Physiotherapy for Peripheral Neuropathy: Managing symptoms and improving function

Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder affecting many.  It often manifests as pain, weakness, and numbness, usually in the hands and feet.  The more common causes of Peripheral Neuropathy are diabetes, infections, and traumatic injuries, and by nature of it’s symptoms it poses significant challenges to daily functioning and quality of life. However, physiotherapy can offer effective management strategies for those living with this condition. 

Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy involves damage to the peripheral nerves, the extensive network transmitting information between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body. Symptoms can range from mild tingling to severe pain and muscle weakness, significantly impacting mobility and daily activities. The condition can be acute or chronic and may worsen if not properly managed.

How does a neuropathy affect function and mobility?

A peripheral neuropathy may affect control of automatic processes, such as bladder and bowel control, but also control of muscle groups and touch/sensation.  A lack of skin sensation may put people at risk for example, burning fingers if heat cannot be felt, or getting ulcers on the feet when a lack of sensation affects awareness of poorly fitting footwear.  Peripheral neuropathies may also present as balance issues causing falls.  Occasionally symptoms progress quickly, in which case a medical opinion needs to be sought.

The Role of Physiotherapy in Managing Peripheral Neuropathy

The initial assessment is very important as the physiotherapist will take a full history taking account of any medical conditions and how the symptoms have presented and progressed.  They may carry out tests to assess balance, test skin sensation, and check for circulation in the limbs.  This allows the physiotherapist to have a better idea of the possible cause of the symptoms and assist with it’s management.

Physiotherapy is useful in the management of peripheral neuropathy. By employing tailored exercises and therapeutic techniques, physiotherapists aid in pain management, improving muscle strength, and enhancing nerve function. Regular physiotherapy sessions not only offer symptomatic relief but also educate the person about keeping safe and preventing any further damage if there are problems with sensation and balance.

Physiotherapy Techniques for Peripheral Neuropathy

These may include:

  • – Strength and Flexibility Exercises: These exercises help maintain muscle strength and joint flexibility, countering the muscle weakness and stiffness often associated with neuropathy.
  •  Balance Training: Neuropathy patients frequently experience balance issues. Balance exercises reduce the risk of falls and improve confidence in movement.
  • – Manual Therapy: Techniques like massage can improve circulation, reduce pain, and promote nerve healing.
  • Lifestyle Integration

Incorporating the advice and exercises prescribed by the physiotherapist into daily life is crucial.  Simple exercises can be performed at home, and lifestyle modifications like ergonomic adjustments at workstations can significantly manage symptoms.  Peripheral neuropathy, while challenging, can be effectively managed with our support and interventions offer relief and empower patients to lead a more active and fulfilling life. 

For more information, please contact us at 0330 335 1016 or fill out our contact sheet, and we will get back to you.

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Why choose Home Physio Group?

We are a dedicated team of Chartered Physiotherapists working exclusively in your home and providing the highest level of care. We recognise the importance of knowing that you are in safe hands and being looked after. With this is mind, our client management team are here to assist you every step of the way and will answer any questions you may have. We are passionate about helping you to reach your goals, relieve your pain, and improve your mobility.

The benefits of using our service include:

  • All our physiotherapists are hand-picked professionals with years of experience
  • We are registered with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). All our physiotherapists are checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) 
  • We will arrange visits in your own home (or care home or place of work) at a convenient time to you
  • We work at speed and do not have a waiting list
  • We offer daytime, evening and weekend appointments
  • Our team work closely with the country’s leading consultants and specialists in their field
  • You will always have the same physiotherapist visiting you at home
  • You can have as many visits as you require
  • Our fixed pricing structure can be provided in writing so that you can consider it in your own time
  • We believe there is no “one size fits all” approach to care. Your personalised programme and treatment strategy will be unique to you