9 Facts to Know About Restless Legs Syndrome

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The symptoms of restless legs syndrome sound like the plot of a horror movie. If you have this condition, you might sink into bed at the end of each day aching for a good night’s sleep. Then it begins. An irresistible urge to move your legs won’t allow you any peace. You feel creeping, crawling, tingling, aching, or twitching sensations in your lower extremities, making it almost impossible to sleep. If you don’t have restless legs syndrome (RLS for short), this may sound unimaginable. But for people with intense cases of RLS, this might be just another typical night.

In 1685, a doctor named Sir Thomas Willis recorded the first written case about RLS, according to a 2012 review in Sleep Medicine Reviews. Fast forward to 1945, when a doctor named Karl-Axel Ekbom came up with the name restless legs syndrome. Though both milestones happened some time ago, doctors are still searching for a definitive cause and cure for this condition, alternatively called Willis-Ekbom disease. Here are nine facts explaining what doctors know so far about this baffling disorder and which mysteries still need investigating.

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