Q. I have been suffering from "restless leg syndrome". It's just as soon as I try to sleep my legs want to just keep moving. At times I have t get up from my bed and keep walking. Walking for sometime gives me relief and then I go back to sleep. At times I do wake up in the middle of the night and unless I walk for sometime I just can't go back to sleep. This disturbs my sleep and in the morning I wake up unrefreshed.
Could you please explain this "restless legs syndrome" and its treatment.

A. Probably, you are one of the estimated 5% of the population with restless legs syndrome. The condition, also known as Ekbom Syndrome, is usually a chronic annoyance rather than a symptom of a serious neurological disorder. It is characterised by an irresistible urge to move the legs, "jumping" of the legs and deep creeping or crawling sensations in the legs.

Typically, both lower legs are affected, although the thighs and even the arms can be involved.

The origin of the sensations is unknown. Some researchers suspect an imbalance in the brain's chemistry may be the root cause of the problem.

This is a very uncomfortable condition, here are few tips to control:-
Walk before going to bed : In some cases this noticeably reduces bedtime bouts of restless legs syndrome. Exercise changes the chemical balances in the brain - endorphins are released and may promote more restful sleep says experts.

Soak your feet in cool water: It works in some cases, say experts. Immerse your feet in a bucket of ice for a short period.

Warm up : While cold helps some people, others find using a heating pad more soothing and effective.

Take iron and multivitamin : Iron and vitamin deficiency may cause restless legs syndrome. Iron and multivitamin will help.

Some people suffer from nervous energy, fright and anxiety. They direct this nervous energy to the legs resulting in restlessness. There could be trembling and twitching of various muscles. Feet are in continued motion, cannot keep still.
Zinc Met 200, 5 pills at bedtime will have a calming effect.

Leg pain as if beaten, after over use of legs or due to varicose veins. Bed feels too hard which in turn makes the legs very restless. Pain in legs and varicose veins as if bruised or beaten.

Sleeplessness and restlessness when exhausted (mentally as well as physically). Arnica 200, 5 pills at bedtime will relax mind and body.

Drowsiness with involuntary movements of legs with constant fear, frightful fancies, old age. After effect of emotional shock - though drowsy yet can't sleep because of fear which ends up in causing restlessness of legs. Opium 200, 5 pills at bedtime will help.

Great mental and physical restless after good news or in anticipation of something good coming up excitement of brain causes mental as well as physical restlessness resulting in restless legs.
Coffea 200, 5 pills at bedtime will soothe the over excited nerves.

When legs are restless due to muscular or bone pain, pain is worse on rest, continuous movements of legs give relief.
Rhus Tox 200, 5 pills four times a day will relieve muscular pain and thus inducing sleep.

Readers are advised that the medical advice offered in this column pertains to generalised treatment of condition. Kindly consult your doctor before self-medication.