UNDER REVISION – Improved Pack here soon
Hello. If you find yourself here looking for a solution for RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome) then please rest assured – I really feel for you. It is a progressive condition which can become very difficult to live with – at least without the right tools and support.
The innocuous name “Restless Legs” belittles the effect that it can have on YOUR health and wellbeing. It is often nothing short of debilitating. We won’t go into too much detail here of all that is known about the condition and the conventional approaches to treatment – because if you are a sufferer, then you will likely know much of this. I have met so many RLS sufferers who have, in their words, tried everything to get relief or if they haven’t yet, they will certainly try anything if it will give them some relief.
But we need to understand the cause, so, without getting too medical or scientific, RLS cause is all about dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter hormone and plays a part in memory, mood, pleasure and reward in the brain. As with most of the brain, the exact mechanism of dopamine is not precisely known but when RLS is present then it can mean a very difficult time for the sufferer indeed.
Also, It does also seem to have an hereditary element, running in families, affecting both male and female, and there are similarities of symptoms with Parkinson’s disease – although it must be said that there have been many studies and one condition does NOT lead to the other. Many RLS sufferers are concerned that they might develop Parkinson’s as there are some similarities and of course they are both tied in with that dopamine neurotransmitter. But it is clear that RLS does NOT lead to Parkinson’s.
When asked to describe RLS most will use words or phrases such as – strange and unavoidable compulsion to move stretch their legs or walk about, a horrible unrelenting `creeping or crawling sensation, the need to quite violently shake ones legs or repeatedly keep stretching and contracting the muscles. Many will say that the pain and discomfort is hard to pinpoint but seems to come from deep within the leg itself. Most partners of sufferers will relate only too well to these statements – especially after being kept awake by the continual movements of a partner next to them in bed.
Despite it’s name it can, but by no means always, also spread and affect parts of the torso and arms. There is little relief and the sufferer is unable to sleep and will often walk around – when the sensations will go but ONLY to return once ones goes back to bed or tries to sit or lie quietly. It goes without saying that any regular lack of sleep is very unhealthy for ones body – we need sleep to recharge those batteries.
By the time one has had a few nights without any meaningful sleep, they will become totally exhausted and unable to function. They may only be getting an intermittent couple of hours sleep from sheer exhaustion. NOT HEALTHY.
But I am guessing that you probably know all that don’t you – especially if you are a sufferer.
So typically, what will a GP be able to do to help?
Well it varies greatly. It must be said that most |GPs do nor have an in-depth knowledge of RLS and after repeated visits you may in the UK get referred to a neurologist. There will probably be a wait of over 12 months for this – again this is in the UK.
The days of doctors handing out sleeping tablets like smarties are long gone. So at first you may well be asked to monitor and change your sleep health – your bedtime and sleep routines. Thigs like exercise but not too close to bedtime. Bedroom temperature and not looking at phones screens tvs etc when you are in bed. Relaxation and breathing techniques may be tried. All helpful but you may well have tried these without much relief. Next would be drugs and usually a drug called a dopamine agonist might be tried (Ropinirole) and later pramipexole. Often drugs may work at first but then their efficacy wears off and another is tried. Most of the drugs also have side effects and some patients are unable to bear this side effects. Once dopamine agonists have been tried, often another approach is a neurological painkiller / anti-seizure medication such as Gabapentin or pregabalin (Licra).
The third approach is a painkiller – often an opioid based one such as Coedine, Tramadol and then even Dihydrocoedine, Oxycodone (Oxycontin) and then onto even Methadone or Buprenorphine.
Sometimes benzodiazepines such as clonazepam and alprazolam are used or alternated. Many of these drugs will not be issued by a GP unless under the recommendation of a consultant neurologist. There is always the risk of any drug augmenting, losing efficacy and requiring higher doses.
Sometimes a GP will reluctantly prescribe sleep medication although it is rarely effective. Modern sleep medication is no longer benzodiazepine based but more usually one of the newer Z drugs such as Zolpidem which acts as a sedative and hypnotic. … Zolpidem is a GABAA receptor agonist . Most RLS sufferers find them to be next to useless
An important factor is also IRON levels in the blood which have been shown to help with the symptoms of RLS. Often Iron infusions are given via IV because standard iron supplements taken orally such as Ferrous sulphate do not raise the iron levels sufficiently. A full iron blood test called a blood panel is used to determine the ferritin iron levels in the blood. Magnesium and calcium supplements are also said to help. Also exercise in the early evening does also help
So it is a difficult situation for someone suffering from RLS as there seems to be no real cure as such so sometimes we have to deal with the symptoms in order to gain some relief.
Hypnotherapy van be a tremendous help. When it comes to pain, the mind body connection although not fully understood can be a wonderful help and can often do away with the need for many of the stronger medications.
So your hypnotherapy sessions will help you and it is great that you are able to understand RLS and how it affects YOU. You can listen to the hypnotherapy sessions as many times as you like – often the obvious time will be lying in bed as you try to fall asleep. Repeated listening is a GOOD thing as it cements it into the subconscious.
The main session uses various hypnotic techniques coupled with a binaural back ground audio designed to compliment and enhance the effects. Please listen when you can give it your complete attention and not when driving or doing anything else which requires your attention or concentration.
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