Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves connecting to the peripheral nervous system are damaged or destroyed. This causes weakness, sensory changes, and other issues with the limbs -- usually feet, legs, toes, hands, and fingers. Sometimes, the disorder causes pain, numbness, cramps, or spasms. Peripheral neuropathy may be caused by poor circulation, injury, and disease. Diabetes Melitis is one major cause of peripheral neuropathy.
Conventional and Alternative Therapies
Conventional methods to address peripheral neuropathy can include treating the cause of nerve damage cases of injury, controlling blood sugar in diabetics and changing diets or medication. Alternative therapies, such as yoga, are recognized by many major medical institutions and hospitals, including Duke Integrative Medicine, as additional methods of treatment. Exercise and alternative therapies are supplements to conventional methods in treating pain caused peripheral neuropathy, notes the National Institutes of Health. Many of these methods, including yoga, have been shown to improve circulation, which may halt or reverse damage done to the peripheral nervous system. There are a number of different yoga exercises for increasing circulation.
Pawanmuktasana, or knees to chest, is a pose where you lie with your knees to your chest. Lie flat on the floor on your back and bring your left knee up to your chest and, with the knee bent, grasp your shin and hold it with your arms. Bring your head toward your knee. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat as needed, up to four times.
Inversions in yoga are poses where your body is inverted: during a headstand, downward facing dog, or adho mukha svanasana, and forward bends. This inverted posture helps to increase circulation, soothe the central nervous system, and may help ease the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Perform an inverted movement and hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat up to four times.
Sit cross-legged on the floor with bare feet and weave the fingers of your left hand through the toes on your right foot. Spread your fingers apart, forcing the toes to spread. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and then switch sides. This exercises helps to improve circulation and may ease symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Work each side three to four times.
Not everyone is capable of performing inverted movements. People with high blood pressure should avoid inverted positions due to the danger of increased blood pressure. There are altered movements that may prevent a rise in increased blood pressure; speak to a yoga professional before attempting. Do not start a yoga program without first consulting your doctor. Make sure you perform the movements properly in order to avoid injury.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet
- The Science and Philosophy of Teaching Yoga and Yoga Therapy; Jacqueline Koay and Theodora Barenholtz.
- The New Yoga for Healthy Aging: Living Longer, Living Stronger and Loving Every Day; Suza Francina.
- National Institutes of Health: Medline Plus: Peripheral neuropathy
- Duke Integrative Medicine: Movement and Fitness: Yoga Therapy