Pain associated with peripheral neuropathy symptoms can lead to serious health complications later in life. Advanced stages of neuropathy may be present when the patient’s feet become bluish and swollen. When left unaddressed, gangrene could set in; amputation could eventually be required.
One way for caregivers to prevent further nerve damage is through massage therapy.
Advanced symptoms of peripheral nerve damage
Symptoms of nerve damage may cause a great deal of difficulty in patients’ lives. Physical touch was unbearable for my mother-in-law because of the amount of pain it caused her. From intolerance to touch to digestive issues, symptoms of peripheral nerve damage may vary based on the nerves affected.
Muscle weakness, cramps, shrinking muscles, and uncontrollable muscle twitching may be signs of motor nerve damage. Sensory nerve damage may inhibit the patient’s ability to feel sensation in the hands and feet, and provoke the body’s pain receptors to fire spontaneously, causing severe discomfort from even a gentle touch. Symptoms of autonomic nerve damage may include intolerance to heat, gastrointestinal problems, and high blood pressure.
Benefits of massage therapy for neuropathy
Massage therapy may be beneficial for patients with nerve damage or tingling and burning sensations in the skin, hands, and feet. Caregivers may administer massage therapy, but a trained therapist can be more effective in pinpointing the proper areas and using the right amounts of pressure. The most important thing for caregivers and massage therapists to understand is the patient’s pain tolerance threshold and where discoloration may appear on the body.
A combination of light strokes, kneading, and light pressure will test the patient’s pain tolerance and increase blood flow and circulation. With regular adherence to massage therapy treatment, patients with numbness and tingling sensations may find their pain tolerance has increased.
Self-administered massage as ancillary treatment
Patients may also self-administer massage therapy using self-massage sticks or tennis balls. By rolling their feet over a tennis ball or placing their feet in a tub filled with marbles and water, patients can provide relief from regular foot pain. There may be times when a patient requires assistance with massaging an area that is causing them pain.
With regular, hourlong therapy sessions conducted by a professional massage therapist, neuropathy patients may see improvements in areas once affected by nerve damage. They may also experience gradual relief from sensations caused by nerve damage. Combined with topical treatments, massage therapy may be a good alternative for patients who would prefer not to experience the side effects of neuropathy medications.
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