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Alternative treatments for RLS Part 2

Updated on September 13, 2012

There are a number of ways through which one can manage restless leg syndrome. In addition to using medications and dietary supplements, alternative treatments for RLS are also useful. Some people have found that using RLS stretching exercises is useful. In addition to these exercises, there are those who also use massage for RLS. These alternative treatment methods are not only useful but also cheap and effective.

Restless leg syndrome is a very disturbing health disorder and causes a lot of discomfort to those ones who suffer from it. In as much as it might not be a life-threatening disorder, it is known to cause both physical and emotional pain to those who live with it. It is therefore very important to get knowledge on how to deal with it once it occurs. The exact causes of the disorder are dependent on particular cases and that they are complex and not well understood. The disorder is known to affect mostly the legs but can also affect other parts of the body such as the hands, the trunk or the back.

The disorder is characterized by a feeling of discomfort ranging from pain, itching or twitching to any other feeling on the legs such as the urgency to move or walk. This therefore follows that those who suffer from the disorder feel like they want to move once the disorder sets in. in order to get some relief, those who suffer from the same start walking or moving around. This is however important but it brings about just slight relief.

There are those people who massage their legs; others just walk while others just do nothing. The most important of all is to learn how you can control or lessen the discomfort by stretching. This is one of the methods that are commonly used and recommended by professionals in this area.

RLS stretching exercises

RLS stretching exercises are not very different from the other stretches that are done to cater for other exercise needs. However, these stretches are geared towards the relief of pain caused by RLS. This should be done prior to the onset of the disorder and during its attack. Before making a decision to which one of the stretches for RLS to use, and if you want to try all of them to make this decision, the best starting point is seeking the professional advice from a qualified individual such as your physician. In this way, you will be advised accordingly and come up with the best one to use for your case.

It should be born in mind that sitting behind a desk for too long should not be done by a person suffering from RLS. It is advisable to wake up and walk around often and relax the leg muscles. Practicing movement often is good for the muscles since this produces heat on the muscles to warm them. This is a sure way of reducing the effects of RLS.

There are several stretches that are used in the treatment of restless leg syndrome. It should however be realized that stretching should not be the only method that the individual should be using to treat the RLS. The individual suffering from this syndrome should be sure to use other methods such as medications and supplements in addition to RLS stretching exercises. These stretching exercises include the following;

Stretching the back thigh

This type of stretching for RLS is geared towards relaxing the back thigh. This is done by raising one leg while straightening it and placing it on a high surface. This surface may be something like the settee. Once you have done that, you should then slowly and carefully bend with your back straight. Bend forward until your feel the back thigh muscle is stretched. Once you feel this, hold the position for not more than twenty seconds. After you have done this on one leg, do the same to the other. You will find that the back thigh is stretched well and the muscle feels less afflicted by restless leg syndrome.

Calf stretching for RLS

Calf stretching is a very important physical activity for relieving discomfort caused by RLS. This involves putting your palms on the wall while standing. Once you have done this, you put the right leg behind your left leg. The legs should be separated by a few feet and standing as if you want to push the wall while one of your leg is put back for balance and increased stamina. The heals of your feet should be rigidly on the wall and that you should bend your right foot on the knee with care such that you will put some pressure on the calf. Ensure that your back is straight. Once you have done that you should hold the position for like 20 seconds and change the position of the legs. Ensure that you have repeated the stretch for the other foot using the same process. This will ensure that the calf is relieved off the discomfort that may be caused by the effects of restless leg syndrome.

Stretching the thigh for RLS

This stretching is aimed at stretching the thigh such that you will ensure it is relieved off the discomfort caused by restless leg syndrome. It will involve standing on one leg while bending the other backwards towards your buttocks. The raised leg should be bended on the knee such that it will touch the buttocks while you are standing. Once you have done this, you should hold the position for a few seconds and change the legs. It should be noted that this is potentially hazardous if you lose your balance. In this sense, you should make sure that you have stood close to something you can hold on just in case you lose balance.

Other RLS stretching exercises

Stretching for RLS as above exemplified has not been investigated fully. In this sense, the exercises are only meant for relaxing the muscles that are affected by RLS just in the same way you would relax them before engaging in other exercises such as jogging or fast walking.

It should also be noted that the idea behind these exercises is to make the muscles loose and relieved off the pains caused by restless leg syndrome. This therefore means that how you stretch is not very important as how much relieve you get from the same. The only thing that should be paid attention to is to ensure that you do the stretching safely and comfortably. The end here justifies the means.

Another consideration should be done on the need to stretch any other part of the body that may be affected by RLS. Some people realize that they get discomforts on other parts of the body in addition to the legs. Such places might be the hands, trunk or back. These places should be stretched too.

Other stretching exercises that can also help in addressing the effects of RLS include yoga. This is especially important in the sense that it also includes exercises that would well reduce the effects of RLS. Yoga also addresses issues of stress that should well go with the reduction of the restless leg syndrome effects. In this way, yoga combines two very important aspects of reducing the effects of the disorder.

It is good to exercise caution before starting on any RLS stretching exercises or programs. This means that you should be able to consult your physician for advice on these exercises such that you will come up with a good program. This will also help you to determine which of these exercises is best for your RLS case while also getting safety tips. Remember that all the exercises should be done in a way that will not damage the muscles or aggravate the effects of your restless leg syndromes. Other issues related to the exercises n general will be discussed and you will be able to carry out and practice them quite well.

You may also be suffering from other physical challenges or impairments that would prevent you from doing these exercises safely or successfully. This is another reason that would really make you consult your doctor as this would be detrimental to other aspects of your body safety. In this way, regardless of the prevailing physical conditions of your body, the advice is always to consult your doctor for advice.

The idea behind stretching

Stretching is important in the sense that it is a way of taking out some energy from the muscles stretched. Keeping your muscles tired for some time is good to eat out the energy from the muscles. In this sense, stretching is, in its ability to reduce the energy from the muscles, a good way of relieving the effects of restless leg syndrome. It helps to make sure that you have prevented the same from happening and reduce the effects once it sets in.

Some people have realized that stretching for RLS only works for them when they are actually doing it. The discomfort reemerges once they have ceased doing the exercises. This is perfectly normal and should not be a case for alarm.

Stretching when done just before bed is a good way of preventing the RLS discomfort from setting in. however, this should be accompanied by other lifestyle changes aimed at ensuring prevention and treatment of restless legs. It apparent that there is no guarantee that stretching will completely deal with RLS but it is a good way of doing so. There is also no one particular stretching exercise that can be considered the best or the most perfect for RLS. In the same way, there is no one particular exercise that can be considered the worst or inapplicable. This leaves a room for more in-depth inquiry for the same using scientific methodologies and medical analysis of these exercises.

All in all, stretching is important and should be done safely and frequently. It should be combined with other treatment methods in consultation with the advice from qualified professionals. When it is done correctly and safely, exercise is good for your body and should be done regularly.

There are also other factors that you can consider in your quest for searching for relieve from restless leg syndrome. Among them is massage applications aimed at relieving the discomfort occasioned by RLS.

Massage for RLS

Massage can be used for preventing and reducing RLS sensations and discomfort. There has not been conclusive research on how, why and in what manner that massage prevents or reduces the effects of RLS. However, massage is highly proposed for the reduction of and preventing the effects of restless leg disorder.

Due to the fact that the causes of RLS are very particular to individual cases and that they are not very obvious, reducing the levels of severity or treating it may be very difficult. In this sense, a change in lifestyle is usually seen as more applicable in the treatment of RLS. This is especially so in addressing the disorder’s intensity and rate of recurrence.

It has also been documented that moving the affected parts like the legs provide a sense of discomfort. However, it is also known that the discomfort returns when the movement is ceased. This means that movement is a relief to the disorder but does not really treat the same. There also no known best movement methods that can be said to provide the most reprieves.

Available research results are in concurrence that two ways of stimulating the muscles (tactile and temperature stimulation) provide relief from the effects of restless leg syndrome. In this way, by stimulating the muscles, the RLS discomfort may be prevented or reduced. This will ensure that the RLS patient will have proper rest while sleeping due to the fact that the sleep will not disrupted. Stimulation of muscles is the chief essence of massage and therefore it is highly recommended that massage for RLS is one of the ways to ensure that one is prevented from the effects of RLS disorder. It is also apparent that it reduces these effects once they set in.

How does massage for RLS work?

There have not been conclusive inquest into how massage for RLS work. However, it has been documented that massage is a way of stimulating muscles through tactile means and temperature stimulation. This, together with hot baths is useful and important in the stimulation of muscles. When this stimulation happens, the muscles relax and stress is reduced. Other effects of the same include;

· Dopamine is very useful in the management and treatment of restless leg syndrome. During massage, dopamine is released naturally. This is very good for those ones who are living with the RLS disorder.

· It is believed that massage is good in stimulating the cerebral cortex. Once this is stimulated, it is believed that less frequent attacks by RLS will be realized.

· Thalamus activation is believed to be possible through massage. This is highly beneficial since thalamus is a determinant factor in the frequency and intensity of restless leg syndrome.

· The problems that necessitate the stimulation of these muscles is believed to be addressed by massage. In order that the muscles require that high level of stimulation, there is usually the cause. These causes are rooted away by massage.

· Due to the fact that RLS is affected and aggravated by stress and anxiety, massage becomes handy. In this way, massage will reduce the intensity and frequency of RLS in its properties of reducing stress and anxiety.

It is however notable that the effects of RLS recurs after the massage therapy session. All in all, it has been discovered and documented that it is a way of relieving the discomforts caused by RLS albeit temporarily.

Is it possible to self-massage for RLS?

Self-massage for RLS is very difficult. There is no way you can self-massage that deeply to get results that would be enough to address the discomfort that is caused by RLS. It is also notable that self-massage may not be compared with exercises such jogging, walking and others.

In as much as it is very difficult, self-massage is to some extent useful in addressing the pain that accompanies RLS. In the same way, no one particular massage may be singled out as the most effective or the most inapplicable. This follows that any self-massage technique may be suitable to address the effects of RLS or prevent them from occurring. Some of the most important massage types include the following;

Calf massage

This is usually beneficial for those who are looking for a way to do some massage to prevent or reduce the discomfort occasioned by restless leg disorder. A hard ball or any particular roller may be used for this type of massage. This use of roller involves moving the leg over the roller in the quest for working out the curves of the muscles. You may also use the fingers to work out the muscles of the calf. This is done in such a way that the fingers will work on every muscle including those ones on the sides of the leg.

Hamstring massage

This is usually done using the fingers. Other times, you can use the hard ball or simply any roller. Due to the fact that the hamstring is also related to RLS, the hamstring massage is very important and useful. However, it should be noted that massaging the hamstring requires the efforts to be deep enough to reach the muscles below the skin and the fat.

Other massages

Other massages including heated massages are important in the treatment of restless leg syndrome. This is especially so because there is agreement that temperature changes reduces the effects of RLS. In this way, the additional heat as provided in the heated massages is important and very beneficial in the treatment of RLS.

It has not been vividly shown whether massage chairs and other massage machines have any effects on the treatment of restless leg disorder. More research is required to make these assertions concerning whether or not the massage machines have any effects on the RLS.

In general, massage for RLS is an area that has not experienced enough scientific research. It has not been documented whether or not massage provides any long-term benefit against RLS. However, there has been general agreement that some self-massage techniques are beneficial to those people having the disorder.

It should be noted that, despite the fact that it has not been well documented using scientific research and methodologies, massage for RLS is generally not expensive. There are no dangers that are associated with it and therefore can be tried at home or elsewhere. However, there is always a need to consult your doctor before doing anything or seeking any treatment option for your restless leg disorder.


There are many options and methods through which one can really and effectively manage the effects of or discomfort caused by restless leg syndrome. However, in addition to having medications, supplements, lifestyle changes and so on for the treatment of RLS, alternative treatments for RLS are also available. This may be through the use of herbal extracts, or herbal medicine.

In addition to these too, there are other alternative treatments for RLS such as the use of RLS stretching exercises and massage for RLS. These are very important in the sense that they are usually inexpensive and can be done at home. However, it is good to realize that one should always consult a qualified doctor or any other professional that would give proper and informed advice that would help in making decisions as far as these alternative treatments are concerned. It is also very important to note that particular restless leg disorder may call for particular treatment method. In this way, you should be sure to first of all get to know the best course of action.

Restless leg syndrome is therefore a very complex disorder that needs all-inclusive treatment methods.


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