Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS is a very nagging condition that manifests as an accentuated legs discomfort, that usually intensify in the evening time, when the patient lays in the bed. The symptoms of the restless leg syndrome can range from a simple tingling sensation to straight on pain in the legs.
The immediate reaction of the patient is to move their legs, which is a monetary pain and discomfort relief, but as soon as the movement stops, the discomfort kicks back in. The symptoms of restless leg syndrome are mostly manifested around the calf area of the leg. However, they can be felt anywhere between the upper thing and the lower calf.
Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome
Most often, the only way to stop restless legs is to start moving, hence getting out of bed. This syndrome is more prevalent in elderly population, pregnant women, and in diabetes patients or in people with lower back problems.
What causes restless legs?
The causes of restless leg syndrome are still unidentified with most patients. However, scientists suspect that they are triggered by an imbalance in dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible with controlling muscle movements. Others believe that RLS relates to a mineral deficiency in the body, namely magnesium.
Other possible causes of restless leg syndrome are:
- Hormonal imbalance or modifications (this is why RLS is so prevalent in pregnant women).
In most cases, RLS is not associated with an already existing severe illness; however, it often accompanies other conditions, such as: peripheral neuropathy, iron deficiency, kidney failure. The symptoms of restless leg syndrome can be heightened by a few diet habits, such as regular consumption of sugar, caffeine and alcohol, as well as some prescript drugs. Studies have showed that RLS is more prevalent in smokers and can be accentuated by sinusitis and catarrh drugs, which can worsen the symptoms.
It is important to consult with your doctor before trying any of the natural remedies for restless legs, including supplements taking or homeopathic medicine presented here.
5 Natural Remedies and Exercises for Restless Legs
1. Mineral, Vitamins and Diet Treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome
Calcium & Magnesium – Take 800 mg of calcium and 400 mg of magnesium daily and 800 mg of potassium. For starters, you can take a lower dosage of these 2 supplements but make sure to keep the same 2:1 ratio. 500 mg of calcium and 250 mg of magnesium is a great starting point. Lacking one of these minerals in the body can cause impatience and nervousness. You can also replace your drinking water with water that is high in magnesium. The optimum magnesium content in the water is around 100 mg/L.
Folic Acid – Increasing the share of B9 Vitamin, also known as folic acid, helps the body renew the red blood cells, which leads to a proper oxygenation of the entire body. This is important because restless leg syndrome has been associated with lower oxygen levels in the blood stream. Amongst the best natural sources of folic acid, you have green veggies, legumes, whole cereals and fresh orange juice. Most multivitamin supplements contain folic acid as well.
Iron – Have a diet rich in iron, because this mineral is a major component of myoglobin, a protein that helps stock oxygen in the muscles. In case of iron deficiency, myoglobin cannot store enough oxygen in the muscles, which can lead to restless legs symptoms. The best animal sources of iron are liver, blood sausage, meat and fish. But iron is also found in plants, such as dried legumes and fruits, dark leafy green, iron-rich fruits like berries, coconut or apricots.
Quinine – For some patients, quinine-based drinks have had a positive effect on meliorating the symptoms related to restless legs. Lemonades and bitter tasting drinks and tonic waters are a great source of quinine.
2. Massage and Stretching
In case you feel this urge to move, try to massage your legs or stretch them as much as you can. You can also try lifting your toes a few times. These voluntary movements send signals to the brain that can „short-circuit” the unpleasant leg tingling. However, stop the stretching exercises in case of leg cramps, which means the body is deficient in magnesium, in which case the exercises won’t help.
Sit at the side of the bed and vigorously massage the calves of your legs, so that the muscles are stimulated. If these procedures come short, get up and walk for a few moments. Take large steps and bend your keens so that the muscles are well stretched while you walk.
3. Bedtime Tips for Restless Leg Syndrome
Take a long relaxing bath right before going to bed. Cooling off your feet could also help in case you’re suffering from RLS. For this, make cold compresses to wrap your feet around and go to bed. Alternate the 2 procedures, by keeping your feet in warm water for 2 minutes and then in cold compresses for 1 minute. Repeat several times before going to bed. In the evening time, it is also important to avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks, because they are known to stimulate the muscles and the nerves in the legs.
4. A Relaxation Exercise
Lay down in the bed and perform the so-called progressive muscular relaxation. Start by taking deep breaths for a few minutes and then contract and relax the muscles in your feet. Hold the muscles contracted for a few seconds and then relax your feet again. Then continue upwards with the muscles in your calves, things, abdomen, neck and the face musculature.
5. Homeopathic Medicine for RLS
For the restless leg syndrome, homeopaths recommend Causticum 4CH or Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy) 4CH granules. Take 3 granules of either one 3 times a day for a 15 days’ treatment. Another homeopathic remedy for RLS is Tarentula hispanica 4CH (spider venom) that you can take in the same dosage for calming the unrest and excitation of the nervous system.
Homemade Herbal Remedy for Restless Leg Syndrome
In 1861, German neurologist Theodor Wittmaack was describing a very peculiar case. The patient felt an unstoppable urge to move their legs restlessly, especially before falling asleep. Almost a century later, in 1945, Swedish neurologist Axel Ekbom managed to distinguish two forms relating to the condition. The first was the paraesthesia form, in which the patient described irritating tingling that forced him to move his legs, especially when lying down. The latter was the algetic form, in which pain was the predominant manifestation of the condition, impeding proper sleep.
Although they didn’t manage to find the exact cause of the latter called restless leg syndrome, they related it to stress, prolonged tension and depression. There are no drugs that actually can cure RLS, but there is an herb-based home remedy for restless leg syndrome that has proven its efficiency.
The natural medicine for restless leg syndrome uses a plant called Leonorus cardica, or common motherwort.
- All you have to do is drink an infusion made from 2 tsp. of the plant in 250 ml of boiling hot water.
- Drink this tea three times per day and the results will soon come.
Patients who have followed this simple remedy for RLS have said that the condition has soon stopped after a few days of drinking this wonderful tea, and it hasn’t returned ever since.