Restless leg syndrome is a torturous condition that causes your legs to want to jump up and run away when you want to sleep. They can also itch, burn, or have a creepy-crawly feeling.
Drugs for restless leg syndrome dull the body and brain and don’t address the underlying cause of a condition that affects 5 million adults and 1 million children. Restless leg syndrome occurs in twice as many women than men and increases the risk for chronic disease and early mortality.
Diet and Lifestyle Links to Restless Leg Syndrome
The cause of restless leg syndrome is different for each person, although it comes down to a few general factors. The first thing to look at is whether brain health is supported through diet and lifestyle:
Blood sugar stability. A diet high in sugars and processed carbs sends blood sugar spiking and crashing. These extreme fluctuations degenerate and inflame the brain, contributing to all manner of brain-based problems, including restless leg syndrome.
Poor gut health. Leaky gut and too many bad gut bacteria profoundly impact brain health.
Food sensitivities. An immune reaction to a food can inflame the brain. Gluten and dairy in particular are inflammatory for many people and can cause the immune system to destroy brain tissue in a neurological autoimmune disorder.
Other metabolic factors that may contribute to restless leg syndrome include poor nutrition, hormone imbalances, autoimmune disease, poor thyroid function, neurotransmitter (brain chemical) activity, and a previous head injury.
Additionally, research shows that iron deficiency as well as magnesium or vitamin D deficiencies may be related to restless leg symptoms.
Functional Neurology for Restless Leg Syndrome
If you’ve supported your brain health and still struggle with restless leg syndrome, you may need functional neurology help.
Restless leg syndrome can be traced to the basal ganglia, an area in the brain that governs involuntary movements. For instance, basal ganglia dysfunction also causes tics, spasms, and tremors.
In order for the basal ganglia to function properly, other areas of the brain must “fire” (communicate) sufficiently with the basal ganglia so it can do its job of inhibiting involuntary and repetitive movement.
However, these other areas of the brain may not fire adequately into the basal ganglia due to various reasons, including imbalanced brain development in childhood, brain injury, brain inflammation, brain degeneration, or other glitches in brain circuitry.
In functional neurology, we examine brain function through various tests that evaluate reflexes, movement and balance, responses to stimuli, and how the eyes move — the eyes are a window into how well brain circuitry functions.
Based on these findings, we perform therapeutic exercises in the office and give you techniques to practice at home. These practices activate or dampen different areas of the brain depending on what the basal ganglia needs to function optimally. This approach helps many resolve restless leg symptoms.
This is a very general overview to a complex neurological topic, but gives you a general idea of a non-pharmaceutical way to manage restless leg syndrome. Ask my office for more information.
You’ve probably heard it over and over: Stress raises the risk of disease. But how do you know if your stress is the disease-causing kind? It’s helpful to know some signs and about the adrenal stress test.
Severe stress can either cause you to be fatigued all the time, wired all the time, or a mix of both. Or maybe stress manifests as sleep issues.
It’s not uncommon for people to become so used to being stressed out they fail to realize it’s an issue. They have forgotten how not to feel stressed out.
Symptoms of fatigue-based stress
To get the most from the adrenal stress test, do the test a second time after following a health protocol for four to six weeks. This shows you whether you're on the right track with your healing approach.
This is because stress in the body is always caused by more than just the stress that we perceive, for example low or high blood sugar, an infection, or autoimmune disease.
Adrenal health should improve as you manage these conditions. If things do not improve, it means you must keep searching to find out what is taxing the body.
Measuring your sleep-wake cycleAnother way to gauge stress with the adrenal stress test is to look at your sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm.
Are you alert in the morning and sleepy at night? An abnormal circadian rhythm is one symptom of adrenal stress.
Your primary stress hormone, cortisol, should be high in the morning and low at night on an adrenal stress test. Many people have a backwards rhythm causing fatigue in the morning and insomnia at night. Or, instead of a gradual decline of cortisol during the day, it may drop in the afternoon, causing an energy crash.
Where are you on the adrenal stress test scale?By measuring several markers, the adrenal stress test can tell you whether you are in:
The adrenal stress test also measures immune cells called total SIgA. This is a measure of how stress has impacted your immune system over time. If SIgA is low, it can mean you are more susceptible to food intolerances, infections, and weakened immunity.
Start with blood sugar stability to manage stressOne of the most common causes of chronic stress is a blood sugar imbalance Addressing high or low blood sugar are vital to addressing chronic stress.
Various herbal and nutritional compounds, such as adrenal adaptogens, can profoundly influence adrenal function. Ask my office about the adrenal stress test and how you can support your adrenal health.
If you have chronic gut problems, you could have a brain problem. This is especially true if you’ve had a head injury or if you also suffer from worsening memory, brain fog, cognitive decline, or other symptoms of poor brain function.
Chronic digestive complaints — indigestion, acid reflux, constipation, burping, gas, bloating, diarrhea, pain, or irritable bowel disorders — are common complaints of a brain that is not functioning well.
The brain gives orders to the gut through the vagus nerve, which then tells the gut to digest food, repair and regenerate the gut lining, push food through the intestines (motility), and many other functions.
When brain function declines, the brain does not give the gut enough input. As a result, constipation, leaky gut, food sensitivities, irritable bowel disorders, and other problems can arise. This is one reason why people with a head injury or dementia have chronic gut complaints.
Exercise the vagus nerve to address gut problemsIn functional neurology, we conduct a neurological exam to evaluate areas of the brain that are not functioning well. We then provide activities to activate or dampen different areas of the brain, depending on your needs, to improve function. This in turn improves communication of the vagus nerve with the gut.
Fortunately, you can also work on activating the vagus nerve yourself at home with some very simple daily activities.
Vagus nerve exercisesA few simple tests can tell you if your vagus nerve may not be sufficiently active:
Gargle vigorously several times a day. Gargling contracts the back of the throat, which activates the vagus nerve. Gargle each drink of a glass of water several times a day. Gargle vigorously and for a good length of time, ideally until your eyes tear (it may take a while to build up to that.)
Sing loudly. If you are alone at home or in the car, spend some time singing as loudly as you can. This also activates the back of the throat and hence the vagus.
Gag. Using a tongue depressor, which you can buy on Amazon, gently press on the back of your tongue to make yourself gag. Please do not poke the back of your throat. Do this several times a day, again, ideally until your eyes tear. Gargling and singing are like sprints for the vagus nerve, whereas gagging is strength training.
Coffee enemas. Please Google instructions for doing a coffee enema or read how in Dr. Kharrazian’s book. Hold the enema solution as long as you can. That, together with compounds in coffee that stimulate nerve receptors, will help activate the vagus nerve.
This is a simple overview of how to improve gut function by activating the brain. For more customized advice, please contact my office.
Before you rule out Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis, or any other obnoxious "symptom" the medical system treats with a prescription, begin with Chiropractic. Here is why.....
To the left is a picture of the cervical spine and the nerves that form what is known as the brachial plexus. Those nerves travel down your arms and into your hands. Allowing your shoulders, arms and hands to function properly.
When your cervical spine (neck) is compressed from chronic incorrect posture, ie. sitting at a desk all day or spending hours studying, or from injuries associated with sports or car accidents, it can cause a multitude of symptoms. Pain, tingling, weakness, numbness, achy/dull type pain, fatigue, decreased circulation to the brain and heart, decreased lung capacity...just to name a few. A decrease in overall function. One of these symptoms we are talking about here is tingling. Tingling in the hands can lead one in fear, to run their primary care physician, and rightly so. But, instead of running to the PCP, try running to another type of Doctor. A Doctor who will analyze the health and vitality of the very nerves that control your entire human system - the central nervous system.
Tingling in the hands is a direct result of compression to your spine!! It is not a lack of muscle relaxers. You don't need more drugs and medication, you need an expert to place their hands on your neck and release the pressure. You can't exercise your pain away, or even massage the pain away, let alone even medicate the pain away. These are all temporary modalities. They might offer relief in the beginning and thank the heavens for that relief. I am not suggesting to stop these things, I just want to inform you that they will not CORRECT the underlying issue.
Poor posture is an easy indication that your spine isn't functioning at it's optimum potential, and overtime, this can cause a variety of symptoms to pop up. Let's take a look at what the incorrect posture can do to the spine - and therefore your nerves.
This x-ray is an inside look at the health of - or lack there of - your neck. The x-ray to the left is a normal healthy cervical curve. Indicating minimal to no pressure on the nerves. The x-ray to the right is areversal of the cervical curve. The lack of cervical curve can put added pressure on your nerves, ligaments, joints, leaving your muscles in a screaming spasm! Do you ever hear someone complain about the knots in their back - well that is the muscles trying to bring the head back up into its normal position. Those knots are just a compensatory mechanism to the LACK OF THE CURVE in your SPINE!
The criminal (your spine) remains silent, as the victim cries out (your muscles). We must put the criminal in rehab - Chiropractic rehab that is. So we can restore the curve and allow proper nerve and blood supply so the muscles can relax - and voila the tingling in your hands is gone!
So, whats the solution??? Drugs???? Surgery?? Cortisone shots???
Tingling can cause a person to take some drastic measures, as you can imagine, it can really put a damper on your style. Sleep is comprised, work and social life. Don't you want to live a life without drugs, with out a rod in your spine, without the constant need for steroid shots? Don't you want your body to function at its optimum capacity, instead of running low on fuel?!
Treatment of the Cervical spine can take time. Much like building a muscle at the gym that has been flaccid for years, you have to work at it if you want to reap the benefits. It took years to get you to this place, and it might take several months to get you back!
Chiropractic care is not only safe but it highly effective, with NO SIDE AFFECTS! The Chiropractor is trained in this very treatment - restoration of the cervical curve. Every day someone walks into my office with tingling in their arms or feet. It is one of the most common symptoms, second to back pain. And, this symptom gets properly cared for and treated every single day.
Plus, you might even like it, a lot.....
Gallbladder surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries today. Did you know simply going gluten-free may lower the risk of needing gallbladder surgery?
For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers a wide range of adverse reactions, from joint pain to poor brain function. In the last several years, research has also linked gluten with gallbladder disease in gluten-sensitive individuals.
Gluten sensitivity largely undiagnosedAn astonishing number of people are gluten intolerant but do not know it. Undiagnosed gluten sensitivity can cause leaky gut, chronic pain, inflammation, neurological damage, and autoimmunity (when the immune system attacks and destroys body tissue). Gluten sensitivity is estimated to affect between 20 and 40 percent of the general population, and is less frequently identified than celiac disease, though this is changing.
How gluten can raise the risk of needing gallbladder surgerySo how can gluten raise the risk of requiring gallbladder surgery? The process begins with damage to the small intestine. This damage inhibits its ability to properly secrete a hormone called cholecystokinin. Cholecystokinin is the hormone that signals the gallbladder when it’s time to release bile, which aids in the digestion and absorption of fat. As a result, bile builds up in the gallbladder, causing inflammation and raising the risk of gallbladder disease and subsequent gallbladder surgery.
Approximately 60 percent of people with celiac disease — an autoimmune reaction to gluten — also have gallbladder, liver, or pancreatic conditions, and this is apparently one reason why.
Why you need a gallbladderAlthough you can live without your gallbladder, it is essential to overall health. The bile stored and secreted by the gallbladder enables you to digest fats. Without a gallbladder, your liver still produces bile, but the bile just “leaks” continually into the small intestine. This means there are no adequate reserves of bile to break down fats when needed.
These fats then become rancid and inflame the digestive tract while fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids are not properly absorbed. Ultimately, this compromises the function of your entire digestive tract. In fact, studies have linked gallbladder removal with an elevated risk of colon cancer.
Also, if the gallbladder is not removed but isn’t doing its job well, this can be detrimental to liver function.
It is worth caring for your gallbladder to preserve the health of your digestive system, and hence your immune system. If you are sensitive to gluten, it’s important to go gluten-free to maintain gallbladder health and lower your risk of needing gallbladder surgery.
Additionally, your gallbladder appreciates a diet high in omega 3 essential fatty acids, and free of processed oils and hydrogenated fats. And in general, it is safest to keep starchy carbs (cake, potatoes, white flour, refined sugar, etc.) to a minimum.
Various botanicals and nutrients can support liver and gallbladder health. They include milk thistle seed extract, dandelion root, ginger root, and phosphatidyl choline.
If you have already had your gallbladder removed, don’t despair. Taking ox bile with your meals can help you emulsify and absorb your fats, which are vital for many aspects of health including brain function. For more information, contact my office.