Restless Leg Syndrome (also referred to as RLS and Willis-Ekbom disease) is a fairly common and uncomfortable disorder that causes an urge to move or massage the legs (or sometimes arms) while at rest. It is estimated that 10% of the population suffers from this condition, the majority of whom are women.
RLS symptoms can differ from person to person but if you are experiencing the following signs, you may be a part of that 10%.
- You have an irresistible compulsion to move your legs, especially while resting.
- Your legs feel achy, numb, throbbing or even like there are ants crawling on them. The feelings have also been described as “an itch you cannot scratch,” “pins and needles” or “pulling.”
- You have involuntary jerking or twitching in your legs.
- Your symptoms are worse in the evening, especially while laying down.
- The uncomfortable sensations in your legs make it hard to sleep.
- Your symptoms get better when you move your legs or walk around.
If you identify with these symptoms, you may have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and are probably desperate for a way to relieve it. Some basic measures to take include regular exercise during the daytime as well as cutting or limiting caffeine and alcohol. Some prescription medications have been used to treat Restless Leg, however they can cause unfavorable or sometimes intolerable side effects. Patients seeking a safe, medication-free therapy should consider a pneumatic compression device (or PCD), a compression machine that pumps air into sleeves worn around the legs. The sleeves compress and release to mimic ambulation (walking or moving around) when you at rest.
PCDs have been clinically proven to alleviate Restless Leg Syndrome discomfort and in some cases, resolve the disorder completely. One study noted that the use of the compression therapy system resulted in a reduction of RLS symptoms in 90% of patients. Typically, patients wear the compression sleeves for an hour before bed, and sometimes while going to sleep if desired. The PowerPlay Leg Massager Kit is a portable system that is lightweight, easy to use and cost-effective.*
So why do compression therapy devices help ease the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome?
There are a variety of theories as to why PCDs help relieve RLS, including enhanced lymphatic flow, removal of fluids that cause the symptoms from the lower legs, increased blood flow and improved venous drainage. Whatever the cause, it is clear that these calf compression devices are doing the job for most RLS sufferers.
- Lettieri C, Eliasson A. Sequential Compression Devices for Treatment of Restless Leg Syndrome. Medicine, 2007;86:317-323
- Lettieri C, Eliasson A. Pneumatic compression devices are an effective therapy for restless legs syndrome. Chest. 2009;135:74-80.
- Rajaram SS, Shanahan J, Ash C, et al. Enhanced external counter pulsation (EECP) as a novel treatment for restless legs syndrome (RLS): a preliminary test of the vascular neurologic hypothesis for RLS. Sleep Med. 2005;6:101–106.
Contraindications: Do not use the PowerPlay Calf Massager if you have a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, or blood clot in the lower leg).