Restless legs – can we help?

Have you ever felt that you can’t control your leg movements at night, experiencing annoying jerks and unpleasant sensations?  You may be suffering from restless leg syndrome (RLS)!

What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease is the irresistible urge to move your legs because of uncomfortable sensations.

The uncomfortable feeling gets worse in the evening when resting or sleeping.  Jiggling or moving your feet and legs can provide short-term comfort – hence the term “restless legs”.

It is best to describe RLS as a neurological disorder since most of the sensations come from the brain, however it is also a sleep disorder as it interferes with your sleeping pattern (circadian rhythm) and a movement disorder as it interferes with your movement.

RLS affects approximately 10% of the UK population and can occur at any age, although it is most common in people in their 30’s and 40’s.

Interestingly over the age of 35 the occurrence in women is about double that of men, however, in younger adults, both males and females are equally affected.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom is a strong urge to move the legs, common accompanying characteristics include:

  • Night-time leg twitching – people with this syndrome typically develop a condition also known as periodic limb movement of sleep, which causes the legs to wiggle or kick throughout the night often while the person is asleep.
  • Sensations that begin whilst resting – the sensations begin when you have been sitting or resting for an extended period of time such as in a car, the cinema or aeroplane.
  • Symptoms worsen in the evening – symptoms typically occur at night-time.
  • Relief with movement – symptoms typically lessen with movement such as walking, leg jiggling, rubbing, or stretching.

The sensations, which usually occur within the leg rather than on the skin are described as:

  • Pulling
  • Crawling
  • Creeping
  • Itching
  • Aching
  • Throbbing

How can Chiropractic treatment help?

Chiropractic treatment has a powerful influence on the nervous system and as this condition is caused by a dysfunction of the nervous system, chiropractic treatment can help greatly towards correcting the problem.  Nerves that do not function well prevent normal functioning of the areas they lead to and many nerves exiting from the lower spine control the leg muscles.

The proprioceptive nerves of people with this condition do not work correctly, it prevents the normal functioning of these nerves by disrupting the proper nerve flow, impairing the blood supply, and causing irritation.

Your Chiropractor will take a detailed medical case history to determine what treatment options are required and would tailor them to the individual needs.  These may comprise of:

  • Chiropractic adjustments – these may be required if misalignment is causing or aggravating the restless leg syndrome symptoms. The adjustments also improve the joints range of motion since they improve overall joint function.
  • Heat/ice therapy – muscle strain is very common among people suffering from RLS
  • Massage – massage is considered effective in treating this condition as it helps to relieve muscle tension that arises from stress and fatigue.
  • Stretching – depending on the severity of the condition and the individual, a few stretches may also be of benefit. Some of these may include hip stretches, front of the thigh stretches, rotating the ankles and calf stretches.

On a final note…….

Restless leg syndrome is a complicated condition that impacts on an individual’s daily life, health, and well-being. Managing the symptoms of RSL is crucial to prevent abnormal functioning of the muscles and the nervous system.

Chiropractic treatment can help to alleviate the symptoms of mild RSL with spinal adjustments, restoring the body’s balance, improving symptoms, and enabling you to achieve a good quality of life.

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or