Are Your Legs giving you the Creepy, Crawlies?


Restless legs is another reason for insomnia, this occurs when you just can’t find a comfortable position in bed, it may also include symptoms such as tickling, prickling, burning or aching sensations, especially in the lower legs, which may cause the legs to twitch or jerk.

It is more common in older people, smokers and if the muscles are over-exerted and fatigued, particularly in cold and damp weather. It is also found during pregnancy where the commonest cause is iron deficiency. Restless legs can be the result of diabetes, vitamin B deficiency, excess caffeine, drug withdrawal, drug side-effect or food allergy. Magnesium deficiency is a possible cause and also poor circulation can be a cause as generally herbs and nutrients which increase circulation (such as Vitamin C, E, rutin, quercetin, bioflavonoids, ginkgo and the famous herb combination of horse-chestnut and butcher’s broom in Mediherb’s Horse-chestnut complex) all seem to help treat restless legs successfully.

However it’s best to see a health professional first to discuss the cause of the condition. Don’t forget to have a list of your medicines with you, as for example, a group of drugs for gastric ulcer, has been shown to cause magnesium and B12 deficiency, amongst other side-effects, and this could lead to restless legs syndrome.

Up to 20 years ago high dose Quinine was the drug most often used, by doctors, but it is now thought to be dangerous and is not recommended. Tonic water available from the supermarket, which contains a tiny dose of quinine, taken before bed, is sometimes effective, but talk to your health professional first.  Modern medicine has not yet identified the exact cause of this condition, but it has been shown that a new drug for Parkinson’s disease, trade named Sifrol, is often helpful. In my opinion however drugs should be reserved for severe cases where simple over the counter treatment or treatment from our herbalists is ineffective.

Self-help measures for Cramps: Stretch the muscles and massage them to increase the blood supply. Raise the foot of the bed about 10 cm (4 in). Take extra magnesium, preferably in a non–irritant formula just before bed. Brands such as Health World Mega Magnesium powder or Sandra Cabot’s Magnesium tablets are good as these don’t have laxative side-effects, common with some magnesium supplements. If you’re not taking any medicines you could try Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) or vitamin E or the circulation improving powder Flavoblend.

Self-help measures for Restless legs. Wear warm socks in bed or use a hot water bottle. Make sure your diet contains enough folic acid and vitamin E, and take extra iron and vitamin B complex including B12 Also try magnesium, evening primrose oil and ginkgo. Cut out caffeine (tea, coffee and cola drinks). If you’re taking medicines then a good over the counter treatment which doesn’t interact with any medicines is Martin and Pleasant Restless Leg Syndrome spray. These are homoeopathic drops, sprayed under the tongue before bed, which help certain forms of leg troubles. Modern medicine tends to laugh at homoeopathic medicines, because they were popular almost 200 years ago, however I have exactly the opposite view, as a result of using the products and extensive study which lead me to an advanced diploma in homoeopathy back in 2005. These are harmless, tasteless, don’t interact with your medicines, and are under $20. What could be better?

Des Lardner



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