There are things you can do to lessen the physical (and emotional) effects of peripheral neuropathy and help you function as normally as possible!
If you’re suffering from peripheral neuropathy, you know how much it affects your life.
Every single day…
Even the simplest tasks can be difficult if not impossible…
To anyone unfamiliar with peripheral neuropathy and its symptoms, they might just think “your nerves hurt a little…”
But at a peripheral neuropathy sufferer, you know better…
Peripheral neuropathy not only affects your health, it can wreck your quality of life.
How Do You Define Quality of Life?
Generally speaking, Quality of Life is a term used to measure a person’s overall well-being. In medical terms, it usually means how well a patient has adapted to a medical condition. It measures:
- Your physical and material well being
- Your social relationships – how you interact with others
- Your social activities
- Your personal fulfillment – your career, any creative outlets you may have, how involved you are with other interests)
- Your recreational activities – your hobbies, sports, etc.
- Your actual health – what your health is really like and how healthy you believe you are
How do you feel about these aspects of your life? Your attitude and approach to your illness, both your neuropathy and the underlying cause of your neuropathy (i.e., diabetes, HIV/AIDS, lupus, etc.) can make a huge difference in how well you adapt to your neuropathy symptoms.
Neuropathy Symptoms Aren’t Just Physical
The pain of peripheral neuropathy falls into the category of what is considered chronic pain. It usually doesn’t just come and go. You can’t just pop a couple of aspirin and forget about it. It’s pain with its root cause in nerve damage.
The nerves that actually register pain are the actual cause of the pain. When you’re in that kind of pain on a consistent basis, it affects you in many different ways:
- You become depressed and/or anxious
- Your productivity and interest at work is disrupted
- You can’t sleep
- It’s difficult for you to get out and interact with other people so you feel isolated
- You sometimes don’t understand why you’re not getting better
What You Can Do To Improve Your Quality of Life
You may feel like your situation is hopeless, especially if you’ve become mired in depression.
But it isn’t.
There are things you can do to lessen the physical (and emotional) effects of peripheral neuropathy and help you function as normally as possible:
- Pay special attention to caring for your feet. Inspect them daily for cuts, pressure spots, blisters or calluses (use a mirror to look at the bottom of your feet). The minute you notice anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician for help. Never go barefoot – anywhere.
- Treat yourself to a good foot massage to improve your circulation and reduce pain. Check with your insurance company – if massage is actually prescribed by your doctor, they may cover some of the cost.
- Only wear shoes that are padded, supportive and comfortable and never wear tight socks.
- If you smoke, quit. Nicotine decreases circulation and if you’re a peripheral neuropathy patient, you can’t risk that.
- Cut back on your caffeine intake. Several studies have found that caffeine may actually make neuropathy pain worse.
- If you sit at a desk, never cross your knees or lean on your elbows. The pressure will only make your nerve damage worse.
- Be really careful when using hot water. Your peripheral neuropathy may affect the way you register changes in temperature and it’s really easy for you to burn yourself and not even realize it.
- Use a “bed cradle” to keep your sheets away from your feet if you experience pain when trying to sleep. That will help you rest.
- Try to be as active as possible. Moderate exercise is great for circulation and it can work wonders for your emotional and mental health.
- Make your home as injury proof as possible – install bath assists and/or hand rails and never leave anything on the floor that you can trip over.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. If you don’t know what you should and shouldn’t eat, talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about a personalized diet plan to maintain proper weight and give your body what it needs to heal.
- Try to get out as often as possible to socialize with others.
We hope this information helps you to better manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Take a look at the list above and see how many of these things you’re already doing to help yourself. Then talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician about help with adding the others to your daily life.
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