RLS known as restless leg syndrome according to researchers afflicts about 12 million persons in the United States. It is classified as a neurological disorder defined by uncomfortable feeling in legs and feet and does not get relief by sitting or laying down. You have a feeling of needed movement when laying down in hopes of ridding this feeling. The feelings have been described by persons as like a tugging, burning, or the feeling that something is crawling inside your legs. These feelings are referred to as paresthesias (peculiar feeling) and dysethesias (a disagreeable peculiar feeling), these feelings span from being uncomfortable to irritable and up to painful.
The greatest pronounced form of this condition is when you try to lay down and relax it stimulates the symptoms. Due to this fact a lot of persons with RLS find it very hard to fall asleep and maintain sleep. If treatment is not received it can lead to exhaustion and being tired in the daytime. A lot of persons with RLS condition have stated employment, personal relationships and daily activities are altered due the fact of being tired. Most of the times persons can not maintain concentration, hindered memory and can not complete every day tasks.
Some persons with this condition are under diagnosed or the diagnoses is missed completely. Some persons who do not seek treatment do so because of their belief these symptoms they are having will just be taken lightly, such as it is in mild form or there is nothing they can do to treat them. There are times when physicians view RLS as arthritis, muscle cramping or just age factor.
RLS can afflict males or females, however it does appear to be a little higher in females. It can occur at any age even in infants. The common age for affliction is usually middle age or older. As the older you become the stronger the symptoms present themselves.
RLS symptoms can occur in the deep parts of leg, between ankle and knee and have been known to show up in arms, feet, hands and thighs. The symptoms can be limited to one side of body even though it mostly occurs to both sides.
RLS is relatively unknown as to what causes this condition. Some speculations on the cause include persons with low iron or anemia. Chronic diseases such as kidney failure or diabetes. Pregnancy particularly in the last trimester. Certain prescribed medications like anti nausea, seizure and psychotic drugs. Also a few allergy or cold medications can contribute to this condition. You can try to switch medications to see if it helps at all.
Physician recommendations to treat this condition can include:
Changing your life style and the daily tasks you perform.
Limit usage of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
Supplements such as iron or magnesium.
Change of sleeping routines.
Hot baths, heating pads or ice packs.
Medications ranging from dopaminergics to bezodiazepines to opioids. In very severe cases codeine or oxycodone may be given.
At least 60% of Americans today have at least tried one form of alternative treatments. The RLS Foundation receive numerous questions and people with RLS are not any different than others seeking alternative treatments. They wish to know why there is no listing available for these treatments. One main reason is the old debate on scientific actual proof on this due to the fact there has been very little studies done on RLS and alternative treatments. However, the RLS is now including a general guideline of alternative treatments in which person have to draw a conclusion for themselves if these treatments will work for them.
Some of the alternative treatments are listed below:
As most of us may know acupuncture is now being accepted as a alternative medical treatment by physicians today. It does not only give relief to persons suffering with arthritis but also aides in RLS.
Acupuncture can be used as a treatment in RLS in conjunction with other natural treatments and medicines. It is hoped that in future years acupuncture may be able to help limit the need for medications. As with using acupuncture for arthritis the super fine needles are inserted into a persons body which in turns sends signals to the brain and this causes endorphins the bodies own natural pain killer to be released into the body. The current belief is that acupuncture can work in the same manner for persons with RLS.
There has been two trials done on the effectivness of acupuncture consisting of 170 patients. The final conclusion state that there was no enough proof either way to credit or discredit the use of acupuncture for persons with RLS. It was established that better developed trails and on a larger scale need to be done in order to establish acupuncture as a treatment.
According to The American Chiroprator which is stated to be the most read chiropratic magazine around states the best effective treatment for RLS symptom relief is spinal manipulations along with electro micro current therapy and correcting exercises. There are three main stretching exercising that can aide in keeping L5/S1 wedge this in turn relieves the pressure which is on the sciatic nerve. If it is done regulary this can help the symptoms be made smaller.
A treatment success rate based on 200 patients showed over 40% success rate. The patients had RLS from 6 months up to forty years.
In cases of patinets with RLS mislignment of the spine ends in the outcome of nerve compression of the sciatic nerves which then cause an assortment of issues which include restless legs, muscle spasms in the legs and foot pain. If spinal correction and proper exercises are done the symptoms of RLS are relieved and in turn the patient has a good quality sleep at nighttime.
You can also ask your chiroprator about getting a TENs unit which is a portable unit that provides electrical stimulation and use it for about 15 minutes before bedtime. It will help lessen nighttime leg jerking.
There is almost no research at all on the effects of massage therapy and RLS however online resources for this condition do mention briefly self massage at home. Patients have stated they have had success with treatments done by a massage therapist.
Massage therapy has been noted to help alleviate the symptoms of RLS and even make the patients feet feel warmer. However, it has shown that once weekly massages may be needed if not symptoms of RLS return.
Reflexology is almost the same treatment as receiving acupuncture with the basic differnce there are no needles involved in this treatment. Reflexology employs the use of feet and/or hands. It concentrates on the brain, head and spine all being connected together. When receive a foot massage on certain parts of the feet they give off a reaction. Techniques are done by thumb, finger and had also with or without lotions
Supplements and Herbs
Vitamin E to help with leg cramps. Heightens oxygen supply to the tissues, nerves and general circulation.
Vitamin B promotes health in general but it also can decrease tension in muscle and nerve tissues.
Magnesium restrains muscles spasms occurring in the body and if taken at bed time it can help you to sleep.
Practitioners of homeopathic medicines have years of education and experience in dealing with herbs and herbal remedies. So it is advised you are better off seeking the help of a practitioner for RLS or any condition in which you feel herbs or its remedies may help.
Aconite has been used to treat RLS who have prominent psychological symptoms. These include anxiety and even panick attacks.
Rhus Tox has been used for those with severe RLS symptoms. Joints and many of the muscles are stiff, jerking motions of legs, uncontrolled crying or laughing, and even twitching in muscles. This among other symptoms needs Rhus Tox as a remedy.
Before retiring to bed relaxing in a warm bath prior to sleep by at least 2 hours will aide in relaxation. You need to have water a slighly above warm but not by much. You can even add in a few drops of essential oils such as camomile and geranium. You can sprinkle lavender or rose on a cloth and inhale the aroma to help sleep or even add them to your bath water. You can add a drop or two of a few fragrances if you wish to have a different blend.
Hot foot baths or warm compress on upper stomach for fifteen minutes may also help you sleep.
Yoga is a very calm version for exerecise. Doing simple fundamental yoga stretches at least fifteen minutes before you go to sleep can be promising to help you to sleep.
Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation
1610 14th St NW Rochester, MN 55901-0229
Rochester, MN 55902-2985
National Sleep Foundation
1522 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
WE MOVE(Worldwide Education & Awareness for Movement Disorders)
204 West 84th Street
New York, NY 10024
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Restless Leg Syndrome
Medical Key Words
The American Chiropractor
Massage Therapy Foundation