Hope and Relief for Restless Leg Syndrome

By Dr. Len Mayer

Summary: Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is caused by disruptions in the brain pathways that when working properly, cause smooth, purposeful muscle activity. The DNS model of recovery addresses the core issues causing RLS by teaching your brain’s neuroplasticity to work for you instead of against you.

If you are among the 10% of Americans who suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), you know exactly what its symptoms are. For those that aren’t familiar with the condition, it is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs often describes as throbbing, creeping, pulling, and an uncontrollable and often overwhelming urge to move the legs. Sufferers usually experience symptoms at night or while at rest, and the severity of the discomfort can range from mild to excruciating.

RLS is one of the most confounding of modern illnesses because experts disagree on its roots and causes, and in fact its causes may vary from one person to another. For some, the cause may be related to another underlying condition (kidney failure, diabetes, Parkinson’s); for others, medications, alcohol usage, and sleep deprivation may exacerbate symptoms.

Many sufferers don’t seek treatment, worrying that their symptoms aren’t bad enough, that they won’t be taken seriously, or that there is no treatment. Those that do seek treatment often find themselves chasing down solutions on a trial-and-error basis, often including one or more of the following:
-Dietary changes (reducing caffeine and alcohol; nutritional supplements to correct iron, magnesium, and folate deficiencies)
-Lifestyle changes (moderate exercise, changing sleep patterns)
-Manual stimulation (massage and chiropractic care)
-Temperature therapy (hot baths, ice packs, heat packs)
-Medication

Relief is typically temporary or incomplete at best, because we don’t really know what causes RLS. And as with many of the other conditions I see, patients come to see me after playing whack-a-mole with symptoms and side effects, often for years.

Here’s what we DO know, according to the National Institutes of Health: “considerable evidence suggests that RLS is related to a dysfunction in the brain’s basal ganglia circuits that use the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is needed to produce smooth, purposeful muscle activity and movement. Disruption of these pathways frequently results in involuntary movements.”

I have been treating patients with RLS for thirty years (though the syndrome wasn’t widely called RLS until the late 1980’s), and in the last ten years, I’ve seen my success rate drastically increase with the introduction of a highly effective, integrated approach to recovery called Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS). I was trained in DNS 12 years ago by its creator, Pavel Kolar, in Prague. DNS is a treatment approach based on the neurophysiological aspects of movement as a child matures from birth to age four.

It makes perfect sense that DNS would help alleviate the core issues causing RLS. We know RLS has its origins in the brain even if the effects are seen in the legs. By using the neuroplasticity in your brain to work for you instead of against you, DNS can change the motor programs in your brain that control your movement and muscular activity so the changes can become automatic and permanent.

I’ve worked with dozens of RLS sufferers in Richmond, helping them find relief. Often the relief is total, and they no longer suffer from any symptoms. Even when we can’t cure RLS, we can usually provide those who suffer from it considerable relief. Our process starts with what we call a Functional Evaluation (FE), where we meet with you to assess your condition and determine whether or not our treatment can help.

To schedule your Functional Evaluation, please call our office at 804-285-4400 or email us at capitalrehabrva@gmail.com. Restless Legs Syndrome is a pernicious and exhausting condition, and we’d love to do our best to help you find some relief from it.