In the Restless Legs Clinic we use ‘positional release manipulation’ as part of the overall programme for treating Restless Legs Syndrome.
Manipulation is a word that covers a lot of different treatment approaches, some forceful and direct and some very gentle and specific. When you use the word ‘manipulation’ most people think of the forceful, direct thrust type of approach which produces loud clunks and clicks and which can be frightening, and sometimes painful. This is the traditional and commonest type of manipulation, which probably most people have experienced.
The positional release techniques we use here in the RLS Clinic are very different. They aren’t forceful or direct but gentle, specific and precise, and aimed at releasing the characteristic muscle tension found in RLS.
Most patients are surprised at the gentleness of these approaches and often feel that nothing much has happened until their RLS symptoms start to improve, which usually begins within 1 or 2 sessions.
Other types of manipulation do not address these tender points specifically and don’t seem to work for RLS. By using ‘positional release’ we expect to improve the severity and intensity of RLS symptoms in more than 7 out of 10 patients. Most of the patients we now see in the Clinic have had RLS for years or decades and the majority of them rate ‘severe’ or very severe’ on the IRLS Scale. Many of them are taking 2 or 3 medications for their RLS but are still having severe symptoms. Despite the length of time they may have had symptoms and despite the severity of those symptoms most people still respond to these very gentle manipulations.
But it’s probably wrong to focus on the single word ‘manipulation’. The positional release manipulations that we use are only one part of a comprehensive programme which also includes acupuncture and monitoring and feedback and its the package as a whole which produces success.