SYMPTOMSA chronic sensation of discomfort in the legs, generally between the knees and feet, which urges a person to move his legs. There may be twitching of the leg muscles or deep creeping or crawling sensations. Sometimes it feels like a pain, cramps, or aches.
It tends to occur shortly after retiring at night or after sitting still for quite some time. Sometimes this happens several times a night.
CAUSESRestless leg syndrome is not a serious neurological disorder, and moving the legs or walking around a little terminates the sensation for a time.
Women and older people have the syndrome more often than men, and a full 5% of the U.S. population have experienced it. Yet the cause is not certain. Mild weakness of the legs may be present.
It seems to be related to iron deficiency, exposure to cold, stress, heredity, and motion sickness. It also seems to be related to pulmonary disease, stomach operations, diabetes, and uremia.
Very likely, there is a circulatory factor involved: Blood circulation is impeded in the legs or blood is being drawn in excessive amounts, to care for a problem in the trunk.
It is obvious that the solutions, listed below, are keyed to improving leg circulation and bettering the diet:
Move your feet back and forth for a few moments.
Rotate the feet back and forth momentarily.
Get up and walk about for a couple minutes. This seems to work best at night, when you have been trying to sleep.
Change position in bed. It has been noted that some people experience the problem more often when they sleep in certain positions.
Some find using a heating pad helps; others do better by soaking their feet in cold water.
LONGER-TERM CAREIt is known that drinking coffee is a significant factor, so stop using caffeine products.
Stop smoking. Studies reveal it is also a factor.
Some studies have shown folic acid and vitamin E to be helpful.
There may be a relationship between this problem and iron deficiency. But be sure your iron is from food, not chemical supplements, or you can initiate other physical problems.
It would be well to improve your general diet and take a multivitamin supplement daily.
Do not eat much salt.
Never eat big meals before bedtime. This draws the blood to the stomach, so that you do not rest well. It can also lead to a nighttime heart attack.
Walk before going to bed. Better yet, walk outside in the fresh air. This will help you sleep better.
Some sponge the legs with cold water.
Others take a warm soaking bath before bedtime. Do not let your bare feet touch the cold floor afterward.
You may wish to wear knee socks.
Do not take sleeping drugs. They only add another problem to your life.
Possibly massage your legs just before climbing into bed.
Get plenty of rest.
Reduce your overall stress level.
Avoid prolonged exposure to the cold, which increases the need for additional healing blood to the legs.
Avoid overusing the legs. Strenuous exercise seems to increase the problem.
Avoid narrow, pointed, shoes and also high heels.
Sluggish venous blood flow may be problem. Do not cross your legs; lie down every so often and rest your legs. See "Varicose Veins" for more information.
ENCOURAGEMENTAll heaven unites in praising God. Let us learn the song of the angels now, that we may later sing it when we join their shining ranks. Let us say with the psalmist, "While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being."
SYMPTOMSA pain in a body muscle, most often in the legs (especially the calf muscles) or feet.
CAUSESMuscle cramps may occur at any age. Between the ages of 15 to 80, a full 50% of people will, at some time, have pain or cramps in the legs. Leg pains in children are frequent enough that they are called "growing pains."
Reduced blood supply to the legs is part of the problem. Another is an imbalance in the levels of calcium and magnesium in the body or a deficiency of vitamin E.
But other causes have also been noted: arthritis, anemia, tobacco usage, inactivity, poor circulation, too much or too little exercise, muscle injury, allergy, fibromyalgia, arteriosclerosis, dehydration, hypothyroidism, heat stroke, and varicose veins. Diuretic drugs for heart problems, or hypertension can also induce cramps. Those who have had part of the stomach removed tend to have muscle cramps thereafter.
If cramping occurs when walking and stops when you cease, it may be impaired circulation and nothing more.
If leg cramps occur during pregnancy, they may be caused by hormone changes, fatigue, uterine pressure, chilling, or muscle tenseness.
A calcium deficiency can make the leg muscles trigger-happy; the contractions in the muscles are stronger.
Leg cramps in older people may be caused by arteriosclerotic changes in the circulatory system. Turn to the articles on heart and blood vessels, and see your physician. Vitamin E (600-800 IU daily) is very helpful.
Massage the muscles and use heat to relieve pain.
A heating pad may be applied to the area. For some, alternate hot and cold compresses work better (heat for 6 minutes and cold for 30 seconds, with 4 changes).
Drink peppermint tea and apply it as an external compress.
Pinch the upper lip between the thumb and index finger, and hold for 20-30 seconds till the cramping disappears.
If you are pregnant and cramping occurs, push the toes upward while applying pressure to the knee, to flatten the affected part.
Here is the strangest advice of all: The next day, repeat the activity that made you sore. Do it with much less intensity. This will help work out the soreness. Thereafter, follow this hard/easy routine; for it takes 48 hours for the muscle to properly recover. This is how serious athletes train.
An alternate method is to vary activities, such as regular walking, with occasional biking or swimming instead.
After hard exercise or physical work, slow down instead of stopping suddenly. The bloodstream is loaded with lactic acid; so slowly exercise at a relaxed pace while it drains off. (However, that will not protect you from soreness the next day, resulting from torn muscle fiber.)
Perhaps you need to change into more comfortable shoes, in order to improve your leg and foot problems.
ONGOING CAREThe blood circulation needs to be improved and equalized.
Drink enough water each day.
A common mistake is to drink water and take salt tablets during heated exercise. Instead, you need a full range of electrolytes, and not so much sodium chloride. Drink fruit drinks. At mealtime, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Include seaweed in your diet. Potassium broth (from thick white potato peelings) is excellent.
A fat-free, sugar-free, salt-free diet improves the circulation.
Eat an abundance of green leafy vegetables, in order to improve the quality of the blood and the mineral balance.
Alfalfa, brewer's yeast, and kelp are important.
A deficiency of calcium, potassium, selenium, and vitamin E exists.
Mineral imbalances can produce cramping. Be sure you are getting enough calcium through supplementation. Otherwise the phosphorous in certain foods locks with it, so the calcium cannot be absorbed. See "Bones, Strengthening" for more information on solving the calcium-phosphorous problem.
Those with dentures, who find eating vegetables difficult, are especially prone to magnesium and calcium deficiency and leg cramps. They should have vegetable soups, potassium broth, and raw vegetable juices daily.
Every 3 hours, drink a large glass of quality water, to help clean the bloodstream, liver, kidneys, and bowels of stored toxins.
Drink less whole milk
Eat your meals slowly and chew well.
Do not smoke. Nicotine greatly impedes blood circulation. Avoid second-hand smoke.
If you are taking diuretic drugs, take supplemental potassium. Better yet, switch to corn-silk tea and other herbal diuretics; also drink more water (see the several articles on kidneys and urine).
Do not stand in one position for hours without moving. Some motion or shifting of body weight is vital.
Get off your feet for 5 minutes every hour. If possible, during that time, take your shoes off; massage your feet and wiggle your toes.
Do not sit with crossed legs.
Stretch your legs every so often, with the feet flexed up, not down.
When sitting, try to elevate your feet every so often.
Do not wear garters or any binding clothes.
At night, wear roomy pajamas.
Keep the bed covers loose or use a foot cradle, to keep bedding weight off the feet. If you sleep on your stomach, extend your feet over the edge of the bed. Another method is to sleep on your side, with your legs bent and a pillow between your knees.
Rub olive or flaxseed oil into your muscles before and after strenuous exercise.
Twice a day, soak in a tub of warm water (100o-110o F.). Massage the toes, feet, and calves.
Here is an exercise which really helps stop ongoing lower leg cramps for many people: Stand with shoes off, facing a wall 2-3 feet away. Lean forward, bracing against the wall with hands and arms, all the while keeping your heels on the floor. When a moderate pull is felt in the calves, hold that position for 10 seconds.
Then stand straight for 5 seconds of rest, and lean forward and repeat. Do 3 stretching cycles.
If you are overweight, reduce to normal range or slightly below.
If leg cramps are caused by varicose veins or pregnancy, elevate the foot of the bed 9 inches.
If leg cramping occurs during pregnancy, take frequent rest periods with the feet elevated. Wear comfortable, not tight, clothing. Be sure you are getting enough calcium; this is important.
Also see "Claudication," which has the same leg symptomsbut some very special, dangerous causes. It also has additional information on improving the circulation of the legs.
ENCOURAGEMENTIn His service, God will place upon you no restriction that will not increase your happiness. In complying with His requirements, you will find a peace, contentment, and joy you can never have in the path of sin.
SYMPTOMSCramping pain, weakness, and tension in a limb (usually the calves) after muscular exercise. Upon resting, the pain always ceases. Typically, after a few moments of rest, the person can begin walking again.
CAUSESIntermittent claudication (also simply called claudication) is often a symptom of something more serious: arteriosclerosis of the femoral and popliteal arteries. Other causes include Buerger's disease (which see), or other occlusive arterial diseases of the limbs. Diabetics tend to have claudication more than the average.
High blood pressure (above 160 systolic or 90 diastolic) triples the risk of claudication (see "Hypertension").
Diagnosis of claudication is done by a physician, by taking the "pedal pulse." This is the pulse at the instep of each foot. These pulses should be strong and equal, but if one or both is weak or absent, then there is claudication.
Take vitamin C, to bowel tolerance; vitamin E and B6; chromium; and selenium.
Maintain a total vegetarian diet, free from grease and animal foods. Avoid vegetable oils also. Because of the connection between claudication and blood vessel diseases, the life you save may be your own (see "Arteriosclerosis" and related articles on the heart and blood vessels).
Using nicotine is ruinous to the health in several ways; choking off circulation to the limbs is one of them. Those who smoke are 6 times more likely to develop claudication (also see Buerger's Disease).
It appears that abnormally high blood viscosity can be a primary cause of poor blood flow. The solution is to drink lots of water and use a diet low in fats, sugars, and concentrated foods; that is, those which have a very low moisture content.
Stress also reduces blood viscosity, so avoid stress.
A regular exercise program is very helpful, especially for those who do it every day. See "Muscle Cramps" for some sample exercises. Ten repetitions of the exercises should be done at least once a day.
In addition to other exercises, take a daily walk. Build up to a total of an hour, each morning and evening.
For those who can take them, hot baths are helpful. Always keep the head cool with cool washcloths that are changed frequently.
Helpful herbs include ginseng and cayenne.
Also see "Muscle Cramps," which, in the legs, have the same symptoms. Also see "Arteriosclerosis" and related articles.
ENCOURAGEMENTCome apart and worship God. The everlasting assurance shall be ours that you have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
SYMPTOMSA sharp, temporary, pain in the side.
CAUSESThis pain is caused by a spasm in the diaphragm, when this muscle between your chest and abdomen does not receive enough oxygen.
Running is a common immediate cause. The dual pressure from the contracted belly muscles (caused by the raised knee during running) and the expanded lungs from above (caused by deeper breathing) can momentarily shut off blood flow to the diaphragm. This causes it to cramp.
Not breathing evenly can cause you to get these cramps, even when heavily laughing.
However, the pain can also come from trapped gas in the intestines.
If the pain is only on the right side, it may be due to temporary lack of oxygen to the liver.
Stop what you are doing, and let your muscles calm down. Exhale deeply, and take slow deep breaths in and out. You may wish to massage your side as you do this.
Learn to breath from the diaphragm more, and less from the chest. This is part of the problem.
Do not do very strenuous exercise closer than 2 hours to a meal.
ENCOURAGEMENTThough now He has ascended to the presence of God, and shares the throne of the universe, Jesus has lost none of His compassionate nature. He wants to comfort and help you just now.
SYMPTOMSAnxiety, depression, tension, fatigue, chronic muscle aches and pain, joint swelling, headaches (sometimes migraine), irritable bowels, sleep disturbances, and stiffness.
The pain is described as burning, throbbing, shooting, and stabbing. Pain and stiffness are greatest in the morning.
Depression appears to be a key factor. Other symptoms include menstrual problems, palpitations, memory impairment, dizziness, dry eyes and mouth, frequent changes in eyeglasses, and impaired coordination.
Lifting or climbing stairs seems hard to do.
The existence of "tender points" is a distinctive symptom (see below).
CAUSESFibromyalgia is more of a set of symptoms than a disease, and it is primarily caused by stress. Women have it more often than men.
Often mistaken for arthritis, rheumatism, or Epstein-Barr syndrome, fibromyalgia causes the muscles and joints to tighten up when under stress. The emotions have a powerful effect on the body.
Those experiencing this problem frequently have shallow sleep. Muscle spasms and pain in various places may occur at night (or during the day).
Then there are the so-called "tender points." These symptoms are unique to this disease, unlike any other disease. There are 9 pairs of specific points where muscles are especially sensitive to the touch. Here are those 9 locations:
In muscles at base of skull, neck, upper back, or mid-back. On the side of the elbow, around the lower vertebra of the neck, at the insertion of the second rib, in the upper and outer muscles of the buttocks, around the upper part of the thigh bone, at the middle of the knee joint.
Those with fibromyalgia experience so many sleep problems (apnea, bruxism, restless leg syndrome, etc.), that they often have chronic fatigue.
The symptoms often begin in young adulthood, develop gradually, and slowly increase in intensity until many become incapacitated by the problem.
Sometimes the syndrome disappears; other times it is chronic; and, in some cases, it is comes back in recurring flare-ups.
The cause is not really known, but chronic depression of spirits seems to be involved.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (which see) is similar to fibromyalgia, but the former is keyed to chronic fatigue and the latter to chronic pain.
Maintain a well-balanced diet.
Do not drink coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, or take pain relievers. Avoid all types of drugs; they only add to your problems. If any of these have been part of your diet, the symptoms may worsen for a time when you drop them, but persevere and you will feel better for having done so.
Do not eat meat, dairy products, white-flour products, processed food, or any food high in saturated fats.
Avoid wheat and brewer's yeast until your symptoms fade.
Poor absorption of food is involved with this problem; so eat slowly of good nourishing food, and chew it well. Be sure to take vitamin/mineral supplementation. Magnesium is important.
Drink plenty of liquids, including quality water.
Food and chemical allergies can be involved. Try to search out yours and avoid them.
Learn to rest and be relaxed. Be able to relax after the work. Go out and walk in the fresh air, and thank God for your blessings. Indeed, count them all, one by one, and thank Him for them all.
Determine what your problems are and solve them, know you are working toward solving them, or learn to live with them and no longer be bothered by them.
A fair amount of muscular activity helps relax a person mentally and emotionally. Enjoy out-of-door activities, such as gardening or raising flowers. You need a regular amount of regular daily exercise, not a hard workout every so many days. Building up such a regular exercise program will do much to alleviate the problem.
Take a hot and cold shower each morning, to stimulate circulation and help reduce morning stiffness. Cold showers are actually better than hot ones for reducing fibromyalgia pains.
Helpful herbs include comfrey, alfalfa, hop, skullcap, white willow bark, and valerian.
Physicians prescribe antidepressants for fibromyalgia. These can cause side effects which are not helpful.
Also see "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" and "Depression."
ENCOURAGEMENTReal happiness is found only in being good and doing good. The purest, highest, enjoyment comes to those who faithfully fulfill their appointed duties. Living for God is the best way to live.
COMBAT INFLAMMATORY PROCESS IN SPINAL CORDIce Bag, continuously changing Fomentations for 5 minutes, every half hour. Revulsive Compress to the spine; Fomentation for 20 minutes every 3 hours, during intervals between. Heating Compress to spine at 600 F., renewed every 15 minutes.
AFTER ACUTE STAGE HAS SUBSIDEDAlternate Compress or Alternate Douche to spine 3 times a day.
PAIN AND PARESTHESIA IN LEGSHot Leg Pack; Hot Footbath; Hot Half Bath; Revulsive Compress to spine several times daily, duration 15-60 minutes.
GIRDLE SENSATIONHot Trunk Pack, followed by Cold Mitten Friction; Hot Abdominal Pack, well-protected; Fomentation to spine followed by Heating Compress to spine.
NEURALGIC SPINAL PAINFomentation or Hot Sponging of spine, followed by Heating Compress.
PARAPLEGIAAlternate Compress or Fan Douche to spine and legs, massage.
SENSORY PARALYSISAlternate Spray Douche; Alternate Sponging; Alternate Compress; Percussion Douche, twice daily.
MUSCULAR SPASMRevulsive Compress to spine. Fomentation over irritated muscular groups, followed by continuous Heating Compress, repeated twice daily or as often as necessary; Heating Compress to spine.
GASTRIC CRISESHot and Cold Trunk Pack, Revulsive Gastric Compress, Fomentation to spine, Hot Footbath, Hot Leg Pack, Hot Full Bath or Hot Sitz Bath.
CONTRAINDICATIONSAvoid Cold Full Baths and other general cold applications. Carefully avoid burning or blistering him with hot applications.
GENERALShort sweating procedures, followed by graduated cold applications twice a day. Revulsive Compress or Fan Douche to Spine, temperature 1200-700 F.; Prolonged Neutral Full Baths for 1-6 hours; Heating Compress to spine. Later stage: Alternate Douche or Heating Compresses to spine.
PRICKLING SENSATION IN LEGSRevulsive Douche, Hot Fomentations or Pail Pour at 960 F. to spine and legs.
DURING EARLY STAGE AND EXACERBATIONSPail Pour to spine (960 F.), 2-10 minutes, 2-3 times daily; absolute rest in bed; spinal Fomentation every 4 hours; Heating Compress during the intervals between.
CONTRAINDICATIONSAvoid Cold Full Bath, very Cold Douche, Cold Pail Pour, and all prolonged cold applications.
SYMPTOMSVisual awareness of the problem. In the case of a strangulated hernia, there is pain, vomiting, and abdominal distention.
CAUSESA weak spot exists or develops in a muscular wall. An abdominal hernia occurs in the abdomen, often in the lower left or lower right. A femoral hernia occurs in the femoral muscle of the upper front leg. The weak spot slowly enlarges and becomes an opening.
If in the abdomen, a loop of intestine can protrude from it at times. Unless corrected, such a condition will grow progressively worse. A strangulated hernia occurs when a loop of intestine is caught in it and becomes pinched, blocking the intestinal passage. Gangrene of the bowel, peritonitis, and death may result if a strangulated hernia is not given prompt surgical attention.
A hernia in a child is less serious, and the opening may repair itself if the protruding bowel loop is pushed back and held in place by a firm band or adhesive strap for a few months.
First, a truss can be purchased and worn. This is not a very practical solution, but may be necessary for a time if funds are not available for an operation.
Second, a surgical operation can be performed. This is often the best solution, if done by a properly trained physician.
Third, simple remedies may be applied which may, or may not, succeed. If they do not, then an operation can be performed.
Here are some suggestions:
If you are overweight, you need to go on a cleansing program, to lose some of it and cleanse the system.
Go on a nourishing diet, supplemented by vitamins and minerals and avoiding all grease, meat, and junk foods.
Begin a program of exercises each day, to strengthen your muscles (abdominal or leg, according to where the hernia is). For example, push-ups from the knees will strengthen the abdominal muscles.
You may wish to try an astringent tea: Make a very strong tea of white oak bark, consisting of one cup of finely broken bark to one quart of water. Boil it 2 minutes and let stand 2 hours. Strain, and add 1 tsp. of alum powder. Wet a folded piece of cloth in the tea and place it over the hernia. Cover with plastic and hold in place with a truss, elastic bandage, or adhesive tape. Using clean cloth, repeat this about 4 times a day for a month. The tannin of the bark and alum will tend to pull together and thicken the area. This may, or may not, close the area.
You may also try a poultice made of comfrey leaves, bistort root, and giant Solomon's seal root. Renew every 12 hours, and keep it on continually for a month.
You may instead alternate with the application of poultice at night and the compress during the day, for a month.
Shave grass tea compress may also be used.
Also see "Hiatal Hernia" and "Umbilical Hernia."
ENCOURAGEMENTThrough all our trials, we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation and battle with evil. Give Him all your heart and hear Him say, "Fear not; I am with you."
SYMPTOMSA grape to basketball sized skin sac in the belly button.
CAUSES"Omphalos" means navel, and "kele" means hernia. This sac in the navel, which is a birth defect, is lined with the membrane lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). It may contain fat and/or intestinal loops that can be pushed back into the abdominal cavity.
This flaw, called a "hernial ring," occurs more frequently than might be expected. The mother did not receive enough vitamin A and/or zinc during pregnancy.
If the hernial ring is larger than your finger tip, surgery is needed, to correct it.
If the defect is about the size of the diameter of your finger tip, the following method has been used with good success, to heal it at home without surgery:
Place a golf-ball sized ball of virgin wool on the hernia and tape it firmly down to the level of the skin's surface.
Three times a day, remove the wool ball. Make sure the fat is pushed back into the belly cavity; carefully use your finger to do this.
At the same time, rub the hernial ring in a rotary fashion for several minutes, to irritate it.
Over a period of several weeks or months, the defect will fill in and entirely heal; so no surgery will be needed.
Also see "Hernia" and "Hiatal Hernia."
ENCOURAGEMENTEducate the soul to cheerfulness and thankfulness to God for the great love which He has for you. Christian cheerfulness is the very beauty of holiness.