Thanks to Heidi for her query about Restless Leg Syndrome. The following information should be helpful.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move when at rest in an effort to relieve these feelings. Sensations are often described as burning, creeping, tugging, or like insects crawling inside the legs.
More than 80% of people with RLS also experience a more common condition known as periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). PLMD is characterized by involuntary leg twitching or jerking movements during sleep that typically occur every 10 to 60 seconds, sometimes throughout the night. The symptoms cause repeated awakening and severely disrupted sleep. Unlike RLS, the movements caused by PLMD are involuntary. Although many patients with RLS also develop PLMD, most people with PLMD do not experience RLS.
Causes of RLS and PLMD
There are no known causes for either condition however the following may have an impact on symptoms:
- People with low iron levels or anemia may be prone to developing RLS.
- Chronic diseases such as kidney failure, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and neurological lesions my be associated with RLS.
- Some pregnant women experience RLS, especially in their last trimester. For most of these women, symptoms usually disappear within 4 weeks after delivery.
- Certain medications including cold and flu tablets.
- Caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco may aggravate or trigger symptoms in patients who are predisposed to develop RLS.
Treatment for RLS and PLMD
If you believe you have RLS or PLMD, consult your medical practitioner for a full health assessment including neurological and blood tests. Provided there are no underlying medical conditions, you may wish to consider one or two Bowen Therapy treatments along with the following:
- regular, moderate walking and/or stretching
- taking a hot or cold bath
- massaging the affected legs
- using heat or cold packs on the affected legs
- doing mentally challenging activities (such as a crossword puzzle)
- Decreasing your use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
- Maintaining a regular sleep pattern
- Consult your medical practitioner about supplements to correct deficiencies in iron, folate, and magnesium (found in cooked brown rice and spinach, raw almonds etc)