Relief is on the way for people suffering from restless leg syndrome

Relief is on the way for people suffering from restless leg syndrome

With as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population suffering from restless leg syndrome (RLS), according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, sufferers are always looking for new treatment options. And while there are pharmaceutical options, many of the drugs prescribed to manage the symptoms of RLS have negative side effects.

But there may be some relief in the future for patients suffering from RLS that doesn’t involve prescriptions. A new trial found an adjustable foot wrap was more effective than standard drug treatments.

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes throbbing or unpleasant sensations in the legs that may cause uncontrollable movement. Symptoms of RLS typically occur at night or while resting. This causes exhaustion and daytime fatigue due to lack of continuous sleep and rest.

The eight-week trial published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association involved 30 healthy adults suffering from moderate to severe restless leg syndrome. Participants tested a RLS device that was designed to put adjustable target pressure on two muscles in the foot to relax symptoms of RLS through an adjustable foot wrap.

The research showed that the pressure produced by the wrap caused a dopamine release similar to massage therapy or acupressure. They found that the device was 1.4 times more effective than the standard pharmaceutical treatment for restless leg syndrome.

“By putting pressure on specific muscles in the feet, we are able to create a response in the brain that relaxes the muscles activated during RLS,” said Phyllis Kuhn, MS, PhD, the study’s lead researcher. “It’s a near perfect example of the body regulating itself without drugs, many of which have the potential for significant adverse side effects.”

Dr. Tony Hampton, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group, says the findings are promising.

“This is an important development since so many patients are interested in non-medication options due to concerns over the many possible side effects,” says Dr. Hampton. “The use of this device to stimulate dopamine release in a more natural way will likely make patients more comfortable using this as a medical intervention and will attract lots of attentions from patients and clinicians alike.”

Dr. Hampton says you likely have RLS if you have the following symptoms:

  • Strong, often irresistible urge to move your legs, usually accompanied by uncomfortable sensations described as crawling, creeping, cramping, tingling or pulling
  • Symptoms start or get worse when the patient is sitting or lying down
  • Symptoms are partially or temporarily relieved by activity, such as walking or stretching
  • Symptoms are typically worse at night

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Comments

13 Comments

  1. Do you still have RLS? This is interesting!! no drugs!

    Lisa

  2. When will this device be available? Or is there a way to try this device or get in contact with the researchers? I would love to get off my medication for RLS.

  3. Hi Dr. Hampton,
    My 86 year old father has RLS and won’t give up the meds even though they interact with other important meds he takes. Can he get in a trial, or is the device available to try at this time anywhere? If you can, please email me at my Advocate email.
    Much appreciated! Deb

  4. This is a heaven sent help for an affliction that really drives me crazy and I have worried about the fact that the med (ropinirole) I take, tho very helpful, will require me to increase my dosage over time and that the most I will be able to take is 8 (I am presently taking 3 a day). So this device sounds like something I would definitely like to try.
    How and where can I get it?

  5. Am I a candidate for that device even if I only experience one of the symptoms mention above ( tingling – feet up to the knees ). I only feel it when I am sitting down on my bed watching television for an hour or so but when I lay down it goes away.

    Thank you

  6. No comment

  7. I have all the symptoms described. Thought it is because I don’t drink enough water. Just this morning when trying to get out of bed the muscle pulled so badly that my foot turned up. I just bared it until walking. I take nothing for this problem. Have more pills that I want. Please tell me what I need to do in order to try this non-precription remedy.

  8. Is this device available now? If so how can I get it.Thank u

  9. I have RLS. And I had to stop taking the medicine for it because I got very sick. So I suffer all the time now. No drugs! This is interesting

  10. Marguerite baranov November 1, 2016 at 8:47 pm · Reply

    How we can get this foot wrap. What is the cost, does medicare cover this??

  11. I’m suffering from RLS over 11 yrs now which also includes 24/7 pain in my feet, a non- diabetic neuropathy. Non of the medication even touches THAT pain. I’m on a combo of 2 medications at present. It only takes the edge off but would be even more unbearable w/o it.
    I would try this device in a heartbeat. I fear my body could eventually become immune to the meds. I have tried at least 4 or 5.

  12. When will this device be available to the public. My symtoms are jerking muscles of one or both legs that wake me up at night. I have been taking Clonazepam for the last 12 years, but have had the problem for the last 40 years.

  13. Dr. Tony Hampton November 2, 2016 at 9:39 pm · Reply

    Thanks for all the comments and questions. I am just as excited that companies are investing in non-pharmaceutical interventions to help all of us improve our quality of life. Relaxis was FDA-approved in the summer of 2014 and will provide a nice alternative to medications. In terms of coverage, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet covered this device. Patients need to pay out of pocket if they want to try this new medical intervention. The company that supplies this device offers it on their website as a rental at http://myrelaxis.com
    On their website, they advertise it for as low as $50/month but don’t explain how pricing works. They can be reached at (888) 475-7435 to learn more. (A9270 – non reimbursed). Good luck if you plan to try this medical device. Remember to discuss this with your clinician prior to trying any new medical intervention.

About the Author

Tiffany Nguyen
Tiffany Nguyen

Tiffany Nguyen, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing intern at Advocate Support Centers in Downers Grove, IL. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in public health. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration focusing specifically on healthcare management at Lewis University. Tiffany enjoys hanging out with her friends, exploring new restaurants, and binge watching Netflix shows.