Lisa Nelson had been suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) for years. After what seemed to be an endless search for a solution, she is finally back to sleep. Read her story here.
“I had been struggling with RLS for 8-10 years,” says Lisa. “I also had neuropathy that was getting progressively worse, and edema and swelling in my feet and ankles.”
“If I got three hours of a sleep a night, that was normal. I had to stop hiking and exercising because I didn’t have any energy and I wasn’t confident in my balance.”
“Over the years, I went to an acupuncturist, chiropractor, general practitioner, and a neurologist,” Lisa says. “No one could offer me a solution other than going on medication, which I really did not want to do.”
“There’s nothing worse than feeling like you just are not being heard,” Lisa says. “I knew that all my symptoms were somehow connected and I just wanted someone to take the time to listen to me.”
“I was constantly searching for a solution because it was not getting better. It was just getting worse. Finally, I was referred here by a friend who also had restless legs and dropfoot. He was very insistent that I come see Dr. Anderson and I’m very grateful that I did.”
Lisa came to see Dr. James Anderson, DPM, and he recommended nerve decompression surgery. “This procedure takes about an hour, and we go in surgically to open up tight nerve tunnels in the lower leg that are causing the symptoms of RLS,” says Dr. Anderson.
Dr. Anderson performed surgery on Lisa’s left leg first. “She had so much improvement in her symptoms that she came back and we operated on her right leg just one week later,” Dr. Anderson says.
He identified three nerve tunnels that were compressed in Lisa’s legs, the superficial peroneal nerve, common peroneal nerve, and the soleal sling. In the operating room, he used an nerve monitor to verify that the nerve function was improving during her surgery.
“Before we open the tunnels, we stimulate the nerve and send messages into the muscles to get a baseline number. In Lisa’s case, one of those tunnels measured at 6,800,” Dr. Anderson explains. “Then, we test again after the tunnels are open and the pressure has been released.”
“The final number on this tunnel for Lisa was 8,600. So we knew right there in the operating room that we had a very good chance of resolving her RLS symptoms.”
Finally, the Sleep
Lisa was able to walk right away after the surgery and didn’t experience any post-operative pain. Within one week of having the surgery, she was already reporting 90% improvement in her RLS symptoms.
“Now, I sleep!” Lisa says, “I’m off all my medications, and I sleep an average of seven hours a night.”
Lisa is planning a trip to Alaska with her friend Wade, who recommended she see Dr. Anderson. They are both very excited to be able to hike again.
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