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Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome

Description

Most people have experienced “pins and needles” momentarily when they sit on their legs awkwardly for too long. The syndrome, however, usually strikes at night and combines these sensations with achiness, which is only relieved by movement, walking around the bedroom, for example.

Two forms have been elucidated: mixed sensorimotor and motor.

Causes

Restless legs impacts about 15% of the population, to some degree, being most common in middle-aged women.

There is no overt nerve, muscle or circulatory problem. There may be rheumatoid arthritis; or the patient may be addicted to cigarettes and/or caffeine; the condition is often frequently brought on during pregnancy.

It may also be related to hypoglycemia.

Signs & Symptoms

The classic, mixed sensorimotor form involves: pain and numbness which is relieved by movement.

The pure motor (or myoclonic) form lacks the sensory component.

In one study, one-third of the group experienced both restless legs and spontaneous leg cramps.

Restless legs is usually a symptom of a number of underlying causes.

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Multi Vitamin/Multi Mineral Formulas &
        Amino Acids


---------------------------------
General Supplements
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Folic Acid5mg**
Vitamin E200-400 i.u.



* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.

**Under Medical Supervision only

Note:

All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.


Dietary Considerations

Avoidance of caffeine drinks is one solution.

Vitamin E is probably the first line of nutritional treatment. L-tryptophan was used in the past but may only be available now homeopathically, or in foods, like pumpkin seeds.

One protocol which has been successful in overcoming hypoglycemia, calls for a sugar-free, high protein diet with frequent snacks, including one at night.

The mixed form may benefit from folic acid supplementation.

Iron supplementation has also been reported.

Since the condition often occurs together with leg cramps, electrolytes may be useful, calcium and magnesium being the most likely.

Many sufferers have co-existing conditions which would impact the nutritional needs of the patient. Thus, if a patient were hypertensive and on calcium channel blockers, electrolytes could interfere. Similarly, if diuretics were in use, soidum and potassium levels would need to be carefully assessed by the overseeing physician.

Individual preferences may also play a role, so that hot packs are resorted to by some patients, while others prefer to apply cold packs!

Homeopathic Remedy

DescriptionRemedy
CrampsCuprum metallicum
Tendency to crampMagnesia phosphorica
TremorManganum aceticum



Treatment Schedule

Over-the-counter homeopathic remedies may be single strength (of fairly weak potency e.g. 6X ) or a blend of several weaker strengths (6X, 8X, 10X).

This may comprise a single remedy, or several remedies.

Doses are administered on a 3 times daily (tid), between meals,schedule and continued for 3 days.

Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose.

Solid preparations are usually 2 or 3 pellets per dose.

Children use 1/2 dose i.e. 1 pellet.

If there is aggravation of the symptoms, stop taking the remedy and consult a homeopath.

References

Murphy, R. : Homeopathic Medical Repertory. Hahneman Academy, Pagosa Springs, Colorado. 1993.

Murphy, R. : Lotus Materia Medica. Hahneman Academy, Pagosa Springs, Colorado. 1995.

Pert, J.C.: Homeopathy for the Family. The Homoeopathic Development Foundation, London. 1985 edition.

Tissue Salts

Nat. Sulf.

Herbal Approaches

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Herbs
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Chamomile
Lavender

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.

Discussion:

One form of relief for restless legs is massage, which can be self-applied.

An increasingly popular herbal approach is aromatherapy. An oil from an aromatic herb is added to a carrier base (e.g. almond oil). This may operate on several levels: the mechanical action of the massage as well as its warmth imparted by the therapist; the moisturizing of the skin; properties of the oil, both topical and upon absorption; and, finally, the inhalation of the aroma.

Often a combination of essences is used, rather like perfume, to maximize these different effects.

Chamomile can help with insomnia, while lavender can relieve cramping. They also blend well together, while lavender is also a common bedroom and closet fragrance, so will not appear so out of place as other liniments.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Chamomile Essence,Lavender Essence.

Related Health Conditions

Cramp
Insomnia

Abstracts

References

Ayres, S. & Mihan, R. : Leg cramps and“restless legs” syndrome responsive to vitamin E. Calif. Med. 1969, 111: 87 - 91.

Ayres, S. & Mihan, R. : “Restless legs” syndrome: response to vitamin E. J. App. Nutr. 1973, 25: 8 - 15.

Bailey DR: Sleep disorders. Overview and relationship to orofacial pain. Dent Clin North Am, 1997 Apr, 41:2, 189-209.

Boutez, M.I. et al: Neurologic disorders responsive to folic acid therapy. Can. Med. Ass. J. 1976, 15: 217 - 222.

Boutez, M.I. & Reynolds, E.H. (Eds): Folic acid in Neurology, Psychiatry and Internal Medicine. Raven Press, NY, 1979.

Ekbom, K.A. : Restless legs syndrome. Neurology, 1960, 10: 868 - 873.

Kanter AH: The effect of sclerotherapy on restless legs syndrome. Dermatol Surg, 1995 Apr, 21:4, 328-32.

Lavigne-GJ: Restless legs syndrome and sleep bruxism: prevalence and association among Canadians. Sleep. 1994 Dec; 17(8): 739-43

Lavigne GL et al., Cigarette smoking as a risk factor or an exacerbating factor for restless legs syndrome and sleep bruxism. Sleep, 1997 Apr, 20:4, 290-3.

Lutz, E.G.: Restless legs, anxiety and caffeine. J. Clin. Psychiatry, 1978, September: 693 - 698.

Matthews, W.B. : Iron deficiency and restless legs. BMJ. 1976, April 10: 898. (Letter)

Montplaisir-J et al: [The restless leg syndrome: a condition associated with periodic or aperiodic slowing of the EEG]. Neurophysiol-Clin. 1994 Apr; 24(2): 131-40.

Murray, M.T. & Pizzorno, J.E.: An Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Prima Pbng, Rocklin, CA.

O'Keeffe ST: Restless legs syndrome. A review. Arch Intern Med, 1996 Feb 12, 156:3, 243-8.

Roberts, H.J.: Spontaneous leg cramps and “restless legs” due to diabetogenic (functional) hyperinsulinism: a basis for rational therapy. J. Fla Med. Ass. 1973, 60(5): 29 - 31.

Sandyk, R. : L-tryptophan in the treatment of restless legs syndrome. Am. J. Psychiatry, 1986, 143(4): 554 - 555. (Letter)

Schmitt-L. et al: [Sleep disorders in the elderly] Rev-Prat. 1994 Jun 1; 44(11): 1436-8.

Silber MH; Restless legs syndrome. Mayo Clin Proc, 1997 Mar, 72:3, 261-4.

Trenkwalder C et al., Periodic limb movements and restless legs syndrome. Neurol Clin, 1996 Aug, 14:3, 629-50.

Walters AS: Toward a better definition of the restless legs syndrome. The International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group. Mov Disord, 1995 Sep, 10:5, 634-42.

Werbach, M. R.: Nutritional Influences on Illness: A sourcebook of clinical research. Keats Pbng. New Canaan, CT.

Werbach, M. R.: Nutritional Influences on Illness: A sourcebook of clinical research. Third Line Press, Tarzana, CA. Second Edition.

Wetter TC & Pollmächer T: Restless legs and periodic leg movements in sleep syndromes. J Neurol, 1997 Apr, 244:4 Suppl 1, S37-45.

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