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Restless legs

‘Restless legs’ is a very unpleasant feeling in the legs that is difficult to describe. You feel you must move them to get rid of the sensation. It is not pins-and-needles, but is more like a crawling, prickling and tingling irritation just under the skin (Sleep Medicine 2003;4:101–9).

Restless legs usually comes on when you have been sitting or lying still for a while, especially in bed just as you are getting off to sleep or when you wake in the night. It may also come on when you have to sit in a confined space, such as a cinema or plane.
It is very unusual to have it in one leg – usually both legs are affected, mainly the calves, but sometimes the thighs or feet. Some people also have it in their arms.
The only way to get rid of the feeling is to move your legs or get up and walk, which can be awkward if you are sitting at a public function, and annoying for your partner when you are in bed. If you try to keep still, the feeling becomes stronger and stronger, and more like a painful ache until you simply have to move.
Some people with restless legs also have repeated, jumping movements of their legs while they are asleep, which may wake them or their partner. Each of these movements may last several seconds.

Causes of restless legs

No one knows what causes restless legs, but researchers think it is probably due to a lack of availability of dopamine (a chemical transmitter) in a small area of the brain or spinal cord, rather than a problem in the legs themselves.
  • In about 40% of sufferers, the tendency to restless legs is inherited.
  • In a few people (usually elderly), it is due to a shortage of iron.
  • Some people have restless legs only when they are pregnant or find that pregnancy worsens it.
  • Sometimes a similar feeling occurs in people who have illnesses that affect small nerves in the skin (such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis).
  • Stress, fatigue, smoking, caffeine and alcohol can all make it worse.
  • Some medications can cause or worsen restless legs. If you are taking any of these medications, don't stop them, but talk to your doctor.

Medications that can make restless legs worse

(Information from Prescriber 2008;19(3):56–9)

  • Calcium channel blockers (for hypertension)
  • Some anti-nausea medications
  • Phenytoin (for epilepsy)
  • Some antihistamines (for allergies)
  • Some antidepressants
  • Some tranquillizers

What you can do

Stop smoking. Restless legs is another good reason for stopping smoking.

Consider reducing coffee, tea, alcohol. You may have to do some detective work to decide if these causes apply in your case. The caffeine in coffee and strong tea makes restless legs more likely, as well as interfering with sleep. Try cutting them out and see if the problem improves. Likewise, try to work out if alcohol might be a factor in your case.

Deal with stress. This is easier said than done but, if you have noticed that the problem is worse when you are tense, consult your public library for books or tapes on relaxation.

Distract yourself. Some people find that undertaking an interesting discussion or activity when sitting can help.

Do not nap during the day. This can make it more difficult to sleep at night.

Cool your legs. Some people find that cooling the legs helps to prevent attacks, or relieves the sensation. Make sure your bedroom is cool and airy. Try putting your feet in cold water for 5 minutes before going to bed, and avoid using a hot water bottle or electric blanket in the winter. During an attack, remove the bedclothes from your feet and legs to allow them to cool down.

Massaging the legs with a mint or herbal leg cream or gel can give some relief.

Try a painkiller. Some people find that a painkiller such as paracetamol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen gets rid of the unpleasant feeling.

What your doctor can do

Check your iron stores. Your doctor can do a blood test to check your iron stores. If these are low, an iron supplement might help.

Check the medication you are taking. Your doctor can review any medication that you are taking, as some medications can worsen or cause restless legs.

Look for other causes. Your doctor can also decide whether you have ordinary restless legs, or whether it is due to some condition such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Discuss treatment. Some prescription drugs can help restless legs, but they all have some side effects. You will need to decide whether the discomfort in your legs and disturbance of your sleep is bad enough to warrant them.

If you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, you will just have to put up with the problem until after the pregnancy – you should not take any of the drugs used to treat restless legs. The problem will probably disappear within a few weeks after the birth of your baby.

Dopamine drugs are very important treatments for restless legs. They compensate for the lack of availability of dopamine in specific areas of the brain, and are about 90% effective (Journal of Postgraduate Medicine 2010;56:157–62).

One strange side effect of these dopamine drugs has been reported – a gambling compulsion (Neurology 2007;68:301–3). So if this happens to you while you are taking any of these drugs, tell your doctor.

  • Ropinirole (Ardartrel) is a dopamine drug that seems to be very effective for restless legs with minimal side effects, though headache, nausea and dizziness occasionally occur. It is taken as a single dose in the evening.
  • Pramipexole (Mirapexin) is another dopamine drug that is effective for restless legs. It also seems to be an effective drug. It can cause drowsiness in the day, and also nausea and headache.
  • Rotigotine is a newer dopamine drug that is applied as a patch. It is important to follow the instructions exactly about applying the patch. It is suitable for people with moderate-to-severe restless legs.  It can cause drowsiness.
  • Pergolide is another dopamine drug. Researchers in America tested it in patients with restless legs and found that it was effective in relieving the problem. At present pergolide has been tried in only a small number of people with restless legs. Side effects include nausea, constipation and low blood pressure, so it is started at a low dose. There have been worries that, in rare cases, it could damage the valves of the heart.
  • Levodopa with carbidopa (the drugs are combined in one tablet) is a dopamine drug for Parkinson’s disease that has been used for severe cases of restless legs. The major drawback is that the symptoms initially improve, but tend to come back after a few months and are even worse than before. This occurs in about 80% of people. For this reason it is not used much.

Tranquillizers. Some tranquillizers can worsen restless legs, but clonazepam is a tranquillizer that has been used for many years as a reliever for restless legs. It can help if the problem is not too severe, but you may find you are drowsy in the day. If you are elderly, it is not a good choice, because you might become confused or have a fall.

Anti-epilepsy drugs, such as carbamazepine or gabapentin, are sometimes used to treat restless legs.

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Wednesday, October 5th 2011


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Comments on this article

Posted by David on 06/09/2017 at 02:40

This happens to me all the damn time, practically every day. There are a few ways it can happen. Sometimes when I get stressed, I always shake one of my legs, maybe both at the same time. It's a thing that I do that comes with my ADHD. I guess it helps calm me down, but if I am really stressed, it rarely does. Whenever I do this for more than two or three minutes, my legs begin to hurt. I don't know exactly where it hurts, I guess somewhere behind my knees, maybe on my knees, my lower thigh, knee joint. It's not a stinging pain, or a prickling feeling. It's an aching feeling, like the pain you feel when you've hit your foot against your bed and you're holding it in pain. It feels kind of like that, but inside your leg, and it doesn't feel like you recently hit something, the pain is just there. The only way I get it to stop is by not moving my legs at all. Of course, it hurts like hell when I do this. It really helps to massage the leg while you wait for it to stop hurting, and usually I'll take an Advil or something and it goes away on its own. I've recently discovered that the pain comes very quickly if I'm stressed, since I shake my legs when I'm stressed. And I can get stressed and anxious easily. Now that I've started high school, I've started getting this pain every single day. The more stressed I get, the worse the pain. Almost to the point where it gives you a headache, and it's just unbearable.

Posted by Optional on 23/06/2017 at 04:30

Uncontrollable shaking - particularly legs. Feeling low esteem. Taking Valium as precaution against potential stressful situations

Posted by Lesley phillips on 26/09/2016 at 03:12

I have had chronic restless legs for ten years, walking the bedroom floor, going mad. Fina my docter perscribed clonazapan and gaberpentin, worked for couple years, now rite back to beging. Iv jus had test and have bad spinal osteoporosis, could this be the reason why i get this, docter did say pressing on seeing someone at a pain clinic, had whole week nites of hardly any sleep. The conarzapan i fill nothing now, even gave me zoplicone to get a weeks sleep, while waiting go pain years ago was on them 5 years they also had no effect. I fill a complete wreck, iv had a coloscopy year ago , had complycations nearly died, i need get this restless legs sorted . As no sleep is hell, i have it so bad i tend to stand up. Please give me some advice as soo

Posted by Adam on 28/10/2015 at 01:41

I'll bet you it has to do with leading a relatively sedentary life. I sit for work (web design) for most of the day and I wonder if it is related to the constant pressure on the buttocks/thighs and/or not exercising enough.

Posted by Optional on 22/09/2015 at 02:34

Since i remember my self i always move my feet and knees non stop! I cant control it, but at the same time it relieves me. If i go to bed my feet are moving non stop, even during sleep! I can't sleep if i don't move my feet. Also while i am watching TV, or siting behind my desk at work, my knees or feet are constantly moving. Reading the above though makes me wonder, as most people have an itch or something similar, that makes them move their feet, while I on the other hand have nobe of these issues and i actually enjoy moving them...well when i am aware of it !

Posted by somebody from the north on 12/09/2015 at 07:08

i have this restless leg syndrome (which is probably inherited), i bite the inside of my mouth all the time, i grind my teeth while i'm sleeping which my mother says is because of lack of calcium and worms in my intestines or whatever. as far as the research that i've done, i have some of the symptoms of bipolar depression but i don't know. i feel like a need to visit a phychologist but my parents won't consent to it maybe because they don't wanna think their child is mentally ill.My weight is 41-43 kilograms at the age of 20.i'm confused as to what i should do.

Posted by Optional on 20/03/2015 at 04:57

I have had the RSL for over 10 years but not every single night. The feet are usually the worse part affected and I've been lucky sometime to stop it or to reduce the sensation enough to go to sleep by heavy foot massage, hot and cold water running over my feet and strangely enough, tightening my foot up with a small piece of cloth or a handkerchief to block a bit the blood circulating. It works 20 to 40 % of times.

Posted by kate on 18/03/2015 at 05:55

I have been bothered before from RLS when I was on amitryptiline not been on them for 5/6yrs but my medication now hasnt changed in that cant understand why its happening now and only in the left leg

Posted by Optional on 08/03/2015 at 06:07

I suffer infrequent bouts of restless legs. I found that if I apply pressure on my legs it forces the nerves to relax. When I sit with one leg under me I apply as much pressure as I can. Within 30 minutes I am able to go to sleep. Same with restless arms. I just lie on the arm with lots of pressure which quiets the nerve.

Posted by Optional on 03/01/2015 at 04:15

Another solution I have found that is more immediate is to massage my hip flexor muscles with a tennis ball by leaning against the wall. It gives a good massage, and while it doesn't make sense that muscles in the front and side of the hip would help with a restlessness in the backs of the legs, it really does help. Sometimes I have to lean into the wall and put pressure on a few trigger points with the tennis ball -- ones where I feel the "pain" radiating down my leg -- to feel relief.

Posted by Optional on 03/01/2015 at 03:53

I have restless legs and restless arms sometimes. The only thing I've found that helps is magnesium supplements. It doesn't help right away; you have to get enough in your system over a couple of weeks. But it does really help. The same goes for if you stop taking the magnesium -- the restless legs will start back up after a delay of a week or two. Then you have to start taking it again and wait for it to build up. So I just take the magnesium supplement every day. I take 350 mg per day. Any less is not enough to keep the restless legs at bay.

Posted by Yousuf Ali on 10/11/2014 at 09:26

When i go to sleep i feel tackling in leg beneath knee to my feet or some time feel in sitting position when i m doing my work or travel in bus.

Posted by Optional on 06/10/2014 at 09:22

I was just taking a rest nap and my legs would twich every few seconds the last one was huge sometime distubing

Posted by Optional on 13/09/2014 at 03:42

My calves have hurt since I was at least 30 years of age...I used to constantly run and always walking and on my my legs constantly need doc said to rub them and take ibuprofen.....yeah thats not working.

Posted by Norah on 01/09/2014 at 06:31

I have suffered from restless legs for years. It started with my second pregnancy, but I also have always had lower back problems, For me the awful sensation starts in my lower back as a kind of "pulling" sensation, then moves down into my thighs. I don't understand why it starts late in the day when I want to relax and watch TV, but I am walking around the living room to try to stop it. It sometimes takes me several hours to fall asleep, after much moving, stretching, walking, etc. At movies, especially long ones, or ones I'm not entirely interested in, I sometimes have to get up, and walk around the lobby to control it. Long car rides or any long sitting situation can start it. It is so miserable, no one who hasn't experienced it can understand. My husband has spent countless hours rubbing my back and thighs which can relieve it for awhile but then he goes to sleep and it starts up again for me. Sometimes a hot shower or bath will help but only during it not after. Interestingly,is that once I fall asleep it is usually gone for the night even if I wake up briefly. Also, the only thing that reliably helps is sex-an orgasm- and then it stops long enough for me to go to sleep. I have seen that mentioned in some sites about RLS.

Posted by Optional on 08/08/2014 at 10:25

I have iron deficiency and suffer sometimes from restless legs. I found out that when this happens I can help stop it by taking in long deep breaths. It helps I think get more oxygen into my blood and gets rid of my symptoms. Hope this helps.

Posted by Anonymous on 15/01/2014 at 09:19

This is weird, but when I bend my right knee and flex I get a cold sensation thought out my whole body for a couple of seconds pending on how long I stretch and flex my right knee

Posted by Anonymous on 14/01/2014 at 05:24

I have that thing in my whole leg, and it wont stop. Nothing is working to fix it and it is not a temporarily thing, but it happens to me FOREVER. It makes me want to stretch my legs forward and stretch, then put my thumb toe over the toe next to it and push it downwards, then bend my feet downward for a stretch. It is soo annoying and it has never stopped. But when I don't think about it then it stops happening. But when I do think about ANYTHING related to it, I start doing the motions again. Thinking of feet, brain problems, stretching legs, anything like that will start me moving my legs.

Posted by Optional on 28/11/2013 at 04:46

I have mild RLS which affects me infrequently. Mine is due to lower spinal problems and is exacerbated by strain on the lower back, maintaining bad posture or stiffening of the lower back by inactivity, such as sitting or lying for long periods. I have recently had spinal surgery and as a result of that I believe that much of my symptoms are referred sensation due to neural interference, even when my back feels fine. I had bad RLS in the weeks following my surgery, despite being medicated with Tramadol and Gabapentin. In my case spinal mobility and strengthening excercises have helped, both before and after surgery.

Posted by andrew on 10/10/2013 at 07:44

hi restless leg sufferers. I have had restless legs for about ten years but it as gradually got worse. I already take the maximum dose of tramadol for pain else where in my body so this does not help rls. I have found if I fill a hot water bottle with cold water and put my feet on it this the last few weeks I can feel my legs start with a strange feeling from the top of my body I know then the legs are going to start. it drives me mad and gives me extreme anxiety. I also bite my lip and tongue a lot when I am eating don,t know if that is connected. I have a problem with my lower back so wonder if it is that as one writer as mentioned. the last few nights I found if I could keep my feet in bed instead of out of the covers this helps but is very hard to do as my feet are usually so warm. hope this helps some of the sufferers.

Posted by senita on 20/09/2013 at 11:32

hi ive been suffering with rls for many years now it drives me mad i get it every day with out fail i tried many things but nothing helps me im up all night for days its making my life hell all i want to do is scream out loud this is what it makes me do its driving me crazy pls help thank you

Posted by Exfellwanderer on 04/09/2013 at 07:27

I am writing this at 0720, having had no sleep at all.. Nothing seems to help with this problem which I have had all of my life. It comes and goes but I can think of no reason for it and can find no answer to it. It does help a little to know that I do not suffer alone. It is a bit like IBS, another condition which I suffer from and can find no answer to. Sitting here at my computer my legs have started to feel alright, so I will go back to bed and hope I can manage a few hours sleep. I must try to think positively, despite feeling at my wits end.

Posted by scott on 01/09/2013 at 01:16

the closer i take my second phenytoin to bedtime my leg(s) will most likely go haywire in my sleep... and i just went cold turkey after an unknown addiction to klonopin!!!!!!!!!!!!! give me a break!!!!

Posted by Harry on 23/08/2013 at 03:48

I feel irritation when I wear jeans i feel irritation near my left knee and in leg from last 5months tell me the treatments for this plzzzz

Posted by Optional on 09/08/2013 at 07:47

extreme restless legs/tremors/muscle spasms/pain in boddy expecially in the left side/stiffness in movement, to the extent use a mouth guard to protect teeth that are starting the shatter due to force of tremors/use cpap to assist with chocking associated with the spasms

Posted by Terry on 07/07/2013 at 12:27

I am so desperate for help to live normal again,,,

Posted by Optional on 24/06/2013 at 12:51

I have RLS in my both the legs, my doctor advice gabapin and clonaze, I felt relax,but when I stop medicine, again I suffer. Plz help me for cure.

Posted by Ananda on 09/06/2013 at 08:33

I need your help. I have thalassemia which might cause restless leg..I can't take iron tablets as my my body can't absorbs due to my genetic sickness. What can I do? I feel very uncomfortable especially watching movie in cinema/ tired..Pls advise

Posted by Rob Jennings on 07/05/2013 at 02:48

there is no relief i hate it

Posted by Bill on 13/03/2013 at 04:36

I have found this article quite interesting, as my wife suffers terribly with resless legs in bed. This affects my sleeping and sharing the same bed. I really feel for her, but now have a good idea of what causes this problem. As she drinks lots of tea I think this may be contributing to her problems. I will be asking her to try and cut right down on the tea and will report back if this actuaaly helps her.

Posted by Optional on 10/03/2013 at 09:42

Does " smoke " refer to cigs or marijuana?

Posted by Optional on 06/03/2013 at 02:16

Have had RLS since I was hospitalized for a few months back in 1998. Was initially on-and-off since I was wearing compression sleeves on my legs in the hospital (they were meant to keep the blood flowing in my legs to avoid clots). In any case, I had to quit smoking when I was in the hospital all that time so mine very well might have been started by quitting just like some others. Now, after having quit for awhile and getting attacks I gave up and decided to start smoking again just to make them quit. However, that no longer worked either. When I tried to smoke to relieve it, it just made it far worse. I tried many, many, many medications and alternate therapies with little to no success. Several of them would actually help with the RLS but would then leave me this half-awake zombie. where I might was well have not even gotten the sleep anyway! As it turns out I had to have surgery around that time and was given an opiate painkiller (Tylenol IIIs I think). And 1 pill and my RLS was annihilated. When I went to go off the pain killers the RLS came back with a damn vengeance. I once again went back to trying everything I could including all of the "new" therapies and even participated in a pair of trials again with no luck. Around this time I needed dental work and was again given opiates. It was SO nice to have the RLS controlled (gone) and to not be dealing with ridiculous side effects turning me into a zombie. Around this time I started seeing a GP who after reviewing my history and seeing me on and off the opiates decided to just go ahead and add RLS symptom control as the reason for taking the codeine. Over the last 12-15 years now, between simple development of tolerance and multiple hospitalizations for my Chrons and other things I've now progressed through the family of opiates and am now wearing a Fentanyl patch. While extreme it is the best solution I have had yet. If there were other opiates in patch form I would have used those for certain. On top of not having to be on top of taking pills all day, it provides the most even level of opiates in my blood of any system I have ever utilized. So, my advice, find a physician who is not paranoid to prescribe opiates when needed and who is involved enough to stay on top of them and manage them successfully. In all honesty, most people would never get anywhere close to what I'm taking. It is the multitude of other things that brought my tolerance up, not treating the RLS. Very very low doses of opiates were needed to treat my RLS and keep them permanently suppressed... I'm aware of the stigma that is attached with taking opiates. But in this case it is quite clearly the very best of all available options I have found. When taken at a small dosage, it not only completely suppresses the RLS symptoms but does so in a way that results in no other appreciable side effects. Obviously there are the impacts to reaction time, judgement and what have you that come with any opiate but at the levels needed to handle the RLS symptoms these are so minimal as to be non-existant. I see the number of entries here with people suffering and want to scream from the rooftops for people to try an opiate medication and get their lives back.

Posted by Optional on 23/02/2013 at 12:19

I have cycles of good and bad times with my restless leg syndrome . About every 4 to 6 months I have Avery bad spell that lasts for a day or so . I feel very ill , sick and tired. I also get a red mark on my face , usually over my right eye , between my eyes or on my face, usually on the right cheek but some times on the left. Dose anyone else feel this way or have the red marks? Or know what causes them ? I do not vomit so it is not from that.

Posted by Optional on 10/02/2013 at 03:35

Thank you. Was helpful but didn't mention Valium as a treatment option. (I am aware of Valium's villainous reputation in medical schools, and the hesitancy of most M.D.'s to prescribe it). Valium has helped me tremendously, and, as it so happens, I have not developed an addiction to it. I use it only as prescribed. I was searching the site because, I was recently diagnosed with Scleroderma and wondered whether there was a relationship between the two. As a patient, I suspect there might be. Again, thank you for this informative article.

Posted by Optional on 09/02/2013 at 11:46

I have had else for several years. Only bothers me when I am in bed and not every night. I am currently 5 months pregnant and I notice it a lot more since I have been pregnant. There are nights when I can fall asleep but most night when I have it I find myself staying awake til I get very tired. This is not good for me mainly because of being pregnant. I need my rest and have to have plenty of sleep. I am always tired it seems and it's starting to affect me and my everyday events such as work. With being pregnant I really can do much about it and I have a high lack of sleep. Wish there was something I could do to help cause this is killing me. I make it a point just to get out of bed and head to the living room so I don't bother my other half at night. Ugh...I need help bad!

Posted by Mohan on 23/01/2013 at 10:00

Dear Sir, I have read all the information for restless legs i like very much this information ...i am suffering from this since 1 year.....

Posted by Optional on 14/01/2013 at 09:16

Try pantyhose / support pantyhose from department store. Helps to keep my legs at bay. I wear them most of the time including at night and generally have a good night sleep were before took hours to fall asleep

Posted by Optional on 02/01/2013 at 10:00

i have tried feet in cold water walking masage no caffine .but still cant keep my legs still

Posted by Optional on 02/01/2013 at 10:42

I have suffered from RLS for 19 years since being pregnant with my son :-( It has been a daily torment for me since then and has ruined many a trip to the cinema, night flight or even just trying to relax on the settee with my partner watching tv in the evening! I changed gp recently and as the symptoms were beginning to start earlier and earlier in the day I went to see him for help as no previous gp had been able to help me with anything other than advice! I was prescribed Pramipexole (used for Parkinsons) and since the 2nd day of taking them I have only had the symptoms once and that was due to forgetting to take a tablet on time! They have totally changed my life and I can't recommend them or thank my gp enough. Anyone who has not suffered from RLS has no idea of the torment it causes, I have been in tears many times whilst driving my car on long journeys as the leg jerks and horrible sensations only stop when I stood up and walked about - not easy when travelling on a motorway! I hope that my story will help others to seek advice from their GP, there is help available!

Posted by julieP on 16/12/2012 at 09:36

My sister 55 has had bad reastless legs for 20 years, most night. She barely had any sleep all that time as her legs were so bad she had to get up and walk around the house for hours until she was tired enuf to sleep. She has had Scleroderma for past 8 years and I reckon the RL lack of sleep affected her immune system. I did a lot of research on RL this year and finally decided it was a lack of Vit C causing the problem/ I asked my sister's specialist to give her VitD instead of the Parkinson's meds he offered to give her. He was not keen but said he would prescribe a monthly Vit D tab called Colecalciferol 2.5mg I think it is. My sister took one tab and her RL persisted for 4 days and then disappeared> That was 9 months ago. It has returned infrequently but only for hald an hour or so. She continues to take Vitd every month and is a changed person, full of energy and life instead of the crabby person she used to be.

Posted by Optional on 30/11/2012 at 05:30

I have suffered from restless legs for many, many years. If I take 6 to 8 500 mg sublingual vitamin B-12 tablets under the tongue for 30 seconds and I get into bed within 15 minutes it usually stops my restless legs so I can sleep.

Posted by Optional on 28/11/2012 at 10:41

I have had it for 3 days now.. It startedbin one leg for the first fwo days and today it is in my other leg aswell .. I wish there was an instant cure.. I have had it in the past but it has never been this bad.. Its constant.. I have tried a cold bath walking and stretching but nothing seems to relieve the pain .

Posted by Optional on 28/10/2012 at 03:03

I have restless fingers and hands. It feels like Someone hit my fingers with a hammer. What causes this?

Posted by Optional RJ MA on 20/09/2012 at 02:20


Posted by Optional on 16/08/2012 at 05:09

I seem to be having even more trouble when I fly now with restless legs. I flew for 3.5 hours on Tuesday (and legs got restless and twitchy in flight)- today is Thursday and the balls of my feet and legs still hurt and it is difficult to walk.

Posted by Optional on 05/08/2012 at 03:07

i have only had restless legs since i started using magnetic knee bands for pain. why?

Posted by Russell on 11/06/2012 at 01:42

Hi Im suffering from what feels like mild tingling in both legs. It makes me want to shiver, feels alive with no pain maybe a little aching. I have what the Dr thought was Gout this starts off in my ankle one day and moves around to the top of my foot to my toeas and back up the other side. Incredibly painful and unable to walk for several days in both feet and usually lasts up to 2-3 weeks. It feels more in the ligaments than joints. It was all in the left foot but started now in the right foot, which started in my right foot in my achilles and moved to the top of my foot and back to my ankle. Do you think they are connected ? Thanks, Russ

Posted by Optional on 11/05/2012 at 08:50

I wouldn't wish rls on my worst enemy(well,maybe):).But what I've always wondered is......are there any DOCTORS out there that have it? Seems to me the cause might be investigated more throughly if more doctors inherited it! And the info about being connected to spinal....alot of times it has seemed mine is connected to my lower back. Not most of the time, but occasionally. So that really interests me. The dopamine drugs made my legs feel very heavy and uncomfortable. The only thing working for me is Tramodol. I've had RLS since I was 19 and pregnant and the OB told me I was crazy and had me crying. I never told a soul about it until a story in Readers Digest appeared in the 1980's. You all can't know what a relief it was to know there were others out there like me. Thanks for letting me comment. I usually am more reserved and just read these things. Wendy

Posted by Jud on 25/04/2012 at 02:06

I have been dealing this restless legs for long time. Specially during pregnancy and after delivery makes it worse. Sometimes i don't want to be alive anymore because of this stupid restless legs. It seems like if i cut my leg lots of crawly germs will be moving around. Please please help me help me

Posted by david d. on 13/03/2012 at 06:21

RLS symptoms alleviated by performing the hurdlers' stretch and holding the stretch position for one entire minute, then stretch opposite side. Just touch wall for balance, DO NOT PUSH AGAINST WALL. Hurdlers' stretch: legs spread out, one foot forward with bent knee, back foot straight, both feet point forward. For balance merely touch a wall or stationary object. Shift weight to front (bent) leg, hold position and feel stretch in back of thigh & calves for 1+ minutes/side. My RLS brought on by sitting in a slouching position, particularly at low back area.

Posted by mario on 04/02/2012 at 04:25

try wearing light suport pantyhose like leggs sheer energy. works for me and i think it's worth a try.

Posted by Optional on 15/01/2012 at 06:20

have just developed RLS sice quititng smoking - so not necessarily the cure to it unfortunately! I have had it a little bit for a long time, but not enough for it to bother me and then as soon as I stopped smoking, BAM, twitchy legs, every night! It is causing depression and irritability and lots of other horrid symptoms that are making me worse. I have been told to try magnesium suppliments but the first lot I got were magnesium oxide which is not apparently 'bio-available', meaning the body does not absorb it well. today I bought magnesium phosphate, which is supposed to be easier for the body to absorb and I got some dead sea salts (but epsom salt is supposed to be better and I have some on order) to bathe in, skin absorbtion is supposedly the best way for the body to take magnesium in so will try that tonight and see what happens - here's hoping for a good nights sleep!

Posted by Optional on 19/11/2011 at 12:34

i do have a very very bad felling in my body,some times my body can jump.

Posted by Optional on 19/09/2011 at 01:28, United States

I was diagnosed with RLS when I had a sleep study done to see if I had sleep apnea. I have taken requip for many years it helps but I am tired all the time from the requip. I am very sensitive to medication. I quit taking it and was put on mirapex don't seem to help. My biggest problem is my legs (lower calves) hurt all the time if I get down on the floor I can't stand up without the help of furniture and sometimes it hurts sooo bad just trying to stand up from a setting position after I'm up for awhile the pain seems to go away but comes right back if I sit down in a chair or on the floor. Is the pain in my lower legs part of RLS or could it be something unrelated.

Posted by Optional on 11/09/2011 at 12:03, United Kingdom

driving me mad Iam so tired with being awake nights.

Posted by Chiara on 03/09/2011 at 09:35, United Kingdom

I'm nearly at the end of my 3rd pregnancy, and have been suffering from terrible insomnia and RLS at evening/night. After reading stuff you can do to help it, and stuff that causes it I learnt my iron levels were very low (as was in other two pregnancies) so after taking my tablets for two weeks and taking a couple of paracetemol each night it seems to have got better!

Posted by Sue on 07/08/2011 at 07:49, United Kingdom

I have suffered from RLS for many years, when will there be and answer to this problem as it is most debilitating as you loose so much sleep. I don't want to be taking paracetamol all the time, cold flannels on ankles and knees helps. (I am going to request a check on my iron levels with the doctor) Vitamin B complex is supposed to be the answer. Please, please can the medical profession find an answer !!

Posted by Optional on 22/06/2011 at 08:08, United States

why does it get worse after i eat lunch?

Posted by Optional on 06/03/2011 at 08:54, Canada

I find that if I take 4 Advil's at night when I get restless legs, after about an hour , I can finally sleep all night.

Posted by Louise on 05/03/2011 at 09:53, Canada

I have been afflicted with severe restless leg symptoms for about 35 years now. Just for context, each year, I might have 3 non sequential evenings per year where, for reasons unknown, I have no symptoms. In the past few years, the symptoms have gotten worse. I no longer suffer just evenings and nights, I am also woken up with them around 7 AM, and feel symptoms on and off throughout the day if I sit. I have never tried the medications (Requip the idea of lifelong medicating does not appeal to me.) 9 days ago, like usual, I was lying in bed twisting and bending my legs around trying to get momentary relief. For some reason, I ended up on my side in a tight fetal position. Strangely, I felt some immediate relief, so I held the position, thinking I would see how long it worked, (as you know, most movements give approximately 1 or 2 minutes of relief maximum). I really tightened up my knees to my chest and that stretched and curved the back also. I held the position for about 10 minutes and the symptoms stayed away, I was so happy with even that short relief, but got tired of keeping the position, so I relaxed and figured I would do it again after a few minutes. The miracle? When I relaxed, the relief continued, and incredibly, I fell asleep! It was only 11:45PM! I never fall asleep until the symptoms abate around 2 or 3 AM! Holding the position for approximately 2 minutes seems to give approximately 24 hours of relief! I have been doing it for 9 days, once each evening, and have eliminated the symptoms as soon as they reappear. I have no idea why this works, as it does not stretch or twist the lower leg area (the area affected for me). Please pass this information along to others to try. I am now telling anyone who will listen. I only wish I had discovered this while my father was alive. He also suffered so badly… I am so glad to have found long lasting relief. I am actually scared it might stop working in time, but for now, I CAN SLEEP!! I haven’t annoyed everyone walking around and doing deep knee bends all evening while trying to watch TV!

Posted by Shelley on 05/03/2011 at 12:21, United Kingdom

I'm having a promlem when I go to bed Its when I'm sleepy my feet Want to move when I try to stop them from moving. It's harder to stop them it's a really strange Feeling.

Posted by Kathleen on 06/02/2011 at 08:20, United Kingdom

I have RLS and Parkinson's but my lower legs and feet are often cold. There is a distinct pain with this, too. My doctors say it is not poor circulation. I take clonazepan as well as Parkinson drugs, which helps at night, particularly. Has anybody else these exact symptoms? Despite asking numerous other RLS sufferers and the health professionals I have found no one with exactly this problem. Would be very grteful for any advice.

Posted by Optional on 30/01/2011 at 03:57, United Kingdom

i have had hip replacement surgery two weeks ago and have not had a full nights sleep since because of restless leg in the operated leg does anyone know what could cause this please

Posted by Christine on 26/01/2011 at 05:55, United Kingdom

I first experienced this in my fifties. I thought it was circulatory problems. I was on no meds, etc. Living a very healthy life...runner, cyclist, working out. Drives me nuts. Every night, while sitting and watching TV or on the computer, my lower legs will both get really cold as if they were in a cold river. Then the RLS feeling starts....I heat up two towels in the dryer and wrap each leg...It starts relieving this really quick. I have to keep on doing this, because as soon as the towels cool down my legs start to get cold again. STRANGE HUH...Right before I get into bed, I reheat the towels, wrap my legs and get into bed and it pretty much stops....If my legs are not warm when I get into bed, the RLS just kicks in and I have to get up. I have had this for 9 years now and I AM SICK OF IT. I am not iron deficient, don't use alcohol, no caffeine, etc. I have no clue where this came from. No one else in the family is afflicted. I wish I could find Battery HEATED LEG WARMERS...Best wishes to all my FELLOW SUFFERERS....I am sorry for you....

Posted by Optional on 19/01/2011 at 08:03, United States

Why would my restless legs sydrome keep getting progressivley worse. I am on the medication and it is back and escalating.

Posted by Optional on 06/01/2011 at 01:58, United Kingdom

Its actually a good time of year for you twitchy legged folks I suffered for Years! with RLS tried all maner of lotions potions, eatting this not eatting that, raising,lowerin exercising, resting. Then, low and behold GONE!! How i hear you scream. Simple new years resolution, after 27 years I "Stopped Smoking" So if you are a smoker, my recomendation to you is visit your chemist start a program of nicotine patches and prepare to rest those legs lol HAPPY NEW YEAR X

Posted by Jane on 04/01/2011 at 12:04, United Kingdom

My husband has suffered from RLS for 6months now Dr said he is low in iron he is taking a course of iron tablets but has not made any diffrence He only moves about in his sleep sometimes just his legs but other times his whole body twitches I't driving me mad keeps me awake for hrs at a time I'm the tired one the next day not him Taking sleeping tablets myself for back pain but still he keeps me awake Pray the drs come up with something soon or it may be seperate bedrooms after a loving marriage of 45yrs also I worry that it's not just RLS and there is something worse that is happening to his body PS he also snores badly

Posted by Optional on 27/12/2010 at 11:37, Australia

I have had cold feet and legs for a year or so and now my legs at night hurt and very irritable in bed and sitting now. The best thing I found was pantyhose that helped keep me warm. Would wear them to bed also and now that at night time is getting worse I tried tights and I sleep alot better.

Posted by Optional on 25/12/2010 at 06:35, United States

alcohol definately makes my resless legs worse. i cannot sleep too much during the night when i have a few drinks. it is christmas morning about 1:30 and i have been up since 12 am. tossing and turning, now trying to sit up and write on computer. i took my medication and tonite it is not doing any good. very miserable.

Posted by Optional on 30/11/2010 at 09:16, United Kingdom

I have had restless legs since my teens but has got worse over the years. Losing weight help but since I've become inactive because of a back problem I've put on weight and the problem came back with avengence. I have Tramadol for my back which helps but I'm coming off it as it is such an adictive medication. I've come in to work following a night of just 45 minutes sleep and am exhausted. Has anybody tried magnetic therapy treatments? Keep posting suggestions as I will try anything.

Posted by Optional on 29/11/2010 at 02:43, United States

I had a seven hour surgery. When I came out of the anesthesia, I noticed something wrong with my legs. I wasn't able to fall asleep until around 4:00 a.m., when it would just ease away. I was only getting three hours of sleep a night for several weeks and was finally diagnosed with RLS. I have had restless legs severely since, more than 10 years. I took Mirapex until it quit working. I have taken Requip for several years now, and the side effects I have are nausea, sweating, fatigue, pain in my feet, short term memory loss, and confusion. I don't have any other alternative, because I have to be able to sleep. I am unable to take a nap during the day,, but can sleep at night. I have to take the Requip two to three hours before bed so that I can sleep when I go to bed. But there are times it doesn't work well, and I am awake until 1 or 2. I wish there was a cure.

Posted by Bob on 27/11/2010 at 08:32, United Kingdom

Had this for years. Pressure on thighs on seats meant to support thighs usually starts it off - like plane seats. Lying in recovery Position on a hard surface helps to alleviate symtoms. I find that the condition is brought on more quickly after a stodgy meal, when, presumably stomach acids are working hardest. Eating small light meals seems to keep condition at bay. I am type 2 diabetic, with low thyroid but in good physical shape. standing up and cooling feet and stretching leg muscles usually works through the night - now about twice or thrice nightly when I waken.

Posted by Optional on 13/11/2010 at 01:47, Canada

Every day and night my legs get so restlee.! I get a rash on my left leg and burns a lot!!My feet get cold very easily,and numbness and a lot of tingling

Posted by Optional on 05/11/2010 at 02:30, United Kingdom

I'm so glad that I am not alone as I was beginning to think that people thought I was mad. Reading what people do I will try a few of these things to see if it helps me !!!!

Posted by Optional on 05/11/2010 at 01:10, Canada

I go through restless legs and hot feet almost every night as well,I might get one day off a week once in a while and it's like what I imagine winning the lottery feels like, lol. I've found relief from massaging my lower spine right at the base where all the nerves are. Usually I massage quite firmly. I can feel the nerves react all the way to my feet sometimes--it's an awesome feeling and it will put me to sleep. I had been doing this for years and then recently read restless legs may be associated with a nerve thing in the lower spine...also I stick my feet out of the bedcovers and massage one foot with the other or massage my calfs,that feels great too but all this self-massage is a lot of work and I'm totally going to try the granny's dove soap, the surgical socks, yoga,magnesium and get a blood test for iron deficiency. I'd rather not resort to drugs but I'll try damn near anything that will get me a good night's sleep. Glad to know I'm not alone. Peace.

Posted by Optional on 03/11/2010 at 12:46, United States

I have had Restless Leg Syndrome my whole life. My mother, aunt, and maternal grandmother all have the same problem. I know this is going to sound completely weird and far-fetched, but this is what my grandmother does to ward off RLS, and I have tried it and it has worked, at least for me. She puts a bar of soap between the fitted sheets and the mattress down around her legs. That's it, although she swears only Dove soap will work. I know it sounds completely out there, and it may all be in our heads, but it seems to help. *shrug* If it helps someone else, cool. If not, it's an interesting read.

Posted by Optional on 20/10/2010 at 04:18, United States

I have this problem in my feet, and I go through the irritation every single night. I wake up repeatedly atleast 4 or 5 times a night because my feet feel like they've caught on fire, or need to move to relieve this itching pressure on them. It gets so bad that I have to go get a bag of ice to put on my feet, because of the friction when I rub them together to stop the tingly, itchy pressure. I haven't went to a doctor, or tried to take iron supplements, although I do take a trace mineral solution once in a while. I never bothered researching this before, until I was on this site looking at another problem. I hope this goes away eventually.

Posted by Optional on 17/10/2010 at 11:14, United Kingdom

simply no improvement despite trying ropinerole at present on pramipexole worked at beginning but now less so


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Fascinating facts

The symptoms of restless legs had been noted by Dr Thomas Willis as far back as 1685

Restless legs is also known as Ekbom's syndrome, because Dr Ekbom, a Swedish neurologist, wrote about it in the 1940s

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