I once read somewhere about osteopathy in connection with restless legs. The subject already seemed interesting to me at the time to delve further into it. I see osteopathy as something like physiotherapy: a physical treatment with its own, focused approach.
To get a better idea of how osteopathy works, I delve deeper into the topic. I ask the following questions:
- What is osteopathy?
- How does osteopathy work with restless legs?
What is osteopathy
An osteopath knows a lot about the human body and the interrelationships between body tissues. Osteopathy has a holistic view. The therapy is based on the coherence of all movements in the body. The osteopath treats complaints without using equipment or medicines.
An osteopath uses only his hands to examine the body for movement blockages. If a functional disturbance is found, a search is made for its origin. The osteopath then mobilizes and manipulates the body to overcome movement restrictions. This creates space for the body to recover itself.
Movement blocks can be in three different body systems, according to osteopathy:
- Osteo-articular system (bones, joints, muscles)
- Visceral system (organs)
- Cranial system (skull bones, upper neck vertebrae)
Physically the treatment includes stretching and massage. The osteopath may treat a different part of the body than where the complaint is felt. A movement limitation can arise from a problem in another place. The osteopath stimulates the mobility of the body and thus ensures good blood circulation and nerve function.
Osteopathy is seen as an alternative medicine. You usually need three to six treatments before you get results. The health insurance only reimburses osteopathy with additional insurance.
You do not need a referral from the doctor for treatment at the osteopath. If you go to an osteopath for RLS, he will first do an extensive intake. You will be asked about the nature of the complaints. Furthermore, the osteopath will try to find out from which movement blockages the restless legs have arisen.
Based on the information that comes from the intake, the osteopath draws up a treatment plan. Treatment plans for restless legs may differ greatly from person to person, because the background of the complaints is not the same for everyone. For someone with primary RLS, the approach will be different than for someone with secondary RLS. By the way, in osteopathy restless legs are also described as heavy legs.
Osteopathy sees a number of possible causes for restless legs. One of those causes is reduced blood flow to the legs. A reduced blood flow causes a poorer discharge of waste and possibly a form of acidification. Such a situation can arise, for example, during a pregnancy.
The blood circulation problem can lie in the pelvis, but can also be related to the intestines and an unhealthy diet. With manual therapy, the osteopath focuses on the pelvis, kidneys, lower back and abdomen in RLS.
Another possible cause is a lack of dopamine. Such a deficiency causes an overstimulation of the central nervous system. From osteopathy, a connection is also made here with PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder). This condition is often associated with RLS.
A third category of causes includes deficiencies such as magnesium and vitamin B12. The osteopath discusses with the client how these deficiencies can be tackled. If necessary, additional advice is sought from experts from other disciplines, such as a doctor or a dietician.