Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by different types of symptoms, and not all symptoms are the same for each individual.
Research points to the fact that at least 12 million people in America are affected with Restless Leg Syndrome, while other studies suggest the problem is much more prevalent. The cause of the condition has mostly eluded science, but new research into Restless Leg Syndrome is showing that it’s a condition related to the Peripheral Nervous System – which includes nerves extending from the lower back into the legs.
Restless Leg Syndrome may affect one leg or both at the same time. Restless Leg Syndrome occurs in both men and women, though the occurrence of the condition is slightly higher in women. It can occur at any age, but the majority of people affected are middle-aged or older. The severity of the condition frequently increases with age, with the intensity often growing stronger and the frequency of the symptoms occurring for longer periods of time.
The Many Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome has a large myriad of symptoms, and the misery is different for people suffering with Restless Leg Syndrome. For many people, Restless Leg Syndrome causes symptoms of pain or numbness in the legs or feet. Some people characterize Restless Leg Syndrome as a burning, stinging or itching sensation; for some constant while for others Restless Leg Syndrome “comes and goes.” Many describe Restless Leg Syndrome as a tightness, tugging or vice-like sensation in the lower legs, while others feel insects crawling on their legs or feet when none are there. Some deal with cramps or muscles spasms in their legs or feet, while still others have electric-like shocks shooting through their legs.
For many other people, their feet or legs are so sensitive they can’t stand to have blankets or covers on them at night. One common symptom for a vast majority of people is their inability to rest soundly for long periods of time, as the symptoms frequently prevent deep and peaceful sleep. Fatigue becomes an enemy that for many people becomes as equally hard to deal with as Restless Leg Syndrome itself.
However, at rest or sleep are not the only times people experience RLS. The symptoms are often prevalent during the day, and for some they only experience symptoms during a certain activity. Others experience problems only when they sit, stand, lay down, or only during a certain time of the day.
Because of a desire to lessen these mysterious symptoms, the term “Restless Leg” comes about from an irresistible and often involuntary or uncontrollable urge to move the limbs to relieve the sensations. Unfortunately, movement brings only temporary relief, often for only a few seconds.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
While Restless Leg Syndrome is more commonly talked about, nearly as many people have a condition known as Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD).
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder is a repetitive cramping, twitching or jerking of the leg(s). “Periodic” refers to the fact the movements are repetitive and rhythmic, often occurring minutes, and in some cases, just seconds apart. It can be a minor annoyance, to serious pain that leads to leg fatigue.
It’s been directly linked to abnormalities in nerve transmission into the limbs, with a very common cause being compression of nerves in the lower back. PLMD is often linked to Restless Leg Syndrome. They are not the same. The symptoms of PLMD are usually just twitching, jerking or cramps in the legs or feet. With Restless Leg other symptoms are prevalent. Some people can have both conditions at the same time.
Twitching, Jerking & the Uncontrollable Urge to Move!!!
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) are characterized by involuntary or uncontrolled twitching and jerking of the legs, often leading to leg cramps.
These involuntary movements frequently occur during the night leading to repeated awakening and disruption of sleep causing tiredness and daytime fatigue, with many people feeeling “run down” all the time and often describing it as a feeling almost as if one “runs a marathon in their bed at night.”
For many other people, the uncontrolled movements may increase toward the evening while they are sitting or resting. It was once thought to be only a disorder that occurs and disrupts sleep, but clinically more people are describing it as a problem that occurs in the evening before bed time.
Typically the knee, ankle and big toe joints all bend as part of the movement, often in unison. The movements vary from slight or strenuous, to wild kicking and thrashing. The movements usually last just a few seconds and then relax, and are usually repetitive.
During the day or evening, they disrupt activity and thought.
At night, one may not know they even have a problem unless their partner tells them about the experience they had with them.
Common Causes & Overlooked Answers
Some of the common causes of Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder can be found with people who have diabetes, those who have been on chemotherapy and certain other prescription drug toxins. People who deal with poor kidney function, anemia, or those withdrawing from sedative medications often experience Restless Leg Syndrome and/or PLMD.
However, after all the expensive diagnostic test have failed to come up with an answer, most people are at a loss to find help and usually end up taking some form of medication which somewhat controls the symptoms, at least for a while – until they don’t. Often the effects of the medications have consequences worse than the disease or condition itself – and the individual is still left with the original problem, as well.
Because of this, one SHOULD NOT GIVE UP HOPE too fast, for often times very troubling problems have simple solutions – - IF one only knows where to look.
Muscles Only Twitch and Jerk…….
Since Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder are both classified as neurological disorders, the answers you’ve been searching for may be found in an examination of your spine and nervous system. Muscle movement is controlled by nerves. In order for a muscle to twitch, jerk or move in any way, normally or abnormally, it must first receive a signal from your nerve system.
The picture to the right shows how nerves connect to your muscles. If there is a compression or irritation on the nerve caused by misaligned vertebrae or a bad disc, it can cause the nerve to misfire – which in turn causes the muscles to twitch or jerk. This may very well be the cause!
……..IF a Dysfunctional Nerve Tells Them To.
The drawings to the left show how the nerves in your lower back flow down and connect with the muscles in your legs. If the nerve is compressed or irritated in the spine, it can cause all kinds of symptoms, including pain, numbness, Restless Leg Syndrome and involuntary movement disorders, just to name a few.
The nerves are the body’s electrical system. If you were to touch a live electrical wire with something that conducts electricity, it would short-out, causing something to dysfunction on the other end. Our nerves and muscles function (or dysfunction) the same way!
You see, muscles only twitch and jerk abnormally – IF a dysfunctional nerve is telling them too!
Is It Time You Give Yourself A Different Approach?
Do you have anything from achiness or stiffness, to obvious pain in your lower back? Have you previously had or do you currently have a lower back problem?
Are you aware you can have nerve problems in your lower back leading to leg challenges without any obvious back pain? Have you had a previous back problem that you thought was totally resolved?
If so, you may now be closer to finding a solution to your Restless Leg Syndrome or PLMD leg problems than ever before!
A proper chiropractic examination may indeed reveal the causes of nerve irritation in your spine that could be causing your Restless Leg Syndrome or Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (as well as a host of other challenges you may be experiencing).
Since Restless Leg Syndrome and PLMD are both neurological disorders, doesn’t it make sense to take a close look through a chiropractic examination to see if a dysfunction of your nerve system may actually be causing your problem? Once understood in this way, for most people the answer becomes obvious.
How Do I Get Started?
Many people find their lives disrupted for years and never get anywhere toward defeating Restless Leg Syndrome or Periodic Limb Movement Disorders because few physicians ever address the nervous system itself. If you’re discouraged because the answer remains elusive in spite of all you’ve done, don’t give up! You haven’t tried everything until you’ve tried chiropractic!
The proper chiropractic techniques may also help you in getting rid of this misery. A complimentary conference with the doctor will allow us to discuss your concerns and help us to decide upon the best approach for you. The percentage of success is very high. Hopefully you can be the next person to benefit from our many years of experience and concern for others.
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