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Controlling Neuropathic Pain
Tips From an Occupational Therapist

by Erica K. Jacques

You may be skeptical of exercise as a remedy for neuropathic pain — and such skepticism would be justified, since some exercise can make pain worse. But exercise can also help; you just have to do it the right way. This means, above all, exercising gently — no grunting, heavy lifting, or sweating bullets.

People with peripheral neuropathy may experience more than just nerve pain; they can also have motor nerve damage, which affects how the muscles function. Exercise won’t repair damaged motor nerves, but it can help your muscles compensate for any damage. Specialized strengthening exercises can help you reclaim muscle function and thereby lessen the burden of day-to-day tasks.

If you are new to exercise or if you haven’t exercised in a while, it is a good idea to consult an experienced occupational or physical therapist before embarking on any program. Unlike a personal trainer, therapists have specialized education in treating a wide range of health conditions. A therapist knows how muscles and nerves function, and what can interfere with their performance. By seeing a therapist, you can get an exercise program that is tailored to your particular needs.

Getting help
Neuropathic pain can range from annoying to practically debilitating, and sometimes the available remedies may seem troublesome or inadequate. But many people find at least partial relief from one or more of the treatments and strategies described in this article. If one attempt to soothe your pain doesn’t work, it is important to keep trying. Whether through heat or cold therapy, relaxation, exercise, or adaptations to your daily routine, you may find a reduction in pain — and greater peace of mind — somewhere you didn’t expect to find it.

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Also in this article:
Sources of Aids for Daily Living
Tips for Using Heat and Ice



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