8 Triggers That Make Restless Legs Worse

Uncontrollable urges to stretch the legs are a symptom of restless legs syndrome (RLS), which typically results from an unpleasant feeling. You can be seated or lying down when it occurs, usually in the evening or at night. The uncomfortable sensation is briefly reduced by movement. Willis-Ekbom illness, also called restless legs syndrome, can start at any age group and typically gets more severe as you age. It can interfere with sleep, which affects day-to-day tasks.

About 10% of Americans suffer from restless legs syndrome. It impacts both sexes equally and can start at any longevity, even in newborns and early children. Most seriously affected individuals – 2% to 3% -- are middle-aged or older. Frequently, RLS is misidentified or not noticed. The disease is often not discovered until 10 to 20 years after the onset of symptoms. RLS can frequently be effectively treated once it has been adequately diagnosed.

From mild to intolerable, RLS symptoms can vary in severity. Typically, the early symptoms are less severe than the evening and nighttime ones. Even though the symptoms generally are relatively mild in young people, by age 50, they may result in severe nightly insomnia that can substantially reduce a person's standard of life.


The desire to move one's legs is the main symptom. The following are typical RLS comorbidities −

  • Feelings that start while you're sleeping − In situations like those described above—lying down for a prolonged period, relaxing for a long duration, or watching a movie—the feeling usually starts afterward.

  • Satisfaction as you proceed − Stretching, swinging the legs, pacing, or strolling can help relieve RLS symptoms.

  • Nighttime sensations getting worse − Most signs happen at midnight.

  • Leg tingling at bedtime − RLS may be linked to another, a more prevalent illness called periodic limb movement of sleep, which makes the legs convulse and strike while you drift off, potentially all night long.

The most common way that RLS symptoms are described by people is as a strong, unpleasant feeling in the legs or feet. Both parts of the body typically experience them. Arms are more rarely affected by emotions. The feelings are usually felt inside the limb as opposed to on the skin cells, and they are characterized as −

  • Loitering along

  • Shambling

  • Act of hauling something

  • Quivering

  • Physical agonizing

  • Itchiness

  • Shocking sensation

It can be challenging to describe the feelings at times. Usually, those who suffer from RLS don't characterize it as a numbing or cramping sensation. The urge to move the legs is, however, reliably described. Symptoms frequently change in intensity over time. There are times when symptoms vanish for a while before returning.


RLS frequently has no recognized reason. Dopamine is a brain chemical that transmits signals to regulate muscle movement, so scientists believe a deficiency in this chemical may be the root of the condition.

  • Ancestry − When RLS first manifests before age 40, it can occur in lines. Scientists have located potential locations on the genomes for RLS DNA presence.

  • Pregnancy − Occasionally worsening signs of RLS and indications may be caused by childbirth or hormonal shifts. During their last stage of pregnancy, in particular, some women experience their first case of RLS. But once the baby is delivered, symptoms typically go away.

Risk Factors

RLS can start to manifest at any age, even in infancy. The condition becomes more prevalent with the generation, and women are more likely than males to have it. RLS typically has no connection to a significant chronic medical condition. However, it occasionally goes along with other ailments, like −

  • iron deficit − Iron deficiency can induce or aggravate RLS without anemia. You might have an iron deficiency if you regularly give blood, have thick menstrual cycles, or have past experiences of gastrointestinal or bowel hemorrhage.

  • Radicular neuralgia − Chronic conditions like diabetes and drinking can occasionally cause this harm to the receptors in one's hands and feet.

  • Renal insufficiency − Iron deficiency, frequently accompanied by anemia, may coexist with renal failure. Iron levels in the blood can drop when the kidneys aren't working correctly. RLS may be brought on or made worse by these and other alterations in body composition.

  • Parkinson's illness − The chance of acquiring RLS is higher in people with Parkinson's illness who also take certain drugs known as dopaminergic antagonists.

8 Triggers are

  • Physic Medicament − Whether prescribed or over-the-counter, drugs can exacerbate RLS symptoms. These include antihistamines, nausea-preventive medications, antidepressants, and beta blockers. Avoid stopping the use of any prescribed medication without first consulting your doctor. When taking medication, if your symptoms worsen, talk to your doctor about changing medications or dosages.

  • Staying still − Taking long drives or planes, seated in a movie cinema, or wearing a cast can all trigger symptoms. Try to take pauses so that you don't remain motionless for an extended period.

  • Physical Activity − Exercising in moderation regularly might make you feel better. Stretching gently or going for a brief, leisurely stroll before bed is beneficial. However, over-exerting yourself, even in the morning, could exacerbate your symptoms.

  • Degree of heat and cold − While some people's RLS may be worsened by hot, muggy conditions, others may experience cold-related RLS symptoms. Aim to stay away from extreme temps. A hot bath, a cold bath, a shower, ice packs, and heating pads can provide short-term comfort.

  • Dressing − If you are sensitive to specific fabrics or restrictive clothing, experiment with various outfits to see if your signs are affected, particularly at night.

  • Caffeine − Reduce your consumption of coffee, soda, and tea, especially in the evening. Chocolate, caffeine drinks, and cold medications are additional covert offenders. Examine packages carefully.

  • Mental tension − When under duress, RLS symptoms can worsen. Try deep inhalation, mindfulness practices, yoga, or tai chi to relax and relieve stress.

  • Sleep deprivation − RLS may occasionally worsen if you stay up later or wake up sooner than usual. Get an abundance of rest by adhering to a regular bedtime practice.

Updated on: 31-Mar-2023


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