Neuropathy, also referred to as peripheral neuropathy, is the result of damage to nerve cells that send messages from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. People with neuropathy experience abnormal sensations, such as pain, numbness, tingling, burning, and muscle weakness in the affected areas. The hands, feet, and legs are the most frequently affected areas, although other parts of the body can be affected, too. While diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy in the U.S., other common conditions and events that may cause neuropathy include injuries, certain autoimmune disorders, some infections, and alcoholism.
It’s estimated that 25 to 30 percent of Americans will be affected by neuropathy in their lifetime. If you’re a part of this group, you know firsthand how distressing this condition can be. You may feel like your lifestyle is becoming more and more limited due to your symptoms—but does it have to be this way? No! While there is currently no cure for neuropathy, there are a number of things you can do to manage the condition, improve your symptoms, and reduce its effect on your life. Here are five tips for maintaining an active, full lifestyle while living with neuropathy.
While neuropathy can be very painful and uncomfortable, a lot of the distress people experience comes from how they think about the condition. If you’re constantly thinking about how horrible the condition is, how it’s negatively affecting your life, and how you wish you could go back to how things used to be, you’re likely going to feel depressed and anxious. Instead of dwelling on the negative, work on accepting the condition and finding ways to reduce its impact on your life. This does not mean you have to like the condition. Rather, acceptance means to stop fighting against the condition, and moving forward to find what works best for you.
According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise, such as walking three times a week, can reduce neuropathy pain and improve muscle strength. Physical activity can also help improve blood circulation, boost your mood, and manage your stress. Find a type of exercise that works for you. If walking is too painful, try swimming, biking, yoga, or rebounding on a mini trampoline.
Adopting a diet that supports your nerves is one of the best things you can do to manage neuropathy. Certain vitamins, including vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, thiamin, and vitamin E, are necessary for proper nerve function. The best way to ensure you’re getting enough of these nutrients is to eat a varied, anti-inflammatory diet. Center your diet around whole, plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, gluten-free grains, nuts, and seeds.
Using natural pain relief products is a great way to safely and gently reduce your symptoms. Aromalief offers 3-in-1 vegan hemp lotions that relieve pain, moisturize the skin, and offer the calming benefits of aromatherapy. Aromalief’s soothing lotions contain several pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory ingredients, including hemp seed oil, menthol, glucosamine, chondroitin, L-arginine, MSM, and aloe vera. Simply rub the cream onto your painful areas as needed to instantly soothe your nerves and relax your mind. You could even ask your partner to give you a relaxing massage to further stimulate circulation to the affected areas.
Living with neuropathy can be really challenging and isolating at times. That’s why it’s important to seek support and ask for and accept help when you need it. In addition to seeking support from family and friends, you might consider joining a chronic pain support group. These groups are great for meeting others going through similar things, learning new coping techniques, and having a place to express your feelings. You could even make some new friends in your group and start a daily walking club, or even just meet up for lunch every week.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, seeking support, and adjusting your mindset can do wonders for helping you live an active, happy life with neuropathy. You don’t have to make these changes all at once. Make changes little by little as you feel comfortable and ready. It may take a few weeks for these tips to have an effect, so stick with it—taking care of your body and mind are well worth the effort!
Please consult with your doctor before starting any pain relieving regimen. The tips provided are not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional.