Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes feelings of creeping, crawling, tingling or aching in the calves, thighs, feet or arms. Those who suffer from RLS often feel like getting up and moving around, which helps ease these feelings.

RLS is typically worse at night, and most people find it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Those who share a bed with people who have RLS often experience sleep loss as well because of their partner’s frequent moving around. It is common for symptoms to improve or disappear, then worsen or come back.

RLS does not only affect patients at night. Effects of not getting a restful night of sleep are present during the day in the form of drowsiness, sleepiness, depression and moodiness. At Henry Ford, our experts have worked with numerous patients to alleviate their symptoms and get them back to having full, refreshing nights of sleep.

Restless legs syndrome treatment

If you have RLS that is unrelated to another medical condition, treatment is focused on lifestyle changes to relieve symptoms. These changes include:

  • Avoiding substances that can make RLS worse, such as caffeine, alcohol and tobacco
  • Maintaining a regular sleep pattern
  • Massaging your legs
  • Participating in activities that keep your mind engaged when you have to stay seated
  • Participating in moderate exercise
  • Taking hot baths or using a heating pad/ice pack
  • Using various relaxation techniques
  • Taking supplements to correct various deficiencies, such as iron and folate (as suggested by your doctor)

If these methods aren’t translating into the results you need, prescription medications can help.