Peripheral Neuropathy and Exercise
However, many doctors will recommend trying to stay active while being treated for most forms of peripheral neuropathy because of the importance of maintaining a consistent blood flow. According to research featured on the website for the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, a consistent blood flow in certain parts of the body can help relieve symptoms faster than waiting for medications to take effect (foundationforpn.org, 2016).
The doctors at Functional Health Institute realize that moving is not always the easiest when discomfort from peripheral neuropathy has taken up a tremendous part of a person’s life. Some people actually learn to live with the pain, but it doesn’t have to be that way any longer. That is why we help you create a treatment plan that will work best for our patients regardless of the type of peripheral neuropathy they have been diagnosed with.
Two of the most painful forms of peripheral neuropathy are diabetic neuropathy and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Patients who have one or both may not want to move very much, and it is completely understandable. So why do doctors recommend staying active? Well, the reason exercise is so important is to help maintain strength, mobility, and function regardless of the underlying cause of peripheral neuropathy. By maintaining a good exercise program, the patient is taking steps to prevent injury while being treated for peripheral neuropathy.
As doctors, we are not making you move to cause more discomfort. Depending on the condition of the patient, we recommend it to help you heal. At Functional Health Institute, our team treats patients with different forms of peripheral neuropathy on a daily basis, and we understand how patients can benefit from exercise. In fact, research has indicated that symptoms from peripheral neuropathy have dramatically improved from exercises such as aerobic exercises, flexibility exercises, strength training exercises, and balance exercises, which are the four basic exercises for comprehensive physical activity.
One particular exercise, which was researched and reported by The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been found to be very effective for patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. They call it “Tango Therapy.” The focus of this exercise is to help restore balance, gait, and muscle memory in patients. “To evaluate the effect of Argentine Tango practice on the biomechanical predictors of fall risk among cancer survivors, [Lisa] Worthen-Chaudhari [a faculty member within OSU’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation] and [Mimi] Lamantia [a pre-med/dance major at OSU] designed a dance intervention course that involved 20 sessions of adapted Argentine Tango” (cancer.osu.edu, 2016).