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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes Restless Legs Syndrome?

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  • The Sleep Health Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of ‘valuing sleep’ as part of a healthy lifestyle alongside regular exercise, a ... View Profile


    Restless legs syndrome (RLS) can either occur as an inherited condition (primary) or as part of other medical conditions (secondary). Primary RLS generally starts earlier in life, often in childhood or teenage years, with a history of other family members also have RLS symptoms. Secondary RLS usually comes on later in life or during pregnancy. The most common medical conditions causing RLS are low iron levels or nerve damage to the nerves in the limbs as can occur with diabetes. RLS symptoms can be made worse by caffeine, smoking and alcohol, so it is important to  reduce these if RLS symptoms are causing problems. For more information on Restless Leg Syndrome click here
     

  • 1

    Thanks

    Joel Laing

    Physiotherapist

    I am a McKenzie Method specialised physiotherapist, with a Diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy. Using the McKenzie Method I predominantly treat low back and ... View Profile

    In my experience many people who have this syndrome (which is a collection of symptoms and not a diagnosis by definition) have an underlying low back disc problem.
    Many of them don't have low back pain as the clue (as 2/3 of the disc has no nerve innervation and therefore you can have a problem in the absence of back pain, missing the clue!).
    Lying in bed (especially if curled up) allows the disc to bulge, and when it lightly compresses the nerves the run behind it tingling/aching and discomfort in the legs can be felt. If the disc problem has a chemical component to it (inflammation) this can also cause the leg symptoms at night, as the inflammation builds up while lying still, and the nerves get chemically irritated and give the symptoms.
    It may be worth seeing a qualified McKenzie Physiotherapist to exclude this posibility, as one session would confirm or exclude it.

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