What exactly is restless leg syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable, and sometimes overwhelming, urge to move them. Symptoms occur primarily at night when a person is relaxing or at rest and can increase in severity during the night. Moving the legs relieves the discomfort, which can range in severity from uncomfortable or irritating to painful.
The most distinctive or unusual aspect of RLS that lying down and trying to relax activates the symptoms. Most people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Left untreated, the condition causes exhaustion and daytime fatigue. Many people with RLS report that their job, personal relations, and activities of daily living are strongly affected as a result of their sleep deprivation.
Who’s at risk for RLS?
- Individuals with nutrient deficiencies
- Individuals on antidepressant medication
- Pregnant women
- Frequent blood donors
- Those who have undergone gastric surgery
- Chronic smokers and alcoholics
- Individuals under chronic stress
- Children with ADD/ADHD
RLS drugs and their side effects
The drugs approved by the FDA for treatment of RLS are Mirapex, Neupro and Requip. These medications (originally developed for treatment of Parkinson’s disease) work by making dopamine more available to receptors. These medications can have side effects from nausea, depression, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue and impulse control disorders. RLS will certainly affect quality of life, but so do these other severe side effects. Research is now revealing the significant role of nutrition, and other natural approaches to RLS.
Key ingredients to reduce RLS
RLS has been linked to low levels of dopamine. The neurotransmitter Dopamine is an important messenger in the brain helping to regulate much of our body’s functions, including thinking, behavior, mood, and especially in the case of RLS – rest and movement. Low levels of dopamine can trigger the urge to move our limbs, as found in RLS. Both iron and folate play key roles in the production of dopamine. Magnesium and zinc levels also have an impact on RLS.
I personally believe in running specific blood tests in order to zero in on what is deficient in each individual to ensure the most effective outcome. Micronutrient Testing allows a person to know exactly what to eat and specifically what to supplement in order to support the healing of their RLS.
Healing your RLS
Conditions like restless legs syndrome can significantly interrupt daily life. At Align we work to figure out what the body needs, and provide that in a course of treatment. Through natural techniques based in science such as specialty lab testing, personalized supplementation, low force chiropractic to restore nerve function and laser therapy to speed up the healing process we can correct the critical imbalances causing the RLS. There is nothing more gratifying than helping a patient resolve an issue utilizing natural therapies that give them their life back.