Restless leg syndrome or RLS is an unpleasant sensation in the legs felt after lying in bed for quite a while. The person may feel the urgency to rise and walk to shake off the uneasy sensation. The cause and cure for RLS is unknown. This condition usually strikes adults ages 40 and above although there are cases where it even strikes teenagers. It can be a cause for insomnia and inadequate sleep. Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture St Helens have been known to effectively give relief from its symptoms and make the body strong enough to prevent its recurrence. The sensations felt in an RLS attack are twitching, stiffness, burning, bubbling, tingling, crawling, pulling and aching all felt in the legs. RLS episodes may be lengthened with the extreme emotions and distress. RLS attacks mostly happen at night and evenings with durations lasting for a few minutes to more than an hour. Daytime episodes of RLS are less severe.
Since there are no physical diagnostic evidences of RLS, x-rays or MRIs are not performed on an RLS patient. However, lab examination such as a blood test can check for iron content in the blood. Patients suffering from RLS usually have low iron content in their hemoglobin and suffer from anemia. RLS can also be connected to peripheral neuropathy. It can also be a side effect symptom from intake of certain medications. Some researchers have observed that it can also be due to genetic disposition. The best way to diagnose RLS is by consulting one’s healthcare provider.
Western medicine’s answer to RLS are massages, warm baths, stretching exercises and drugs to relieve muscle stiffness and stress.
In the point of view of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which acupuncture is a part of, restless leg syndrome can be the result of series of energy imbalances and disharmonies in the body. Some of these disorders may manifest in factors (again, in accordance with TCM perspective) such as:
1. Yin weakness or deficiency – This happens when body essence is drained. This condition may physically be felt at night as the uneasy sensation felt in the leg when in bed.
2. Qi or chi stagnation – When energy pathways called meridians that carry chi are blocked, weakness and painful and uneasy sensations arise in the legs. These sensations are usually aggravated with emotional problems and stress. Stretching the legs can mitigate these symptoms.
3. Blood deficiency – Circulation of blood is poor under nourishing the muscles, sinews and tendons in the legs.
These are all disorders that can result in restless leg syndrome and specific acupuncture points are treated according to the symptom. Acupuncture coupled with herbal concoctions can help improve circulation and restore energy balance to the body effectively addressing the causes that lead to RLS.