A: According to the American Sleep Association, Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sensory disorder causing an almost irresistible urge to move the legs. RLS is generally more common in the evening and night hours and when the body is at rest.
RLS is more prevalent in women. Children diagnosed before age 20, usually have a family history of RLS. RLS is most often diagnosed during middle age.
Symptoms of RLS are an urge to move the legs or arms when sitting or lying down or an unpleasant feeling in the legs described as creeping, crawling, pulling, itching, tingling, burning or aching.
There are two types of RLS. Primary RLS is the most common and there is no known cause. Secondary RLS is caused by another disease, condition or a side effect of certain medications.
Some treatment options for reducing RLS include lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine and tobacco, exercising regularly and maintaining a sleep schedule. Walking or stretching, taking a hot or cold bath, massaging the limbs and using heat or ice packs are options to help alleviate the symptoms of active RLS.
Information provided by Cristin Larsen, director of admissions/marketing, Norwalk Nursing and Rehab, 921 Sunset Drive, 975-5908.