Does Massage Help With Neuropathy In Feet, Or Is This Just Another Myth?

Ever Had Pins & Needles Before? Fun Huh!

When I was younger I used to get the pins and needles so bad, I used to have trouble standing up! Pins and needles, if you don’t know, is basically the tingling sensation you feel in your feet (can also be in the fingers) and toes when sitting in one fixed position for too long.

This happens because the blood flow to the extremities are cut off and as a result you get this feeling that your leg and foot has become numb!

If you’ve ever sat on the floor cross legged before, you for sure would have experienced this at some point. Another example is when you wake up in the morning and your hand and fingers are numb, although there’s less of the tingling sensation.

Why do I bring up pins and needles? Because the tingling sensation from pins and needles is somewhat similar to what someone with neuropathy would feel like.

Pins And Needles

 

But What’s The Difference Between Pins & Needles & Peripheral Neuropathy?

However, there are differences between peripheral neuropathy and pins and needles. Peripheral neuropathy can happen at any time without necessarily sitting or sleeping in a way that blocks the blood flow, and the tingling sensations can last a heck of a lot longer. Here’s an interesting article to check out if you wanna know more about the differences!

Where pins and needles is caused by the pinched vessel blocking blood flow, peripheral neuropathy is caused by damage to the actual nerve endings (Source: Redirect Health).

There’s a lot of reasons why peripheral neuropathy can happen. I won’t go over all the causes but to name just a few: diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases etc. If you wanna know more about peripheral neuropathy, along with its associated symptoms and causes, here’s a good write up on Mayo Clinic.

Without getting into the nitty gritty, what we’re here to talk about today is whether massage can help those who suffer from neuropathy specifically in the feet and toes.

Because there’s a lot of confusion between neuropathy and pins and needles, I felt it was important to make a distinction early on before we get into the thick of things.

Difference Between Neuropathy Pins Needles

If someone has pins and needles, there really isn’t any treatment needed. All that person needs to do is refrain from sitting or sleeping in that posture, and ta-da problem solved. The tingling will go away in a minute or so. This is not the case with neuropathy unfortunately as there is damage already done, so to relieve the condition something more needs to happen. What are some of the things we can do to relieve foot neuropathy?

 

Can Massage Help With Neuropathy In The Feet? If Not, What Can?

And the answer is….absolutely massage can do a ton of good for those who suffer from foot neuropathy. However, it is important to note that massage does nothing to heal the damaged nerve. It provides relief in that it increases blood flow to the area of concern, thereby alleviating pain and the tingling/numb sensations.

In that sense, it’s only the symptoms that massage addresses when it comes to neuropathy. Important to make sure you understand this!

Before we talk more about massage, I just wanna digress for a moment and talk about what can be done to treat neuropathy. You may be wondering is there a permanent fix? According to the Cleveland Clinic, some types of neuropathy can be cured, while others cannot. For the latter, the approach is more tailored around managing the condition by treating symptoms (Source: Cleveland Clinic).

When it comes down to it, there are several treatment options available ranging from medications, surgery, and even TENS and acupuncture treatment.

Everyone has it different. If you suffer from foot neuropathy, the reason you do so might be different from a cancer patient, and because of this the neuropathy itself might present itself slightly differently from the other case.

Did You Know TENS Is A Treatment Option For Neuropathy!?
Did You Know TENS Is A Treatment Option For Neuropathy!?

If you suffer from neuropathy in the feet, the best thing you can do is speak to your doctor and maybe even get him/her to recommend and refer you to a specialist. Coming back to massage…..

 

Should Neuropathy Sufferers Take Up Massage To Help Relieve Some Of The Symptoms?

My recommendation would be yes, but….

There’s always a but. Massage can definitely help, but one should only do it after obtaining medical advice and consent from your physician or specialist. Why is this important?

For one very simple reason: you do not want to unintentionally cause more harm to the damage that’s already present. When I say harm, it’s important to realize that no matter how awesome massage is, it can also cause harm if done with improper technique and intensity.

For example, applying deep tissue pressure on an area adjacent to a damaged nerve probably might not be the best idea!

Having the discussion beforehand with both your physician and therapist is critical and should not be avoided. If you’ve decided to self massage the feet and toes, that’s also an option. The old saying “you know your body best” holds true for a reason! Of course you will have to take some time to learn how to properly massage yourself before actually doing so. There’s tons of awesome videos demonstrating this on YouTube, in case you’re interested!

 

If Massage Doesn’t Work For You….

Unless you yourself have neuropathy, it’s hard to empathize with someone who does. Even though pins and needles does produce the closest resembling sensations, it’s not the same!

If massage has not worked for you, don’t fret. There are plenty of other options available to help make your life comfortable and to help relieve some of the major symptoms. As mentioned earlier, acupuncture and TENS are also options on the table!

Whichever route you decide to choose, make an informed decision by researching and speaking to people. Speak to those who provide you medical care, as their opinion is the most important. There’s also forums you can join where people will share their stories (sometimes success stories can be quite inspiring!). Ultimately, know that you’re not alone in this journey!

 

Leave A Comment Down Below Sharing Your Experience!

Finally feel free to leave a comment down below sharing your experience with neuropathy. How long have you had this condition? How has it impacted your life? And were you able to find a suitable treatment regimen?

Your comment could potentially help someone who has questions and stumbles upon this post!

Last but not least, if you enjoyed reading please consider sharing this post on the social platforms. It helps us immensely!

Disclaimer
The information/advice provided in this post should not be taken as a medical opinion. I am not a Doctor and the content in this post is purely informational, and should therefore be treated as such. Before beginning any massage regimen, you should always consult both your physician and therapist.

About Eve

Just an average bloke intrigued by massage and its incredible benefits. Oh, did I mention I also own a massage chair? More on that in the blog posts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *