Sleeping Disorders #2 – Restless Legs Syndrome

Do you experience painful leg muscles and an abnormally uncontrollable desire to move around just to partially relieve the pain?

Beware of those symptoms for it could be a sign of a more serious illness.

The following section you are about to read diligently tackles the common misconceptions facts about the restless legs syndrome and properly identify the symptoms characterizing such disease and how you can empower yourself and people suffering from them.

Facts and Symptoms

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a type of neurological sickness which is characterized by painful leg muscles which continues unless they are drawn into physical action.

These distinctive symptoms are in some ways suggestive of motor and sensory malfunction in which uncontrollable urge to move is more prominent.

That means, as leg musculature are relaxed, the more frequent the occurrence of symptoms are. People with this disease feel an abnormally unpleasant feeling of muscle dragging which reduces in severity as the legs are physically maneuvered as in the case of walking or jogging.

It afflicts people of all ages and both genders. Given the current statistics, females and older individuals are apt to develop the symptoms.


Restless Legs Syndrome is of idiopathic type; meaning its exact cause and origin is not yet known.

Currently, scientists are working on locating the part of the brain, which triggers the condition, and genetically identifying the gene which transmits such trait to other cells and other physiological and nutritional factors which activates the episodes of pain in the leg and foot region.

The conditions peculiar to this disease usually occur when the legs are in the resting state. Idleness triggers the symptoms by which this disease is known and manifests patients suffering from this ailment.

Burning and creeping sensations are just some of the most common feeling.

Collating all the symptoms, we can identify them as follows: 

1. The desire to move the legs due to uncomfortable pain

2. Pain becoming more pronounced and advancing at night

3. Involuntary movement of the legs during sleep

4. Onset of symptoms occurs during periods of inactivity and relieved once the legs are moved

The disease affects a considerable number of people worldwide. In fact, according to the latest Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation studies, more than 8% of the US population may be harboring this neurological condition.

This can be translated to more than 12 million people currently diagnosed and exhibiting such remarkable conditions.

Due to the commonality of symptoms and their apparent similarity to other diseases, RLS patients are more often than not misdiagnosed which in turn result to unsuccessful medical treatment.

Much to the patient’s dismay is that, little attention and funding is dispensed on this type of disease suggesting the slow progress to unveiling the mystery of restless legs syndrome and helping patients suffering on it.


Perhaps, one reason for unsuccessful treatment is due to patient’s attitude over the symptoms.

Typical indications of the disease are ignored due to the symptoms unpredictable pattern of attack sometimes occurring during wakefulness or at night or in the middle of the sleep.

Symptoms usually last for days or weeks or usually progress to weeks and disappear for weeks or months. Pain eventually reappears with less intensity after a day or weeks and even for months.

These apparent incalculable occurrences of symptoms make treatment difficult to reconcile. More so, the disease may progress due to the inappropriate treatment applied as the symptoms are ignored.

Since causes remain unidentified, medical treatments are yet to be discovered. A couple of treatment is to relieve the symptoms and not specifically cure them.

Additional Findings

Restless sleep syndrome is usually confused with Periodic Limb Movement in Sleep Disorder (PLMD). Individuals affected by this disorder are identified with the same type of symptoms as in the case of RLS patients but the main difference is that, as the name suggest, it occurs only while asleep and is usually the main cause of insomnia in patients with sleep disorder.

Kicking, flailing primarily of the legs and arms are just some of the most common stereotypical movements. While most RLS patients have PLMD, not all PLMD symptoms develop to RLS.


There has been mounting evidence that RLS may be inherited. In a study conducted on 2001, 14 RLS patients among those 25 French-Canadian individuals apparently suggest the autosomal recessive mode of transmission of RLS.

In autosomal recessive type of inheritance, 2 copies of gene that codes for the disease should be present in order for the effects to materialize in a living species.

Now what does this mean to us? This implies that the chances of developing the disease are enhanced when either your parents have a family history of the disorder or both of them somehow exhibited the condition or are carriers of the condition.


If you experience any of the conditions above, it is best to seek the medical help of your physician so that proper treatment and guidance will be patterned should the disease was identified as RLS.

Early detection and treatment is necessary early treatment and to lessen at the very least, the symptoms associated with the disease.