Restless Legs Syndrome

"Fundamentally, it occurs during the night, which prevents sleep and rest".


What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless Legs Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by the appearance of an uncomfortable, non-painful sensation in the legs that forces them to be mobilized.

Symptoms may appear or worsen with rest or at night when the patient is in bed.

In some cases, Restless Legs Syndrome may be due to injury to the peripheral nerves, decreased iron stores, or increased uric acid in the blood.

However, in most patients there is no evidence of a cause for Restless Legs Syndrome, and it is defined as idiopathic. In the latter, there may be a component of genetic predisposition, since at least a third of the patients have a family history.

On the other hand, it is believed that the origin of this syndrome may be related to a decrease in dopamine, which is a brain neurotransmitter necessary for the performance and coordination of movements.

What are the symptoms of restless legs?

Essentially, it consists of an unpleasant sensation, difficult to describe, in the legs that appears when lying down or with the rest, and that improves temporarily when moving them.

These symptoms, when occurring fundamentally at night, when being in bed, interfere in the suitable rest.

Up to 80% of the patients also associate involuntary movements of the legs during sleep and, a smaller percentage, refer this type of movement also during the vigil, while they are seated or lying down.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Unpleasant sensation in the legs.
  • Involuntary movement of legs.
  • Difficulty in falling asleep.

Síndrome piernas inquietas.
Dra. Elena Urrestarazu

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have Restless Legs Syndrome

How is Restless Legs Syndrome diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Restless Legs Syndrome is clinical and is based on the presence of four essential diagnostic criteria:

  • The irresistible need to move the legs, usually accompanied by an uncomfortable sensation in them.
  • Onset or worsening of symptoms with rest or while lying down or sitting.
  • Improvement or cessation of symptoms after moving the legs.
  • Appearance or predominance of symptoms during the afternoon or evening.

How is Restless Legs Syndrome treated?

Treatment of secondary restless leg syndrome should be directed at the cause of the syndrome, for example, by administering iron when there is evidence of decreased iron stores in the blood.

On the other hand, the first-choice treatment for idiopathic restless leg syndrome is dopaminergic drugs (ropyrinol, rotigotine, pramipexole, or levodopa).

Due to its great effectiveness in the control of the symptoms of this entity, it is suggested that dopamine is involved in the appearance of this clinical picture.

Other alternatives are certain antiepileptic drugs such as gabapentin, pregabalin, topiramate or carbamazepine. Thirdly, opiate drugs such as oxycodone are recommended.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Neurology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Neurology Department has extensive experience in the diagnosis and multidisciplinary treatment of neurological diseases.

We offer a diagnosis in less than 72 hours, along with a proposal for personalized treatment and post-consultation follow-up of the patient by our specialized nursing team.

We have the most advanced technology for an accurate diagnosis with cutting-edge equipment such as HIFU, deep brain stimulation devices, video EEG, PET and epilepsy surgery, among others.

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • State-of-the-art diagnostic assistance with great work in research and teaching.
  • Specialized nursing team.
  • We work together with the Sleep Unit.

Our team of professionals

Neurology specialists with experience in the treatment of restless legs syndrome