Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by an uncomfortable and unpleasant sensation in the legs that appears at rest, which induces an irresistible urge to move the legs. RLS symptoms are more prominent in the evening and at bedtime and usually disrupt patient sleep. RLS is a common syndrome. Adult prevalence is reported to range from 2% to 5% up to 10–15%. The incidence of this disease worsens with age and the incidence is twice as high in females. A genetic basis for the primary form has been hypothesized. Underlying pathophysiology of RLS is still not fully understood. The most accredited hypothesis recognizes an involvement of the diencephalic A11 dopaminergic neurons. Three main causative reasons of the secondary type of this disease are pregnancy, iron deficiency anemia, and renal failure. In secondary types, if diagnosed immediately or causative factors are restricted, the symptoms might remitted
Different drugs have been used for treating RLS, all of which seemingly alleviate the symptoms instead of curing the syndrome. The most effective drug treatment for RLS is dopamine agonists, which possess some side effects. Other drugs used in the treatment of RLS include opioids, benzodiazepines, levodopa, anti-anxiety drugs, baclofen, tramadol, clonidine, and anticonvulsant medications such as carbamazepine, pregabalin, and gabapentin
Many nonpharmaceutical methods have been applied to cure RLS, some of which have been effective in ameliorating the symptoms. These include: exercise and massage therapy through raising blood circulation and releasing endorphin and dopamine; near-infrared light and pneumatic compressed through raising blood circulation; injecting 1–2 mL lidocaine 25%; and pharmaceutical plant injection in trigger points. Decreased use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, and maintaining a regular sleep pattern might also provide some relief for patients with RLS.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles, RLS is closely related to Zang-Fu organ imbalances, especially in the liver, heart, and kidneys. Treatment principles including balancing yin and yang, promoting qi and blood circulation, nourishing the spleen, dredging the sanjiao meridian, and regulating the du and ren channels.
Acupuncture is especially known for its effectiveness in reducing pain due to triggering a release of analgesic neuropeptides. Previous studies have shown that the neuroprotective effect of acupuncture is mediated through the same common mechanisms as other neuroprotective agents, including antioxidative stress, antiinflammatory, and antiapoptotic pathways at molecular and cellular levels.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles, RLS is closely related to Zang-Fu organ imbalances, especially in the liver, heart, and kidneys. Treatment principles including balancing yin and yang, promoting qi and blood circulaThe high total effective rate of 95.24% for acupuncture plus herbal medicine treatments indicates that this approach to care is effective for patients with RLS. tion, nourishing the spleen, dredging the sanjiao meridian, and regulating the du and ren channels.
The influences of du, taiyang, and shaoyang channel blockages on restless leg syndrome are important factors according to TCM principles. Qi and blood stasis affecting these channels due to disorders such as lumbar disc compression, IVF (intervertebral foramina) encroachment, immobility of the sacroiliac joint, and other local concerns affecting acupuncture channels of the legs warrants additional research.