Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a neurological (nervous system) disorder. It is characterized by an urge to move the legs in order to relieve abnormal sensations such as pain, creeping, or burning. In fact, some people say it feels like insects are crawling around inside their legs.
The urge to move the legs occurs during periods of rest, such as before falling asleep, and generally tends to be worse in the evenings and at night. Although movement relieves the symptoms, the sensations often return. Although this condition is known as Restless Legs Syndrome, the abnormal sensations can occur in the arms as well.
According to the age of onset, RLS is categorized as early-onset or late-onset. RLS occurs in both men and women, although the incidence is slightly higher in women. This condition also becomes more frequent and severe with age.
In around 80% of cases, people with RLS also experience sudden jerking of the arms and legs known as periodic limb movements. People don't have control over this movement, which generally occurs every 20 to 60 seconds and may continue throughout the night.
Between 2% to 15% of people around the world may have RLS.