Why Do I Always Move My Legs? --
Causes and Top 7 Natural Remedies

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October 29, 2014, last updated October 1, 2015
By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist   

Twitching, bouncing, jogging, jerking, and altogether
restless legs are annoying and worrying. The sensation that
you just can’t stop moving your legs can range in severity
from irritating to extremely painful. If you’re always
moving your legs, fidgeting when you sit down, or kicking
your legs when you lay in bed, what can you do about it?
Why are your legs always moving, and does it mean
something is seriously wrong?

You Move Your Legs Due to Restless Legs Syndrome

Involuntary leg movements have a range of different
causes. Fortunately, most cases of unwanted leg
movements are not linked to serious disorders, although
sometimes leg movements can be caused by neurological

One of the most common causes of leg movement is a
condition called "restless legs syndrome". Do your leg
movements commonly occur at night when you are resting
or relaxing?

Do you experience a pulling or creeping sensation in your
legs and the often uncontrollable urge to move your legs?
Does moving your legs bring relief? If so, you may be
suffering from a neurological disorder that makes it difficult
to sleep and rest.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
says up to 10 percent of the US population suffers from
restless legs syndrome. The condition can be so bad that
people are left exhausted and unable to function at work –
moderate to severe restless legs syndrome affects two to
three percent of American adults.  Restless legs syndrome
occurs more frequently as you get older and is more
common among women than men, according to a 2014
study from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois.

PLMS --- periodic limb movement of sleep --- is experienced
by over 80 percent of people with restless legs syndrome,
according to the National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke. This disorder means you twitch or
jerk your legs during sleep.

Many people with restless legs syndrome constantly move
their legs because this is the only way to relieve the
discomfort of the disorder.

What Other Conditions Cause Leg Movements?

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition characterized by a
problem with the nerves carrying information from the
spinal cord throughout the body. Single nerves may be
damaged, or whole nerve groups.

Symptoms vary depending on the nerve affected and
where it is, but often include muscle problems like twitching
and cramping legs and feet.

Dystonia is a disorder where you experience involuntary
muscle twitches or contractions which result in unwanted
leg movements.

Dystonia affects different parts of the body and can
manifest itself in the leg muscles.

If there is no specific cause found for muscle twitching and
spasms, it is often called benign fasciculation syndrome.

Benign fasciculation syndrome is a neurological condition
where involuntary twitching occurs in a specific muscle
group, commonly in the legs, feet, arms or

Benign fasciculation syndrome is similar to motor neurone
disease but with motor neurone disease, movement doesn’t
stop the twitching muscle.

When you have benign fasciculation syndrome, movement
generally stops the twitch.

Other problems and conditions that can cause you to move
your legs a lot include
stress, muscle cramps, medications,
caffeine, pregnancy, Lyme disease,
multiple sclerosis,
multiple dystrophy, too much exercise, and weak muscles

We looked at the common causes of leg movement and
their natural solutions, based on recent scientific research
into cures and remedies.

Take Magnesium to Help Restless Legs

Magnesium is one of the natural substances said to ease
the discomfort of restless legs syndrome, and can prevent
so much movement of the limbs.

Some studies back up this assertion, including a 1998
research report from Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg,

Researchers noted that supplemental magnesium helped
even when their magnesium levels were normal.
Not all studies agree, however, and there have been no
double-blind trials.

You can find a list of
foods rich in magnesium here.

Vitamin E Helps Stop Restless Leg Movements

According to experts, vitamin E helps people who cannot
stop moving their legs. A study from 1973 by S Ayres and
R Mihan showed that 400 to 800 IU of vitamin E each day
led to a complete absence of leg movement symptoms in
seven out of the nine people studied.  That equates to a
77% reduction.

Other studies suggest that vitamin C or vitamin B12 may be
helpful, although these nutrients are by no means proven
to have an effect.

Linoleic Acid and Leg Movements

Researchers suggest that the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic
acid can help people suffering from multiple sclerosis,
which is one cause of excessive leg movements.

Linoleic acid is present in sunflower oil and safflower oil as
well as other vegetable oils.

Two studies in the 1970s – one in 1973 by JH Millar, KJ
Zilkha, MJ Langman, et al, and one in 1978 by D Bates, PR
Fawcett, DA Shaw, et al – found participants who took
linoleic acid had shorter, less severe attacks of the disease
(which included less intense leg movement symptoms)
compared to those taking placebo.

However, other studies have shown no change in
symptoms when taking the fatty acid. More studies are
needed to see if the supplement has the power to reduce
MS symptoms.

Folate for Legs that Always Move

Folate is often recommended for leg movements due to
restless legs syndrome. A 1976 study by MI Botez
demonstrated that symptoms eased for 45 patients given 5
to 30 mg of folate each day.

Caution is advised, however, as high doses of folate should
only be given under medical supervision.

Nutritional doses of folate have been shown to help
pregnant women, those who are deficient in folate, and
those who can’t stop moving their legs.  

Do Iron Supplements Work for People with Restless

Scientists have linked restless legs syndrome with low iron

A 1998 study from John Hopkins University Department of
Psychology, Baltimore looked at the medical records of 27
people who suffered excessive leg movements and found
those people who moved their legs the most had lower
than average levels of serum ferritin, which is a measure of
iron deficiency.

In a 1994 study from the Department of Geriatric Medicine,
Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 18 elderly people with restless
legs syndrome were found to have iron deficiency, and
when given iron their symptoms improved. It should be
noted that iron only seems to help leg movement if you
already have a deficiency in iron.

Make Lifestyle Changes If You can’t Stop Moving Your

If you’re constantly twitching, jerking or kicking your legs
it may help to look at your lifestyle. Cut your caffeine
intake, stop drinking alcohol or smoking, and make changes
to your sleep patterns so you can be sure you are getting
enough rest. It can also help to have a leg massage or to
take a warm bath or use a heating pad.

Gamma-Linoleic Acid for Leg Movements

Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is commonly found in the form
of evening primrose oil, or borage oil.

GLA helps protect nerves from diabetes-induced peripheral
neuropathy, which can cause unwanted leg movements.

A 1993 study from Queen Mary and Westfield College,
University of London, UK and a 1993 study by UMDS,
London, UK showed this to be true - gamma-linoleic acid
resulted in an improvement in the symptoms of peripheral
neuropathy and it may help you if your leg movements are
caused by this condition.

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