Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) has been a specialist interest of Dr Monk for several years. One of the major parts of our successful approach was ‘no needle’ electroacupuncture. You can experience the same benefits with our treatment protocol.
With our treatment you will be able to tap into the body's own healing mechanisms and pathways. By careful selection of points and areas on the body we can stimulate anti-inflammatory pathways, boost pain-relieving substances such as endorphins and produce changes in other chemical signalling systems such as dopamine pathways which lead to change and even remodelling in the brain itself.
The symptoms of RLS can be very strange and it can take a long time for sufferers to have their condition diagnosed. Because of this a standard question was formulated by a group of neurologists to be broadly diagnostic. (1)
"When you try to relax in the evening or sleep at night, do you ever have unpleasant, restless feelings in your legs that can be relieved by walking or movement?“
If you answer “yes” then it’s virtually certain that you have RLS.
For many patients with RLS the biggest problems come from the medications they may be prescribed by doctors, especially the dopaminergics such as ropinirole and pramipexole. These are no longer recommended as first-line drugs (the ones to start treatment with) but we still see many patients who have been taking these medications for some considerable time.
Unfortunately these medications come with a major drawback - they cause augmentation in 7 out of 10 patients. What is meant by augmentation is that the RLS symptoms start earlier in the day, may be more severe, and may spread from the legs to other parts of the body - so that the medication you are taking to help your RLS can actually make the symptoms worse over time.
Weaning from the medication can be a huge problem as well since the dopaminergics are addictive, and some experts believe that it is more challenging to withdraw from this class of drugs than from heroin and the opioids.
Most of the patients we have seen in the clinic were taking medications for RLS (usually 2 or 3) and more than half of them were showing symptoms of augmentation. Despite this, we still managed to achieve an improvement in symptom severity of 68% on average.
Remember that some patients with RLS have underlying conditions which can be treated to relieve their symptoms.
(1) A single question for the rapid screening of restless legs syndrome in the neurological clinical practice.Ferri R, Lanuzza B, Cosentino FI, Iero I, Tripodi M, Spada RS, Toscano G, Marelli S, Aricò D, Bella R, Hening WA, Zucconi M. Eur J Neurol. 2007 Sep; 14(9):1016-21.