Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome, as explained in the lecture, is the inability to keep your limbs still, since they develop extremely irritating, or uncomfortable sensations when not in motion. This illness is pretty much thought of as a joke in our culture because people have trouble believing that this sensation actually exists and that it can have such a tremendous impact on the afflicted’s life. Since it is often laughed at, many people will try to suffer through it, or be embarrassed to consult a doctor about it, which can lead to needless suffering.  Another issue with RLS is that it is hard to rate how much pain or suffering a person actually experiences from it. Our societies biomedical approach is not very well suited to rating pain of an illness that does not have readily apparent (visible) effect. As shown in the lectures, the scale to rate pain would not be of much use, and the actually symptoms are fairly hard to describe.

Since there is no definitive answer on what causes Restless Leg Syndrome, or any consensus about a biomedical explanation, it is hard to successfully cure. In the US, doctors may suggest lifestyle changes to help combat the effects, or they may turn to pharmaceutical solutions, but since they do not understand the root cause of the illness, they cannot truly cure it. All the doctors can do is treat it, which may help, but will not eliminate the underlying causes of RLS.

I happen to believe that there is an important connection between belief and healing. When someone believes in something enough, their desire to make it become reality can effect most aspects of their life, and even cause their body to jumpstart its healing process. This is shown multiple times in the Placebo film, for both observable medical conditions such as a wounded knee that have been traditionally treated with surgery, and with mental disorders such as depression, that are usually treated by pharmaceutical means. Overall, I would say that the mind can cause psychosomatic illness, that manifest physical symptoms and it can create psychosomatic cures to alleviate or cure physical conditions.

1 thought on “Restless Leg Syndrome

  1. I agree with you in that the mind and belief can cause both healing, and pain. This is why I have changed my mind about restless leg syndrome. At first, I was like the rest of the people in our culture: believing that restless leg syndrome was simply a state of mind that caused the problems, and could simply be ignored. Now I know that my thoughts were ignorant. As shown as the MadTV clip, it is the subject of ridicule and criticism within our culture. While I had not seen that particular clip, RLS always struck me as a joke, and it is easy for comments around us to enter our subconscious and affect our beliefs. In this same way, I now know that the mind is very subject to belief, and in many ways our own. I agree that the mind is powerful enough to exacerbate a condition and make you feel helpless. I believe sufferers of this condition can do nothing but focus on their legs/limbs and not move them. I myself have had nights with unbearable headaches and could do nothing but focus on suppressing them, which in turn makes them worse. While not an exact comparison, it does serve to show how the mind can affect our conditions negatively and positively.

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