RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME-Description of Symptoms by a Patient

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by unpleasant or uncomfortable symptoms in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. The sensation is most often described as pain or ache. Symptoms usually affect both legs and are worse at nights. Symptoms are exacerbated with inactivity and reduced with activity such as moving the legs.

There is no diagnostic test (such as blood tests or scans) for RLS. One needs to carefully analyse patient’s symptoms in order to confirm the diagnosis of RLS. In the video above, you can listen to a patient suffering from RLS, describing his symptoms (in Hindi).

The five basic criteria for clinically diagnosing the disorder are:

  • A strong and often overwhelming need or urge to move the legs that is often associated with abnormal, unpleasant, or uncomfortable sensations.
  • The urge to move the legs starts or get worse during rest or inactivity.
  • The urge to move the legs is at least temporarily and partially or totally relieved by movements. 
  • The urge to move the legs starts or is aggravated in the evening or night.
  • The above four features are not due to any other medical or behavioral condition.

RLS can be effectively treated with medications:

  1. Gabapentin or pregabalin
  2. Ropinirole or pramipexole

Published by Dr Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine) DM (Neurology)

I am a doctor with 25 years experience. I have worked as a neurologist for about 20 years. Educating public and healthcare professionals is very dear to me. This is possible due to my interactions with thousands of patients and their caregivers. I salute the patients who suffer and it is our duty to minimise suffering by preventing diseases and ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment of those already affected.

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