Restless Legs Syndrome

Topics: Restless legs syndrome, Sleep, Dopamine Pages: 3 (729 words) Published: July 23, 2008
Restless Legs Syndrome
I. History of Disorder
Restless legs syndrome is a neurological disorder that has been studied for hundreds of years. The earliest documentation of the syndrome was recorded nearly 400 years ago by Thomas Willis, a 17th century English physician who served King Charles II. Willis described cases of people having trouble sleeping because of constant contractions of tendons in the legs. Soreness resulted from these contractions and would hinder sleep for days at a time. The condition he was describing was almost positively Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), but little was known about it at the time. There were other accounts of the disease throughout the centuries and in 1923 Hermann Oppenheim discovered it to be a neurological disorder. But it wasn’t until 1944 that Professor Karl-Axel Ekbom gave the disease its current name and studied it in greater detail. RLS is also commonly known in the medical world as “Ekbom disease” because of his efforts and studies ( II. Symptoms

The basic symptoms of RLS are fairly obvious. Patients experience soreness in the legs that worsens with lack of movement. The condition usually forms slowly and continues to affect the legs more and more over time. Soreness often becomes more apparent in the evening or at night, which is a more common time to be resting or sleeping (Sheil, 2006). Patients often develop insomnia because the soreness is so overpowering when they sleep. The soreness and painful sensations are described as strange itching, tingling, or "crawling" sensations occurring deep within the legs, causing an urge to move the limbs to relieve the pain. Restlessness often results in floor pacing, tossing and turning in bed, and rubbing the legs and this can keep people awake for hours or even days at a time (, 2005). Symptoms usually worsen while sitting or lying down and, depending on the severity of the case, may or may not improve upon physical activity....
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