Remove the restless from your rest

You wake up early. Then you’re off to a long day of work. Fit in a few errands around town, and finally…time to relax. The few precious moments we have to relax should be some of our most treasured hours of the day.

Unfortunately, for people suffering with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), periods of inactivity can bring on leg spasms and uncomfortable sensations.

If you’ve found yourself battling with uncomfortable urges to move your legs, help is here. Scott & White Sleep Institute offers treatment for a variety of sleep disorders, including RLS. Dr. Elmyra Encarnacion, Director of the Plummer Movement Disorders Center within the Neuroscience Institute, also sees many patients who suffer from this condition.

Encarnacion explains that those with RLS have a strong urge to move their legs, which is usually worse at night or during any periods of rest or inactivity.

Imagine trying to sit down to watch a movie, and a creepy, crawling sensation comes up your leg or an achy feeling deep in the bone so often difficult to describe.

According to the RLS Foundation, up to 10 percent of the U.S. population may have RLS. Many people have a mild form of the disorder, but RLS severely affects the lives of millions of individuals.


“RLS is common,” said Encarnacion. “There has been an increase in disease awareness. Primary care physicians are recognizing the disease and diagnosing it more accurately now.”

Do I have RLS?

Some key indicators of RLS are found if you answer “yes” to a majority of these questions: *

  • When you sit or lie down, do you have a strong desire to move your legs?
  • Does your desire to move your legs feel impossible to resist?
  • Have you ever used the words unpleasant, creepy crawly, creeping, itching, pulling, or tugging to describe your symptoms to others?
  • Does your desire to move often occur when you are resting or sitting still?
  • Does moving your legs make you feel better?
  • Do you complain of these symptoms more at night?
  • Do you keep your bed partner awake with the jerking movements of your legs?
  • Do your ever have involuntary leg movements while you are awake?
  • Are you tired or unable to concentrate during the day?
  • Do any of your family members have similar complaints?
  • Does a trip to the doctor only reveal that nothing is wrong and there is no physical cause for your discomfort?

*RLS Foundation, About RLS

Get Help to Improve the Quality of Your Life

If you are suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome, we are here to help you get the daily rest you need.

“The main goal of management is to treat the symptoms to improve the quality of life,” said Encarnacion. “That’s really what matters. If they can’t sleep or do not feel rested at night, then their whole day is affected which can have a negative impact on their general well-being.”

Encarnacion and others will work with you to determine if further evaluation is needed, since other medical conditions, such as iron deficiency anemia, or medications, can cause RLS. As they review your symptoms and condition, they will create a treatment plan for you to make you feel better, depending on the severity of the RLS.  This may include massage, hot bath, techniques to engage the mind, moderate exercise, or medications.

There are lots of ways to get help. Visit our Scott & White Sleep Institute, or to make an appointment, call (254) 724-4189. You can also schedule a consultation with Dr. Encarnacion at our Movement Disorders Center, after you have a referral from your primary care physician or neurologist.

We want you back on your way to a full night of rest. If you’ve been troubled with RLS, how have you dealt with the symptoms?

About the author

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I contribute content and skills as a freelance writer for Baylor Scott & White Health. I enjoy improving our connection with our readers, patients and communities by assisting with a wide range of writing projects.

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Remove the restless from your rest