Great description of RLS by a neurologist in 1685, from London- Sir Thomas Willis

Great description of RLS by a neurologist in 1685, from London- Sir Thomas Willis

"Wherefore to some, when being in bed they betake themselves to sleep, presently in the arms and leggs (his spelling), leapings and contractions of tendons, and so great a restlessness and tossings of their members ensue, that the diseased are no more able to sleep than if they were in the greatest Place of Torture."

I would say that if RLS symptoms were noticed in 1685 by a British neurologist with no internet, there is no excuse for our "modern time" doctors. It is the most perfect explanation ever, to me. It even includes the arms! So, why doctors these days can say it does not exist, it has been around for centuries and documented.

I printed it out for my neurologist years ago, and she has it framed and hanging in her office! ;)

41 Replies

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  • Hi Nightdancer. That is perfect and I too will print and frame it for my office wall. It's brilliant and just what I needed tonight. Since my post about Labrynthitus on Monday/Tuesday I have had a really bad week. 6 hours sleep in 3 nights I kid you not. I have managed to carry on working but only just and even drove down to Dartford (I live in Herefordshire) at 1am on Thursday morning cause I couldnt sleep, rather than 5am that I had set my alarm to get up for. Needless to say I got there very early but at least I wasn't at home getting frustrated. I finally got a good nights sleep last night (Thurs night) but here I am again at 3am unable to sleep cause I am twitching. I am at my wits end and not ashamed to admit that I feel so tearful when its like this. I am guessing you are not too good either being as you posted so early in the morning (or is it late at night!!!) I do hope you get some sleep tonight also.

  • I know what you mean, Steve. I am in the US, so we have 6 hr time difference, but yes, I had a bad night with RLS and nightmares where i woke up screaming this morning. yuck! ;) Hope you get better sleep. I have had the "6 hrs in 3 nights" sleep many times, and have been extremely tearful, and I am not a "tearful" person. In fact, RLS is about the only thing that can make me cry. Glad you liked my post! :)

  • Totally understand Steve...just did a 10 hour hard shift till half past midnight....and about 3 hours sleep on thurs night...it's now 7.30 am; my fella has just gone to work and I've not slept at all....tearful, angry ,frustrated,bitter....I JUST WANT TO SLEEP....IT'S NOT FAIR....WHY ME!!!! I have to meet my daughter in a few hours so if I go to sleep now ...I'll have to wake up weary and tired....so I may as well stay up , take the dog for a walk and struggle through the day....grrrrrrrr....my familytry to understand but feel frustrated cos they cant help me. So I try to keep it all to myself...thanks for this place where I can write it all down and tell my ether friends!!!!!

  • yes, we all we have to vent to our other RLS friends at one point or another. The question "Why me?" is is one way to stress yourself out. We have this insidious disease, others feel helpless to help us. I had a 3 yr relationship 12 yrs ago that ended because of RLS mainly, or his inability to help. He also would get frustrated when I slept on the couch, because trying to sleep in the same bed with someone who can fall asleep in 3.2 seconds was stressful for me, too. He felt "abandoned" and when I slept elsewhere, I was "ignoring" him. pffffft!

  • I have the same problem ....as soon as my partner puts his head down...he's gone....!!!!! We never wake up in the same place. He does try to understand and help but sometimes he does feel neglected. He'll scratch my back and legs for ages and that helps but he'll fall asleep and I'll have to kick him "accidentally" so he'll carry on!!!!!!

  • And I know the why me is pointless......why not me?!!! It's not surfaced in my children so far , and for that I'm am so grateful! I feel a question coming on!!!!!!!!!

  • Hi Steve, sorry you are still having a hard time. Has the Labrynthitus gone yet...?? Dont worry about feeling tearful, sleep deprivation can make you feel extremely low. I have in the past when awake night after night also been in tears...i cant remember what med you are taking for your RLS, i should look back at your posts to find out....

    As you work and have to drive, be very careful, while sleep deprived more accidents happen on the road we dont want that to happen to you.

    Nightdancer is in the USA, hence why her post seems to be in the middle of the night to you... The time difference is about 6-7 hrs behind us.

    Wish i knew what to suggest for you, apart from maybe having to change the med you are on...

  • Thanks Elisse, didnt realise N/Dancer was american! Sorry Nightdancer. Amazingly the Labrythitus went on the day I went to docs and took the days meds for it. The doc gave me a test for it by sitting me on the couch with my legs up and then suddenly pushing me down flat. My world span and i was nearly sick but i have heard that sudden resetting of the particles in the inner ear by drastic sudden head movements can 'cure' the affliction. Maybe that was it, who knows. I have been reading other posts and there are a lot of people a lot worse than me so can't complain to much. Something we 'sufferers' have to deal with I guess. Nice to hear from you again.

  • Did you forget I have vertigo, too, and have been wheeled into the doc's office in a wheelchair because I could not walk and had to have a bucket in my lap because of the nausea. They get you out of the waiting room fast when they see the bucket in your lap. LOL I do not touch antihistamines, myself, but we have a med called Meclizine in the states that really helps me. :) That is also a med that could bother RLS, but does not seem to when I have to take it. I have had that same test, too, but we've talked about that elsewhere. ;) <3

  • Mine, adnittedly is not Meniere's (sp) but the vertigo is debilitating, like yours, and it is miserable when it happens, Knock on wood.

  • you would beat ALI. lol ;)

  • Hi Romany, sorry been so long replying, forgot to check further down on this particlular string of comments, I have been writing on others but not this one. As it happens I do think my hearing is going as i have to ask my wife to turn the telly up even though its fine for her and constantly asking my 10 yr old daughter to repeat things (mind you all kids mumble dont they!). Going to book a hearing test this next week.

    I was put on a drug that conflicted with Mirapexin and made my first night on it hell but can't remember it name. My symptons are just basically total room spinning and anability to walk in a straight line. Thankfully it has eased a little now!

  • you need to keep track fo your meds and wrote them down. being treated for labrythitis, you may well get drugs that may not only onetract with Mirapex, but they will actually make it worse. Do yourself a great favor and keep track fo what meds you can and cannot take, so you do not get on the crazy merry go round of "let's try this or that next". I take 18 prescriptions, alternative meds, etc, and always keep the list updated, what triggred my RLS, what did not. It really helps at the doctor's office to have that all in front of you. You really HAVE to know what you can personanl;y take and what you can't, so not allowed to forget names of meds. ;) makes your life a lot easier, trust me. did you do the hearing test yet?

  • Turns out its correct. Interesting read i thought

  • yes, it is. many things can cause vertigo and meniere's; infections for meniere's can affect your hearing permanently in some cases, so it can be awful.

  • but who knows? LOL It didn't help you, right? Sounds like torture. :(

  • I HAVE A LINK FOR YOU!!!!!!

    neuroanatomy.wisc.edu/selfl...

    Its nothing actually to do with RLS..its just an ear problem!!!!

  • Just to clarify, the sudden pushing me down was a test for Labrynthitus (LBTS)not RLS. It is possible to have disturbed balance due to pressure on the brain caused by a small lump or tumour but if it is the inner ear problem causing it then this test will make you very sicky where as if it is the brain problem, it does not. With me it made me very sicky which in a good way was a relief. The inner ear is made up of many many tiny bones and with the onset of LBTS they get out of position and balance, there are several exercises you can do, all of them unpleasant, to try to re-aline them. There is a video on YouTube showing what to do although I don't have the link. So it is not as much bunkum and some people think!!

  • oo, who thinks its bunkum Steve ? they certainly wouldnt if they had it to put up with.

  • Does it not also have to do with 2 different kinds of inner ear fluid that can mix and cause the sicky feeling, too? That is what my neuro told me anyway, when he was testing for vertigo. ;) sounds like a lot of things can make it worse; I revisited a couple of web sites that I had used before when my vertigo ws so bad. so, I do know the difference. :) They both are awful to deal with, for sure. has it affected your hearing?

  • I got confused in the beginning, because RLS was on my brain, so I thought you were talking about RLS testing. my bad. ;)

  • I had that mixed up obviously, since I had RLS on the brain, so sorry.

  • I seem to remember its called the Epley manoeuvre...when it works its magic!

  • but it makes you better!!!!! no pain..no gain....Ha ha!

  • I'll have to check but I'm certainly my bro in law uses it as a relief for his symptoms too...maybe it does both...he says its horrible but when the weird reaction passes he feels much better. Sometimes I think he puts up with the symptoms to avoid the process of feeling better.!!!!

  • I might be wrong...let me know what your doc says and I'll ask my bil next time I see him.!

  • Well, I am with your doctor on that one, hun! ;) whether we have Meniere's or vertigo or ear particles, we all end up spinning and barfing. :)

  • I do not mean all RLSer's just us who have been talking about it here. :)

  • Thanks Elisse, didnt realise N/Dancer was american! Sorry Nightdancer. Amazingly the Labrythitus went on the day I went to docs and took the days meds for it. The doc gave me a test for it by sitting me on the couch with my legs up and then suddenly pushing me down flat. My world span and i was nearly sick but i have heard that sudden resetting of the particles in the inner ear by drastic sudden head movements can 'cure' the affliction. Maybe that was it, who knows. I have been reading other posts and there are a lot of people a lot worse than me so can't complain to much. Something we 'sufferers' have to deal with I guess. Nice to hear from you again.

  • I think, they form as an after effect of infection or from tinnitus etc..my brother in law has had tinnitus and meniers disease for years and this procedure gives him relief

  • and, i was reading last night, and there are 2 different kinds of ear fluid, one for innerear and one for the outer ear canal. When they "mix" it can cause Vertigo, and then they talked about the Epley maneuver for testing Vertigo, too.

  • Yes, there are people on here with more going on with them than RLS. But that doesnt mean having RLS, is any less a big problem. Dealing with it, is all we can try to do, as it definately is not going away, unfortunately.,

    Glad you felt better in some way, by venting your frustrations on here, it can help...

  • Well I had wondered about the possibility that RLS was a modern affliction due to the apparent historical lack of accurate descriptions of it's symptoms. This observation from 1685 is so well made and simply put, that it shames our modern medical profession's ability to ignore our cries for help.

  • I agree! :)

  • I think it helps if we know all that people have going on, illness wise, as then we can take into account all the different meds, soon will bother one person but not the other...weird

  • sorry, SOME will bother one and not the other, i saw on here, that someone take's Betahistine, and it does not bother their RLS one bit.. will have to check and remind myself who its

  • I know someone with Menieres Disease but only found out about it on Thursday. He sometimes can't get off the floor his sickness is so bad. I feel for you.

  • I wake up with vertigo, and have had to crawl down the hallway on my hands and knees. arrrghhhhh It is an awful feeling.

  • well, you know you two are very lucky to be able to do that, romany, but you know that already. :) We do know that the majority of RLSer's cannot take those, so this shows "exceptions". I know YOU know. LOL <3 just clarifying.

  • Isn't it amazing how one persons article or blog or thread, whatever is the right terminology!! can give rise to so much debate, great stuff and well done Nightdancer

  • Thank you! ;)

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