massage/acupressure sessions every night before bed and I'd still be popping up to pace the living room over and over until I wore myself out enough to sleep. I couldn't sit for too long during the day, either, especially in the car. It vanished as though it had never been the moment she was born, though.
beautiful-disaster beautiful-disaster 10 years
i feel like i definetly get this from time to time but would you consider me to have it even though i only get say.. once a month?
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