Peripheral neuropathy is a serious disease which affects nearly half of diabetic patients. It’s the most common form of neuropathy, and a person can experience it in a number ways: symmetric or asymmetric, autonomic or peripheral, sensory or somatic.
Patients suffer with tingling sensations, burning, or stabbing pains. Eventually these symptoms will progress and the patient will experience advanced muscle weakness and numbness. The patient may eventually require peripheral neuropathy rehabilitation exercises because of it.
Nerve damage is caused by a sequence of metabolic and vascular factors resulting in nerve fiber loss. Total health care costs related to diabetic peripheral neuropathy currently in the US are around $10.9 billion each year.
Peripheral neuropathy is a debilitating condition for people with diabetes. Patients are at higher risk for foot ulceration and falls as they will experience imbalance and their ability to walk. Fortunately, patients can do something about the pain and decrease in muscles.
Can Exercise Reverse Neuropathy?
Patients can prevent diabetic peripheral neuropathy from weakening their muscles by following a regular exercise routine.
Strength training exercises, functional training, low impact aerobics, tai chi, and yoga exercises for peripheral neuropathy have been known to help. These exercises may decrease the pain and neuropathic symptoms by increasing function and nerve conduction.
In addition, exercise improves glucose control and other related side effects, such as obesity and hypertension. Although we believe exercise to be beneficial, you may want to consult with your physician about peripheral neuropathy exercise precautions.
Short-term and Long-term Benefits of Exercise
A change in lifestyle is first in line with diabetes treatment. Although exercise reduce blood glucose levels, aerobic and resistance exercise both offer the patient benefits. The combination may be more effective in controlling blood glucose, plus exercise enhances insulin action for up to 72 hours.
As a bonus to short-term improvements, the long-term effects of exercise reduces systolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in diabetic patients. Not only that, but it also lessens feelings of depression and improves the overall quality of life.
Given its effects on diabetic neuropathy and blood glucose levels, exercise should be considered an advocate for treatment options.
Improvements in Function
There are serious functional problems which result from diabetic neuropathy outside of pain. Many neuropathy patients walk slowly and even less confidently while others experience poor balance, shorter ranges of motion in the lower limbs and weaker leg muscles.
Patients who, after exercising for an hour, two times per week for 12 weeks, improved in all measures. Their functional training program achieved significant success.
Exercise for Diabetic Neuropathy Guidelines
Patients performed tai chi 2-3 times a week for 12 weeks in these studies. Diabetic neuropathy patients found the effects of tai chi significant. Studies show the practice increases the patient’s overall quality of life. There were improvements in control glucose levels, equilibrium, and neuropathic pain and suffering.
Perform aerobic exercise at least 3 days a week. Aim for a moderate to vigorous exercise such as brisk walking with maximum consumption of oxygen. The intensity is most important here and not necessarily the volume.
The challenge is to perform aerobics for 2.5 hours per week, but limit the exercises to 10 minute sessions. Choose any form of exercise program and spread the hours out so you’re active every day. The goal is to elevate the heart rate and large muscle groups.
Accompany resistance training with aerobics at least twice per week. The workout should also be moderate to intense and a minimum of 5 exercises which target the major muscle group. Attempt 3 sets of 10 or 15 reps per exercise. Over time, you want to add more weight to the routine.
Why Aerobic Exercises?
You want to increase blood flow and move the muscles which cause you to breathe deeply. This triggers the endorphins in your body and they act as natural painkillers. Practice aerobics at least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week. If you’re just starting out, start slowly with 10 minutes a day.
You also want to incorporate balance training into your routine. This will help alleviate stiffness and correct balance to prevent falls.
Stretching increases flexibility and gets the body ready for exercise so there’s less chance of injury to the calves and hamstrings. In addition to exercise, you want to include NutriNerve for neuropathy and nerve pain as a part of your regular routine.
The vitamins you receive from NutriNerve, Dr. Aaron Vinik’s formula will reduce inflammation to repair the nerves and enhance the workout so you get the most out of your strength training program.