What are Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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Restless leg syndrome is a condition in which the legs experience uncomfortable sensations when the individual is seated or in a prone position. While the various types of discomfort may be somewhat noticeable during the day, many people report that restless leg syndrome symptoms become more acute at night when they are attempting to sleep. There are a number of odd leg sensations associated with the condition, with some people experiencing only a few, while others find that different combinations of pain occur over time.

One of the most common of all restless leg syndrome symptoms is an ongoing burning sensation that seems to travel up and down the legs. While some people are able to obtain relief from the sensation by applying cold compresses to the legs, others report that using some type of analgesic pain reliever will sometimes calm the pain enough to allow sleep for a short time. As with many of the symptoms associated with this condition, the burning will often fade once the individual rises and takes a short walk.


Along with the burning, an itching and tickling sensation is among the most frequent restless leg syndrome symptoms. Scratching does not tend to calm the sensation at all, usually accomplishing little more than damaging the skin. Some patients have reported relief by using some type of topical cream formulated for use in calming the itching associated with different types of skin conditions, while others note that a warm bath actually causes the itching to ease within a matter of minutes.

Cramps are also among the commonly reported restless leg syndrome symptoms. The cramps or muscle spasms are sometimes reported as being similar to those experienced with some type of electric shock. Throughout the day and night, the cramps and muscle contractions may come and go, varying in intensity.

Whatever the combination of restless leg syndrome symptoms, most sufferers also report a sensation of pain that seems to be deep in the muscles and bones. The pain may be constant or occur as an aching sensation that is present for a time, then subsides, only to return again later. Even as other symptoms seem to appear for a time and be replaced with other manifestations of the condition, the underlying sense of pain seems to linger.

In order to treat any of the restless leg syndromes, physicians will first attempt to identify what has caused the underlying condition. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to pinpoint a reason for pain and determine a specific course of treatment that leads to healing. At other times, the origin of the restless leg syndrome may be harder to identify. When that is the case, a range of topical and oral medications may be used to treat the symptoms themselves, including drugs normally used for epilepsy, sleep disorders, muscle tension, and anxiety.



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