The Link Between Fibromyalgia and Restless Leg Syndrome

The Link Between Fibromyalgia and Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome affects millions of people around the globe, and many of them simply must live with the annoyance day in and day out. Restless leg syndrome is characterized by an urge to move one's legs that often comes with an uncomfortable sensation deep within the legs, according to

Studies are beginning to show that restless leg syndrome affects people in greater numbers who already are afflicted with fibromyalgia. While this has been suspected for many years, categorical evidence has been found and published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that connects the two conditions.

"Our goals were to (1) investigate the prevalence of RLS in FM using a validated RLS screening tool, (2) estimate the strength of the association between RLS and FM, and (3) establish whether RLS disrupts sleep over and above the sleep disruption observed in FM patients," write Mari Viola-Saltzman, DO, from the Department of Neurology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, and colleagues.

The researchers examined 172 patients with FM who met the American College of Rheumatology diagnostic criteria for the condition, 93% of whom were women, all with a mean age of 50 years. Sixty-three patients free of pain and fatigue, 56% of whom were women, all with a mean age of 41 years, served as the control group. Participants self-reported RLS through a validated diagnostic telephone interview, according to

Accurately treating the fibromyalgia will lead to less pain associated with restless leg syndrome, and ultimately more sleep for suffering patients.

"Sleep disruption is common in fibromyalgia, and often difficult to treat. It is apparent from our study that a substantial portion of sleep disruption in fibromyalgia is due to restless legs syndrome," contributing author Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in an American Academy of Sleep Medicine news release.

This new study will help pain doctors around the globe to know even more of the right questions to ask when diagnosing a potential fibromyalgia patient. Sleep deprivation from restless leg syndrome can lead to extreme fatigue, which in turn can worsen the overall effects of fibromyalgia.

These findings are yet another reason why at The Pain Center of Arizona we use a multidisciplinary team of experts to not only accurately diagnose your condition, but to manage all of the symptoms that are associated with it.


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