Neuropathy & Exercise

Posted by southwind @southwind, Nov 13, 2019

How have you received enough physical exercise while dealing with neuropathy?? Do you walk in spite of the condition; tiptoe to get around; particular exercise program, etc.?

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@fiesty76

@darlingtondoll, When my daughter lived in San Fran. we took some trips to both wine country and artichoke country. I was enthralled with the many roadside stands along the way selling artichokes served every which way possible.

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I miss living there with all the fresh produce at the farms. It was easy to live a healthy life there. My doctors at Stanford University Hospital were great

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I have spinal stenosis causing neuropathy in feet! Walking seems to help however I can’t walk to far

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@wilcy, I don't have spinal stenosis but do have peripheral neuropathy in my feet and calves. Like you I am thankful that I can take walks but they are shorter than before. I have a very small, portable electricity driven whirlpool tub just for my feet. I asked my neurologist about water therapy but he said it would do nothing to help. I do use the little tub though because it makes me feel better and that I am doing something nice for my feet…may not improve the damaged nerves, but is does improve my spirits.

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@johnbishop

Hi @southwind — Thank you for starting this discussion. It's a great topic and one that is hard to even think about if you are dealing with pain from your neuropathy. I find it hard to walk due more to my lower back pain that the small fiber PN that I have. I'm the old guy walking around with an empty (most of the time!) shopping cart at the grocery store to get my exercise. I use the shopping cart to help with my back. I have a hybrid recumbent bike and elliptical exercise at home and I try to make sure I put in 30 minutes a day on the elliptical for weight bearing exercise. Usually it's in two 15 minutes sessions because it's easier for this old guy. The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy has some good information on exercise and physcial therapy for peripheral neuropathy here: https://www.foundationforpn.org/living-well/lifestyle/exercise-and-physical-therapy/.

Because I spend a lot of time sitting at my computer I make it a point to stand often and I have a couple of 5 LB hand weights I use to do arm exercises and balance exercises. I'm more worried about muscle atrophy and use it or lose it. What type of exercises help you?

I found a video that may also be helpful for others:

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Congratulations @southwind. I am very impressed with your positive attitude, which similar to mine. I am combining diet, exercise with the discipline of Neuroplasticity. I am aged 89 years, and firmly believe I will overcome my Peripheral-neuropathy, as I see small improvements on a daily basis.Send mè your phone numbers etc, and I will contact on video, for a good yarn. Re your back problem , without much about you, I believe having a strong core, does help tremendously. I am very strict with my diet, and pleased to say on medication of any description.

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@betty1954

I am also new. Due to having a bar in my back and stenosis, degenerative disc disease and neuropathy I decided I am to young at 66 to let this disease take over. I have been on this merry-go-round for over 6 years and justfound this link. I walk over 4 miles everyday with two walking sticks to keep me from falling. When I do fall I have to wiggle to a tree or post to get up. My legs won't let me on my own. I walk due to it keeping me from having back spasms. I have legs that feel like they weigh 50 lbs. each and have spasms in them continuously. On the bright side my God is my strength and stronghold-not my doctors. I use tons of essential oils from DoTerra and Copaiba has been a game changer. To helps with spasms I use Adaptiv. I ask my pain doctor about CBD oil and he said go for it if you think it will help. I am scheduled for another steroid injection in two weeks. I have another collapsed disc pressing on a sensory nerve; Everyday is a new challege. Somedays the discouragement with doctors is my biggest challenge and others it is my discouragement with myself for not being a stronger fighter. I have found neurologist to be of no help at all.

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Have you tried a Lo Bak Trax, I have found some pretty good results with using this. I have used it for 30 seconds, 6 repetitions a day and it has helped me a lot. I have spinal stenosis and degenative disc disease, but I have noticed a relief in the neurapathy in my feet also. Check with your doctor if he thinks that it will work without hurting you. It is like having spinal decompression. Always ask your Dr. if it is okay, my Dr. said it was fine for me to try, just start slow. You can buy one on Amazon and some drug stores carry (maybe Walmart too.) they are very inexpensive, under $20 and you can watch videos on Youtube.com, See if it helps you, good luck PS: i also use a cold laser device and hemp cream for relief of the burning.

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Just trying to find the energy to get up and exercise. Is riding a bike or lunges with weights good for recovery?

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@dcavasos

Just trying to find the energy to get up and exercise. Is riding a bike or lunges with weights good for recovery?

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Hi @dcavasos, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am be no means an expert and have no medical background but I think it might be a little different for each of us. I try to start off slow and not exercise until it hurts. I think as we get older we need to build up and take things a little slower. I think riding a bike and/or lunges with weights can be good but it might be a good idea to discuss it with your doctor if you have any physical ailments.

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@johnbishop

Hi @dcavasos, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am be no means an expert and have no medical background but I think it might be a little different for each of us. I try to start off slow and not exercise until it hurts. I think as we get older we need to build up and take things a little slower. I think riding a bike and/or lunges with weights can be good but it might be a good idea to discuss it with your doctor if you have any physical ailments.

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Thank you and I will check with my doctor.

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I am also by no means a doctor, but I don’t know the doctors have all the answers when it comes to dealing with individual cases. I have an excellent body worker that I’ve been working with for decades. Try to find a physical therapist or some kind of expert in Rehab. This might be where your doctor could help. In the meantime, I suggest walking and or very light exercise, until you can build yourself up to figuring out what’s best for you personally. I don’t know how old you are but I would suggest that you explore YouTube and try out some exercises that are aimed at seniors. That’s probably the easiest place to start. Good luck!

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@dcavasos

Thank you and I will check with my doctor.

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I watch my grandsons ( three of them ) everywhere they go it's on the run. You are so right we must make ourselves exercise every chance we get. My grandsons don't have a ounce of fat on them, I wish I could say that. Take care and exercise often.

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I would suggest starting with riding a bike – because you get to see the countryside, explore different areas, see different things every day, and wave to other bikers (generally a friendly lot). After I lost weight, I felt so good that I wanted to explore more ways to exercise; I started lifting, zumba dancing, running, martial arts … it's all fun and all good exercise.

We've just been moving and my husband of 31 years is amazed at how strong I am, how agile, and how much stamina I have. I guess I have improved despite the health problems. Exercise helps distract me from the pain of Neuropathy. Peggy

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Greetings, all: I'm new to the forum – it was the only place online where I thought I could find some answers to my question. I have chemo-related neuropathy with numbness ankles to toes and no pain. My balance is very poor. My nutrition is good, as is my mental health and outlook on life. I am not able to take any of the commonly used meds or CBD due to my profession and being subject to random urine tests.

Before COVID I joined the Y in September and was trying gentle yoga and tai chi along with using an elliptical. During Stay At Home time I walked my dogs and did chair yoga videos. Y is beginning to reopen, and I have been using the elliptical and tried water aerobics which i have really liked.

I really enjoy cycling outdoors and have a nice rails-to-trails about 6 blocks from my home. I have a good hybrid bike, but am unable to get on it and ride due to my poor balance. I'm not interested in indoor cycling or a recumbent.

I bought some adult training wheels for my bike, and had them put on at the bike shop. I picked it up today and found that I still can't get on it. It is very level with no tipping, but I can't swing my leg over the back to get on it. Before, I would lay it down on the ground and climb over it, then pull it up once I had straddled it. I tried that, but I couldn't balance well enough to straddle it as it now sits about a foot up in the air as opposed to flat on the ground. I could probably lean against my house and be able to get on it but my concern is if I need to get off on the trail, or fall somehow it would not be good.

My health insurance is not good, so PT is really not an option. I've been looking online for solutions, and found you!

Thanks for reading my essay, and I look forward to your thoughts!

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Hello @doggiemom, Welcome to Connect. Sorry that you are not able to get on your bike but I can understand the balance problem. I have idiopathic small fiber peripheral neuropathy with numbness only symptoms in my feet and ankles and I also have balance issues. I posted my story under the Member Neuropathy Journey Stories: What's Yours? discussion here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/member-neuoropathy-journey-stories-whats-yours/

There are a couple of discussions you might find helpful for balance and strengthening exercises.

Having trouble keeping your balance?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/having-trouble-keeping-your-balance/
Strength training: How-to video collection: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/strength-training-how-to-video-collection/

If you are on Medicare I think you are eligible for Silver Sneakers and may want to check out their online benefits/videos on their website here: https://tools.silversneakers.com/. They also have a YouTube video with some balance exercises – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTjwwG-pFtk.

Do they offer any balance type exercise classes through the Y?

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Thanks, John, for your timely and thoughtful reply. I noted a comment from someone on one of the forum links you sent about joint replacement saying it relieves the pain, but not the stiffness. I agree wholeheartedly – had to have both hips replaced as a result of the chemo, and the resulting stiffness has been frustrating especially as I was pretty much told I'd be" good as new" after the replacements.

I looked at the discussions you sent and pinned them for future use. It's what I like – self help I can do on my own at my convenience. I'll be going back to work in a couple of weeks and then my schedule gets packed. My volunteer work is starting to ramp up, too, so self-help will be wonderful!

I'm 61 so not old enough for Silver Sneakers, but I will certainly peruse the website. Our Y offers Tai Chi and Gentle Yoga as the balance classes, and you can let the instructor know you are working on balance. Some are called "Forever Young" so they are senior-focused and are nice to attend because they already focus on balance. It's good for me to see others with more difficulties than I have because sometimes I can have a little pity party with how things went so wrong with the chemo and how I was seriously misled by my oncologist regarding side effects. I'm working on my resentment of that with meditation, which is helping, but I need to make my practice more regular. And, what I read here on the forums makes me realize how grateful I need tg be for what I have, and what kinds of potential we have as older folks!

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@doggiemom

Thanks, John, for your timely and thoughtful reply. I noted a comment from someone on one of the forum links you sent about joint replacement saying it relieves the pain, but not the stiffness. I agree wholeheartedly – had to have both hips replaced as a result of the chemo, and the resulting stiffness has been frustrating especially as I was pretty much told I'd be" good as new" after the replacements.

I looked at the discussions you sent and pinned them for future use. It's what I like – self help I can do on my own at my convenience. I'll be going back to work in a couple of weeks and then my schedule gets packed. My volunteer work is starting to ramp up, too, so self-help will be wonderful!

I'm 61 so not old enough for Silver Sneakers, but I will certainly peruse the website. Our Y offers Tai Chi and Gentle Yoga as the balance classes, and you can let the instructor know you are working on balance. Some are called "Forever Young" so they are senior-focused and are nice to attend because they already focus on balance. It's good for me to see others with more difficulties than I have because sometimes I can have a little pity party with how things went so wrong with the chemo and how I was seriously misled by my oncologist regarding side effects. I'm working on my resentment of that with meditation, which is helping, but I need to make my practice more regular. And, what I read here on the forums makes me realize how grateful I need tg be for what I have, and what kinds of potential we have as older folks!

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@doggiemom – I also purchase a Sand Dune Stepper to help with my balance after reading a little about it. It's just a large memory foam pad that you walk on. It's two pads connected together with the front end and back ends with different density so that you can walk on it like you would sand (no shoes allowed or you will damage it). I use it with my walker or near a doorway and have also used it with some Nordic walking sticks to balance when walking in place. Feels good on the feet – https://www.sanddunestepper.com/

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