What Are the Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome?

Symptoms of restless legs syndrome include twitching, itching, aching, crawling and throbbing in the legs, states Mayo Clinic. A person with restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is likely to experience convulsions, kicking of legs while sleeping and a feeling of creeping and pulling in the legs. These sensations may worsen at rest, in the evening and at night and may get better with motion.

Sitting or lying down for a long period may bring about the troublesome sensations in the legs, according to Mayo Clinic. People with restless legs syndrome usually have the urge to move their legs to alleviate sensations. Joggling, walking, pacing and stretching may help to relieve symptoms. Eliminating caffeine, alcohol and smoking or massaging the legs in a warm bath also may ease symptoms. The symptoms, which vary in severity, may heal on their own or occur repeatedly.

Possible causes of restless legs syndrome include an imbalance of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that controls muscle movements, and a family history of the syndrome, according to Mayo Clinic. Changes in hormonal levels and pregnancy may worsen the condition. In addition to difficulty sleeping, restless legs syndrome may result in drowsiness and stress. The problem may affect individuals of any age but occurs more often in older individuals. Treatment usually includes lifestyle changes or medication.