What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome: Reasons, Treatment & More!

what causes restless leg syndrome

Do you suddenly have a very strong urge to move your legs? Maybe you are suffering from restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome is generally caused in the evenings when our legs get this irresistible urge to move quickly in a rhythm. What causes restless leg syndrome? What is the treatment of restless leg syndrome? If you have the following questions in mind, then do not worry because we have got you covered. In this blog, we will be discussing what causes of restless leg syndrome. We will also learn about the symptoms and treatments of restless leg syndrome. So, without wasting any more time, let us begin.

Before getting to know what causes restless leg syndrome, let us know about restless leg syndrome in detail:

What is restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome, also known as WED, or Willis Ekborn disease is a condition where the person has an uncontrollable urge to move his or her legs continuously. Restless leg syndrome usually occurs when the person is sitting or standing (mostly sitting) in the same position for a very long time. Some other facts about restless leg syndrome are:

  • Restless leg syndrome usually occurs during the evening time.
  • It causes certain unpleasant feelings in a person’s legs and makes them move irresistibly.   
  • Restless leg syndrome when left untreated may get worse with age. 
  • Restless leg syndrome can cause difficulty sleeping, or insomnia. 
  • It is a very rare kind of disease. There are fewer than one million cases of restless leg syndrome per year, in India.
  • Treatment can help in this case, but the condition of restless leg syndrome cannot be cured.
  • It is a chronic disease. That means this condition can last for years or be lifelong in a person.
  • Restless leg syndrome requires a medical diagnosis.

Now that we know what restless leg syndrome actually is, let us answer the bigger question, that is, what causes restless leg syndrome?

What causes restless leg syndrome?

According to our sources and deep research, there are many cases of restless leg syndrome in which the exact cause behind this syndrome is not known. In many cases, it has been found that restless leg syndrome is hereditary and can pass from generation to generation. In these cases of restless leg syndrome, the symptoms of this syndrome usually appear before the age of 40. 

Let’s what are the other origins that cause restless leg syndrome:

1. Triggers 

If a person is suffering from anxiety, depression, or stress, he or she may be aroused due to certain triggers that might cause restless leg syndrome.

There are some other triggers as well that can cause restless leg syndrome. For example, if a person is exposed to excessive alcohol caffeine, or drugs. A chain smoker can also be a prey to restless leg syndrome. Other than that, various medications can cause restless leg syndrome in people. Some of these medications are:

  • Antihistamines
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Lithium – it is a type of medication that is used in patients who have bipolar disorder

2. Dopamine 

What is dopamine? Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter or hormone that acts as a messenger between the CNS (brain and the nervous system,) to control and regulate the movement of muscles, etc. If out of nowhere, the nerves are damaged, then the amount of dopamine in the brain automatically decreases. This causes muscles to spasm and cause involuntary movement. As a result, the condition of uncontrollably moving someone’s legs is caused, which is also known as the restless leg syndrome. 

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According to science and facts restless leg syndrome is directly related to a nuisance caused by the basal ganglia (a part of the brain.) Accordingly, the basal ganglia use a hormone or neurotransmitter, known as dopamine to control and co-ordinate the activity of muscles and their movements.  

Another interesting fact about dopamine is that the dopamine levels in our body usually fall after the sun goes down. Hence, this explains why restless leg syndrome is caused during the evening or night. 

3. If you have some underlying health condition

Another solid cause of restless leg syndrome can be some buried health condition of your body. If you are diagnosed with such a kind of condition, keep in mind that is another complication of the restless leg syndrome and it is referred to as “Secondary restless leg syndrome.” So, what are the underlying health conditions that can cause restless leg syndrome? Let us discuss them one by one:

  • If a woman is pregnant, she can get restless leg syndrome. Usually (most specifically,) from week twenty-six until birth the woman can suffer from restless leg syndrome. Also, the symptoms of restless leg syndrome disappear within four to five weeks after giving birth. 
  • If a person has long-term health conditions, he or she may develop restless leg syndrome over time. Such long-term health conditions include:

– Chronic kidney disease

-Parkinson’s disease

-Rheumatoid arthritis


-Underactive thyroid


  • If a person has anemia, he or she can suffer from restless leg syndrome. Anemia is caused when our blood is in a deficit of iron. The low levels of iron in our blood lower the level of dopamine too, which finally causes restless leg syndrome. This can be regarded as one of the triggers that causes restless leg syndrome. 

So, these are some of the basic causes of restless leg syndrome. 

Now, how to know if someone is suffering from restless leg syndrome? Here, we have several symptoms that show the presence of restless leg syndrome in a person.

Symptoms of restless leg syndrome

  • The basic symptom of restless leg syndrome is a very irresistible need to move the legs. Other than that,
  • There will be continuous pain in certain areas, like the legs. The pain will likely increase during the evening or night.
  • A person suffering from restless leg syndrome may find it difficult to sleep. There will be sleep disturbances and he will be deprived of sleep, so much so that he can even get insomnia.
  • There will be fatigue or restlessness the entire day.
  • Certain words, actions, or behaviors may trigger the person and he or she may start to move their legs very swiftly. This is one of the basic symptoms of restless leg syndrome, highlighting one of the basic reasons for this syndrome. 
  • There will be uncomfortable tingling and burning sensations on the legs of the person suffering from restless leg syndrome. 
  • Electric or aching sensation may be over on the legs.
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If you suffer from these symptoms then visit a doctor or a medical professional as soon as possible. Though restless leg syndrome is not 100% curable, it can be treated. If it is kept untreated for a long time then it may cause several complications as well. 

Complications of Restless Leg Syndrome 

The basic complication that can occur from restless leg syndrome is that a person’s quality of life can be decreased and it may cause him or her some serious depression in life. This is because a person who is suffering from restless leg syndrome will have problems sleeping at night. As a result, he or she is going to wake up cranky and dissatisfied the next day. He or she may never be able to accomplish their work due to anxiety related to restless leg syndrome. As a result, the person may suffer from depression. 

If you do not want to be the prey of depression, you should consult a medical professional immediately to start treatment. 

Now we are briefly going to discuss the treatment of restless leg syndrome:

Treatment of restless leg syndrome

The basic thing that you can do is to get up from a place and get some light exercise. This will help the unpleasant tingling pain to vanish temporarily. Other than that, you can also try:

1. Self-care techniques 

  • Physical exercise

An aerobic exercise for 20 – 30 minutes five days a week will improve cardiovascular health, which in turn, will help to get over restless leg syndrome. 

  • To get over restless leg syndrome, you have to quit smoking tobacco at all. 
  • You can also try certain relaxation techniques to get rid of restless leg syndrome. Some of the relaxation techniques include deep breathing, meditation, yoga, rhythmic exercises, and other activities. 

You can always consult a medical representative or a doctor for medical advice. 

2. Therapies

These are some of the best methods to get over restless leg syndrome. You can go for massages that relax tense muscles. Not only that, massages will make you feel less anxious and stress-free. 

3. Medications 

Some of the medications that are used for the treatment of restless leg syndrome are:

  • Dopamine promoter (this stimulates dopamine receptors in the brain)
  • Dietary supplement (this works alone or in conjunction with other treatments to promote health)
  • Nerve pain medication (blocks pain caused by damaged nerves)

Conclusive Insights 

Hence, we would like to conclude by saying that though restless leg syndrome is not fully curable, it can be treated with certain medications and therapy. We have answered the question you asked: What causes restless leg syndrome? We hope you liked reading our blog and found it relevant to your search.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What drink helps restless legs?

Ans) Drinking a six-ounce glass of tonic water each night before bed might calm your restless legs. 

Q2. What tablets stop restless legs?

Ans) The tablets that stop restless legs are dopamine agonists. These drugs are pramipexole (Mirapex), rotigotine (Neupro), and ropinirole (Requip), which act like the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. 

Q3. What is the deficiency of restless legs?

Ans) Iron deficiency. 

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