COMPRESSION THERAPY AND RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME
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. The sensations can differ from person to person, but Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms are often described as:
- “ants crawling on the legs”
- “pins and needles”
- “an itch you cannot scratch”
- achy legs
- twitching in the legs
- pulling sensations
These symptoms often occur or get worse when the body is at rest – most likely in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. It is estimated that 10% of the population suffers from this condition, most of whom are women.
So the nagging question is: how is this troublesome condition relieved? Some prescription medications have been used to treat RLS, however they can cause unfavorable or sometimes intolerable side effects. Patients seeking a safe and non-pharmacological therapy should consider a pneumatic compression device (also referred to as a 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 one is 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.
Pneumatic Compression Devices are also used in hospitals to prevent DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), and most are large, bulky and expensive. The PowerPlay Leg Massager Kit is a portable system that is lightweight, easy to use and cost-effective. It provides the same compression therapy as the aforementioned medical devices, and its portability makes it easier to use more frequently.
So why do compression therapy devices help ease the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome? There are a variety of theories as to why PCDs provide such relief, 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.
Learn more about the PowerPlay Calf Massager Kit here.
Contraindications: Do not use the PowerPlay Calf Massager if you have a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, or blood clot in the lower leg).
- 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.