Numb Toes and Aching Soles: Coping With Peripheral Neuropathy by John A. Senneff
Coping With Peripheral Neuropathy
by John A. Senneff
Copyright © 1999 by MedPress.
Excerpted with permission of the publisher, MedPress.
This book covers neuropathy treatments in depth. To order please call 1-888-633-9898 or visit www.medpress.com.
NOTE: Excerpts are provided on dLife.com for informational purposes only. The information contained within will not be updated by dLife and may be outdated. Please consult your doctor before acting on anything described here.
Chapter 9 – Coping
Other Ways to Cope
PNers are inventive and a number of them have devised different ways to make each day more tolerable. Here's a list of things I've heard or read about:
- Buy a cane that folds out into a little stool – you'll find it particularly useful when you're waiting in check-out lines.
- Install shower bars or shower chairs to keep you from a bad fall, and a raised toilet seat – PNers usually don't have the same sense of balance as we used to.
- Get some long foot and bath brushes.
- Try zippers rather than buttons on clothing and a tool called "Zip-it" when even zippers cause problems.
- Get light weight dressing sticks which help you put on clothes and molded sock aids to help in slipping on socks.
- Buy extra long shoe horns – they come up to 36" long.
- Use Velcro instead of shoe laces for easy closures and releases, or elastic shoe laces, as well as for other clothing items.
- Invest in a vibration foot massager you could keep under the desk or where you read – for a "quick fix" foot reliever.
- If your hands cause you difficult in writing, make your pen or pencil "fatter" by sliding a foam rubber curler over them or buy a special adapter.
- Use double handled cups and pots, which are easier to hold.
- Place pieces of Dycem – a high-friction material available at medical supply houses – on kitchen surfaces to keep things from sliding – e.g., while you're opening cans.
- Get meat cutters which can be operated with one hand.
- Buy grip knobs for turning on faucets and plastic turning handles for doorknobs.
- Use scooters at grocery stores and malls – don't let your pride get in the way of making shopping more manageable.
- If you need a walker consider one called the "Maddak – it's adjustable and lightweight.
- Obtain a handicap parking placard or sticker. (If your feet are keeping you away from the stores, restaurants or theaters, you're as much entitled to them as anyone. You'll need your doctor's okay, though.)
- Get up and walk around occasionally when you've been sitting for a long while – it helps to get blood down to the feet.
- Try swimming fins called "Zoomers" which reportedly help ward off neck and shoulder pains while swimming (from WorldWide Aquatics at 1-800-726-1530).
- For pain in your forearms buy lightweight wristbands to be worn below the elbow – available from sporting goods departments at Wal-Mart for about a dollar.
- Take off your shoes every once in a while, wiggle your toes and let your feet enjoy the day same as you – they'll thank you for it. While you're at it give them both a little massage. They'll be doubly pleased.
- If your feet are particularly bothering you (so what else is new) try wrapping an Ace bandage around them through the arch to see if that helps (need I add one at a time and not together?). Perhaps it's like an orthotic in effect, which seems to benefit some PNers.
- Make a cup of "sleepy-time" (caffeine-free) tea or drink a glass of warm milk before you go to bed.
- Try eating small, infrequent meals and avoiding fats if your stomach empties slowly, indicating gastroparesis.
- Move to a warmer climate if you're able to – probably makes sense if you have other reason but some PNers who have done so are sure it's helped ease their symptoms.
- Buy a soft cover book – We Are Not Alone – Learning to Live With Chronic Disease (S.K. Pitzele 19986, Workman Publishing), for about $10 – it's full of ideas on adaptive aids and contains a comprehensive listing of merchants selling handy devices for easier living.
Another reminder. Join the Neuropathy Association if you haven't already! You can greatly benefit from the on-line comradeship found in their bulletin board and in the chat groups, sharing common frustrations and learning from each other. As somebody said, you'll be reminded over and over that you're not in this all by yourself. That realization can itself be powerful medicine! The Association can be reached at 1-800-247-6968 or at their web site: www.neuropathy.org.
Incidentally, another important organization that PNers should join is the Neuropathy Trust. It also is an excellent source of information and support for people affected by peripheral neuropathy. Though based in the United Kingdom, the Trust reaches out to people living in many parts of the world. Additionally, the Trust is actively working with pharmaceutical companies in the UK to foster the development of other treatment approaches to PN. These efforts are similar to those of the Neuropathy Association in the United States. The Trust web site is www.neuropathy-trust.org.
I'm not sure if it's the cold, the damp, the ice, the hours at the cash register, the forced shoveling activity, or the forced inactivity, but "all of my old injuries" have been playing havoc on me these past couple of days, and I can't do a blessed thing about most of them. It started about three weeks ago with a skid in the midst of that really, really cold spell after a snowstorm. While I managed to avoid falling on the cold, icy dark road, when I got my...