If you sit behind a desk all afternoon, your legs are very likely to go numb before they get sore.
So you will start to move, stretch, wiggle your legs.
We even feel more nervous when we sit for a long time.
But some people have an overwhelming urge to move called restless leg syndrome, which is terribly damaging to their lives.
What are the symptoms of restless legs syndrome?
Restless leg syndrome also known as Willis and Ekbom’s disease or RLS is a neurological condition that causes a feeling of throbbing tension in the legs and a irrepressible need to move them.
This feeling gets worse when the person is sitting or lying down, preferably motionless.
Most of the time, symptoms go away completely in the morning but worsen again in the evening or at night, which also affects falling asleep and sleep.
Restless legs syndrome causes
Haven’t we all experienced restless nights when worry, stress, nervousness trigger insomnia?
For this reason, many people with this syndrome believe that it is not real but only a side effect of their anxiety.
But the medical world and research have studies showing that this condition is indeed real.
For some, the causes are to be found in genetics since this syndrome is often transmitted from parent to child, for others it is iron deficiency.
And this deficiency could well be the major cause since an erroneous interpretation seems to be declared at the level of the receiver of dopamine located in the brain, precisely in the region of the basal ganglia.
The body needs iron to produce dopamine, which has a major impact on nerve signals.
In the basal ganglia, dopamine is one of the initiators in deciding which muscle movements to perform.
When dopamine levels are normal, it acts as a gateway to send messages to other areas of the brain to perform natural and controlled movements.
But when this dopamine level is altered, the messages are wrong and restless legs syndrome appears.
Some people have a mild syndrome that they don’t even get over when others lose sleep.
Who suffers from restless leg?
This condition affects all age groups with a slight dominance of women.
About 5-10% of those over 50 have it occasionally.
Restless legs are often linked to conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney failure, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
They also affect overweight people and pregnant women.
RLS, what to do?
Doctors sometimes recommend sleeping with a vibrating pillow placed under the legs to counteract the uncomfortable muscle sensation.
If you have an iron deficiency, you may consider supplementation with medical advice.
You can also discuss drugs called dopamine agonists which work to trick brain cells into believing they are receiving dopamine signals even when the rate is insufficient.
They can resolve the gateway effect and really alleviate a very painful syndrome.
How to treat restless legs?
Diagnosing restless leg disease is very easy.
The doctor takes a simple questionnaire to assess five points:
1 – the urge to move the legs with an unpleasant sensation
2- increased discomfort through immobility or inactivity
3- sensation or pain relieved by movement
4- the syndrome is accentuated in the evening and at night
5 – no drug is involved in this phenomenon
Sometimes the only thorough examination needed is a blood test to assess the level of iron in the blood.
Restless legs medications
Many substances are used in medicine to try to treat this syndrome.
– dopaminergics (L-dopa, pramipexole, ropinirole, rotigotine, cabergoline)
– alpha 2 delta ligands (gabapentin, gabapentin enacarbil, pregabalin)
– iron (oral or intravenous)
In fact, current treatments for RLS are not really successful and the side effects of some substances are not trivial.
Prescriptions that increase RLS
Taking certain drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants, lithium, anti-nausea drugs, antipsychotics, antihistamines, anticonvulsants can make a restless legs syndrome worse.
How to relieve Ekbom syndrome?
Alternative treatment for nighttime restlessness begins with trying to link all of the underlying causes of the condition.
And although more often the cause is unknown, it can be associated with neurological disorders, diabetes, stress and even pregnancy.
Lack of sleep definitely causes drowsiness but can also lead to depression or even accidents.
In recent years, researchers have found that the levels of iron, folate (vitamin b9) or vitamin E are often too low in people suffering from this syndrome.
Supplementation can certainly help.
When iron deficiency is the cause, taking a supplement can significantly reduce symptoms.
However, some people do not suffer from iron deficiency and supplementation becomes unnecessary.
Restless leg, what not to do
Other options remain possible to deal with this problem:
Limit or even eliminate completely:
The rules of life to apply to space out crises:
- take care of your sleep
- stretch before bed
- take a lukewarm bath before sleeping
- exercise (preferably walking, cycling) during the day
- in a crisis, do not resist uncontrolled movements
- do a leg massage from bottom to top, ankles to the top of the thighs
- apply heat or cold as you feel
- Infrared heat (infrared cushion)
Numerous scientific studies show that infrared light provides real relief.
Using a infrared massage cushion at the rate of 30-minute sessions three times a day can reduce or even eliminate the syndrome.
- Massage gun
The massage gun significantly reduces fatigue and quickly restores muscle condition.
Convenient for self-massage, it can provide quick relief from RLS symptoms.
- Leg compression
Compression of the lower limbs improves blood circulation, supplies oxygen to muscles, decreases fatigue, improves mobility and gives energy.
There are “combinations” allowing to act in depth to counter the pain and to space the crises.
Start with compressive sessions progressive 10 minutes, 15 minutes up to an hour a day.
Acupressure has unexpected benefits in many conditions.
Stimulating specific points can bring instant relief.
I refer you to this article on benefits of acupressure.
– Points to relieve restless legs.
Apply intense pressure to each point for 1 to 3 minutes and to each leg.
- Foot bandage
On the same principle as acupressure, there is a specific foot bandage for restless legs.
This band is placed in the center of the feet and exerts pressure on the arch of the foot to relieve impatience.
This ingenious system from the Restiffic system seems to provide real help when placed one hour before bedtime, so as to annihilate the first sensations that affect falling asleep.
- Soap between the sheets
Surprising as it may seem, some patients have been able to significantly reduce restless legs attacks simply by slipping a soap in their sheets.
The scientific explanation does not follow but why not give it a try?
What to take for restless legs
- Restless leg syndrome Magnesium – Calcium
Cramps, restlessness and sleeplessness can be relieved with calcium and magnesium intake.
Magnesium is better absorbed by the body when combined with calcium.
Magnesium supports the immune system and maintains optimal muscle and nerve function.
It is also involved in many metabolisms and in protein synthesis. It is necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions of the organism.
It is essential.
One of its strengths is its muscle relaxant property. It relaxes the painful muscles.
It’s also a good idea to find a liquid magnesium formula that can be sprayed on the legs.
- Omega 3
Omega 3 are well known to enhance the inflammatory response.
Through various mechanisms, they regulate the inflammatory cycle, which prevents and soothes certain painful conditions.
For some, Omega 3 provides real relief in restless leg syndrome.
The key seems to lie in the dosage: a daily dose of Omega 3 EPA DHA greater than 1000mg seems to be effective.
- Restless leg syndrome Iron
Before any iron supplementation, it is advisable to do a blood test to know your ferritin level.
Indeed, too much iron in the blood can be dangerous.
If after examination, a deficiency is detected, know that the minimum dose required for a man is 8mg / day and 18mg / day for women.
- Vitamin B12 , Vitamin B9
One of the major causes of RLS is low dopamine levels.
The combination of vitamins b9 and b12 helps regulate dopamine while relaxing muscle contractions.
In addition, vitamin b9 significantly improves blood circulation.
- Tonic water
Tonic water is a well-known carbonated drink containing water with the addition of quinine.
1 liter of this drink contains 83mg of quinine when a quinine tablet diffuses 500 or 1000mg in the body.
Tonic water is believed to provide real relief in restless leg syndrome through its active effect for cramps.
Essential oils for restless legs
Certain essential oils are commonly indicated to treat this condition.
This is the case for the French Danièle Festy synergy based on fine lavender, shell marjoram or green cypress for which it is recommended to massage the legs of bottom up, ankles to top of thighs, before bed.
– HE Lavender Officinale: 1 drop
– HE Marjolaine: 2 drops
– HE Cypress: 3 drops
– HV Arnica: 1 tbsp
Very often, they do not provide the desired effects because these synergies act on circulatory problems only.
If the underlying cause is not circulatory, it will be better to go for the supplements indicated.
Homeopathy restless legs
The major homeopathic remedy for impatience is Zincum Metallicum in dosage 7 or 9CH at the rate of 5 granules 3 times a day.
Depending on the symptoms, you can add:
– Rhus Toxicodendron 5CH – 5 granules morning and evening
– Cuprum Meltallicum 5CH – 5 granules morning and evening
Sometimes restless legs and sleepless nights aren’t just a fleeting hustle and bustle. They are a deeper pain.
This sensory neurological disorder disrupts quality of life and seriously affects sleep.
But there are also natural remedies that can reduce the symptoms to live better and find peaceful nights.
How about you? How do you fight restless legs?
This blog is copyright ©2021 by gomedica.org. All rights reserved