Causes and symptoms

Causes

The cause of RLS is still unknown. Some cases are believed to be inherited, some cases have been associated with nerve damage in the legs due to diabetes, kidney problems or alcoholism.

RLS can also be a side effect of a pinched nerve root in the lower back. RLS affects about 12 million individuals in the US.

Symptoms

Sensations occur when the person with RLS lies down or sits for prolonged periods of time, causing:

  • The need to move the legs for temporary relief of symptoms by:
    • stretching or bending.
    • rubbing the legs.
    • tossing or turning in bed.
    • getting up and pacing.
  • A definite worsening of the discomfort when lying down, especially when trying to fall asleep at night, or during other forms of inactivity, including just sitting.
  • A tendency to experience the most discomfort late in the day and at night.

Sleep Center

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