Restless legs syndrome, a neurological disorder symptom, is not as uncommon as usually thought. Though the exact reason for this disorder is not known, some think it might be due to an imbalance of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls movement. Severe cases need medication like dopamine agonists which have side-effects like nausea, dizziness and indigestion. Now, it has been noticed that a drug free treatment, that was originally developed to prevent deep vein thrombosis, helps in restless legs syndrome as well. A trial was recently conducted at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington DC to test its effectiveness.

Highlights of the new device
a. This device is made of fabric and it resembles a pair of leggings.
b. It is worn on the lower legs.
c. The fabric contains a built-in coil of small flexible tubing, the thickness of a drinking straw, which is connected to a pump.
d. The patient has to lie down and air is pumped through the tube, which automatically inflates and deflates in a programmed sequence.
e. This compresses the veins and pushes the blood back to the heart thereby improving circulation.
f. It is still in the testing stage.
g. It results in better sleep, less fatigue and improves overall quality of life.
h. There is no pain and only a gentle squeezing of the lower leg can be felt.
i. It is a simple technique and could be easily done at home.

Highlights of restless legs symptom
a. Common symptoms are a burning or tingling in the legs and an overwhelming desire to move them.
b. These symptoms are often triggered when a person lies down and tries to relax.
c. Some patients often experience difficulty in falling and staying asleep.
d. If it is left untreated, it can cause exhaustion, depression and insomnia.
e. It affects women more than men.
f. Simple exercises like leg stretches and hot baths and iron supplements can help.

Highlights of the trial
a. This trial was conducted on 35 patients.
b. All patients were required to wear either the real or a fake device before going to sleep for one hour a day.
c. People who wore the real device experienced an almost 50 per cent reduction in symptoms, improved sleep, better emotional health and improved energy levels.