Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), also known as the Wilis-Ekbom condition, is a chronic, multifactorial limb condition in which patients have an uncontrollable urge to move their legs. The sensations range from unpleasant to excruciating, and it feels as if someone is hitting their legs with sticks. The disturbed sleep has seriously harmed the patients’ quality of life because it reappears even throughout the day when they sit for an extended period.
If you have RLS, it is most likely contributing to your MS-related fatigue by causing you to miss sleep. Secondary fatigue refers to exhaustion caused by symptoms of insomnia.
“According to the Restless Leg Syndrome Organization in the United States, this neurological illness affects 7 to 8% of the population, with 2-3% having severe symptoms that affect their quality of life.” Most people are unaware that they have it, according to prominent neurologist Sudhir Kothari, who sees three to four patients with RLS each month.
The illness seems to be hereditary. “If a parent has it, the children will most likely have it,” he said. He directs the neurology department of Poona Hospital and Research Centre.
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RLS is a movement disorder. It is characterized by unpleasant feelings in the legs that coincide with a desire to move. Sensations may include:2
- Aches, Pulling, and Itching
- A feeling of bugs crawling under the skin.
- Experience tingling and tightness.
- Electric or jolting feelings
These sensations often appear during periods of rest. They may make it difficult to fall or stay asleep, causing sleep-onset insomnia. General practitioners appear to have a limited understanding of RLS. “Very often it is misdiagnosed as sleeplessness and sleeping tablets are prescribed,” Ichaporia said in a statement. He visits one patient on average per week.
- Mentally challenging tasks, such as doing crossword puzzles
- Avoidance of aggravating circumstances, which may include some medications
- Moderate, regular exercise
- Reduced caffeine consumption
- Symptomatic relief: walking, bicycling, bathing the affected limbs, and leg massage, including pneumatic compression.
- Neurontin (gabapentin) is used to alleviate neuropathic pain.