I have several clients with Neuropathy in their feet. I’ve had other clients that had it in their arms and fingers. One in particular was formerly a drummer and a bowler, and was quite upset that she could neither drum nor bowl any longer because of lack of feeling in her hands. She had been undergoing a lot of physical therapy, but after seeing me for massage, she stated that I was the first one that had given her back feeling in her fingers.
For those unfamiliar with this condition, basically, people who suffer with this condition do not have any feeling in their extremities. You may have noticed what appears to be people sometimes stumbling as they walk. It’s not necessarily because they are clumsy. It could well be because as they put one foot in front of the other to walk, they aren’t feeling anything.
They don’t feel the pressure on their feet that some people complain about from having to stand all day on their jobs; or from wearing horribly designed shoes that are not supportive. I think sometimes that people that suffer from Neuropathy wish they could feel enough to even experience a bit of the pain people who stand all day feel, because at least they would feel something. For others with Neuropathy, the pain is unbearable.
Imagine if your foot went to sleep…you know, that feeling when the foot is tingling and it looses sensation for a while. Imagine if that happened, but your foot never woke back up. That feeling is one of heaviness, and there is sort of a dull ache from what seems like pressure in the foot, especially if you try to walk while your foot is asleep; but the worse thing is that you can’t feel anything. If you cannot feel anything, how would you know if you cut yourself, or were bitten by some potentially poisonous insect, or that you burned yourself?
Facts on Neuropathy
According to MNT here are some facts on Neuropathy
- Neuropathy is a complication found in a number of different underlying medical conditions.
- Neuropathy is short for peripheral neuropathy.
- Three types of nerve can be involved; autonomic nerves, motor nerves and sensory nerves.
- Physical trauma, repetitive injury, infection, metabolic problems and exposure to toxins and some drugs can all lead to peripheral neuropathy.
- Most cases of neuropathy are found in people who have diabetes2 (diabetic neuropathy).
- With neuropathy as a complication of diabetes, up to 50% of people affected may be completely asymptomatic.
- People commonly describe the pain of neuropathy as being a tingling or burning sensation.
- Being tested for neuropathy is routine for diabetes sufferers.
- Whether single or multiple nerves are affected, the underlying cause can, in many cases, be targeted for treatment.
- For toxic causes, removing exposure to a toxin, or stopping a culprit drug, will halt further nerve damage.
Neuropathy is a complex, chronic state of pain that is usually accompanied by some form of tissue injury. It is usually the result of Diabetes, but there are many other causes as well. It is believed that the nerve fibers themselves may be damaged, dysfunctional, or injured, and as a result, these fibers send incorrect signals to other pain centers causing a change in nerve function both at the site of injury and areas around the injury. This can affect both the feet and legs, as well and hands and arms.
Symptoms of Neuropathy
Neuropathic pain symptoms may include:
- Shooting and burning pain
- Tingling and numbness
Causes of Neuropathy
These are some common causes of neuropathic pain that I see regularly in the histories of my clients. The list includes the following, but it is said that Neuropathic pain often seems to have no obvious cause:
- Back, leg, and hip problems
- Cancer – lymphoma or multiple myeloma
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a genetic cause of nerve damage, particularly in the lower limbs
- Chronic liver disease
- Diphtheria, a common bacterial infection in developing countries such as Haiti and Vietnam, but rare in other parts of the world.
- Facial nerve problems
- Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare condition that damages peripheral nerves
- HIV infection or AIDS
- Long-term excessive alcohol intake
- Lyme disease, a tick-borne bacterial infection
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spine surgery
- Vitamin B deficiency and other nutritional deficiency
Toxic and drug causes
This list of drugs known to produce neuropathy side effects are also many of the same that my clients tell me they use. The most predominant one I am aware of that causes Neuropathy is the HIV drugs, but the list includes:
- A dermatitis treatment.
- A psychiatric drug for bipolar disorder
- An alcoholism treatment
- An antihypertensive drug to lower blood pressure
- An anti-seizure drug for epilepsy and other uses
- An antirejection drug for transplants
- HIV drugs
- Some cardiac drugs
- Some cancer drugs
- Some antibiotics and antivirals
Massage is one of the recommended therapies to help people with Neuropathy. It is a condition that I treat regularly with great results.
One of my regular clients recently came to me complaining for the first time of pain in his legs. After he explained the pain he was having, I asked him how his feet were doing. He was surprised that I asked about his feet, saying, “How did you know?”
I explained that since the feet are the base of support for the entire body, it only makes sense that if his legs were hurting, the pain could be caused from or radiating from his feet.
Additionally, since I had already determined that this particular client does have an imbalance in his feet that is causing pain in several other areas of his body; it was a no brainer that his feet were involved in the pain he was experiencing in his legs.
As soon as I released his feet – just the front of his feet, he began to experience relief from the pain. I also released his leg muscles, and did get to the bottom of his feet in the time we had. He experienced a significant amount of relief; so much so in fact, that he stated that for the first time, his feet did not hurt when he stood up on them.
Typically, per his explanation, when he has been sitting for a while and then stands, his feet hurt, and the first 3-4 steps are extremely painful until his feet get used to the pressure again.
I used to experience this same thing, but I don’t anymore. Your feet swell up tremendously, so when you put pressure on them, it is agonizing. It is my theory that between the excessive inflammation, and pressure in the muscles from a sedentary lifestyle, coupled with the imbalances in the feet that most people have; it is just more pressure than the poor feet can handle.
When I release the muscular problem, it seems to give my neuropathic pain clients a great deal of relief. I also recommend juicing, especially with berries to help eliminate the inflammation that some people experience with this condition.
After I released the muscles in my client’s feet, he stood with no pain, and his first 3-4 steps were pain free. If Neuropathy is a problem for you, I have other recommendations and quite a few very satisfied clients that I treat for that condition. You might want to become one of them.
Resources & References
My name is Sandra M. Urquhart.
I am a child of God first, mom second, writer third, and a massage therapist, fourth.