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Restless Legs

Have you ever been accidently kicked out of bed by your partner? For some this is a funny story or a once in a lifetime occurrence and for others it's a daily struggle. People that have restless legs experience involuntary jerking of the legs and a tickling sensation that doesn't go away. This makes it very hard for them to fall asleep and the constant movement makes it hard for anyone to share a bed with someone with restless legs.

Restless legs can be caused by a wide range of things and thus fixing it isn't always such a straight forward answer. Here's a few different things to explore - you can try one or you can try them all. Everyone's body's are different - so it's really trial and error.

Okay, so firstly, it can be a structural issue. Somewhere in the body there is a structural imbalance which means that the hips might not be even or the spine might be out of alignment putting pressure on the nerves that go down the legs that can cause that prickling or tingling feeling that many people experience as restless legs. This sounds serious but it's actually an easy fix. The vertebrae in the spine move constantly and sometimes in the way that we sit, stand, sleep or move during the day can put too much pressure on an area which might cause a spasm in the muscle and then that can cause the vertebrae to get 'stuck' in the 'wrong' position. Through massage and manipulation the spine can be aligned again and that will relieve the pressure on the nerves and hopefully make the restless legs go away completely. At Namo we do a unique treatment where they combine massage, pressure points, spinal care and reflexology - all in one to relieve spasms and imbalances in the body. Going for a signature treatment would be a great first step to see if there's any improvement. Alternatively you could go see a Chiropractor.

Secondly, it could be due to a deficiency. When I think of restless legs I think of Magnesium. A shortage of Magnesium in the body is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to any muscle related issue - cramps, spasms and more importantly, restless legs can all be due to your Magnesium tank being too low. This is an easy fix but you have to have patience. Just because you drink Magnesium for a week doesn't mean the restless legs will go away. You get so many kinds of Magnesium and I think that confuses people. Not all of them are equal. Some of them are hard for the body to absorb and others are buffered to be more bio-available. Different forms of Magnesium also have different uses, some are for the muscles and some make your tummy flush. The trick is to get a good form of Magnesium in. I suggest Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Glycinate. Once you've got the right form you must look at strength as well. To have 50mg of Magnesium in your multi-vitamin isn't enough. You should be taking at least 500mg to a 1000mg per day. Take your Magnesium supplement at night as that's when the body absorbs minerals the best. Be patient with this - it's not going to help overnight but as your tank starts to fill up you will begin to feel a difference.

Oh yes and just another thing to consider is that if you've tried all the Magnesium's out there and still no luck - try Iron. The other day I was chatting to our in-house Homeopath, Dr Arnike Redelinghuys and she mentioned that restless legs can actually be caused by an iron deficiency - I still need to research this myself but it's just something to keep in mind. I also believe that Zinc has an important role to play.

This next one might sounds a bit weird but let's make the next point: Physical Touch. Now here's one of those that you have to experiment with to see if and which one will work for you. For some, once they get in bed they should not be touched at all - here's an excuse to get that King Size bed you've always wanted. Their bedding must be cotton to allow the body to breathe. Pets should not be allowed on the bed as they can place weight on the body that could trigger the restless legs. Then your spouse should try to not brush your skin in any way as this can trigger the nerve endings to be over active. So yeah - that's the one extreme and the next is the exact opposite. When you're intimate with your partner - that releases oxytocin which is a natural pain killer. Oxytocin is one of your happy hormones and believe it or not but it can make your legs happy too. Try getting a boost of oxytocin before you sleep to keep the restless legs at bay.

Just like with oxytocin, endorphins are also one of your happy hormones. This gets released in the body when you exercise. Exercising during the day can be a great way to relieve restless legs. Just remember that when you exercise you lose magnesium through your sweat so then you just need to replace it. Another benefit of exercise is that it increases circulation (and so does massage). Circulation is another important role player when it comes to restless legs. If the lower limbs are blocked it causes toxins to build up and they can also cause tingling/twitching or itching. Try going for a nice long walk at least 3 times per week.

Then lastly I would like to quickly mention herbs as well. We sell cypress oil which you could apply to the legs which helps to strengthen veins and increase circulation. Internally I would suggest Willow's Tincture combination called Restless Legs which contains a great herbal complex which helps soothe the nerve endings to calm the legs down. This can be tried as a last resort if none of the other tips have helped.

As I said - you have to try a few things and see what makes it better and what makes it worse and hopefully after a while you will have found out what the right mix of methods are that's right for your body.

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