Restless legs syndrome (RLS), which has an estimated prevalence between 3.9% and 14.3% in the general population, is a hyperkinetic movement disorder that can lead to insomnia, impacting one’s sleep and overall quality of life. Many of your patients may have this and ask you about it!
Symptoms of RLS typically include paresthesia and an urge to move their limbs, generally following a circadian pattern. Furthermore, the lower limbs are affected to a greater degree, but the upper limbs can be impacted as well. Other associated symptoms associated with RLS can include mood swings, anxiety and even depression. In fact, RLS has been associated with a high risk of self-harm and even suicide.

RLS is classified as primary or secondary RLS. Primary, also termed idiopathic, is diagnosed when RLS is believed to be the primary disease. Currently, the pathophysiology underlying primary RLS is unclear, and this diagnosis is classified under the category of “other specified extrapyramidal and movement disorders”. Research investigating the primary etiology of RLS ranges from genetics to cortical-spinal excitability and the dopaminergic system. Secondary RLS, also termed acquired, can arise due to pregnancy, renal pathologies or polyneuropathy. Secondary RLS has been linked to conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

The objective of this scoping review is to synthesize the evidence regarding non-pharmacological approaches used in the management of RLS. Examples of conservative treatments investigated will include exercises, manual therapy, physical therapy devices, and light therapy. To categorize the efficacy of conservative approaches in reducing RLS symptoms, this study sought to identify and summarize the current evidence on diagnostic criteria and relevant outcome measures, informing researchers and guiding clinical practice…enjoy!
THIS WEEK'S RESEARCH REVIEW: “Restless Legs Syndrome – Clinical Review”
This paper was published in JMPT (2020) and this Review is posted in Recent Reviews, Geriatrics, Clinical Practice and the 2021 Archive.
Restless Legs Syndrome