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Peripheral neuropathy can be a potentially deadly condition. It can lead to numbness in the feet which can lead to unexpected falls. Anyone that suffers from this condition should be seeking out as much home treatments as possible to reduce the symptoms. One of the most common at home treatments is heat. But is heat good for neuropathy, or is it just a myth to keep you buying more and more products?.
Heat treatments are use widely for a number of conditions. It’s a proven treatment in many cases. Infrared heat therapy devices have been clinically tested on patients with Neuropathy returning positive results. So with that in mind, it’s important to understand both how heat works on making the body naturally recover and excalty what neuropathy is so that we can potentially treat the condition from home.
Quick Links To Info On This Page
- 1 Does Heat Treatment Help Neuropathy?
- 2 It Comes Down To Increasing Red Blood Cells
- 3 Whats The Best Kind Of Heat For Peripheral Neuropathy
- 4 Is Heat The Cure?
- 5 Other Alternative Treatments To Neuropathy
Briefly, What Is Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a condition where there is some kind of damage to your peripheral nervous system. This involves an intricate network of nerves that leads from your brain, through your central nervous system in your spinal cord, and throughout all parts of your body.
When the nerve fibers in your body, arms and legs are stimulated, the nerves send a signal back to your brain. If there is damage to any of the nervous in your body, these nerves will misfire and send unpleasant signals to your brain. People with neuropathy report abnormal sensations like burning, tingling, numbness, and even paralysis. In order to alleviate these sensations, people try all kinds of treatments, including heat.
Does Heat Treatment Help Neuropathy?
That really depends. Neuropathy can be caused by a wide number of things. A common cause is when a part of the body is injured. When there is trauma to the body, skin, muscle, and nerve fibers can sustain damage. Sometimes neuropathy can be caused by a disorder. People who suffer from diabetes often report neuropathy of the legs and feet because the high sugar level resulted in nerve damage. They report feeling numbness and tingling of their limbs which are persistent. Neuropathy can be caused by an imbalance of the hormonal system. It can even be a condition that is hereditary.
It Comes Down To Increasing Red Blood Cells
The reason it’s important to understand what Neuropathy is boils down to knowing how to properly treat the condition. As mentioned earlier, many of the symptoms you are feeling are from dead nerve endings or dying nerves. With nerve endings that are dying, but for the most part still alive, you can revive them.
This is why heat is especially important. When you apply heat to an area on your body, you are opening up blood vessels so they become wider. With a wider diameter blood vessel, the blood cells can run through them more freely, bringing increased blood to the affected area.
Once the blood arrives at these dying nerve endings, a sudden gush of extra oxygen and nutrients arrive. As we all know, we need oxygen to survive. So bringing a reinforcement of oxygen and the bodies natural healing nutrients, you are able to stimulate life in the dying nerve endings.
So the nerve endings can begin to regrow and bring back feeling to that localized area of the body. Of course this is not a instant miracle cure. It takes time to heal these nerve endings. Which is why it’s a good option for you to apply heat treatment from home as a added boost in oxygen and nutrients for these poor little nerve endings. Practice heat treatment on your hands or feet on a daily basis. After a few days or a week, you may start to notice results. Generally, you should limit the amount of time you apply heat treatment to 20 minutes per session.
Whats The Best Kind Of Heat For Peripheral Neuropathy
A lot of peripheral neuropathy suffers use foot massaging machines as a at home treatment. This is great because it combines heat with the benefits of massage. As you may already know, massage also increases blood circulation around the affected areas. So by combining heat with massage, its a match made in heaven.
There are certainly models that are better than others when it comes to neuropathy. This is also true when it comes to heat treatment. I would say the majority of massagers available on the market provide traditional heat. The heat you feel which makes you warm. This is great and all, but there is a better option available which is growing in popularity.
That Is Infrared Heat For Neuropathy
Infrared heat is an invisible energy that was accidentally discovered back in 1800. Since then, scientists along with countless other professions have been studying and utilizing this magnificent energy wave. In terms of the benefits people with peripheral neuropathy can obtain, well it’s quite simple.
Heat increases blood flow which increases oxygen and healing nutrients. We know that. But what infrared does is penetrates deeper into your joints, muscles, tissues to stimulate the core body temperature. Increasing a greater circulation of blood cells.
Traditional heat that makes you feel warm only hits the surface of your skin and a couple of millimeters beneath the skin. Which is fine and dandy when it’s cold. But for pain management, you want the best results possible. So when you apply an infrared device, the infrared energy can penetrate up to about 2 inches deep. Getting at the heart of the problem and calling for direct response from the blood cell army.
So when it comes to using a foot massager, I try to keep an eye out for models with infrared heat so that I can obtain as many benefits as possible.
Red Light Therapy (Cold Laser)
Similar to using massaging devices which offer infrared, a standalone red light therapy device will provide greater benefits. These devices can be handheld which you simply shine onto your hands or feet.
A red light therapy device like the Tendlite can be very beneficially for people with neuropathy. This is because they are small, portable and effective. So you can hide one in your glove box, bag, purse etc. Whenever you feel like you need to act, you have treatment on hand.
These red light devices are effective because you can pinpoint exactly where you need to increase the blood flow. So they are useful for many conditions, not just neuropathy. Used in combination with a massaging device, you can really stimulate the blood cells to circulate.
Is Heat The Cure?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure for neuropathy because it can be the result of so many causes. Sometimes these nerve pains can improve over time with treatment or as the body heals on its own. However, there is no way to tell if this will take months or years. Sometimes the pain will get better, but sometimes the pain can get worse.
People have tried many different ways to treat this pain. For foot neuropathy, some people like to soak their feet in a warm bath because the warm water can soothe the pain. The warmth can increase blood flow to the afflicted area temporarily, and it can alleviate muscles that are tense and stressed. Just make sure that the temperature is warm and not very hot. Test the water temperature with your hands if your legs are the parts afflicted. So, if someone asks you “Is heat good for neuropathy,” you can suggest a soothing soak in warm water for temporary relief.
Other Alternative Treatments To Neuropathy
Some people try the opposite and immerse the affected areas in cold water. This is a common approach when the individual feels a burning sensation on the afflicted area. It is assumed that the coldness will cool down the burning sensation and provide relief. However, one has to be careful not to let the area get too cold. For example, if an ice pack was applied, it might make the area feel more numb and uncomfortable. It is best to avoid temperatures that are extreme.
Another way to alleviate pain from neuropathy is to exercise more. If the pain is in the legs, take more leisurely strolls. When you exercise, your body releases good hormones called endorphins. These are like painkillers that occur naturally in your body. Also, when you are more active, your blood circulation improves throughout your body and to your nerve fibers. This additional blood flow can feed your nerves that are damaged and provide nutrients that are essential to healing. The positive effects from exercising can last a good while. If you take this approach, ease into increasing your activity. Start with a short walk, then increase the duration or distance gradually.
If your arms or legs have nerve damage, it is important that you pay extra attention to taking care of them. If you have numbness, you might not feel any cuts or bruises on your skin. Be sure to examine your limbs regularly. Your feet are especially vulnerable. Since you are on your feet everyday, make sure that you always wear shoes that are comfortable. Avoid walking on bare feet. In addition, see your podiatrist regularly. If you see any physical injuries, take care of them right away.
Massage For Neuropathy
Massaging the affected areas can also help. A massage can loosen tight muscles and improve blood circulation. The benefits of massage for neuropathy are similar to what you get when you exercise. You can massage with essential oils that have pain reducing properties. Lavender oil can soothe and relax you, and help you take your focus away from your pain.
If you enjoy alcoholic beverages, try to reduce your consumption. Too much alcohol can exacerbate the nerve pain that you are feeling. The amount of alcohol that one can drink before the pain gets worse is different from person to person. The rule of thumb is to drink in moderation, and reduce consumption if you can.
Nerve pain can keep you up at night because some people report that the pain worsens at night. If it is disturbing your sleep, you should take pain medications to give you temporary relief long enough to allow you to fall asleep. A good night’s rest is very important to your health. Try to go to sleep at a consistent time every night, and avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon.
What Has Worked For You?
As you can see, there are many approaches to alleviating pain from neuropathy. Is heat good for neuropathy? Are massages helpful? These are questions that you might ask if you are experiencing nerve pain. The best thing to do is to try different methods and to consult your doctor if you have any questions about a particular approach. When you find the method that works for you, you can manage your neuropathy better.
If you have any other methods of either using heat (like a heating pad) for neuropathy or some unique method unknown to many, please share in the comments below. Other readers can greatly benefit from your experiences.