Marla Ahlgrimm, PN affects women more often than men. The disease presents with a number of troublesome symptoms including numbness and tingling, sensitivity to touch, muscle weakness, and lack of coordination. In severe cases, organ dysfunction and paralysis may occur. There is no cure for peripheral neuropathy, but several alternative treatments may help manage symptoms for the one in 15 women affected.
Two separate studies in 2007 and 2010 found that acupuncture was significantly more effective at improving PN symptoms than a placebo or medication without acupuncture therapy, reports Marla Ahlgrimm.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, and despite sensitivity to touch, massage may actually help PN in several ways. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that a professional massage can help alleviate pain, increase flexibility, and improve sleep.
Biofeedback is a technique that helps a person learn how to control certain body functions, such as blood pressure and muscle tension. During a biofeedback session, a trained therapist attaches electrodes to different parts of the body to measure specific functions. Relaxation techniques are employed to regulate, for instance, heart rate. Results are immediately available on a monitor, showing the patient exactly what is being done to control a particular function. And since peripheral neuropathy symptoms are worsened during times of anxiety or stress, Marla Ahlgrimm believes it logical that having the ability to truly relax the mind and body may bring substantial relief.
The brain is an amazing organ, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The brain has the ability to block pain and meditation can help train it to do just that. A 2010 study found that patients who participated in meditative practices could reduce their sensitivity to pain by up to 40%. Neurologists explain that this is because the body perceives pain according to how the brain interprets signals. Meditation can also help a woman alter her response to pain, allowing PN to have less control over her day-to-day life.