Doctors, neurologists, and physiologists have long been stumped by restless leg syndrome (RLS) and nighttime muscle dysfunction. The vascular hypothesis for restless legs was in vogue in the 1940s and 1950s but has been little explored since then.
It is estimated that 7-10% of the U.S. population may meet the diagnostic criteria for RLS. Restless legs syndrome is characterized by an uncomfortable urge to move your legs while at rest, especially at night. The symptoms improve with movement and walking. The specific symptoms include:
· Nighttime involuntary leg twitching
· Can include a variety of sensations beyond cramps, such as crawling, aching, itching, and "electrical" sensations.
· Disturbed sleep patterns.
Unfortunately, many people suffering from RLS do not seek medical attention because they believe it is not a serious condition or they feel their practitioner will not take their complaints seriously. However, RLS has proven to significantly reduce both sleep quality and overall quality of life. Unlike typical muscle cramps, RLS symptoms often do not resolve on their own over time.
Several simple supplements have been suggested that may help:
1. Iron- Peripheral iron deficiency is known to be a contributing factor to RLS. In 1953, a paper reported that in patients with iron deficiency anemia and concomitant RLS symptoms. Although this treatment isn’t always effective, it has helped many patients with a normal blood iron level. Be sure to have your level tested before starting iron supplements, and ask your physician if this is an option for you.
2. Magnesium – Up to 80% of adults are deficient in magnesium, which may contribute to RLS. Magnesium Glycinate combines the mineral magnesium and the amino acid glycine. Glycine has a natural calming effect, making it the perfect supplement to take before bedtime.
3. GABA and 5-HTP are two amino acids that support relaxation and healthy sleep habits. Though these two amino acids are popular and proven supplements alone, a study published in Behavioral Brain Research demonstrated they have a synergistic effect on sleep quality and sleep cycle architecture when combined
As far back as 2005, a case report of six individuals was released on the following:
Several patients underwent external counterpulsation (ECP) to treat chronic angina. This increases collateral circulation to the coronary arteries and the whole body. Some patients who underwent ECP for angina or congestive heart failure also had severe RLS.
After 35 ECP treatments, patients had greatly improved to the point that their RLS was clinically insignificant. Long-term follow-up found three had sustained improvement at 3-6 months after ECP was completed. Further, four of the six patients showed sustained improvement one full year after ECP was completed.
The researchers concluded the following:
ECP improves symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS) significantly and could be considered an adjunctive treatment. In some cases, the improvement may last for many months, making ECP a unique, non-drug, non-invasive option to try for RLS.
Granted, this was a small study, and other studies claim there is no benefit. But given this is a pervasive problem that impacts normal life, and there is little that can truly help, ECP may offer an answer and add benefit to the entire body at the same time.
Call today to schedule your appointment and start your path to relief.
NOTE: What’s the difference between EECP and ECP?
EECP is a registered trademark of Vasomedical, Inc., Westbury, New York, one of the manufactures EECP equipment in the United States. EECP stands for Enhanced External Counter Pulsation. EECP and ECP are essentially synonyms.
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