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Strengthening exercises have been found to improve muscle strength in those suffering from peripheral neuropathy. When these exercises are done regularly, they have also been found to help reduce pain and control blood sugar levels. So what are the best exercises for peripheral Neuropathy and are there specific stretches you should be doing?. This is what we are about to discover below.
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How Exercise Benefits People With Peripheral Neuropathy
I think it’s important to understand why exercise helps with people that suffer this condition so they can not only stay motivated, but also know what they are doing is actually helping them.
Peripheral Neuropathy is the result of dead or dying nerves. These nerves transmit information to and from the brain. So when you have a dying nerve ending, the brain is getting some mixed up signals. Which can cause the tingling and loss of sensation.
In order for the brain to receive the correct signals, the nerve needs to heal. One of the best way to assist your bodies dying nerve ends is through circulation of blood. Blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients. This combination is the bodies natural healing mechanism. So by increasing the blood circulation to the nerve endings, they have a greater chance of healing quicker and more often.
How Do You Circulate The Blood?
Exercising is certainly one way to get blood pumping as we all know. Below you can find some suitable exercises and stretches to assist in this. Using heat is another way to circulate blood. This option is especially valuable to people that can’t exercise.
A third way to help heal these dying nerve endings is through massage. Massage stimulates the tissues and blood vessels become enlarged allowing increased amounts of red blood cells to flow to the area. These days buying a massage device for home use is paramount to a speedy recovery for many conditions. If you suffer numb, tingling and painful feet, a foot massager for Peripheral Neuropathy is a brilliant way to encourage circulation to your feet and start healing dying nerves. While also enjoying the benefits of a foot massage.
Before you start any exercises or stretches, it is important that you speak with your doctor to ensure that they will not cause further pain and will be beneficial to your unique condition.
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When you complete aerobic exercises, you will be increasing the heart rate, working your muscles and increasing your respiration rate. These are all things that will help your body, but you need to ensure that you do not overdo this. Most people should look at completing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 5 times per week. This also applies when you are using heat therapy to treat peripheral neuropathy. Don’t be tempted to overdo it.
However, if you have not been very active, you should start out with 5 to 10 minutes. You can then work up to a longer period of time. You should also look at splitting your activities throughout the day. One of the ways to do this will be to take a 10-minute walk after meals.
There are a number of different aerobic exercises that you can look at doing. A brisk walk is often the easiest to start with and this can be done outside or on a treadmill. Low-impact aerobics classes are offered by many gyms which you can also consider attending. Using a stationary exercise bike will also provide you with the exercise that you need.
Flexibility Stretching With Peripheral Neuropathy
Stretching or flexibility exercises will help to keep your joints limber and reduce the risks of injury when you do other activities. It is important that you complete these stretches before you do any other form of exercise to warm up the muscles. Gentle stretching for 5 to 10 minutes will warm up the body and get you ready for aerobic exercises. This is also advisable when using a foot massager. Stretching is a crucial part of the process.
One of the stretches you should look at is a calf stretch. To do this, you should place one leg behind you with the toe pointing slightly inward. You should then take a step forward with the opposite leg. Your front knee should then be slightly bent and your back heel needs to remain on the floor. You should feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg and hole this position for 15 to 20 seconds for each leg. 3 repetitions of these stretches should be done 2 times per day.
Another stretch you should look at is the seated hamstring stretch. As the name suggests, you will need to be seated on a firm chair to complete the stretch. You should place one leg straight out with the foot pointing upward. The opposite knee should be bent with the foot flat on the floor. You should then center the chest over the straight leg and slowly straighten until you feel the muscle in the back of your leg stretch.
Strength Training Exercises
To increase the strength of your muscles and to lower the risk of injury, you need to look at strength training exercises. Any loss of strength in the muscles that you have can be reversed through constant training routines. There are a number of exercises that you can complete at home, but you need to speak to your doctor first.
The first exercise you should consider is the counter calf raise. To complete this exercise, you will need to stand by a counter such as a kitchen counter and place 2 fingertips on the surface. You should then stand on 1 leg while you lift your other leg. You should then stand on your toes before slowly lowering yourself to the floor. You need to control the lowering of your body and not drop down as this will cause problems.
Another exercise that you can look at is the chair squat. As indicated by the name, you will need to have a sturdy chair with armrests. You should position your feet in a stance that has one foot at the base of the chair and the other in front of you. You should then slowly shift your weight forward until your full weight is supported by the legs. Using your hips, you will need to reach back for the chair and stop when you come into contact with it.
Balance is very important if you want to remain healthy. Good balance will also help you overcome any feelings of unsteadiness and stiffness. Fortunately, there are a number of balance training exercises that you can use to improve your overall balance.
The first exercise that you should consider is hip flexion. To complete this exercise you will need a table or chair that you can hold with one fingertip. You should then stand straight while holding the table or chair. Slowly bend a knee to the chest without bending your hips or waist. You should then slowly lower the leg after holding the position for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Another exercise that you can do is a side leg raise. You will need to use the same hold on a chair or table and stand straight with your feet slightly apart. You should then slowly lift one of your legs to the side, approximately 6 to 12 inches high. Hold this for 5 to 10 seconds before slowly lowering the leg and repeating with the other leg. It is important that your knees and back remain straight while you complete this exercise.
But…Don’t Overdo It
Exercise is a great way to help relieve the symptoms and pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. But don’t overdo it!. It’s not a race and you could cause more injury than good. So always consult your Doctor in regards to how much exercise you should be doing.
If you are not use to doing a lot of exercise, always start out slowly. By using other alternative methods like mentioned above (heat and massage), a slow and gentle exercise may all that you need to do.
At the end of the day, your body is going to be pretty sore and tired. This is quite normal if you don’t regularly exercise. I found a good way to combat this while also benefiting neuropathy is through the use of full body heating pads or if you have the time, indulge in a full infrared body wrap.
These devices circulate body throughout the body using the best known heat source. Infrared. Which penetrates deeper for an even more beneficial experience. With the combination of exercise, stretching, heating pads and massage, you can certainly circulate blood cells to your suffering nerve endings craving for the bodies natural healing nutrients. But remember, everything in moderation.