2006 issue 2


Volume 15, issue 2

Case report

Restless Arms Syndrome

1. Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2006; 15 (2): 127-129
Keywords: restless legs syndrome, restless arms syndrome, risk factor


Objectives. An extensive literature on the Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) indicates that this syndrome is too often overlooked or misdiagnosed. On the other hand, concurrent paresthesias and motor restlessness (akathisia) in the upper limbs are very seldom reported. There are extremely few brief reports ofparesthesia and akathisia restricted to the upper limbs. The author recently described 3 patients suffering from motor restlessness associated with painful paresthesias in the upper limbs only, with lower limbs symptom-free.

Case reports. In this paper 5 more cases are presented with paresthesia, disesthesia and motor restlessness occurring in the upper limbs only. Before admission to our clinic the patients had been treated by many other physicians with no effect. Since their complaints had been regarded as due mainly to cervical spondylosis, they had been treated with non-opioid analgesics. Recent reports suggest that analgesics of this type administered regularly or abused are the main risk factor for the RLS development. Considering that, except for its location, the restless arms syndrome (RAS) is analogical to the RLS in terms of the patient's complaints, non-opioid analgesics can be hypothesized to constitute the main risk factor also in the development of the former (RAS).

Commentary. The problem is very important, since there is a systematic increase in the use of non-opioid analgesics (by about 4% annually in Poland). Therefore, it seems necessary to draw not only neurologists' but also other physicians' attention to the danger of inappropriate use of non-opioid analgesics by their patients. It is essential to establish proper diagnostics of both these syndromes, RAS and RLS, in order to undertake their effective treatment.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Michał Pryszmont, ul. Gen. Bema 89 B m. 8, 15-370 Białystok