Can Restless Leg Syndrome affect these nine (9) body parts?

Restless Leg syndrome is not limited to your legs but has been known to progress to other parts of the body such as your arms, chest, torso, abdomen, back, face, head, genitals and even your mouth

It is reported that up to 48.7% of patients with Restless Leg Syndrome might experience restlessness in their upper body in the later course of the disease.

Interestingly enough, many of these conditions have been named a variant of restlessness such as restless arm syndrome and restless shoulder syndrome because they generally follow restless leg syndrome in the way they present and in the treatments they respond to.

What Parts of your feet are affected by Restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome is usually described as a strange sensation, creeping, soreness, cramp or crawliness localized in the calves. 

Some compare the sensation to squirming bugs, or fingers of electricity inside the legs.

The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.  

Other parts of the legs may be affected, as these sensations can occur anywhere between the knee and ankle, deep inside the legs, in the feet and in the thigh area. 

Can Restless Leg syndrome affect your arms?

As if it wasn’t bad enough to have Restless leg syndrome symptoms in your legs, John Hopkins  Medicine reports that some people have experienced these sensations in their arms as well.

The arm restlessness along with another condition known as periodic arm movements, were reported in nearly 43% of Restless Leg Syndrome patients in association with leg symptoms.

This condition is often called restless arms syndrome or (RAS), an upper limb version of restless legs syndrome.

According to research, the spread of leg restlessness to the upper limbs is frequently reported in patients who had RLS only in the legs and usually occurs later in the course of RLS. 

Sometimes in RAS, the arms are predominantly affected with little or no involvement of the legs. And along with RAS cases of restless shoulders syndrome can occur. 

Many people with RLS also have a condition known as periodic limb movement disorder or PLMD. When someone has PLMD their legs or arms twitch or jerk uncontrollably, and this usually tends to occur during sleep.

Can Restless Leg Syndrome affect your Torso and abdomen?

Restless Leg Syndrome can affect your abdomen as well. There have been cases where persons with restless leg syndrome presented with sensorimotor symptoms confined to the abdominal wall and, with the exception of not involving the legs, satisfied the primary and secondary diagnostic criteria for RLS.

Uncomfortable restless abdominal symptoms emerged at night during periods of rest and were accompanied by an urge to move and to temporarily provide relief.

Can Restless Leg Syndrome affect your chest and back?

There have been reports of Restless Leg Syndrome with chest and back restlessness as the initial symptom.

This account detailed a patient who complained of the creeping and itchy sensations in his arms, legs, chest and back. When he visited the doctor,  he would pace around in the waiting room, because moving relieved these symptoms in his extremities.

Another startling realization is that “restless back syndrome,” which might be another rare variant of RLS, may exist in patients who complain of chronic back pain as well.

There have been patients who showed no sign of any physical problem or injury of the spine but the discomforts on the back had characteristics similar those with restless legs syndrome (RLS), and one of patients in the study actually developed RLS after many years of back problems. 

Some Doctors believe that this type of chronic back pain might be another variant of RLS, which is why it has been dubbed “restless back”, and it can be effectively treated by dopaminergic drugs.

 The drawback is that, when restlessness occurs in the back, it can be mistaken for different problems such as swelling,soreness, pain, and fatigue, itching, etc. In this particular case, the “restless back” appeared in the form of chronic back pain, and therefore was not properly diagnosed and treated appropriately for a long time.

Can Restless Syndrome affect your face or head?

Continuing our look into restless leg symptoms which extended to body parts beyond the legs, there are instances where it spreads to the face. And as with RLS the facial symptoms can be relieved by walking, massage or medication.

Sometimes the uncomfortable facial sensations are restricted to the cheeks without involvement of the legs. But generally restless face is considered restless legs syndrome (RLS) variant, as it usually fulfills the RLS essential features.

There is a particular case where a patient experienced uncomfortable sensations in the lower face and forearms for several months. She described her sensations as itching, burning and tingling and sometimes said she felt the sensation of worms moving or electrical currents.

These weird sensations appeared during the periods of inactivity such as lying down and worsened in the evening and/or at night, resulting in difficulty in falling asleep due to an urge to move her upper limbs that were still. 

These symptoms also occurred while sitting in a chair for a few hours during the day. The symptoms were only relieved by shifting her forearms and rubbing her face.

Can Restless Leg Syndrome affect your genitals?

Restless genital syndrome is the variant of RLS that leads to uncontrolled and consistent  sensations of genital and clitoral arousal with the absence of consciously feeling sexual desire. 

These sensations have occurred in persons with symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS). Restless genital syndrome may be linked to neuropathy of the dorsal nerve of the clitoris, allowing it to appear more frequently in women.

Can Restless Leg Syndrome affect your mouth?

Restless mouth can be described as an uncomfortable but non painful sensation of swelling and numbness at the roof of the mouth that gradually spreads to the tongue and eventually the entire mouth. 

This particularly occurs when the mouth is in a relaxed open position and is associated with a strong urge to move the jaw. Movement of the jaw and tongue usually provides temporary relief. 

A particular patient said that he would chew gum for hours at a time to alleviate the symptoms, although doing this provided only temporary relief until the sensations returned. Clenching the teeth and keeping the jaw completely closed provided improvement in his symptoms. So he used a pillow, restraint or hand to keep the jaw closed. 

His symptoms would sometimes begin in the morning and continued throughout the day, and would get worse in the evening. The symptoms did not interfere with sleep as long as he was able to keep his jaw closed with a pillow.   

Wrapping up

Restless Leg syndrome has many variants that can affect parts of the body including the arms, face, back, chest, abdomen, genitals and mouth. 

These variants generally follow the same characteristics of RLS where relaxation brings on the sensations but movement temporarily relieves the discomfort.

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