Restless legs syndrome (RLS), as the name suggests is a condition where the person is forced by himself and his legs are voluntarily shaken or moved uncontrollably for a long time in a day. It is a nervous system disorder that causes an overpowering urge to move the legs. It’s also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. Problems are more than in the late afternoon or evening hours, and most severe at night when a person is lying in the bed. They happen when someone is inactive and sitting for a long time. As it can be severe during the night, it could become difficult to fall asleep or return to sleep after waking up. Moving the legs or walking mostly relieves the discomfort but the sensations often recur once the movement is stopped.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease )
Irresistible urge to move the legs
Uncomfortable sensations in the lower limbs
Pain and aches of muscles of lower limbs
CAUSES of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease )
The exact cause of RLS is unknown and the condition is known as primary RLS. Genetic factors cause it in some patients. Low levels of iron in the brain also can cause RLS.
PATHOPHYSIOLOGY of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Iron deficiency in the brain alters the dopaminergic system leading to the manifestation of RLS.
DIAGNOSIS of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
No specific test.
TREATMENTS of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Symptomatic treatment including
Lifestyle changes like proper exercise, sleeping habits etc
PROGNOSIS of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
RLS is generally a lifelong disease with no cure. Therapies can minimize symptoms, and increase periods of normalcy.
COMPLICATIONS of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Poor quality of life
Ayurvedic Concept of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
There is no single disease name that can be correlated with restless legs syndrome. But as all movements are attributed to the function of Vaatadosha, this condition can be correlated with Vaatavruddhi lakshana being kampa (jerking or shaking type of movements). As it mostly affects the hip and lower limbs, the sthaana(site) is Vaatika.
Ayurvedic Nidana of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Aavarana (obstruction to channels in the body)
Ayurvedic Purvaaroopa of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Ayurvedic Samprapti of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Due to the causative factors Vaata gets vitiated and gets lodged in the lower limbs, especially nerves & muscles, causing the signs & symptoms.
Ayurvedic Lakshana of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Kampa – uncontrollable movements
Associated symptoms like pain in the calf muscles(pindikodweshtana) and sleep disturbances can be due to Vaata dosha vitiation.
Ayurvedic Divisions of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Ayurvedic Prognosis of Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Saadhya when the disease is new
Krichrasadhya when the disease is chronic
Ayurvedic Treatment (Chikithsa) for Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Lepana with soolaharadravyas
Parisheka with warm soolahara-sophahara dravyas
Upanaha with Vaataharadravyas
Sirodhara with Vaatahara taila
Commonly used Ayurvedic medicines for Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Vrihat VatChintamani Ras
Home remedies for Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Medical professionals suggest the following to ease pain & other disturbances in the legs:
- Stop the activity that caused the cramp.
- Stretch and massage the muscle.
- Hold the leg in the stretched position until the cramp stops.
- Apply heat to muscles that are tight or tense.
- Use cold packs on tender muscles.
Diet for Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
- To be avoided
Drink enough liquids. Ensure enough hydration.
Heavy meals and difficult to digest foods – cause indigestion.
Junk foods- cause disturbance in digestion and reduces the bioavailability of the medicine
Carbonated drinks – makes the stomach more acidic and disturbed digestion
Refrigerated and frozen foods – causes weak and sluggish digestion by weakening Agni (digestive fire)
Milk and milk products – increase kapha and obstruct channels
Curd – causes vidaaha and thereby many other diseases
- To be added
Light meals and easily digestible foods
Green gram, soups, sesame oil.
Freshly cooked and warm food processed with cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, ajwain etc
Protect yourself from very hot & cold climates.
Better to avoid exposure to excessive sunlight wind rain or dust.
Avoid lifting heavy weights and other vigorous physical activities.
Maintain a regular food and sleep schedule.
Avoid holding or forcing the urges like urine, faeces, cough, sneeze etc.
Yoga for Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
Vigorous exercises are not allowed in painful conditions.
Only stretching, moderate walking, and mild cardio exercises are advised. Also, specific yogacharya including bhujangaasana, salabhasana, vajrasana is recommended. Caution must be there to consider the range of movement and flexibility.
Regular exercise helps improve the bioavailability of the medicine and food ingested and leads to positive health.
Yoga can maintain harmony within the body and with the surrounding system.
exercises for leg pain
All the exercises and physical exertions must be decided and done under the supervision of a medical expert only.
Research articles on Restless Legs ( Willis- Ekbom Disease)
A double-blinded, randomized controlled trial was done to examine whether bupropion would improve the symptoms of RLS, or at least not exacerbate them. Twenty-nine participants with moderate to severe RLS received 150 mg sustained-release bupropion once daily, and 31 control participants received a placebo. Participants were followed for 6 weeks and completed standardized tools, including the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) severity scale.
Bupropion was more effective than placebo in the treatment of RLS at 3 weeks; however, the difference was not statistically significant at 6 weeks.
The study concluded that bupropion does not exacerbate the symptoms of RLS and may be a reasonable choice if an antidepressant is needed in individuals with RLS.