Neuropathy is a condition caused by damage of the nerves and can result in numbness, tingling, pain or muscle weakness. Peripheral neuropathy starts in the nerves that are farthest away from the brain like the nerves in your hands and feet. These nerves are responsible for sending signals to control the movement of your arms, legs, bladder and bowel. Some types of chemotherapy can cause peripheral neuropathy. Sometimes it can be the result of nerve damage from surgery.
Symptoms may include:
- Pain or burning sensation
- Tingling (“pins and needles” feeling)
- Loss of feeling
- Trouble using your fingers to pick up or hold things; dropping things
- Balance problems
- Muscle weakness
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble with tripping or stumbling while walking
- Pressure or temperature (mostly cold) may hurt more than usual
- Decreased or no reflexes
- Bladder problems
Exercising can become challenging at times if you are experiencing neuropathy due to a lack of coordination and balance. Always check with your doctors to find out what you can and cannot do. The good news is that research has shown that exercising can help reduce your pain and improve your mobility.
Some tips for exercising
- Try using a stationary bicycle for aerobic exercise if balance is an issue
- Weight training machines may be easier to use if holding hand weights is a problem.
- Avoid high impact actives that require quick directional changes, like aerobics or step classes.