Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a movement disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move the limbs, usually the legs, when the sufferer is overly tired or at rest.
RLS is characterized by unusual sensations in the legs and occasionally in other limbs, relieved only by movement. These sensations are different for different people. Some describe a "creepy crawly" feeling in the legs, while others experience pain.
As a result of the sleep deprivation RLS can cause, sufferers often experience daytime fatigue. Paradoxically, this tired feeling leads to more RLS symptoms.
Doctors who Treat RLS
While any physician may treat RLS, most patients are referred to a neurologist specializing in sleep or movement disorders for evaluation.
There is no definitive medical test for Restless Leg Syndrome. Instead, the neurologist will usually ask a series of questions designed to both identify RLS and rule out other health issues. He may also test for iron deficiency, as this often contributes to RLS.
The first line of treatment for RLS sufferers is usually a supplement to boost iron levels. Often, dopamine agonists like ropinerole are prescribed. These drugs, developed to treat Parkinson's disease, are usually effective in treating RLS symptoms as well. Some sufferers have also used sleep aids like trazodone, a pre-SSRI anti-depressant.