What is Restless Leg Syndrome and Accidents

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Restless Leg Syndrome and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) can start from a variety of situations. In reference to car accidents how can a condition, often genetic, start to affect you?

Let’s start with how a motor vehicle accident (MVA) can affect the legs. A MVA is a multi-level traumatic event. It is a mental and physical mountain that everyone must climb for recovery. Lower extremity injuries are frequent with the MVA. Broken or crushed limbs can be the extreme while sprains, strains and contusions are the most frequent.

Restless Leg Syndrome will give you an urge to constantly move your legs. It is a neurological condition characterized by the unpleasant feelings that appear in the legs. It can range from a crawling type of sensation to tingling and it affects up to 10% of adults. It is more prevalent at night, sitting or laying down trying to relax. Moving the legs provides short-term relief but the cycle will begin again, and some find themselves unable to sleep because of how their legs feel. The feeling has been described as throbbing, aching, itchy, electrical, stiffness and for some the feeling is just hard to explain.

We can see similar symptoms in the legs after a MVA. Often after a MVA some may experience numbness, tingling, throbbing, and aching in the legs which may be like RLS symptoms. I have even had patients think the car accident gave them RLS. The source of the leg pain following a MVA is usually related to a nerve being impinged in the spinal column. This nerve compression may feel like RLS but is stemming from trauma. Nerve pain from an MVA that goes into the legs can occur all day long. It will be present with or without activity and may be relieved when resting at night. RLS may start at night when you lay down to rest and keep you up with the unrelenting need to adjust the body and legs. Although the main cause of RLS is unknown, it is believed the problems stem from either brain, spinal cord or low levels of dopamine. If developed after the age of 40, it is less likely due to genetics. There is little to no research showing a relationship that neuropathy has caused RLS. There are multiple conditions that arise as a result of a MVA that may contribute or worsen RLS. These are brain injuries, spinal injuries, depression, stress and fatigue. These conditions often overlap in the treatment of MVA and can make the diagnosis even more confusing .

 This article is written by Aaron Workman, DC, one of the members of Chambers Medical Group’s team of car accident chiropractors who offer a variety of treatments and therapies ranging from diagnostic testing to various soft tissue therapies for car accidents and injuries in Kentucky.


Have you been in a car accident? If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group  to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.

Chambers Medical Group has car accident medical clinics in the following locations:

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