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Recover Overcoming Treatment Neuropathy

If you have , then you know what it’s like to constantly have the affected part of your body feel like it’s always on “pins and needles” or always “asleep.”

It’s that persistent numbness you feel that never seems to go away completely. At times, it may feel less painful or annoying, but it doesn’t really disappear. It’s another daily reminder that you had and treatments. 

is hardest on the nervous system because are more sensitive than other cells in the body, so they are often more affected and can easily be damaged by treatment. This is also the reason for nerve damage to the brain, known as "chemo fog" or "", and the side effects of treatment.

drugs such , , and can cause nerve damage or , to the point where there is noticeable numbness, pain or tingling.  In this case, doesn’t affect the nerves that are part of the brain and spinal cord. I nstead, it affects the nerves that carry messages from the brain and spinal cord to muscles, skin, internal organs and joints throughout the body.

Some drugs may cause symptoms during or immediately after the first dose, and some have a delayed onset of symptoms, perhaps up to several weeks, months -- or even years after the last dose. The severity of the symptoms is related to the cumulative dosage of received.

The majority of the peripheral nerves are responsible for sensations you feel such as touch, pain and temperature.  There are literally millions of these nerve endings in your fingers, hands, toes and feet that are designed to keep you out of danger and away from the things that are hot, cold, sharp, etc. 

Because of this, some of the symptoms of induced are more sensory than motor, and the leading complaints are:

  • Numbness or insensitivity to pain or temperature
  • A tingling, burning or prickling sensation
  • Sharp, burning pain or cramps
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch, even a light touch
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle wasting

The loss of feeling in the hands and feet can make it challenging to pick up small objects and can cause clumsiness and loss of balance and coordination.  It may also make simple things like opening jars, fastening buttons, squeezing toothpaste tubes and walking difficult.

Even though symptoms may diminish over a period of months or years after treatment ends, unfortunately in some cases nerve damage may be permanent.

So, how do you manage and treat the symptoms of and maintain quality of life?

You can start by maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes foods rich in and are vital to the building and repair work in cells, including the .

and are forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate occurs naturally in food, and is the synthetic form of this vitamin and is well-tolerated in amounts found in fortified foods and supplements. B vitamins include , , and .

The recommends eating fortified breads, cereals, pasta, whole grains, lean meats, fish, dried beans, peas and soybeans. They are the best sources of . Wheat germ is the preferred whole- grain source, and lean pork the best meat source.

For deficiency, eat beef, pork and chicken and yeast products. Liver, kidneys, dairy and fish are rich in . For , eat lots of whole-grain cereals, liver, vegetables and muscle meats (beef, pork, poultry and fish). However, use caution with B6 foods. You should be mindful of any potential effects of long-term or excessive consumption of B6. Consult a nutritionist or your doctor about the diet that’s right for you, given your condition.

is also a valuable source for nerve health, according to the , and is found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, leafy green vegetables and fortified cereals.

Other things that you can do to treat or manage are:

  • Get a massage to help to improve circulation and decrease pain.
  • Visit a to help strengthen muscles that are weak, reduce cramps and pain and improve coordination and balance.
  • Try to help restore balance and control your pain and other symptoms.

If you want to go the pharmaceutical route, , and/or have been useful in treating and managing . In addition, the FDA has approved and for the treatment of pain.

Other ways you can treat and manage are by:

  • Wearing support stockings and supportive, cushioned shoes.
  • Engaging in moderate exercise such as yoga and stretching to help you maintain flexibility and deal with any pain that accompanies numbness.
Here are some resources that might help you better understand how treat and manage :
article on

programs publication on

’s support and treatment information on


For more information on , go to . You can also share your knowledge and success with other survivors in our or at .

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