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
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.