Restless Leg Syndrome

According to the RLS Foundation, restless leg syndrome is described as a disruptive neurological disorder resulting in the irresistble urge to move the legs. It can be accompanied by strange sensations decribed as a creeping, tugging, or pulling. The first medication for the treatment of RLS was not approved until 2005.

I remember when commercials started advertising drugs for RLS. This is the first time I had heard of the condition. Maybe some of the reason is that sush a small amount of people, about 10%, have symptoms. What I wonder is, would people have even thought twice about their symptoms if it was not brought to their attention through media. Hearing other people’s illness narrative and seeing that they were having similar experiences gave those without diagnoses an explaination of what was happening to them. I cannot say that I believe one way or the other that this is a socially constructed illness or a legitamite disorder. I have some of these sensations in my legs at night, and I find that sometimes they are worse than others. Maybe depending on the activities of the day. However, even though I have had similar experiences, I have not sought a medical opinion or recieved treatment. I would not say “I suffer from restless leg syndrome”.

I think there is a huge connection between belief and healing. Having grown up going to church, I have seen what the “power of prayer” can do. Not saying that it works in all situations, but when a person truly believes in something it can makes of a difference. It’s why people with the same illness

7 thoughts on “Restless Leg Syndrome

  1. I feel terrible for thinking this but when the term “restless leg syndrome” comes to mind it brings up this thought that it is not a real disorder. To me it sounds like something someone would say to their kids if they are moving around too much while they are sitting down for a movie or a nap. Thinking this way makes me feel even more terrible for people who live with this disorder because at first the people around them or in their life may not take it seriously. I think more so than anything it is the name that gives the misunderstanding of the disease, it sounds like someone just can’t keep their leg still but when I watched the video of the women with rls it seemed to be different than what I had previously believed. The woman mentioned how she had this uncomfortable feeling shooting through her body and it was hard to sit for long periods of a time. It is hard to difficult where these false and negative connotations of the syndrome have come from but I could say that media may have something to do with it. When the skit of the woman on “Mad TV” was shown it made the disorder seem like a joke, making it difficult for people to take it seriously. Also, like I have said before the name of the syndrome alone makes it seem silly and like an illegitimate problem.

  2. Restless leg syndrome is a disorder that I never much details about, I had just heard about it before. My cultural perception was that is was probably all in a persons head and that is why they are really feeling this. Especially because through biomedical it did not have treatment until 2005 like you said just seems crazy. I feel that restless leg syndrome very likely is real just listening to the pain that the one women in the lecture was going through saying its all the way in her shoulders. I think that it is just something that is hard to prove especially in biomedicine. So because of that I think thats why my cultural perceptions was to not take this seriously. In our culture it is something that was laughed upon like in those commercials, but It is sad that it is no joke to some people.

    I think that these views came from the way out culture sees restless leg syndrome. They came from these commercials and jokes about it so I never really took it seriously. In biomedicine a lot of people do not come forward about it not knowing if it is actually restless leg syndrome like you said you sometimes get that feeling but you wouldn’t say that you have it. Also the “Placebo Effect” could play apart to in the aspect that maybe this should be tried to see if the people can convince themselves in their mind that this is actual treatment, and getting through this syndrome themselves. It may work because it seems to for a lot of other conditions.

  3. When I hear the term Restless Leg Syndrome, my initial reaction is also to regard it is less than a true illness. As far as my biomedical and cultural perceptions of RLS go, I really have not heard a whole lot about RLS. As far as my experience goes RLS is one of those conditions that you really do not hear a lot about. Consequently, my cultural perception of RLS is to question whether it is real or not.
    From a biomedical standpoint, I believe that RLS is a general category for similar diseases that have a plethora of potential causes. Meaning that I do not believe all cases of RLS have similar causes. I do believe that it is an illness, but I believe that RLS is likely caused by multiple diseases that we have yet to fully define, as opposed to a disease like chickenpox, which has a single specific cause(Varicella zoster virus) It is possible that advances in medicine will bring about a refinement in defining RLS when we are better able to understand what is causing it. However, after reading more about RLS it appears that we know more about RLS than I initially believed we did, which I attribute to the lack of discussion on RLS in the media and society in general. It seems that a majority of cases(>60%) are inherited, and that ~20% of RLS cases are accompanied by iron deficiency in the individual. It is also known what medications can worsen or trigger RLS, and currently four genes have been discovered which appear to have a connection with RLS(MEIS1, BTBD9, MAP2K5, and PTPRD), although their role in causing RLS is not understood. However, we have little understanding on the exact cause of RLS, or how to properly diagnosis it in individuals. After reading up on RLS I would say that the causes of RLS are likely more related to one another than I thought, although I still believe that the illness we call RLS is caused by multiple potential diseases that we have yet to specifically define.
    Based on the course materials, I would say that these views originated, for me, primarily from society. The fact that RLS is talked about so little makes it seem like it is not a real illness or a serious concern. I believe that this train of thought, that RLS is not serious or a disease because it would be talked about more if it was is the primary reason that most people do not give RLS much thought.

  4. When I think of Restless Leg Syndrome, it sounds like something very minor that people make a big deal out of. I did not even know that this illness existed until the commercials were on tv. I think this is one of those illnesses that are just in a person’s mind.

    I say this because I don’t hear about the illness a lot and only a very small percentage of people suffer from it. This illness does not even say that it causes any type of pain or any harm for that matter, to the body. Therefore, I don’t think its a legitimate illness. However, some people may just struggle with relaxing period; which I think would be more of anxiety or some type of nerve disorder.

    I think that the thought of RLS not being real comes from the Placebo Effect. The Placebo effect can be performed on multiple patients and then the symptoms all of a sudden decline or disappear. This reinforces the fact that I say RLS is all in your mind. I think that there should be some type of “experiment” using the Placebo effect for people with RLS to see if the majority of the patients are really suffering or not. I have never even seen how physicians diagnose RLS and this is yet another reason why I think that RLS is just all in the patient’s mind.

  5. Personally, I don’t know much on the subject of Restless Leg Syndrome. As much as I could tell through the course materials, it appears that I am not alone. Because it took so long for treatment to be approved, it seems fair to say that many didn’t think of it as a legitimate illness. I think the reason I haven’t been educated on it is because there are so few cases in comparison to things like cancer or diabetes. Beyond not having much experience with the illness, I couldn’t say I have much of an opinion on the subject. It would be hard for me to say one way or another how I categorize it because of this.

    With this in mind, it appears clear that there is a widespread consensus that it is a disease and that those that have to have suffer with this should be given some kind of treatment. I think it’s great that the general public has appeared to accept Restless Leg Syndrome as a problem that is deserves treatment. Education is the best way to determine whether one’s perception of something is accurate. I think this class definitely has helped to reinforce that belief.

  6. I also had not heard of RLS before seeing the commercials for medication on television. The commercials seem to portray actors that are a bit dramatic for the symptoms they describe, and of course the MadTV sketch comedy treats RLS as a joke. Based on these popular media influences, my initial cultural perception of RLS is that it is not an illness with a distinct biomedical cause. It appears to be made light of regularly, and I don’t know anyone who experiences RLS. It is especially hard to find strong biomedical etiology for this illness because the first medication was not even approved until 2005- the research seems limited.

    The symptoms are described as leg sensations such as creeping, tingling, tugging, or pulling. I have also experienced some of these symptoms from time to time after a day of activity, but I don’t consider them to be part of an illness. Rather, they seem to me to be normal body responses and functions. Therefore, from my own experience, it’s difficult for me to classify RLS as a true illness. However, the video clip of the woman with RLS described much more severe symptoms that seemed to begin in the legs but ultimately affect the whole body, and clearly RLS is no laughing matter to her. It could be that biomedical research has yet to accurately describe RLS, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t a true illness experienced by many people. It is a hard syndrome for me to relate to, however, due to the lack of concrete biomedical causes and negative connotations in society.

  7. The first time I heard about RLS, it was on a commercial at 2 in the morning between infomercials and reruns of the Brady Bunch on Nick at Night. Needless to say, amidst these images and my limited consciousness, I instinctually laughed at the idea of it. I immediately thought of the widespread belief that our culture is far too dependent on synthesized drugs to cure every ache and pain we feel. We have pills for depression, for happiness, for attention deficit, for hyperactivity, and now, for restless legs?! We are a culture of drug dependence. Pharmaceutical companies are creating new and new drugs for treat made up diseases to continue to turn a profit. I shook my head (and my leg for that matter) as I changed the channel, completely ignoring the fact that RLS is very much a neurological disorder, just as bipolarity, depression, and ADHD are. I think it is interesting to note that our society is often eager to find a quick cure for any non-normal deviation in behavior we may feel. Because of my medical interest and scientific background, I am not one to quickly accept new ideas or diseases for that matter without proper scrutiny and peer review. Hence, my skepticism to the whole idea of RLS as it gained credibitilyt of neurological disorder. Interestingly, the first medication to treat RLS was approved only 8 years ago. I don’t think I’m alone to be initially skeptical of RLS. However, after reading more and more about the topic, I have come to recognize the realities of those that suffer from RLS and the need for real medical treatment. I think my initial perceptions of RLS came from the idea that our society has more and more drugs to treat even the most obscure of diseases. But in truth, the diseases are simply rare, not obscure. Even the people that suffer from RLS probably tried to “shake it off” for years, ignoring their symptoms, believing it’s all in their head. Thankfully, there is treatment available now.

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