Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Have you heard of it? It’s a condition that causes the person to feel uncomfortable sensations in the legs and they have to move about to relieve the feeling. After recently experiencing increasingly frequent involuntary body jerks in my arms and legs, prior to falling asleep, I thought I’d look this up and see if I was indeed experiencing it. It wasn’t anything major for me (still isn’t), but I was quite relieved to learn this can also disappear permanently.
Indeed it was true, moving about my limbs made it feel better. I’ve always had a problem meditating for the longest time because of this urge to move. It seems these restless feelings intensify when you lie down or sit. So I wonder if I have a mild version of restless leg syndrome. It affects me somewhat when I am trying to fall asleep, but otherwise doesn’t disturb me when I’m sleeping. I have never seen a doctor about this, and I figured it had something to do with my brain and neuro system. Full blown restless legs syndrome is regarded as a sleep disorder because of the way it disturbs sleep.
I learned that those involuntary leg and arm muscle flexes are the classic symptoms of RLS. Almost everybody experiences them prior to falling asleep, but most aren’t aware of it because it is extremely brief. But you should be concerned if they seem to be getting out of hand. They are known in the medical world as Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep or PLMS. Mine seem to have “advanced” from the legs to the hands and arms, since I’m getting more twitches there of late.
Restless legs syndrome seems to be closely linked to the brain neurotransmitter dopamine, which controls nerve impulses, mood, and muscle movement. Deficiencies in iron may cause RLS, and abusing certain drugs or alcohol may also trigger it. Also, it seems to run in families. And it mostly manifests at night, only to get better during the day.
I must stress that I can’t be sure if my symptoms are really indicative of restless legs syndrome. It’s only just a hunch because I find my limbs twitching quite a lot now even when I’m not that near to falling asleep. RLS is difficult to diagnose in the first place. Stress, muscle cramps, poor blood circulation, and frayed nerves can mimic the symptoms. A thorough diagnostic procedure may involve sleeping overnight at a clinic and being monitored throughout the night. So it isn’t surprising that many people don’t seek medical attention for their RLS problem. Most just are not aware it’s a disorder.
The best treatment is still au natural
For treatment, I dug around stuff, but concluded that natural is still best. It seems there are multiple methods being espoused, simply because there can be so many causes for restless legs syndrome. If iron deficiency is the cause, then supplementing your diet with bio-absorbable iron should clear up the problem gradually. I’d also recommend taking velvet bean or Mucuna pruriens extract, which is one of the highest natural sources of L-dopa, a precursor for dopamine, and Gingko biloba, which helps with blood circulation and brain function. Mucuna pruriens in particular, has long been taken as a natural preventive for Parkinsons Disease, a debilitating nerve-brain disorder.
Exercise is highly recommended, and I’m sure it helps a lot in the majority of RLS cases. At the very least, exercise improves blood circulation, and gets the blood flowing in the body. Yoga may also be beneficial. In serious cases of RLS, medications like muscle relaxants or tranquilizers like benzodiazepines and anticonvulsants have been prescribed, although that should really be the last resort. If you experience any restless legs syndrome symptoms, please exhaust all the natural methods, herbs, and exercise first of all, and consult your doctor too. That’s what I would do.