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Psychiatriki. 2016 Jul-Sep;27(3):222-226.

Restless legs syndrome mimicking S1 radiculopathy.

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Department of Neurology, University of Athens Medical School, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece.
Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center, Neurological Institute, Cleveland, OH, USA.
Sleep Study Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of Athens Medical School, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Α case of a chronic idiopathic form of a severe type of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), which developed during pregnancy and persisted after this, misdiagnosed for 34 years as radiculopathy S1, is reported. In spite of the thorough clinical and laboratory investigation, in addition to constant changes of the therapeutic approach, the diagnosis of S1 radiculopathy could not be confirmed, resulting in a chronic clinical course; the latter was characterized by relapses and remissions not attributed or linked in any way to the treatment (various types of). In fact, it was due to a routine workup in a sleep clinic, where the patient was referred because of a coincident chronic insomnia (Restless Legs Syndrome is a known and important cause of insomnia/chronic insomnia), which resulted in a proper diagnosis and treatment of this case. With the use of Restless Legs Syndrome appropriate treatment (Pramipexole 0.18 mg taken at bedtime, a dopaminergic agent and Level A recommended drug for Restless Legs Syndrome) an excellent response and immediate elimination of symptoms was achieved. Restless Legs Syndrome may present with a variety of symptoms (with the most prominent shortly being reported with the acronym URGE: Urge to move the legs usually associated with unpleasant leg sensations, Rest induces symptoms, Getting active brings relief, Evening and night deteriorate symptoms); given the fact that Restless Legs Syndrome presents with a great variety and heterogeneity of symptoms (mostly pain, dysesthesia and paresthesia), which may occur in several other diseases (the so called "RLS mimics"), proper diagnosis of Restless Legs Syndrome usually fails. Restless Legs Syndrome misinterpreted as S1 radiculopathy, to the best of our knowledge, has not been reported yet in the literature. Here, case history, clinical course and common RLS mimics are presented. Different forms of Restless Legs Syndrome manifestations, which are commonly -as in this case- misinterpreted due to their mimicking several pathological conditions, Restless Legs Syndrome prevalence on general population according to various large epidemiological studies and pathogenic hypotheses on the issue of Restless Legs Syndrome are discussed. Finally, by presenting another possible "RLS-mimic" our aim is to highlight the common misdiagnosis of Restless Legs Syndrome, which can mimic a variety of disorders, some of which are very common, such as an S1 radiculopathy, thus raising concern among doctors of various specialties addressed to by Restless Legs Syndrome sufferers, on the importance of proper diagnosis of the syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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