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RLS Syndrome

Updated on October 3, 2012
A graph of the sleeping patterns, from people with RLS.
A graph of the sleeping patterns, from people with RLS. | Source


Restless legs Syndrome is a very annoying neurological disorder. The uncommon name for it is the "Willis Ekbom Disease". This disorder can affect many areas of the body. Patients experience an uncontrollable need to move parts of their body, in order to gain relief from annoying sensations. Some describe the sensations as butterflies in the stomach but two fold. The sensations then spread to the limbs and you have to move parts of your body to feel a little better.

RLS or Restless Legs Syndrome, can feel as I described above but every patient is different. For some it may be the aches and pains, others may experience tickling, itching or a sensation of holding your breath for a short time. Sort of like when you catch your breath and have a deep sigh. You lay down to rest, close your eyes and just start bouncing your feet and legs continuously. Commonly it affects the legs but has been documented as affecting other areas of the body.

Most RLS patients experience leg or arm jerking during sleep. Patients with a minor condition will experience problems, when they are sitting still or lying down. Usually when the patient is in a relaxed state and trying to wind down. A minor form of the condition will simply be annoying to the patient but in extreme form can affect patients quality of life dramatically.

A mild case would be experiencing problems late at night, after lying down in bed but more severe cases can experience the symptoms anytime of night or day. A significant percentage of children, were told they had growing pains, when they actually had RLS.

What causes RLS?

In 20% of cases researched, iron deficiency was a common medical factor. It also associates with other medical conditions, such as Celiac disease, Diabete's, Parkinson's disease and Sleep Apnea. These are just a few of the medical conditions, that are associated with RLS. The researchers focus is on the dopamine levels in the brain, as they believe this may be a contributing factor.

How do I control my RLS?

Inactivity is the enemy of RLS. Patients can usually feel it coming on during the day. An overwhelming tiredness in the legs, is a sign you will have problems that night. It is at this point you must prepare yourself, for a good night's sleep.

Take a warm bath or shower just before bed. Next you have to find some moisturiser and rub it into your legs or other affected body part, Give them a massage, get the blood flowing. A stretching routine is also a great way to reduce the severity of the experience. It is a good idea to reduce the amount of coffee in your daily routine, especially at night. Do not allow yourself to become over tired, get plenty of rest. RLS becomes more severe when the body is over tired. In some cases it may need to be treated with medication.


RLS is diagnosed in two categories, primary and secondary. A primary diagnosis means medical staff can find no known cause for the disorder. The patient has usually had an attack before age 45 and it will only continue to worsen. A secondary diagnosis means the medical staff may have found an underlying medical condition, they may have set the attacks off. There is no known cure for RLS but it is manageable under Doctor supervision.

Contact your doctor if you believe that you have RLS and take not of any attacks, how long they lasted for? Was there body part jerking? Write down as many details as you can, then take them to your doctor and get him to assess you.


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