Restless Legs Syndrome in Children

Restless Legs Syndrome in Children

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a movement disorder in which the child or adolescent reports an uncomfortable and tempting urge to move his or her legs. This urge usually occurs at bedtime however can happen at other times when the legs have been non-active, such as when sitting still for an extended period of time (eg, during long car flights or while seeing a film).

To alleviate the pain, the child or teen moves his or her legs, extends his or her legs, tosses and turns, or gets up and strolls or playings around. The relief knowledgeable is normally immediate.

What causes restless legs syndrome?

The specific reason for this disorder is not known. RLS can be connected to a low iron level or sometimes associated with diabetes, kidney or some neurological diseases. RLS in some cases runs in families and there is believed to be a genetic link in these cases. Lots of types of substance abuse in the treatment of other conditions might cause RLS as a side effect.

What are the signs and symptoms of restless legs syndrome?

Symptoms of restless legs syndrome consist of:

  • Leg discomfort or “heebie-jeebies”— uneasy leg feelings described as sneaking, itching, pulling, crawling, cramping, pulling, tingling, burning, gnawing, or pain. Feeling of “Coca Soda in the veins” has actually been described. These feelings normally occur at bedtime however can happen at other times of leg lack of exercise.
  • Prompt to move legs— to ease leg pain, children and teenagers have an unmanageable desire to move their legs.
  • Sleep disruption— additional time is frequently needed to fall asleep because of the urge to move the legs to eliminate the pain. Sometimes staying asleep might likewise be challenging.
  • Bedtime behavior problems— because children have a hard time going to sleep, they might not always remain in bed and sometimes have to rise to extend their legs to alleviate discomfort.
  • Daytime drowsiness— problems with falling asleep and remaining asleep may lead to problems with daytime sleepiness.
  • Behavior and school performance problems— once again, due to sleep interruption, issues may emerge in the child’s academic efficiency or in daytime habits (irritability, bad moods, trouble concentrating, hyperactivity, etc).

Restless Legs Syndrome in Children

How is restless legs syndrome identified?

Unfortunately, there is no particular test for restless legs syndrome. Medical diagnosis is made based upon symptoms. A case history and complete physical examination is performed to dismiss any other possible health problems. An over night sleep study might be advised to examine for other sleep disorders, especially periodic limb motion condition (a motion disorder in which legs kick or jerk during sleep however the child is typically not knowledgeable about the symptoms).

Inning accordance with the Restless Legs Syndrome Structure, to be officially detected with restless legs syndrome, the following criteria need to be met in a child > 12 years of ages:

  • The private must have almost an irresistible urge to move his/her legs. The desire is frequently accompanied by uneasy experiences described above.
  • The symptoms begin or worsen at rest. The longer the pause, the higher the opportunity that symptoms will happen and the more severe they are most likely to be.
  • Symptoms are momentarily alleviated when legs are moved. Relief can be complete or partial but only persists as long as legs continue to be moved.
  • The restless legs symptoms are even worse in the evening and specifically when lying down.

Modified criteria are in location for children younger than 12 year where the medical diagnosis might be more unpredictable. Your sleep doctor will have the ability to discuss this more with you and may even recommend a sleep research study to assist with the medical diagnosis.

How is restless legs syndrome dealt with?

Treatment choices for RLS can include any of the following:

  • Adopt proper bedtime routines. The child or adolescent is only to get into bed and lay in bed when it is time to go to bed. Do not get into bed and hang out reading, viewing tv, or playing any games.
  • State “No” to caffeine. Caffeine can make RLS worse, so avoid caffeinated products (eg, coffees, teas, colas, chocolates, and some medications).
  • Using regional convenience aids for legs. Use a heating pad, cold compress, or consider rubbing your legs to provide temporary relief to the pain in your legs. Also think about massage, acupressure, walking, stretching, or other relaxation strategies.
  • Supplement micronutrients. Have your doctor examine your child’s iron stores and if essential, folic acid levels. Low levels of these substances can contribute to restless legs syndrome symptoms.
  • Think about medication choices. Your child’s doctor might discuss a number of different types of drugs as choices. The easiest is iron or folate supplements as pointed out above. Other classifications of drugs consist of dopaminergic agents (eg, carbidopa-levodopa), dopamine agonists (eg, ropinirole, pramipexole), benzodiazepines (eg, clonazepam), anticonvulsants (eg, gabapentin), and others including clonidine.
  • Remove unneeded medications. Talk with your doctor about other medications (both prescription and over the counter) and natural items your child might be taking. They may be making RLS worse. A few of the types of items to go over with your doctor include drugs to treat nausea, colds, allergies, and depression.
  • Conduct a dietary evaluation. Ensure your child is consuming a healthy and well-balanced diet. You may wish to examine this with the doctor.
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