Sponge Feet, Tingling and Burning: What can help me to get sleep?

Posted by dablues @dablues, Jul 2, 2021

I haven't a clue if that is what I have but when I lay down to sleep my feet and legs start to tingle, burn, pins & needles and my feet always feel like a sponge or rubber. I have neck and back problems and don't know if that can make this happen or if it is neuropathy. My feet started to be like that in 2019 and the symptoms lasted for 4 months, then went away and now it's back again. Neurologist testing which I had 4 tests done in 2019 didn't provide much info except degenerating disks. So is there anything I can take for this so I can sleep at night? I toss and turn to make the numbness go away. One thing the neurologist stated was I had carpal tunnel syndrome in my right arm and that is it. I notice my hands are weaker now. I exercise twice a day, 7 days a week and once in a while will skip a day or one of the exercises but not often. Also do back and neck exercises. My feet used to be cold all the time then I started to use toe alignment socks and now my feet are not cold but I still have the sponge feeling and it's worse laying down then standing up. I'm almost 80 so I don't know what it is. Doctors don't seem to have any solution except say it is neuroptathy and nothing more. No treatments, no suggestions, nothing.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Neuropathy group.

Hi @dablues, I think it's a fairly common problem for those of us with neuropathy or back pain due to degenerative arthritis or other conditions. A few years ago I listened to a talk by Dr. Edward T. Creagan from Mayo Clinic. He shared the importance of a regular sleep schedule and that resonated with me. Mostly because I was always a night owl and stayed up all hours and still got up early which was taking a toll on me. Here's some information I found that may offer some suggestions for you to try.

"Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule. Develop a bedtime ritual, such as taking a warm bath or reading light material. Limit or eliminate caffeine four to six hours before bed and minimize daytime use. Avoid smoking, especially near bedtime or if you awake in the middle of the night." — Are Neuropathy Symptoms Affecting Your Sleep?: https://www.everydayhealth.com/neurology/neuropathy/are-neuropathy-symptoms-affecting-your-sleep/

The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy also has some tips for sleeping under the Managing & Coping with Neuropathy information here: https://www.foundationforpn.org/living-well/lifestyle/managing-peripheral-neuropathy/

@artscaping @jenniferhunter may also have some suggestions or information they can share about carpal tunnel and back related issues that can affect your sleep.

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@dablues I certainly can understand your frustration with pain and tingling keeping you awake at night. This could be related to your spine position when you lay down because all of that moves to accommodate a change in position. If you have some instability in your spine, the vertebrae can slip over each other a little bit and that might make a big difference to the nerve that exits the spine because the space they travel through is changed by the instability. Degenerating discs can also bulge or herniate into those spaces also putting pressure on nerves or there can be arthritis bone growth. Sometimes doctors take full spine x-rays as standing and also laying down to determine if this is happening. Have you tried changing position when you sleep? My guess is that it might be worse laying on your back because that often puts extra strain on the lower back.

Another thing to look at is hip flexors. If we sit too much, hip flexors get tight pulling our hips and legs forward which increases the back strain. There are conditions with overly tight muscles that mimic spine problems by causing similar pain symptoms. You might be having this along with your spine condition. Have you worked with a physical therapist? They could help stretch out the overly tight muscles and work on core strength to help support your spine. Posture is really important and good posture reduces pressure on your spine. From your description of your symptoms laying down, it seems like you may have both nerve irritation and possible circulation issues. One question I would ask is do these symptoms completely go away when you are sitting or standing? Is it only when you lay down and what position are you in at the time? Make sure you tell your doctor exactly what causes the symptoms. Blood clots are a risk for anyone who sits too much. My mom (who uses a wheelchair) has had blood clots in her legs and has to be on blood thinners. The rubber feeling you describe sounds like decreased circulation to me, but I'm not a doctor, but you should discuss this with your doctor. You may also want to consult a spine specialist who would evaluate the changes according to spine position.

Here are some links about pelvis alignment issues and physical therapy with myofascial release which is what my PT does with me. I am a spine surgery patient and have a cervical fusion. My surgeon told me the best way to prevent needing further spine surgery was to maintain my core strength and good posture. What helps me a lot is riding my horse, just at a walk which gets me to use all my back muscles as I sit up with good posture and compensate for the walking motion of the horse. That is how equine therapy works and there are therapeutic riding centers. They wouldn't just turn you loose on a horse, you would have someone leading the horse and possibly spotters along side. You would have to ask how they work. I do know from my experience with horses that it builds back strength and it is fun since I love horses. The key is sit up as straight as you can while on the horse. I don't know what is right for you, but you can discuss this with your doctor or physical therapist. If you wanted to simulate this without the horse, you can sit on a large therapy ball and move like you are riding a horse, but that is something to do with a physical therapist or helper because I don't know what is safe for you. There are also some inflatable cushions you can put on a chair and do this too.

This article is technical, but you can take this to your doctor and ask if this is affecting you.
https://mskneurology.com/identify-treat-lumbar-plexus-compression-syndrome-lpcs/
About myofascial release or MFR (watch the video of John Barnes treating a patient for a tight pelvis)
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

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@jenniferhunter

@dablues I certainly can understand your frustration with pain and tingling keeping you awake at night. This could be related to your spine position when you lay down because all of that moves to accommodate a change in position. If you have some instability in your spine, the vertebrae can slip over each other a little bit and that might make a big difference to the nerve that exits the spine because the space they travel through is changed by the instability. Degenerating discs can also bulge or herniate into those spaces also putting pressure on nerves or there can be arthritis bone growth. Sometimes doctors take full spine x-rays as standing and also laying down to determine if this is happening. Have you tried changing position when you sleep? My guess is that it might be worse laying on your back because that often puts extra strain on the lower back.

Another thing to look at is hip flexors. If we sit too much, hip flexors get tight pulling our hips and legs forward which increases the back strain. There are conditions with overly tight muscles that mimic spine problems by causing similar pain symptoms. You might be having this along with your spine condition. Have you worked with a physical therapist? They could help stretch out the overly tight muscles and work on core strength to help support your spine. Posture is really important and good posture reduces pressure on your spine. From your description of your symptoms laying down, it seems like you may have both nerve irritation and possible circulation issues. One question I would ask is do these symptoms completely go away when you are sitting or standing? Is it only when you lay down and what position are you in at the time? Make sure you tell your doctor exactly what causes the symptoms. Blood clots are a risk for anyone who sits too much. My mom (who uses a wheelchair) has had blood clots in her legs and has to be on blood thinners. The rubber feeling you describe sounds like decreased circulation to me, but I'm not a doctor, but you should discuss this with your doctor. You may also want to consult a spine specialist who would evaluate the changes according to spine position.

Here are some links about pelvis alignment issues and physical therapy with myofascial release which is what my PT does with me. I am a spine surgery patient and have a cervical fusion. My surgeon told me the best way to prevent needing further spine surgery was to maintain my core strength and good posture. What helps me a lot is riding my horse, just at a walk which gets me to use all my back muscles as I sit up with good posture and compensate for the walking motion of the horse. That is how equine therapy works and there are therapeutic riding centers. They wouldn't just turn you loose on a horse, you would have someone leading the horse and possibly spotters along side. You would have to ask how they work. I do know from my experience with horses that it builds back strength and it is fun since I love horses. The key is sit up as straight as you can while on the horse. I don't know what is right for you, but you can discuss this with your doctor or physical therapist. If you wanted to simulate this without the horse, you can sit on a large therapy ball and move like you are riding a horse, but that is something to do with a physical therapist or helper because I don't know what is safe for you. There are also some inflatable cushions you can put on a chair and do this too.

This article is technical, but you can take this to your doctor and ask if this is affecting you.
https://mskneurology.com/identify-treat-lumbar-plexus-compression-syndrome-lpcs/
About myofascial release or MFR (watch the video of John Barnes treating a patient for a tight pelvis)
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

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Not just Like….I Love this response. I needed the reminders also. Good going Jennifer.

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@artscaping

Not just Like….I Love this response. I needed the reminders also. Good going Jennifer.

Jump to this post

@artscaping Thanks, Chris. I'll be heading out for some horse "therapy" real soon. The weather is perfect today!

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This has been attributed to several people but no matter who said it, I love it.
“There is nothing better for the inside of a man, than the outside of a horse”

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@jenniferhunter

@dablues I certainly can understand your frustration with pain and tingling keeping you awake at night. This could be related to your spine position when you lay down because all of that moves to accommodate a change in position. If you have some instability in your spine, the vertebrae can slip over each other a little bit and that might make a big difference to the nerve that exits the spine because the space they travel through is changed by the instability. Degenerating discs can also bulge or herniate into those spaces also putting pressure on nerves or there can be arthritis bone growth. Sometimes doctors take full spine x-rays as standing and also laying down to determine if this is happening. Have you tried changing position when you sleep? My guess is that it might be worse laying on your back because that often puts extra strain on the lower back.

Another thing to look at is hip flexors. If we sit too much, hip flexors get tight pulling our hips and legs forward which increases the back strain. There are conditions with overly tight muscles that mimic spine problems by causing similar pain symptoms. You might be having this along with your spine condition. Have you worked with a physical therapist? They could help stretch out the overly tight muscles and work on core strength to help support your spine. Posture is really important and good posture reduces pressure on your spine. From your description of your symptoms laying down, it seems like you may have both nerve irritation and possible circulation issues. One question I would ask is do these symptoms completely go away when you are sitting or standing? Is it only when you lay down and what position are you in at the time? Make sure you tell your doctor exactly what causes the symptoms. Blood clots are a risk for anyone who sits too much. My mom (who uses a wheelchair) has had blood clots in her legs and has to be on blood thinners. The rubber feeling you describe sounds like decreased circulation to me, but I'm not a doctor, but you should discuss this with your doctor. You may also want to consult a spine specialist who would evaluate the changes according to spine position.

Here are some links about pelvis alignment issues and physical therapy with myofascial release which is what my PT does with me. I am a spine surgery patient and have a cervical fusion. My surgeon told me the best way to prevent needing further spine surgery was to maintain my core strength and good posture. What helps me a lot is riding my horse, just at a walk which gets me to use all my back muscles as I sit up with good posture and compensate for the walking motion of the horse. That is how equine therapy works and there are therapeutic riding centers. They wouldn't just turn you loose on a horse, you would have someone leading the horse and possibly spotters along side. You would have to ask how they work. I do know from my experience with horses that it builds back strength and it is fun since I love horses. The key is sit up as straight as you can while on the horse. I don't know what is right for you, but you can discuss this with your doctor or physical therapist. If you wanted to simulate this without the horse, you can sit on a large therapy ball and move like you are riding a horse, but that is something to do with a physical therapist or helper because I don't know what is safe for you. There are also some inflatable cushions you can put on a chair and do this too.

This article is technical, but you can take this to your doctor and ask if this is affecting you.
https://mskneurology.com/identify-treat-lumbar-plexus-compression-syndrome-lpcs/
About myofascial release or MFR (watch the video of John Barnes treating a patient for a tight pelvis)
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

Jump to this post

I had therapy in 2020 and when that was done they gave me the exercises to do at home which I do after I do my treadmill I'll check out the links you sent me thank you.

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@johnbishop

Hi @dablues, I think it's a fairly common problem for those of us with neuropathy or back pain due to degenerative arthritis or other conditions. A few years ago I listened to a talk by Dr. Edward T. Creagan from Mayo Clinic. He shared the importance of a regular sleep schedule and that resonated with me. Mostly because I was always a night owl and stayed up all hours and still got up early which was taking a toll on me. Here's some information I found that may offer some suggestions for you to try.

"Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule. Develop a bedtime ritual, such as taking a warm bath or reading light material. Limit or eliminate caffeine four to six hours before bed and minimize daytime use. Avoid smoking, especially near bedtime or if you awake in the middle of the night." — Are Neuropathy Symptoms Affecting Your Sleep?: https://www.everydayhealth.com/neurology/neuropathy/are-neuropathy-symptoms-affecting-your-sleep/

The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy also has some tips for sleeping under the Managing & Coping with Neuropathy information here: https://www.foundationforpn.org/living-well/lifestyle/managing-peripheral-neuropathy/

@artscaping @jenniferhunter may also have some suggestions or information they can share about carpal tunnel and back related issues that can affect your sleep.

Jump to this post

Thank you for you input. I'll check out your links. I go to bed every night at 11:30PM. I, also, was a night owl and stayed up half the night but trained myself to go to bed when my hubby did. I no longer smoke, as I gave that up in January 2011. Yes my sleep is being affected. I sleep on a sleep number bed so I can raise the head height due to acid reflux. All this started after I had the Shingrix Vaccine and after having the second does. That's when my feet got spongy, burning pain throughout my body from the legs all the way up. Used to wake me up out of a sound sleep. Got so I could hardly walk. Went to all kinds of doctors, and no one could figure out anything. All the neurology tests, MRI's, Xrays, etc. didn't really show anything except disk degeneration in my neck and spine. The only doctor that said anything about what was happening agreed with me and thought it was a reaction to the Vaccine. All the problems lasted 4 months, including panic attacks. Then all of a sudden it all went away as fast as it came on it went away that fast. Even the sponge feet cleared up until NOW. So I'm at a loss since I don't know if it was the vaccine and if it had anything delayed in it that could make these symptoms start up again or is it my other problems with the neck and lower back. So frustrating. If it is neuropathy is there anything that can stop this? It's scary about the vaccine since the therapy doctor researched and said he really thought the vaccine did that to my body with my legs, feet, panic attacks etc. So I don't know who to believe. As for the carpal tunnel, I never knew I had it, and nothing was ever mentioned again about it, since my right arm never bothered me. I'll check the links out. Thank you! I also exercise 2 times a day, once in the AM and once in the PM, Treadmill then my therapy exercises.

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my feet always feel like I am walking on wet sponges

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@jenniferhunter

@artscaping Thanks, Chris. I'll be heading out for some horse "therapy" real soon. The weather is perfect today!

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Good for you. I am going to watch the rest of Equus on PTP. Very interesting. No wonder we love those animals.

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@auntieoakley

This has been attributed to several people but no matter who said it, I love it.
“There is nothing better for the inside of a man, than the outside of a horse”

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@auntieoakley "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle." Winston Churchill I certainly agree!

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I agree, but I also just spend hours and hours just grooming and playing games with my horses. It is great exercise and builds that bond.

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What are toe alignment socks and where do you get them?

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