“It feels like pins and needles.”
“It is like ants are crawling underneath my feet.”
“I’m losing my balance because I just can’t feel my feet!”
These are phrases I hear almost daily. Neuropathy is one heck of a thing; the numbness and tingling can be so much at times that you feel like crawling straight out of your skin! The pain is bad, sure, but these two symptoms are just as bad if not worse!
A new Facebook follower recently sent us a message and asked, “So, just how does neuropathy do this to your feet and how do I fix it?”
This blog is for you.
How does neuropathy lead to numbness and tingling?
When dealing with nerve damage, tingling and numbness sensations in your feet are good indicators of peripheral neuropathy (commonly known as “foot neuropathy”). Peripheral neuropathy (PN) results from damage done to the peripheral nerves regardless of the source. These nerves are located in your hands and feet, thus resulting in these annoying, excruciating symptoms in the distal areas (towards the end) of your appendages.
What exactly leads to PN?
- (most common) diabetes (1)
- alcoholism (leads to vitamin deficiency)
- certain medications
- chemotherapy medications (a whopping 30-40% of chemotherapy patients are diagnosed with Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy) (Neurol 2017) (2).
- inherited disorders
The resulting damage to the myelin sheath (that is, the cushion-like tubing wrapped around the axon of the nerve) exposes the nerve. This exposure creates intense pain and numbness/tingling sensations in the affected body part.
PN is, unfortunately, extremely easy to obtain. There are a range of different external sources that can affect you and lead to neuropathy.
What treatments or therapies are available?
I wish I could say do these three things and you are guaranteed to have less nerve damage pain, but it is definitely not that simple. Neuropathy is easier to prevent than to manage and there is no definite cure-all. However, neuropathy is manageable with the correct interventions and efforts from your doctor and from yourself.
Over time, neuropathy will lead to muscle weakness . It’s simple actually: the more neuropathic pain someone experiences, the less likely they are to use muscles for walking and motor skills. When I stated that neuropathy affects more than just your nerves, this is one example.
One study conducted in 2015 found significant pain reduction in walking and in normal work while sleep and relationships with others were greatly improved after physical therapy sessions (Yoo 2015) (3). Studies like this can be found everywhere and they only enhance the likeliness that physical therapy is a viable option to fight back against muscle weakness, balance problems, and overall happiness.
Pain relievers, antisiezure medications, and antidepressants are all commonly prescribed by doctors to neuropathy patients. Drugs like Neurotonin, Lyrica, and other powerful chemicals are often quite powerful and potent enough to lessen the pain and symptoms of PN. However, it may come at a great cost.
When I hear stories about these drugs, it is one of two types: really good or really bad. Some followers tell me that they had great pain reduction and lessened symptoms. The other 50% tell me that it was an awful experience, they felt terrible, and most of them gained a significant amount of weight!I like to base my knowledge on research instead of just personal experiences, so I dug into the prescription medication research I could find and started reading.
For one thing, research shows that it works.
“In 4 clinical trials in a total of 1068 patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the patients receiving pregabalin 300 to 600 mg/d had significantly greater improvement in mean pain scores than placebo recipients (P ≤ 0.01)” (Tassone 2007)(4). Follow up research showed similar data results with minimal deviation. One cannot underestimate the power of personal anecdotes though!
What are your experiences with these prescriptions? Let us know in the comment section! We truly value your opinion.
Biofeedback, acupuncture, and TENS
Technology is ever changing. Do you remember what the medical equipment was like when we were kids? It’s like the stuff from books nowadays!
Even so, some ancient practices are still widely used to fight pain and disease.
Biofeedback is the monitoring of real-time information regarding your body. You connect yourself to sensors that monitor things like your heart rate and respiratory rate. The information displayed in real-time allows you to make subtle changes in your body to achieve your goal, such as reducing pain.
Read more: Biofeedback (Mayo Clinic)
I don’t personally know too many people who have tried acupuncture. This ancient practice has been utilized for thousands of years!
For those who don’t know, acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that practices inserting extremely thin needles into specific parts of ones body. The idea of these needles is to restore the flow of “qi” and relax the body. Many people swear by it, however, research is quite muddled and contradictory. If you have experience with acupuncture, please let us know in the comment section! We would love to have a conversation.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units are small electrical devices that deliver small electrical pulses through the nervous system that try to block or reduce the pain signals from reaching the brain. They’re small, conveniently sized, transportable, and research shows they work!
NCBI conducted a study in 2008 that supports the use of TENS units as pharmacological treatments for pain relief (Josimari 2008) (5).
Read more: What is a TENS unit and hoes it work?
What can you do at home to fight the pain?
What can you do at home if you don’t have a TENS unit, biofeedback equipment, or immediate access to an acupuncture specialist? Here are a couple of things you can try:
Monitor the condition of your hands and feet
When dealing with PN, it is easy to disregard your extremities. They hurt all of the time, why would you want to make it worse by touching them?!
That is the root of the problem. When PN sufferers cannot feel or do not monitor their feet, blisters, cuts, and abrasions are likely to occur and may lead to severe infections. If you are diabetic, quadruple the importance of this statement. Additionally, it is important to:
- trim toenails
- moisturize but don’t over moisturize
- remove dead skin
- exercise your feet
Read more: Neuropathy In Feet and Exercises for Relief
Try Nerve Renew
Have you considered our neuropathy fighting product, Nerve Renew? This all-natural supplement attacks the underlying cause of nerve damage and provides lasting relief from neuropathy symptoms. Here is what one customer said:
“I am a diabetic who had nerve pain in my feet. The pain was increasing and starting to affect my sleep.
After using this and it’s companion product, in a short period my pain was greatly reduced. Sleep no longer affected. Might not work for everyone, but certainly did for me.” — John F.
With a 3x absorbancy rate, you know Nerve Renew consistently delivers lasting relief faster than our competitors.
Read more: Key Benefits of Nerve Renew
Fighting peripheral neuropathy can be scary, but do not worry! You have a community to talk to regularly on our Facebook page! Click here to gain access to the latest neuropathy news, research, and correspondence with other neuropathy suffers.
What are the key takeaways from this article?
I like to sum things up towards the bottom to recap for those wanting quick answers.
- Priority 1: Take care of your body even when you don’t want to.
- Priority 2: Research into how therapy or all-natural supplements can help you.
- Priority 3: Fight neuropathy at every turn, even at home.
That’s it! I honestly hope you enjoyed reading a bit more about peripheral neuropathy, therapies available, and how to fight back at home! Before making any major lifestyle changes, please consult your doctor.