Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition where you have a strong urge to move your legs to relieve discomfort. People with RLS may feel itching, burning, tingling or aching in the legs. These symptoms are temporarily relieved by leg motion. The urge to move the legs is increased with inactivity, usually in the evening or at night while sleeping.

Certain medical conditions may produce RLS symptoms, which include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Kidney disease
  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Varicose or obstructed veins
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Side effect of some drugs (Zantac, Tagamet, some antidepressants)

Doctors Who Treat Restless legs syndrome

Initial consultations for RLS would most likely be with the healthcare providers that you already have an ongoing relationship with, such as:

  • General Practitioners or Family Physicians: Deals with prevention, discovery and treatment of illnesses in all age categories.
  • Internist: Focuses on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of adult illness.
  • Gynecologist - Deals with female health.
  • Pediatrician: Specializes in infant, childhood and adolescent care.
  • Gerontologist: Deals with senior or elder health.
  • Nurse Practitioner: Focuses on prevention disease, overall wellness, and educating patients about health and health choices.

After other underlying medical conditions have been ruled out, the patient is usually referred to a neurologist who specializes in sleep or movement disorders. Neurologists specialize in the and disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

Other providers who may be involved in the management of RLS include:

  • Physiatrist: Focuses on improving the quality of life by diminishing disabilities or impairments through rehabilitative physical therapy.
  • Holistic Practitioner: Views the body as a whole, considering physical, mental and spiritual components. Herbs and nutritional supplements are often used along with meditation, cleansing, special diets and exercise programs.
  • Acupuncturist: Relieves pain and promotes healing through the ancient traditional Chinese medicine technique. Practitioners use special needles inserted and manipulated in various body energy zones.
  • Nutritionist: Formulates diet plans to improve overall health.