Restless Leg Syndrome Specialist

Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center

Allen Chu, MD, PhD

Neuromuscular Medicine Specialist & Sleep Medicine Specialist located in Houston, TX & The Woodlands, TX

How many nights of sleep have you lost due to a persistent and insatiable need to move your legs? Restless leg syndrome causes uncomfortable sensations in your legs when you’re at rest. Allen Chu, MD, PhD, diagnoses and treats restless leg syndrome at Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center, in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas. If your sleep is suffering because you need to keep shifting your legs all night, call Dr. Chu or make an appointment online today.

Restless Leg Syndrome

What is restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome, also referred to as Willis-Ekbom disease, causes uncomfortable sensations in your legs that trigger an irresistible urge to move or shift your legs. The feelings aren’t usually painful, but you may feel:

  • Creeping or crawling
  • Throbbing
  • Itching
  • Electric tingling

The sensations occur most frequently at night when you’re trying to sleep or in the late afternoon or early evening when you’re resting.

Restless leg syndrome symptoms tend to increase in severity at night and can severely disrupt your sleep, leading to issues such as:

  • Daytime fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • Indecisiveness
  • Mood swings

In addition to consciously moving your legs to alleviate the unpleasant sensations, you may also experience involuntary leg movements while you sleep, a condition known as periodic limb movement of sleep (PLMS)

What causes restless leg syndrome?

Medical researchers are still working to identify the precise cause of restless leg syndrome. They have identified several factors that contribute to your risk of developing the condition, including:

  • Family history of restless leg syndrome
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Iron deficiency
  • Kidney failure
  • Spinal cord conditions

Restless leg syndrome may also emerge during pregnancy. Your changing hormones can cause or exacerbate restless leg syndrome symptoms.

What criteria determine a diagnosis of restless leg syndrome?

Unfortunately, there’s no single test to identify restless leg syndrome. Nonetheless, Dr. Chu offers a comprehensive exam and consultation to determine the condition causing your symptoms and disrupting your sleep.

He asks about your symptoms and looks for the five criteria for restless leg syndrome:

  • Abnormal and unpleasant sensations that cause an overwhelming urge to move your legs
  • Your urge to shift your legs increases when you’re resting
  • The feeling is at least temporarily alleviated by movement
  • The sensations begin or get worse in the evening
  • Your symptoms aren’t due to another medical condition.

Dr. Chu may also order blood work, sleep studies, and other tests to rule out other conditions that could cause your symptoms.

What treatment alleviates restless leg syndrome?

Dr. Chu offers treatments that both alleviate your symptoms and address any underlying health issues that contribute to restless leg syndrome. For example, he may suggest lifestyle modifications like exercise, massage, and warm baths to lessen your symptoms or prescribe iron supplements. Dr. Chu can also prescribe medications, including antiseizure drugs, muscle relaxers, and sleep aids.

Call Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center or make an appointment online today if you’re concerned that restless leg syndrome is disrupting your sleep and quality of life.