Restless legs syndrome

Sleep better again

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common and often very debilitating neurological condition. It is not dangerous, however. Around three to ten per cent of all Germans are affected by it, and it becomes more common as we get older.

Our experienced experts at Schoen Clinic specialise in the treatment and diagnosis of restless legs. Using suitable medications, we can improve the quality of your sleep and life considerably. 

Causes & symptoms

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) - what is it?

RLS is characterised by an urge to move the legs, which is usually triggered or accompanied by unpleasant, strange sensations in the legs. The arms or other parts of the body can also be affected, although this is rare. The urge to move and the unpleasant sensations primarily or exclusively occur during times of rest, especially in the evening and at night. The symptoms can be improved by movement, standing up or walking.

Causes: How restless legs syndrome develops

RLS in most cases is idiopathic, which means that there is no underlying condition responsible for triggering the symptoms. 
The symptoms are most prevalent in patients with iron or vitamin B12 deficiency, in patients with severely impaired renal function or during pregnancy. It can also occur with various neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, polyneuropathies and spinal canal stenosis. RLS can also occur as a side effect of medications. Genetics can also predispose you to the condition.

Restless legs syndrome - symptoms: These symptoms occur

Most patients with this condition experience leg movements at least five times per hour, which are often only noticed by their partner. The symptoms generally during middle age. They can occur earlier, however. Normally, they become more pronounced and more unpleasant with age. The restlessness of the legs can cause problems with sleep. If the sleep disturbance is severe, fatigue and therefore problems with sleep can occur during the day. This can have a massive impact on the patient's everyday life.

Diagnostics

Diagnosis: How we diagnose restless legs syndrome

A diagnosis of restless legs syndrome (RLS) is made based on:
  • A description of the symptoms
  • An exploratory neurological examination in order to rule out any other conditions with similar presentations
  • If necessary a trial of drug-based treatment to gauge the response
  • Neurophysiological investigations for symptomatic RLS

In some cases, a stay in a sleep study laboratory may be helpful.