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Can Chiropractic Help Restless Leg Syndrome

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Signs And Symptoms Of Restless Leg Syndrome

Chiropractor Pittsburgh PA How to treat Restless Leg Syndrome with Chriorpactic Care.

Symptoms of restless leg syndrome tend to get worse during the night when someone is sleeping, but they can also occur during the daytime when the person is awake. Sitting for long periods, laying down or staying in one sedentary position usually makes symptoms worse.

The most common restless leg syndrome symptoms include:

  • Sensations in the legs that are described as creeping, crawling, jittery, burning or aching. Most of the time, sensations are felt deep inside the calf muscles or in the feet, thighs and even arms.
  • A strong urge or feeling that you need to immediately scratch, move, jiggle or stretch the legs in order to make sensations stop.
  • Temporary relief from symptoms when you move the legs .
  • Involuntary leg twitches and jerks, similar to having a cramp . Leg twitches caused by night cramps are among the most commonly reported periodic limb movements due to RLS.
  • Getting poor sleep due to feeling uncomfortable and waking up often. For many people, RLS symptoms start soon after they fall asleep and persistent intermittently throughout the night, resulting in interrupted sleep, insomnia, and daytime drowsiness or fatigue.

One of the biggest problems associated with RLS is that it disturbs normal sleep and can lead to many complications associated with chronic fatigue and under-sleeping. It also causes many people to turn to prescription sleep-aid or pain-reducing medications, which pose a high risk for addiction, dependency and side effects.

Cause Of Restless Leg Syndrome

In most cases there are no specific causes for RLS. For some individuals, when RLS starts early in life, there is a heredity link.

Some women experience RLS during pregnancy, especially in the final trimester. Usually the symptoms disappear after giving birth.

Restless leg syndrome is not related to serious underlying medical conditions however it does accompany other medical conditions including peripheral neuropathy. This is when there is damage to the nerves in your feet and hands due to chronic diseases. Also, if a person has an iron deficiency RLS may occur . It is very important to never just start taking iron supplements until iron levels have been tested first.


Chiropractic treatment is a safe way to treat RLS. A chiropractor will extensively examine the patient which includes asking about medical history. A range of motion exercise test determines how well the skeletal system functions and the results are taken into consideration for treatment. In some cases an x-ray may be required to see if there are any skeletal injuries or impairments.

A spinal manipulation may be done to help relieve stress that is on the joints and muscles in the leg. Many patients find that after routine adjustments there is relief.

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Restless Leg Syndrome Vs Sciatica

  • Sciatica, also called sciatic nerve pain, causes pain running down the legs, usually from the lower back all the way to the feet. RLS and sciatic nerve pain are often confused.
  • The primary cause of sciatica is a pinched nerve or herniated disc in the lower spine running along the sciatic nerve. Other causes of sciatica are spinal stenosis, infection, a broken pelvis or thighbone, or a tumor.
  • According to Harvard Medical School, the biggest difference between these two conditions is that sciatica doesnt tend to get worse during sleep and then better again during the daytime, like restless leg syndrome usually does. Sciatica symptoms are also usually worsened from moving, coughing, bending, exercising, sneezing and physical activities that tug on the sciatic nerve.
  • Some choose pain-reducing medications or even surgery to correct sciatic, but less invasive treatment options can also be very helpful. Treatments for sciatica include chiropractic spinal adjustments or spinal manipulation, stretching, acupuncture, yoga, and massage therapy.

Precautions Regarding Restless Leg Syndrome

For some people, RLS gets worse with age, especially if underlying causes arent treated. Most of the time restless legs syndrome wont lead to a more serious health problem or pose any major risks, but its still important to keep an eye on progress of symptoms.

  • Dizziness and signs of low blood sugar
  • Fainting
  • Chronic fatigue thats severe
  • Numbness and tingling in your limbs thats severe

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Restless Leg Syndrome And The Chiropractic Approach You Might Be Overlooking

We all know someone who just cant stop shaking their leg or tapping their foot. Perhaps that person is you? Usually, this urge to move the legs continuously is due to restless leg syndrome, a nervous system disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the leg or other parts of the body.

There is no cure for restless leg syndrome, rather a number of treatments designed to minimize symptoms. These typically include medications, lifestyle changes and at-home treatments like hot baths. However, these do not always work for everyone. While this condition is relatively common, most people dont know there are alternative forms of treatment.

At Graybar Chiropractic, we strive to help patients with restless legs syndrome in Wilmington, NC with chiropractic care designed to relieve joint and muscle tension and provide exercise or stretching regimens to alleviate discomfort.

Hot And Cold Treatments

Chiropractic Provides Relief with Restless Leg Syndrome ...

While theres not a lot of research backing up using heat and cold to relieve RLS symptoms, many healthcare organizations recommend it. They include the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation .

These organizations suggest taking a hot or cold bath before going to bed, or applying hot or cold packs to your legs .

Some peoples RLS symptoms are aggravated by cold, while others have problems with heat. This could explain the benefits of these hot or cold treatments.

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Restless Legs Syndrome: Seeking Help

Studies estimate that one out of 10 people suffer from restless legs, yet its not always easy to find help and support. Many people with RLS never receive proper treatment. Part of the problem is that its hard to explain and sufferers are often dismissed as being nervous. Those who havent experienced the distressing symptoms may not understand how severely they can impact the quality of your life. Even doctors may not take restless legs seriously, recognize the symptoms, or realize that they point to a real medical condition.

The good news is that recent research has increased our understanding of restless legs syndrome, leading to more effective treatments. At the same time, RLS is becoming more widely recognized. If you or your partner suffers from restless legs, theres never been a better time to find relief.

A night in the life of RLS

If you have restless legs syndrome, a typical night might go like this: You lie down in bed, ready to go to sleep, and just as your body begins to relax, the crawling, tingling, or itching in your legs begin. You try to ignore the uncomfortable sensations, hoping they will go away, but eventually the urge to move is too much. You get out of bed to stretch and pace the floor and, for a moment, you find relief. But when you lie down again, the restless sensations in your legs start all over again.

How Is Rls Diagnosed

Short answer- 5 of 5 IRLSSG criteria.

The classic symptoms of RLS also serve as the formal diagnostic criteria as defined by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group .

  • An urge to move the legs, not always accompanied by unpleasant sensations.
  • Beginning or worsening during periods of rest or inactivity.
  • Partial or total relief following movements such as walking or stretching.
  • Symptoms occur or are worse during the night or evening.
  • Symptoms are not accounted for by another medical or behavioral condition.
  • The formal diagnosis of RLS requires that all five diagnostic criteria are satisfied.

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    Ruling Out Potential Causes

    Your first step in addressing RLS should be to figure out if something is causing it. While RLS can be related to things that are largely out of your control, such as genetics or pregnancy, other possible factors can be addressed.

    These factors could be daily habits, medications youre taking, health conditions you have, or other triggers.

    Relieving Restless Legs In The Moment

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    Sometimes, despite your best self-help efforts, the symptoms of restless legs flare up. The following tips will help you find quick relief:

  • Get up and walk around. Fighting the urge to move can make the feelings worse.
  • Distract yourself with a game or activity.
  • Apply hot or cold packs to your legs.
  • Try calf stretches, yoga poses, knee bends, or a simple ankle or foot rotation.
  • Relax your muscles with massage or a hot bath.
  • Pressure can help relieve the discomfort of restless legs syndrome. Try wearing compression socks or stockings or wrap your legs in bandages .
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    Remedies For Restless Legs Syndrome

    RLS may be considered a sleep disorder since symptoms are more common and intense during the evening when at rest so it can become difficult to fall asleep or return to sleep after waking up. Moving the legs or walking usually relieves the discomfort but the sensations often recur once the movement stops. RLS affects about 10% of people in the U.S. and is more prevalent in women with middle-aged individuals having more severe symptoms.

    Restless legs syndrome , also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, is a nervous system disorder that causes uncomfortable tingling, aching sensations in the legs and an overpowering urge to move them.

    According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, lack of iron or the incorrect use of iron in the brain are the main causes of RLS. People suffering from iron deficiency may see improvements in their symptoms by addressing that deficiency. Dietary iron can be found in foods such as red meat, dark leafy greens, liver, lentils, beans and iron-fortified cereals. However, some RLS sufferers may need supplemental iron to see a reduction in symptoms. Since vitamin C helps the body better absorb iron, taking iron pills with orange juice may be beneficial. If you are struggling with restless legs syndrome, talk to your health care provider about getting a blood test to check for iron deficiency.

    • Hot or cold therapy: ice the legs or take a warm bath to relax the leg muscles before bed
    • Good nutrition and vitamin D supplementation
    • Massage

    Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

    A noninvasive procedure thats typically used to treat depression could be helpful in relieving RLS symptoms. So far, studies have been limited and more research is needed, but the results are promising (4, 41,

    Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation sends magnetic impulses to certain areas of the brain.

    Its not entirely clear why rTMS could help relieve RLS symptoms. One theory is that the impulses increase the release of dopamine in the brain. Another suggests that rTMS could help calm the hyperarousal in parts of the brain that are associated with RLS .

    In one 2015 study, 14 people with RLS were given 14 sessions of rTMS over 18 days. The sessions significantly improved their RLS symptoms and improved their sleep. The results lasted for at least two months after the treatment ended .

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    How Is Rls Treated

    Short answer- adjust your sleep habits & diet, then get moving.

    Typically, RLS patients try multiple therapies with little relief. The plethora of passive treatment options suggests that none are particularly effective.

    The NIH states that RLS is generally a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. However, current therapies can control the disorder, minimize symptoms, and increase periods of restful sleep.

    Conservative management has been shown to decrease RLS frequency and severity and improve quality of life. Non-pharmacologic strategies are the first line of care. Effective management of RLS can help mitigate the increased risk of future cardiovascular disease that is typically associated with the disorder. The gold standard of management includes ADL counseling, emphasizing physical activity and sleep. Considerations include:


    Providers should counsel patients on proper sleep hygiene including sleep schedules, optimal sleep environments, and limiting electronic use before bedtime.


    RLS patients may benefit from mind-body techniques, stress reduction, counseling, or cognitive behavioral therapy if needed. Various physical relaxation techniques, including warm baths, hot packs, massage, and stretching have been advocated in the literature.

    Physical Treatments

    Restless Leg Syndrome Relief Through Chiropractic Care

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    Have you ever been unable to control the movement of your legs or other limbs? Or experienced annoying twitches in your legs when all you want to do is relax? Have you ever been kept awake at night because you just cant stop rubbing your feet together? If so, you may be have a condition called restless leg syndrome. Have no fear, your chiropractor is here to help you regain control of your body in a natural, non-invasive way.

    What is restless leg syndrome?

    In short, restless leg syndrome, RLS, can be defined as the constant and unexplainable urge to move your legs. It is categorized as both a nervous system disorder and a sleep disorder as the constant movements can cause sleep disruptions. WebMD explains further, people with restless leg syndrome have uncomfortable sensations in their legs and an irresistible urge to move their legs to relieve the sensations. The condition causes an uncomfortable, “itchy,” “pins and needles,” or “creepy crawly” feeling in the legs. The sensations are usually worse at rest, especially when lying or sitting.

    What is the cause of restless leg syndrome?

    How is restless leg syndrome treated?

    Unfortunately, there is no cure for restless leg syndrome. In many cases, doctors prescribe addictive muscle relaxers that have limiting side effects and have even been known to worsen RLS .

    What should I do if I have restless leg syndrome but dont want to take medication?

    How can a chiropractor help?

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    How Can Chiropractic Care Help

    Chiropractic is a natural, drug-free way to help you get a good night’s sleep. With the correct adjustment, many people find they’re able to ease their way into a deep and restful sleep, even after years of nightmares and poorly-rested nights.

    Numerous studies have shown chiropractic care to be beneficial in children and adults with certain sleeping disorders. Here are some ways a chiropractor can help you out.

    Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system when under care.

    The parasympathetic nervous system is the body’s relaxation response. When this system is working optimally, the body is able to properly cool down, digest food, and perform all the necessary functions to maintain homeostasis or balance. Achieving balance can be quite challenging in today’s world as stress levels are high, and many people do not get proper nutrition. Chiropractic care can improve this process by restoring normal nerve function and reducing associated muscle tension.

    Activation of the body’s immune system.

    Help with pain problems.

    Dont Overlook Chiropractic Treatments

    A commonly-overlooked form of treatment for restless leg syndrome is chiropractic. Because the condition is linked to the bodys nervous system, chiropractic may actually be an extremely effective form of treatment, using alignments and exercises to restore proper nerve function to the legs. Many patients have experienced positive results through chiropractic treatment.

    With alignments or manipulations of the spine, existing pressure or irritation put on the joints and muscles that is caused by malalignment can be relieved, which in turn may relieve the nervous symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Additionally, your chiropractor may recommend certain treatments to help you sleep more and more soundly at night, as well as provide heat therapy or massage treatments and stretches that are known to aid restless leg syndrome.

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    Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms Causes & Treatments

    By Jillian Levy, CHHC

    Its estimated that restless leg syndrome affects more than one in 10 American adults every year . RLS is a condition characterized by uncomfortable feelings in your legs, giving you a strong urge to move them in order to find relief. Because symptoms tend to get worse overnight, RLS is associated with a higher risk for insomnia and daytime fatigue, plus increased use of sleep-aid medications, alcohol and caffeine.

    Middle-aged women, including those going through or past menopause, tend to experience RLS more than any other population. Most people describe the symptoms of restless leg syndrome which can include experiencing jittery sensations, tingling, burning and aching in one or both legs as more annoying than actually painful. Some people equate the sensations associated with RLS as the feeling of bugs crawling up your leg. In other words, although its not very dangerous long term, RLS causes some downright unpleasant side effects.

    The desire to quickly get RLS sensations to stop makes people twitch, jiggle or move their legs throughout the night, leading to poor sleep. The worst part is that moving the legs usually doesnt help RLS symptoms stay away for long they usually return pretty quickly, and the cycle continues.

    Restless Leg Syndrome And Chiropractic Care

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    Because Restless Leg Syndrome is a neurological disorder, one of the best treatments involves helping to relieve pressure on the spine and nervous system which might be impaired. The sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the legs, can often be blocked or pinched by a misaligned spine, leading to all sorts of problems, including restless leg syndrome.

    The good news is that RLS can often be treated without any invasive treatments or resorting to opioids and other medications. At Zenaptic Chiropractic, we rely on a natural combination of massage, spinal adjustments, and controlled exercise to treat your restless leg syndrome.

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    Diagnosing Restless Legs Syndrome

    No laboratory test can confirm a diagnosis of restless legs syndrome. To diagnose RLS, your doctor will need:

    • A complete medical history.
    • A diagnostic interview, to rule out other medical conditions.
    • A blood test for low iron levels.
    • A list of medications and supplements youre taking.
    • A survey to see if anyone else in your family has similar symptoms.

    If a medical condition, such as iron deficiency, diabetes, or nerve damage is triggering your restless legs, treating the underlying problem may relieve your symptoms. If not, you may benefit from medication or other treatments.

    Health conditions linked to restless legs

    • Iron deficiency .

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