I’m Dr. Walter Shonkwiler, a surgeon for 22 years and now Medical Director of NewLife Freedom. And I suffered the intractable pain of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) for more than 40 years.

My mother also endured the pain of RLS from the age of 20 until her agonized death at 81, still suffering from her symptoms and subsequent dependence on opioids. She was a physician, too, and in 1967 was named one of the “Outstanding Women in America by President Lyndon Johnson. But with all of her knowledge, she was never able to overcome the pain and disability that RLS caused her.

My father is a doctor, too. In fact, there are 17 doctors in our family, including my oldest son. But even in a family full of physicians, we could never find a medication or other remedy to help my mom. I sadly remember her consoling us before her passing, saying “Don’t cry for me, because I won’t be suffering with this pain anymore.” My brother also suffers from RLS and, like myself, has spent countless miserable, lonely nights continuously pacing the floor at 3 am, unable to sit or lie still, in a desperate effort to find relief.

So I’m all too familiar with the devastating effect RLS can have on a life.

If you are a sufferer of Restless Leg Syndrome then you, I am sure, can relate to the pain, sleepless nights, restlessness, frustration and anxiety that we have endured for many years. Those of us with RLS have become resigned to our suffering because there is no known cure, only intractable pain, sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

NewLife Freedom Leg and Limb Biosupport full-spectrum formulations may help. Our products are designed to promote overall health and wellness with premium-quality ingredients and one of the most advanced delivery systems available to the nutraceutical industry.

We’re committed to harnessing the amazing, naturally-healing powers of hemp for you and your family!

If you have any questions, please send them to me at medicaldirector@NewLifeFreedom.com.

Sincerely,

Dr. Walt

I’m Dr. Walter Shonkwiler, a surgeon for 22 years and now Medical Director of NewLife Freedom. And I suffered the intractable pain of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) for more than 40 years.

My mother also endured the pain of RLS from the age of 20 until her agonized death at 81, still suffering from her symptoms and subsequent dependence on opioids. She was a physician, too, and in 1967 was named one of the “Outstanding Women in America by President Lyndon Johnson. But with all of her knowledge, she was never able to overcome the pain and disability that RLS caused her.

My father is a doctor, too. In fact, there are 17 doctors in our family, including my oldest son. But even in a family full of physicians, we could never find a medication or other remedy to help my mom. I sadly remember her consoling us before her passing, saying “Don’t cry for me, because I won’t be suffering with this pain anymore.” My brother also suffers from RLS and, like myself, has spent countless miserable, lonely nights continuously pacing the floor at 3 am, unable to sit or lie still, in a desperate effort to find relief.

So I’m all too familiar with the devastating effect RLS can have on a life.

If you are a sufferer of Restless Leg Syndrome then you, I am sure, can relate to the pain, sleepless nights, restlessness, frustration and anxiety that we have endured for many years. Those of us with RLS have become resigned to our suffering because there is no known cure, only intractable pain, sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

NewLife Freedom Leg and Limb Biosupport full-spectrum formulations may help. Our products are designed to promote overall health and wellness with premium-quality ingredients and one of the most advanced delivery systems available to the nutraceutical industry.

We’re committed to harnessing the amazing, naturally-healing powers of hemp for you and your family!

If you have any questions, please send them to me at medicaldirector@NewLifeFreedom.com.

Sincerely,

Dr. Walt

NewLife Freedom Leg and Limb Biosupport products are intended for daily use, with observed health benefits including anti-stress, anti-inflammation, soothing of occasional aches and pains, and calmness to sleep and stay asleep.

NewLife Freedom Leg and Limb Biosupport products are intended for daily use, with observed health benefits including anti-stress, anti-inflammation, soothing of occasional aches and pains, and calmness to sleep and stay asleep.

My restless legs have been going on for decades. It is nerve-wracking and you get to the point where you can’t function. The pain is so severe…
Brenda, retired nurse

★★★★★

I cannot stand the level of pain that I must daily succumb to even with the medications I have been taking endlessly. I’m a religious person and I love Jesus and pray several times every day to him, because the pain is unbearable.
Connie, retired flight attendant

★★★★★

I’ve had to go to work every day suffering with relentless pain. Each night after 12 hours of work, when I’d come home I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and my four young kids couldn’t understand why I’d avoid playing or even visiting with them. It’s so sad. My children deserve better, they deserve a dad who can pick them up, hug them and play with them.
Eli, factory worker

★★★★★

It is the worst feeling that I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Ralph, landscaper

★★★★★

The anxiety waiting for the next painful episode is almost unbearable. The pain, the anxious moments, over the years have taken a very heavy toll on my lifestyle.
Richard, chemist

★★★★★

I’ve dreamt and prayed for a time when I could sit in peace for just 30 minutes and read a paper without the need to stand up, stretch, and walk… and keep walking. That’s what I would consider a miracle.

Frankie, retired nurse

★★★★★

Fast facts about Restless Leg Syndrome

  • Restless Leg Syndrome can be classified as either primary or secondary.
  • Main symptoms of RLS are usually strange and unpleasant sensations in the legs, and sometimes the arms, coupled with an intense urge to move them.
  • Many RLS sufferers treat their issues at home.
  • The condition is caused by a combination of both mental as well as physical factors.
  • Women are more likely to be affected with RLS during pregnancy.
  • Symptoms occur when an individual is in a confined space, such as an airplane, cinema, and church.
  • Because RLS is a sleep disorder with difficulties both falling asleep and staying asleep, sufferers are often tired during the day. This can have a negative impact on work, learning, concentration, and routine tasks and activities.
  • Sleep deprivation can eventually lead to mood swings, irritability, depression, decreased immune system, and other medical and physical abnormalities.
  • The only way to relieve the RLS symptoms of discomfort is by moving their legs.
  • The Sensations tend to occur when the individual is resting or inactive, and not only during the night

Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS is an insidious disease that affects 10% of the adult population (affecting more people than type II diabetes mellitus) in the United States as well as 2% of children. Research published by the National Institute of Health state that RLS is often unrecognized or mis diagnosed as pain of unknown origin or a variant of a neuro muscular abnormality. The 5 essential features that must be present for a definitive diagnosis of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS):

  1. You have a strong urge to move your legs (sometimes arms and trunk) usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in the legs.
  2. Your symptoms begin or worsen when you are resting or inactive, such as when lying down or sitting
  3. Your symptoms improve or lessen with movement, such as stretching, or walking if that movement or activity continues
  4. Your symptoms are worse in the evening or at night than during the day, or only occur in the evening or nighttime hours
  5. Your symptoms are not solely accounted for by another condition such as leg cramps, positional discomfort, leg swelling or arthritis.

The chief complaints of individuals of RLS are centered around difficulties in either falling or staying asleep. Individuals that suffer from RLS primarily complain about an unpleasant urge to move their legs coupled with sensations of aching, burning, crawling, creeping, electric shocks, itching, itching, tugging, and tingling which is often associated with sleep disruption. Often the only way for sufferers to relieve this discomfort is by moving their legs which is why it is referred to as Restless Leg Syndrome. These sensations or nocturnal spasms tend to occur during periods of resting or inactivity which is why symptoms are usually triggered during evening or nighttime hours often robbing individuals with RLS from the sleep that’s necessary for health and wellbeing. RLS is a disease that severely affects individual’s quality of life by causing lethargy during their days activities, increased stress, decreased immune system, altered moods and depression.

The International Restless Leg Syndrome Study Group described the following symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS):

  • Strange itching, tingling, pulling, or crawling sensations that occur deep within the legs (lower extremities) and can also occur in the arms (upper extremities)
  • An unyielding and compelling urge to move their limbs to relieve these sensations.
  • Restlessness such as floor pacing, stretching, massaging their legs, and tossing and turning in bed.

Symptoms often occur only when lying down, or sitting, but may also occur during periods of confinement or high stress. These symptoms or sensations are exacerbated by sitting or lying down and improve with activity such as walking. Other RLS symptoms include daytime lethargy or “fog” as a result of chronic sleep deprivation, involuntary, repetitive, periodic jerking limb movements that occur either during sleep or while awake at rest. These movements are referred to as “Periodic Leg Movements of Sleep” or “Periodic Limb Movement Disorder” which is present in 90% of RLS sufferers. A small percentage of RLS sufferers do not experience symptoms daily and these periods of “remission” may last weeks or months before they occur.  The symptoms of RLS are often subjective and individually specific and difficult to put into words. Descriptive terms such as “It feels like ants crawling through my legs” or “it feels like soda running through my veins” are often used to describe what they are experiencing to health care professionals. It is this subjective nature of RLS which prevents a definitive diagnosis. Health care professionals or physicians ask the following questions to make their diagnosis:

  1. When you sit or lie down, do you have a strong desire to move your legs?
  2. Does the desire to move your legs feel impossible to resist?
  3. Have you ever used the words unpleasant, creepy-crawly, creeping, itching, pulling, or tugging to describe your symptoms?
  4. Does the desire to move your legs occur when you are resting or sitting still?
  5. Does moving your legs make you feel better or provide relief of your symptoms?
  6. Do you have increased symptoms at night?
  7. Have you kept your bed partner awake with jerking leg movements?
  8. Do you ever experience involuntary leg movements while awake?
  9. Are you often tired or unable to concentrate during the day?
  10. Do any of your family members have similar symptoms?
  11. Have other physician examinations revealed any physical cause for your symptoms or discomfort?
Treatment of RLS sometimes focuses on treating an underlying condition such as an iron deficiency which can significantly relieve the symptoms of RLS. Without identifying an underlying medical condition causing RLS symptoms the treatments may initially focus on lifestyle changes or home remedies to help alleviate symptoms such as:

  1. Warm baths or massagingyour legs to try and relax your muscles.
  2. Applying warm or cool packs, as the use of alternating hot and cold may lessen
  3. Establish good sleep hygiene, fatigue exacerbates RLS symptoms so its important to practice good sleep hygiene. Ideally your sleep environment should be quiet, cool, and comfortable, in addition you should go to bed and awaken the same time each day and make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep.
  4. Exercise, getting a moderate amount of exercise may relieve RLS symptoms however excessive exercise may exacerbate RLS symptoms.
  5. Avoid Caffeine, sometimes reducing your caffeine intake may improve RLS so caffeine containing products such as chocolate, and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, and colabased soft drinks.

 Restless Leg Syndrome is a life long disease without a known cure so in addition to the lifestyle changes listed above, the development of coping strategies helps those living with the disease. Strategies such as:

  1. Tell others about your condition. Sharing information about how RLS affects your life may help family members, friends, and co-workers better understand your inability to sit still for extended periods of time, or when you choose to stand in the back of a church service or at the theatre.
  2. Don’t resist the need to move. If you attempt to suppress the urge to move, you may exacerbate your symptoms.
  3. Keep a sleep diary. Keep track of the medications and strategies that both help and hinder your RLS symptoms. This information should be shared with your health care provider.
  4. Stretch and Massage. Begin and end your day with a combination of stretching exercises and gentle massage.
  5. Seek the help of RLS support groups. RLS support groups bring together RLS sufferers with friends and family members. This group participation and sharing individual insights provides help to all involved.

There are several prescription medications used to treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) most of which were developed to treat other diseases but have been shown to reduce the restlessness and agitation associated with RLS. These include:

  • Dopamine Agonists or Medications that increase the brains Dopamine levels. Medications such as Ropinirol (Requip), Rotigotine (Neupro), and Pramipexole (Meripex), increase the levels of the neurotransmitter Dopamine in the brain and are approved by the FDA to treat moderate to severe RLS symptoms.

Side effects such as nausea, lightheadedness, and fatigue of these medications are often “short term” and can also include the less common impulse control disorders such as compulsive gambling, and daytime sleeping.

  • Alpha-2-delta ligands or Drugs affecting calcium channels. Medications such as Gabapentin (Neurontin), Gabapentin Enacarbil (Horizent), and Pregabalin (Lyrica), also provide symptomatic relief to some RLS sufferers.
  • Muscle Relaxants and Sleep Medications. Known as Benzodiazepines and Sedative Hypnotics such as Clonazepam (Klonopin) and Lorazepam (Ativan), help you sleep better at night but do nothing to eliminate the uncomfortable leg sensations and are often the cause of daytime drowsiness.
  • Opioid Pain Relievers or Narcotic analgesics such as Hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin), Oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin) provide relief of mild to moderate RLS symptoms however they are also extremely addictive and often require doses to increase because individuals habituate the doses required over time and lose their effectiveness unless they are increased.  

There is need for caution with these medications, dopamine sometimes works for a period and then become ineffective, or symptoms will begin to appear earlier in the day which is called augmentation. Augmentation when occurs requires your physician to prescribe an additional or alternative medication to address that problem. Most of the prescribed RLS drugs aren’t recommended during pregnancy (which may trigger RLS in females) so alternative / natural or self-care remedies would need to be substituted. Some medications may worsen RLS symptoms, these include some anti-depressants, anti-psychotic drugs, anti-nausea drugs such as Compazine, and antihistamines such as Benadryl.

Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS is a sensory motor disease often characterized by unusual often unpleasant sensation in the legs and sometimes arms coupled with an urge to move, walk, stretch, or shake to find symptomatic relief. While the exact etiology of RLS is unknown, current medical research suggests a clear genetic basis. RLS often runs in families with multiple generations exhibiting symptoms.

Those who suffer from RLS have decreased levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. When dopamine levels are decreased individuals have problems with movements as seen in Parkinson’s Disease. Studies have also shown that with RLS, dopamine levels are the lowest at night which is when RLS symptoms usually begin. Recent medical research also revealed a direct connection between low levels of iron in the brains of RLS sufferers which is significant because iron is required in the brain to produce dopamine. It is also believed that it is the neural level of iron that differentiates the severe RLS sufferer from the mils RLS sufferer. As an alternative or adjunct to medical management of RLS via opioids and or dopamine agonists non-medical options are also available as well as identifying what triggers RLS symptoms and avoiding them. The common RLS triggers as noted by the RLS Foundation are;

  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, cola) has been linked to exacerbating RLS symptoms
  • Nicotine in all forms exacerbates RLS symptoms
  • Alcohol consumption (especially at night) increases RLS symptoms
  • Mild exercise may relieve RLS, excessive exercise can trigger symptoms
  • Stress has been shown to trigger RLS symptoms
  • Some RLS sufferers have found reducing their refined sugar intake may reduce their RLS symptoms
  • Many prescription medications can trigger an RLS attack
  • Antihistamines (cold or allergy medications) such as Benadryl, and Sudafed block dopamine receptors which may trigger RLS
  • Anti-nausea medications such as Compazine, Dramamine, and Phenergan also trigger RLS symptoms
  • Many Anti-depressants (SSRI’s, Cymbalta, Effexor, Paxil, and Prozac) have been linked to exacerbating RLS symptoms

Knowing what triggers RLS puts some of the control in the hands of the sufferer and not the disease.