Restless Legs? What can one do about Restless Legs Syndrome?
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological disorder. People who suffer from restless legs, suffer mostly in the evening and whilst at rest. It affects up to 10% of the population, according to estimates. It occurs most in legs and much less frequently in arms too.
Strong urge to be physically active
Patients with RLS describe a tingling, burning, stabbing, pounding or boiling sensation in their legs, which usually occurs in the evenings. This is always accompanied by an urge to move, which is intensified if one is trying to rest, e.g. when lying in bed in the evening. The symptoms worsen in the evening and at night. Affected people very often also have problems falling asleep and sleeping throughout the night.
It is soften found running in families
The exact cause is as yet unclear. A disturbance of several neurotransmitters (carrier and messenger substances in the nervous system) are suspected. A family’s predisposition also plays a role. Another cause could be a latent iron deficiency in the brain, which is why it is recommended to have one’s iron metabolism tested. Other diseases such as diabetes mellitus or thyroid dysfunction should also be tested and be excluded as the cause, as they can lead to similar symptoms. Typically, more women are affected than men. Restless Legs Syndrome usually occurs at the age of 35 or older. However, children or adolescents can also become ill. It should be noted that there are drugs that can worsen RLS, such as certain antidepressants.
Magnesium to CBD drops
In most cases Restless Legs Syndrome is easily treated. Taking magnesium, for example, in the form of capsules, helps many patients. Essential amino acids (approx. 8-10 pellets in the evenings) can also help. If an iron deficiency is the cause, this must be addressed, for example with Aronia and Moringa or with an iron preparation. If medication is suspected to be the trigger, it must be reduced or discontinued – always in consultation with your physician. The conventional medical drug therapy to treat RLS is purely symptomatic, i.e. it cannot cure the disease but only alleviate the symptoms. These drugs intervene in the dopamine metabolism. If one also suffers from sleeping disorders, sleep-promoting and muscle-relaxing drugs are prescribed. In this context, CBD drops are well worth a try.
A holistic approach to RLS
The following recommendations, from the perspective of integrative medicine, can be tried:
- Daily stretching exercises have proven helpful. One should experiment with cycling, climbing stairs, massages, etc. Often leg weakness has to be overcome before you can become physically active.
- Nutrition: Ensure that you eat a diet containing iron, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12. Avoid heavy meals in the evening.
- Try to maintain a regular day-night rhythm and ensure good sleeping habits.
- Mental activities such as games, crossword puzzles, movements with the hands (e.g. handicrafts) can help to distract you self and reduce the twitching movements.
- Some people find it helpful to take a warm (foot) bath before going to bed and also wrap their feet to keep them warm in bed, others shower their legs cold or rub their calves with a cooling ointment.
- Test whether omitting nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and, unfortunately, also chocolate helps.
- Make sure you have a sufficient supply of magnesium and test whether essential amino acids or CBD drops will help you.
We wish you all peaceful legs and a restful sleep!