An urge to move the legs, usually accompanied by or thought to be caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in the legs. These symptoms must: begin or worsen during periods of rest or inactivity such as lying down or sitting; be partially or totally relieved by movement, such as walking or stretching, at least as long as the activity continues; and occur exclusively or predominantly in the evening or night rather than during the day.
Before proceeding with RLS treatment, experts recommend looking for other conditions that could be causing or aggravating RLS symptoms. Common culprits include: sleep deprivation, stress, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine use, pregnancy, diabetes, sleep-disordered breathing, peripheral neuropathy, renal insufficiency and medication such as antihistamines and certain antidepressants. Many cases of RLS are associated with iron deficiency, which can be treated with iron supplements.
Medication is currently considered the gold standard for people with moderate to severe RLS. To reduce the risk of unpleasant side effects, always work with a doctor to find the medication that’s right for you. Medications for restless legs syndrome are dopamine agonists, alpha 2 delta ligands, benzodiazepines and opiates.