Is Physiotherapy Effective in Treating Peripheral Neuropathy and Reducing Pain?

Peripheral Neuropathy

Is Physiotherapy Effective in Treating Peripheral Neuropathy and Reducing Pain?

Peripheral neuropathy can have a wide range of effects on individuals, depending on factors like the underlying cause, severity of nerve damage, and overall health. In severe cases, it results in significant functional impairment and impacts daily activities such as walking, gripping objects, and maintaining balance. Neurological physiotherapy in Edmonton plays a crucial role in addressing various aspects of peripheral neuropathy by focusing on improving nerve function, enhancing muscle strength and flexibility, and promoting overall mobility and function.

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

It refers to the impairment or dysfunction of the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord—your peripheral nerves. These nerves are like the body’s wiring system; They convey signals from your brain and spinal cord with the rest of your body, as well as transmit sensory feedback back to the brain.

When these nerves sustain damage, they don’t function properly. This can result in neuropathy pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness, primarily in the hands and feet, but it can also affect other areas and body functions.

How is Peripheral Neuropathy Caused?

Peripheral neuropathy frequently accompanies certain age-related conditions. That means the likelihood of developing peripheral neuropathy disease increases as you get older. The causes of peripheral neuropathy are as varied as the symptoms. Here are some of the primary culprits:


This is the big one. Continuous elevation of blood sugar levels over time can lead to nerve damage, making diabetes one of the leading causes of peripheral neuropathy. It’s often referred to as diabetic neuropathy.

Infections and Inflammations: 

Specific viral or bacterial infections can lead to peripheral neuropathy. These include Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C, and HIV.

Autoimmune Diseases: 

Conditions where the immune system targets the body, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, can also target nerves.

Inherited Disorders: 

Less common are genetic disorders that affect nerve health, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Toxins and Drugs: 

Exposure to toxins, including heavy alcohol consumption, can cause nerve damage. Particular medications, especially those used in chemotherapy, can also lead to peripheral neuropathy.

Trauma or Pressure on Nerves: 

Physical injury to the nerves from accidents or repetitive motions (think carpal tunnel syndrome) can initiate neuropathy.

Vitamin Deficiencies: 

Vitamins B and B12 are crucial for nerve health. Deficiencies can lead to nerve damage.

How Physiotherapy Helps with Peripheral Neuropathy:

Neurological physiotherapy in Edmonton aims to manage peripheral neuropathy and reduce associated pain. The various peripheral neuropathy treatments used in addressing the issues are:

Pain Relief and Management: 

Physiotherapists use techniques like Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and other forms of electrical stimulation to reduce pain by interrupting the nerve signals. Some of the pain management techniques used are:

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation): 

This nifty device delivers small electrical pulses through the skin to the nerve fibres. These pulses help block the pain signals from reaching your brain. It’s like tricking your brain into forgetting there was pain in the first place!

Manual Therapy: 

Techniques like massage, manipulation, and mobilization can be incredibly therapeutic. They help to maximize blood flow, relieve muscle tension, and reduce stiffness, all of which can decrease pain. The manual therapy techniques used in peripheral neuropathy are:

Neural Mobilization: This is a specialized form of therapy that aims at gently stretching and moving the nerves to relieve pressure and improve their ability to glide smoothly within your body. If your nerves are pinched or trapped (a common issue in neurological conditions), this technique can be particularly helpful.

Manual Stretching: Sometimes, muscles affected by nerve damage can become shortened or tight. Manual stretching by a physiotherapist can help lengthen these muscles, reduce pain, and improve flexibility and function.

Improving Strength and Mobility: 

Through targeted exercises, physiotherapy can help strengthen muscles that may have weakened due to nerve damage, improving mobility and independence. Some of the exercises used in improving strength and mobility are:

Toe Taps: 

Sit in a chair and lift your toes up towards your knees, then tap them back down to the ground. This helps strengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles, which are often affected by neuropathy.

Heel Raises: 

Stand up straight and slowly lift your heels off the ground, then lower them back down. This targets your calf muscles and improves balance, which is super important for avoiding falls.

Enhancing Coordination and Balance: 

Nerve damage can throw off your balance and coordination, but physiotherapists have strategies to help you regain stability and minimize the risk of falls. Some of the exercises for peripheral neuropathy relief used in enhancing coordination and balance are:

Single-leg stands: 

Stand beside a sturdy chair or counter for assistance and lift one leg off the ground, holding the position for as long as you can. Then, switch to the other leg. This helps improve balance and strengthens the muscles in your legs and core.

Functional Training: 

It’s all about getting you back to doing everyday activities with ease. Whether it’s walking up the stairs without pain or getting back behind the wheel, physiotherapy aims to restore your function and quality of life. The exercise used in treatment for neuropathy in feet is:

Functional Squats: 

Stand with your feet separated by a distance equal to the width of your shoulders and then lower yourself into a squat as if you were sitting back in a chair and standing back up. This exercise strengthens your legs and core, making activities like getting in and out of a car a breeze.

Transforming Lives:

Neurological physiotherapy in Edmonton focuses on personalized exercises, targeted interventions, and a holistic approach to care, and our physiotherapists can make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals with neurological conditions. Eastwood Physiotherapy aims at regaining strength and mobility, improving balance and coordination, or enhancing overall quality of life. The objective remains the same: to empower individuals to live their lives to the fullest any obstacles they encounter.

Prepared to embark on the journey toward improved neurological well-being? Reach out to us now to kickstart your path toward a brighter, healthier future!

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