Restless Legs Syndrome(RLS) is a neurologic condition marked by an uncomfortable feeling in the legs along with an overwhelming urge to move the legs. The condition affects 2-3% of children in the U.S. and might be genetic.
The symptoms of this condition usually get worse at night especially when a child is lying in bed. Children frequently are restless in bed with complaints of leg discomfort or have difficulty falling asleep. Several children may report these symptoms as an urge to walk around or an urge to shake the legs to relieve the discomfort. Other symptoms of this condition may include:
Restless Legs Syndromecan make it difficult to stay asleep or fall asleep. A child may battle the usual bedtime and refuse to go to sleep until late at night. It is because the child is not sleeping well or there might also be behavioral changes such as:
Symptoms may also be caused by periods of inactivity such as sitting in a movie theatre, long car trips, immobilization in a cast, or long-distance flights. Parents may mistake these symptoms for developing pains or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Diagnosis of Restless Legs Syndrome in Children
To diagnose RLS in children up to age 12, the adult criteria must be met:
Additionally, the child must be able to describe the leg sensations in their own words. If not, two of these must be true:
Any lack of dietary must be addressed. Children with RLS must avoid caffeine and improve good bedtime habits. If needed, medications that affect benzodiazepines, dopamine, and anticonvulsants might be recommended.
Treatments in Children
Even though there is no cure for Restless Legs Syndrome, symptoms can be managed with techniques that include: