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  • Matthew Corbin D.C

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) a Definitive Guide:


It's that time again, dum dum duuuum! time to go to sleep, you might be thinking what am I in for tonight, how bad is it going to be or will I get a good nights sleep for a change. For people who have never had restless leg syndrome you might think pfft what's that all about? They should just relax or drink a nice cup of chamomile tea! They should probably be more active and go for a walk. While some of that might be logically correct some people still get RLS and it can affect everything from energy levels, mood, social interaction and general happiness.

What is it?


RLS is when the legs are too excited to sleep, it is usually even in both legs and less commonly affects the arms. People can also feel pain, achenes, tingling and even a crawling feelings which is why when they keep the legs moving as it tends to relieve the symptoms. The problem is that these restless legs affects ones sleep and energy levels the next day. So it is a little more complex than a few twitches during the night. Lack of sleep has already proven to impact cognitive performance [1] and increase stress [2].

What causes it?

There are many causes both benign (not serious) and secondary causes from either a disease or systemic illness. Below is a nearly concise list of the causes of RLS

  • iron deficiency 20% of cases [3]

  • Varicose veins

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Diabetes

  • Thyroid disease

  • Pregnancy

  • Neuropathies

  • Parkinsons disease

  • POT's disease

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Sjögren's syndrome

  • ADHD

  • Medications

So quite a list, also primary RLS can come out of the blue and suddenly with an unknown cause and secondary is from an undiagnosed medical issue.

What can you do?

First step is if you have never seen anyone is to pay a visit to your GP/Dr, to get some blood tests done to rule out anything underlying and take the necessary steps to manage your health condition.

Some research shows that topping up on vital vitamins and minerals can have a good impact on RLS. Magnesium seems to be a big player [4] as it is one of the most abundant chemicals in skeletal muscle, add in calcium which is incredibly important for muscle contraction and you have a powerful combo for muscle health. Drinking plenty of fluids is also very important. It is very easy to go through a busy day and not drink enough water. This causes tiredness, mild dehydration and even low mood and feelings of anxiety. We are made up of 90% water so we need to top up regularly to stay healthy. So we have discussed magnesium and calcium so we need to talk about the next ingredient which is vitamin D. We need Vit D to absorb calcium as well as keeping our immune system healthy. We hear that we are what we eat which is so true! What you put in you will get out.

Can Chiropractic help?

Sometimes is the important word, being a Chiropractor in Cardiff I see lots people wanting treatment for so many different conditions, but a good Dr knows their limits. Working on the leg muscles like deep tissue manipulation has given me good results but also sometimes done little in the short term. One small study shows a 65% improvement via chiropractic care [5] another study on acupuncture for RLS had positive results too [6].

A blog at a glance:

There is hope but now you know it's not a simple my legs are twitching, it's a little more complicated. What I hope you have gained is some more insight, knowledge and helpful tips on your health. Below are the main takeaways:

1. Get blood tests for vitamins and minerals and tests for underlying pathology

2. Increase Vitamin C, D and magnesium, Vit E is also important

3. Drink more water

4. Try acupuncture and Chiropractic

5. Reassess the medication you are taking (talk with your doctor)

5. Try mindfulness meditation [7]

Thank you for taking time to read this blog and wishing you the very best in health!

CC

References:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/

2. http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep.aspx

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10905782

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21250984

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2391017/

6. http://aim.bmj.com/content/29/3/240

7. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283746645_Mindfulness-Based_Stress_Reduction_for_Restless_Legs_Syndrome_a_Proof_of_Concept_Trial

#RestlessLegSyndromeCardiff #Legpain #tingling

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