restless legs syndrome; drugs; near-infrared light; vascular mechanism theory
Introduction: We describe a potential new treatment option for patients suffering from restless legs syndrome. Contemporary treatment for restless legs syndrome consists mostly of dopaminergic drugs that leave some patients feeling nauseated and dizzy. A non-invasive, drug-free option would open new doors for patients suffering from restless legs syndrome. Case presentation: A 69-year-old Caucasian woman met International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group criteria for the diagnosis of restless legs syndrome. She had been afflicted with restless legs syndrome for over 30 years and tried many of the available pharmaceutical remedies without success. For this study she received 30-minute treatment sessions with near-infrared light, three times a week for four weeks. The restless legs syndrome rating scale was used to track symptom changes; at baseline she scored “27” on the 0 to 40 point scale, which is considered to be “severe”. Our patient was almost symptom free at week two, indicated by a score of “2” on the rating scale. By week four she was completely symptom free. The symptoms slowly returned during week three post treatment. Conclusions: The findings suggest that near-infrared light may be a feasible method for treating patients suffering from restless legs syndrome. Undesirable side-effects from medication are non-existent. This study might revive the neglected vascular mechanism theory behind restless legs syndrome and encourage further research into this area.