Endlessly moving legs might be highly desirable … if you’re a marathon runner. But what if you’re lying in bed at night, and you simply can’t stop moving your legs in an effort to get comfortable?
That can be sheer torture.
Restless legs can strike anyone at any age, but unfortunately, it seems to get worse as we get older. (Else I would have entitled this article, “The Young and the Restless. ” Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
If you haven’t experienced it, let me share how others have described it: “like electricity running through my legs,” “as if spiders are crawling under my skin,” “subtle, aching cramps,” “as though my skin is creeping,” “throbbing” or “itching.”
Moving the legs to another position helps interrupt the discomfort, but only temporarily. Within a few moments, the sufferer has to move them again. And then again. And then again.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
It’s a vicious cycle, keeping them awake and making their spouse feel as though they’re in bed with a jogger!
Two words: no fun. For anybody.
Some naturopaths and doctors believe this is related to a magnesium, zinc or calcium deficiency. That may well be true. But as a homeopath, I don’t look at whether a deficiency is causing this or that condition; I use the diagnosis and symptoms! However, that being said, it is interesting to note that the three main remedies to consider for restless legs are Mag phos 3 or 6, Zincum metallicum 6, or Calc phos 3 or 6.
If I were going to employ a remedy, I would make my choice by trying to find another rationale — in addition to restless legs — that one or more of these remedies fit. In fact, that’s the way I often look at choosing a homeopathic medicine. Many times, I don’t want to make my choice based on just one condition; I seek relevancy in other areas as well.
That might seem complicated, but it’s not. So, let me distill it down for you with examples. Say, someone, experiences restless legs and also leg cramps, menstrual cramps or other muscles’ cramping — Mag phos should be considered.
Someone who would best fit Zincum metallicum might also notice involuntary movements of their muscles. (As an aside, if they know they have a zinc deficiency, they might also consider eating more oysters!)
Or let’s say instead, our restless-leg sufferer also has trouble falling asleep, is a worrier or knows of a calcium uptake issue (through diagnosis) — well, then we’re looking at Calc phos.
I would like to throw in one more for consideration: Cuprum metallicum 6. Cuprum is indicated when the involuntary muscle movements are severe, especially in the extremities (such as the legs). This person cannot find relief from their restless legs. They cannot even lie in bed; they have to get up and walk and walk and walk. In that kind of severe case, I would think first of Cuprum metallicum 6.
Please understand there can be hundreds of homeopathic remedies that might apply to restless legs and involuntary movement. As a fascinating example, Hyland’s sells a combination remedy called Restful Legs™ which includes several remedies I’ve not mentioned here — a perfect illustration of how with homeopathy, there is more than one way to skin a cat!
But, the remedies I’ve included in this article are the four I use the most, and the four many people respond well to. Whichever medicine is chosen, it would be taken twice daily. (Don’t forget to scroll to the end of this article to download FOUR free Remedy Cards listing each of these remedies with their related symptoms.)
Now, if none of these are successful, don’t let me hear from anyone that homeopathy didn’t work!
No! It’s just that we didn’t go deep enough! Another, more appropriate medicine must be chosen, and that can often take time to uncover.
Each case is different, and there might be other circumstances that need to be considered. It could be a poor diet; it could be menopause; it could be drugs someone is taking. (Remember this one; its often key.) There are so many factors making each particular case unique.
In writing my blog, I am trying to teach the most obvious remedy to consider — without taking the case. There are so many lifestyle variables that can be contributory to experiencing restless legs: drugs, a low-fat diet, drinking too much coffee, eating too much chocolate, lack of exercise, or even too much exercise.
That same principle is true of any condition! For instance, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told someone has severe leg pain only to learn later they are taking statin drugs to lower their cholesterol.
Guess what one of the most common complaints of people taking statins is? Yep. Muscle pain and weakness. So, their leg pain is not what I’d call a side effect. Instead, I call it an iatrogenic disease — an illness caused by medical treatment.
But if someone has examined and adjusted all their lifestyle choices appropriately and notice no impact on their restless legs, then it’s time they look at these four first-line remedies.