If you have signs and symptoms of restless legs syndrome, make an appointment with your doctor. After an initial evaluation, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in conditions affecting the nervous system (neurologist) or a sleep specialist.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
Information to gather in advance
- Write down your symptoms, including when they started and when they tend to occur.
- Write down key medical information, including other conditions you have and any prescription or over-the-counter medications you're taking, including vitamins and supplements. Also note whether there's a history of restless legs syndrome in your family.
- Take a family member or friend along. Someone who accompanies you may remember information you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Some basic questions to ask your doctor about restless legs syndrome, include:
- What is the most likely cause of my signs and symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What tests do I need?
- What treatment options are available for this condition?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- What self-care steps might improve my symptoms?
- Do you have educational materials I can have? What websites do you recommend?
- Where can I find a support group for people with restless legs syndrome?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- Do you get an irresistible urge to move your legs?
- What words describe your symptoms?
- Do your symptoms start while you're sitting or lying down?
- Are your symptoms worse at night?
- Does movement make you feel better?
- Have you been told that you kick, shake or otherwise move your legs while sleeping?
- Do you often have trouble falling or staying asleep?
- Are you tired during the day?
- Does anyone else in your family have restless legs?
- How much caffeine do you have daily?
- What is your typical exercise program?
What you can do in the meantime
To ease your symptoms, try:
Dec. 10, 2014
- Cutting back on or eliminating caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
- Massaging your legs while soaking in a warm bath.
- Restless legs syndrome. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/detail_restless_legs.htm. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- Tarsy D. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of restless leg syndrome in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- Tarsy D. Treatment of restless leg syndrome in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- Garcia-Borreguero D, et al. The long-term treatment of restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease: Evidence-based guidelines and clinical consensus best practice guidance: A report from the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group. Sleep Medicine. 2013;14:675.
- Silber, MH, et al. Willis-Ekbom Foundation revised consensus statement on the management of restless legs syndrome. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2013;88:977.
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