Treating Restless Leg Syndrome

What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

HotJuly is here and Florida is hot! The “Snowbirds” have gone north to the cooler weather (a goal of mine!) and life is moving in the slow lane.

Before I get started talking about our topic for the day, I want to give a big shout-out to one of my clients: Camilla Massa.  Camilla is an incredible athlete in a sport called Hyrox.  Hyrox isn’t well-known in the USA yet, but it’s very big in Europe.  You can think of it as CrossFit on steroids – pure strength and endurance events on an extreme level.

Camilla has grown through the sport and just a few weeks ago she was ranked #15 in the world. Then she went to a Worldwide competition this past week and she came in 1st place!  I don’t know where that puts her on the roster, but when you consider she was competing against the best in the sport, she has a lot to be proud of.  I’m looking forward to her returning to Sarasota, and to my office for a post-competition therapy session.  I want to hear all about the event!

What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

QuestionsHopefully you aren’t suffering from restless leg syndrome (RLS), but maybe you know someone who is, and if so, this newsletter may be of some help.

It sounds so mild, but clients have told me it’s a really uncomfortable condition that affects the nervous system and muscles. The primary symptom is an unpleasant sensation in the legs that makes a person have an uncontrollable urge to move their legs. Often the legs just jump by themselves, which can make sleeping difficult.

Sufferers report sensations such as itching, tingling, burning, or overall aching. These symptoms are blamed for the overwhelming urge to move their legs.

The sensations associated with RLS are distinct from normal sensations experienced by those who don’t have the disorder, which makes them difficult to characterize. While research hasn’t been able to find any abnormalities in the brain, nerves, or muscles, it is logical that the muscles play a major role in the problem as they are the primary drivers of movement.

The interaction between the muscles and the central nervous system (CNS) is essential for voluntary and involuntary movements. Research suggests that dysfunction in this interaction can contribute to the development of RLS symptoms.

It has been observed that certain muscle-related factors, such as muscle fatigue or excessive tension, can trigger or exacerbate RLS symptoms. Prolonged periods of inactivity, such as sitting for extended periods, can lead to muscle stiffness and reduced blood flow, increasing the likelihood of RLS symptoms occurring.

Treating Restless Leg Syndrome

There are medical treatments that use medications to help relieve the symptoms, but for those solutions I suggest you see your medical practitioner.

I’d like to suggest treating the muscles from your hips to your feet to release any pressure that is being placed on the nerves as they pass through or beside the muscle fibers. I have had success in helping people release the tight muscles in their hips.

Before I share a self-treatment for your hips, I also want to suggest that anyone suffering from RLS also go to a good myofascial release (MFR) massage therapist. MFR will release tension in the fascia, the strong substance that surrounds every muscle fiber in the body.

On to a Julstro self-treatment:

You can treat all the muscles of your hip by placing a ball, such as the Perfect Ball that is on my website, or a tennis ball, on the very outside of your hip.


Lean into a wall and slowly move around until you find a “hot spot.” I call it that because you suddenly come to a point where it really hurts.

Hold pressure on the spot for 15-30 seconds. If you want, you can move back and forth just a little bit to press the acid (H+) out of the muscle.

Then move around until you find another hot spot and repeat the treatment.

Go all the way around your pelvis, along the length of your sacrum, around the top of your thigh bone, and along the crease where your leg meets your trunk.

Go slowly as the muscle takes some time to release the acid from the fibers, which then draws blood into the area and promotes healing in the muscle fibers.

I suggest you also use the heel of your hands and press down on your thigh muscles, sliding from the very top of your leg, like you’re trying to lengthen the muscles toward your knees. If you feel a bump that is painful, that’s a spasm that is putting pressure on your knee and hips. Just do your best to rub it out.

I wish I could say that these will heal the situation, but if it can give you some relief, then that’s a good thing.

If you have any treatments that have worked for you, please let me know so I can share them with others.

Next Month’s Treatment – Headaches

There are many causes of headaches, some life threatening and others that are the end result of tension or other causes that can be resolved. I’ll be sharing a few helpful techniques that have helped a lot of my clients.

Treat Yourself To Pain-Free Living

Pain-Free Living BookYou can locate the source of your pain, and then see how to do the Julstro self-treatments that can stop the pain FAST!

Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living has 21 colorful charts that show you where to treat to relieve pain that you are experiencing, and over 200 clear photos that explain how to do each self-treatment.

You don’t need to live with pain – you can STOP PAIN FAST!

 Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living




Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Relief From Restless Leg Syndrome

Muscles, Nerves, And Restless Leg Syndrome 

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney 

Never-ending Summer

HotIt is starting to cool off in other parts of the country, but it’s still hot in Florida right now. Sometimes it feels like we have never-ending summer in Florida. Thank heaven for air conditioning!

For those of us who are old enough to remember the days before air conditioning, we are even more grateful for air conditioning.  I remember being pregnant with my son in 1967, when we were living in San Antonio, Texas.  Most people didn’t have air conditioning yet, and we certainly didn’t.  I came to realize why Southerners talk so slow (remember, I’m a New Yorker).  It was so hot we just didn’t talk at all. It took too much effort!

Fortunately, this time of year seems to pass quickly, and we’ll be getting back into cooler weather before we know it.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

confusionA reader asked me to talk about RLS this month.  Restless Leg Syndrome is a tricky topic, depending on which expert you read.  The Mayo Clinic said there isn’t a known cause of RLS, but it may be caused by an imbalance of the brain chemical dopamine.  The Mayo Clinic has also said RLS can be related to:

  • Peripheral neuropathy.
  • Iron deficiency.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Spinal cord conditions.

Yes, there isn’t a definitive cause for RLS.

A friend had RLS and told me that when she took iron supplements, and totally avoided flour and sugar that her symptoms disappeared.  Then I read that iron is the worst thing to take for RLS.  Go figure!

In any case, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, so I look at the possible muscular cause of RLS.

Muscles, Nerves, And RLS 

The nerves that go to your leg are the sciatic and femoral nerves, which are the continuation of your spinal cord, separating at your lumbar vertebrae to go down both of your legs.

The femoral nerve goes underneath and through your psoas muscle and under your inguinal ligament.  It innervates your anterior/medial thigh muscles. The importance in this pathway will be discussed, but please make note of how the nerve passes underneath the inguinal ligament.

Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body.  Its pathway is so big that we’ll just say it innervates your buttocks and the rest of your leg and foot that isn’t innervated by the femoral nerve.

After leaving your spine at your low back, these nerves pass under and through some powerful muscles, and this can be a problem when the muscles are tightened by a repetitive strain injury (RSI).  When a muscle contracts it pulls on the insertion point and you move a joint.

As you do something over and over (something as simple as sitting down and staying still for a long period of time) a phenomenon called “muscle memory” causes the muscle to shorten to a contracted length, and you have a problem when you go to move in the opposite direction.

For Example… 

Two muscles, the psoas and iliacus, connect your lumbar vertebrae and pelvis to your upper leg (femur).  When they contract you bend forward (psoas), lift your leg (iliacus) or sit down (both muscles).  When you sit for an extended period of time, muscle memory causes the muscles to change to the shorter length.

When you go to stand up these muscles are too short to easily lengthen enough for you to stand up, and you feel a strain at your low back.  Both your lumbar vertebrae and your pelvis rotate forward and down as the muscles are being strained while they are lengthening.

As the pelvis is rotating forward and down, several things happen that impact the sciatic and femoral nerves.

First the muscles tighten and since the nerves are passing through the muscles, the nerves are “pinched” in the pelvic area.  This can cause the nerves to send impulses to the lower leg and foot.

Next, as I mentioned above, the femoral nerve passes through the psoas muscle and is then directly underneath the inguinal ligament.  As the muscle tightens it presses the nerve up into the inguinal ligament, causing potential damage to the nerve, and also sending impulses to the quadriceps muscles.

As these nerves are impinged and sending impulses to the muscles, the muscle fibers may respond with itching, burning, and twitching.  You are experiencing the results in your thigh, but the cause of the problem is actually deep in your lower pelvic area.

[I realize this description is a bit confusing, and I’m not going into detail here. However if you are interested, or if you have low back pain, I suggest you consider getting my book The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution. This book will explain all of it in detail, and it will show you how to self-treat each muscle that impacts your low back, hips, sciatic nerve, groin, and knees.]

Relief From Restless Leg Syndrome 

Most times the order of treatment isn’t important, but when it comes to the pelvic muscles, and all the related muscles, the order is vital as one muscle can stop the entire treatment protocol from working.  This is why I wrote The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution. It gives you the exact order of treatment, and has photographs of doing each treatment, along with the explanation and a graphic of where that muscle refers pain/numbness.  To try to explain it here would require my putting the book into a newsletter, so that isn’t doable.

Start by treating your anterior thigh muscles. I’m going to show you how to treat just the anterior thigh muscles that can be impacting the femoral nerve.

Use a piece of 1” x 12” PVC pipe to slide (not roll) down your thigh from the very top of your leg to your knee. Cover your entire anterior thigh and out toward the outside of your leg.

Press deeply, it should feel like “hurts so good,” not “I think I’m going to faint!”  You are in control of the pressure so keep it at your tolerance level.

If you feel a bump, that’s a knot (spasm) that is pulling down on your pelvis.  Just stop on it and roll back and forth, trying to break it up.  Keep treating any knots you find in your thigh muscles.

A Good Stretch For Your Psoas Muscle 

Next stretch your psoas muscle. There is a yoga stretch that will help to stretch your psoas muscle, rotate your pelvis back into alignment, and take the pressure off both the sciatic and femoral nerves. The stretch is called the Sphinx.

Lie down with your pelvis firmly resting on the floor.

Put your bent elbows directly under your shoulders as shown in this picture.

Lean back, keeping your pelvis and elbows on the floor.

You are stretching the psoas muscle that is rotating your pelvis.

When you are comfortable doing this stretch, then you can do it standing up:

Put your calves up against the cabinet under your kitchen sink, and your butt gently pressing on the front of the sink.  These must stay still, don’t change the pressure at all or you have moved your pelvis.

Pivot at your lumbar vertebrae, leaning back with your upper back, while keeping your head as shown in the picture.

If you feel increased or decreased pressure on your butt, you have moved your pelvis.  Keep trying until you can lean back without moving your pelvis at all.

This is a start to treating the muscles that may be causing RLS.  Since muscles are the one thing the medical profession doesn’t look at, there’s a good chance this will help you!

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Health Tips From The Professor