HNPP · Mental Health

How the internet can help HNPP sufferers

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There are days where you don’t have the time, energy, let alone the funds to help yourself. And as a result reaching out can be a lot of effort. So with that in mind, how do you socialise without leaving the house?

Read: How HNPP can cause isolation

For many people, social networks are a place for idle chatter about what they made for dinner or sharing cute pictures of their pets. But for people living with chronic diseases or disabilities, they play a more vital role.

According research conducted by the University of Warwick, chronically sick people do not have lower rates of social participation per se. However, the pattern of social participation exhibited by people affected by chronic illness varies from the one exhibited by people not affected.

“If they can break free from the anchors holding them down, people living with chronic disease who go online are finding resources that are more useful than the rest of the population.”

Susannah Fox, associate director of digital strategy – Pew Internet and American Life Project

Across all types of chronic illness the pattern of activities in which people affected by chronic illness engage in is very similar, therefore when it comes to social participation, the decisive point is whether one is affected or not by chronic illness and how it may emotionally affect people suffering from HNPP.

One of the most telling things you will find is the absence of resources devoted to help those battling with illnesses to actually make this leap. Instead, there is a wealth of literature pointing to the fact that lack of social interaction is actually a problem.

What technology is out there?

We are fortunate however, to live in an age where social networks make it easy to reach out to others. These are especially helpful when illness and pain prevent us from leaving our homes.

Many different e-social activities, including email and instant messaging, give you an opportunity to stay connected daily. It does not matter whether you are reaching out to friends, family, or online acquaintances; the important thing is that you are connecting and not struggling alone.

So without further ado, here are a few apps, gifts and devices that you can use without leaving your sofa:

  • Vent App – currently available on both iOS and Android, it does exactly what its name implies: it lets you vent. And the best part is that your contacts list stays out of the picture – you’re sharing with random users who stumble upon your posts, and your profile can remain as anonymous as you like. The purpose of venting is to air your issues so you can move on and calm down, and this app is an effective way to virtually get something off your chest. And when many social apps require plenty of your friends to be signed up in order to get the best experience, Vent’s a refreshing take on anonymity.
  • ReachOut –  a support network app for patients and caregivers fighting chronic conditions. By connecting with other patients with similar ailments in specific support groups, users are able to find support, gain self-confidence, develop better coping skills and reduce loneliness and depression.
  • Rabbit – Rabbit is about sharing your everyday. Watch your favourite shows with your friends, without being in the same room or even the same city. Collaborate with your coworkers when you’re all on the road. The possibilities are endless. It is one of the most well-rounded stream-sharing services available, partially because it can be used with any browser and partially because you can share all your favourite streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, Crackle and more. Rabbit requires you to have an account and add the people you want to share a stream with as your friends. It works by having one person in control of the stream, which is shared via a proxy browser right on the Rabbit website. This means you’re essentially sharing the view of a full browser with everyone in your party, and you can go anywhere on the web that you like.
  • Spoonie Living – this app is geared for the creative types, and likely be more applicable for the younger generation. It was created as part of a PhD project, to see if the use of illness and dietary related stickers would help individuals creatively express themselves in a slightly different way to general Meme images found on the internet. It is hoped that using stickers will help towards people creatively managing their illnesses on a daily basis.
  • Facebook Groups – this goes without saying. Finding people with the same condition can literally be a lifesaver when you feel that no one seems to understand you, or you have no one to speak to about the condition.
  • Google Voice-to-Text – for those with hand issues, Google’s speech-to-text recognition supports 119 language varieties for users who want to dictate a message to their phone, which Google claims is three times faster than typing. To access the voice typing function, install Gboard for Android or iOS and pick your language by pressing the G, then selecting the settings wheel. For voice search, use the Google app and pick your language in the voice settings menu. Certain phones have this in-built so you can access Google Voice input in your settings. It will save you time and effort when trying to get in contact with people.
  • CatchMyPain – an intelligent pain diary app that helps you keep track of your pain and connect with similar patients. It is one of the most well-known pain apps not only for its helpful features but also for the way in which it builds community. With this pain app, patients can locate their pain on their body; track stress, fatigue, and mood; and connect with their physician, all through the app. CatchMyPain also has a forum feature that connects chronic pain patients to each other.
  • Diseasemaps – this website connects people who are suffering from different conditions to help them find suggestions from others who also suffer; to make their lives better. You can also find people suffering from the same conditions or even symptoms from across the globe or even in your own city.
  • Patient networking sites – people fighting chronic illnesses are less likely than others to have internet access, but once online they are more likely to blog or participate in online discussions about health problems, according to a report released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation. Social networking sites include:

  • Spoonie Squares – Sophie Bull, a fellow ‘spoonie’ decided to knit squares as an alternative to expensive Spoonie boxes. These are just basic little squares of any colour people ask for and she says she’ll ship them to people for free. No cost on postage or material. She’s encouraging people to join so others can help out and pay it forward. It’s a sweet little community attempting to make a difference.

Obviously joining real support groups and taking part in the real world is the best way of not becoming isolated. And while it is important to have a network of people to relate to, there will be times when life requires you to be alone or when you simply want to be alone.

The point is to strike the right balance and not allow isolation to take over your life.  Get out there in the real world or utilise the internet. Reach out to friends, loved ones, and acquaintances, or try and meet some new friends. You should also enjoy your alone time when it is needed.

Read: Can new technology help HNPP sufferers?

HNPP · Physical Health

Washing and showering with HNPP

Shower wash HNPP hereditary neuropathy

Not everyone faces this problem thankfully, but for those who do, showering and generally washing can be an absolute pain with HNPP. The energy needed to stay clean is surprisingly high on the list of exhaustive tasks. From lathering, to attempting to be dexterous and flexible washing your back, it quickly becomes a tedious endeavour.

Okay, I’m exaggerating a tiny bit, but we all know that staying clean and presentable costs us much more in pain and fatigue than our healthy counterparts. I say this because the gaps between washing appear to have increased since being diagnosed with HNPP. In some cases, showers can exacerbate pain, exhaustion or vertigo and on some days, they’re just not going to happen.

Here are some hacks some may use to make showering (or bathing) with chronic illness easier. If you struggled to shower today, that’s okay. You’re not alone.

Some tips before undertaking this task:

  • Avoid taking a full shower on days when you have other commitments. Even with a chair, a shower requires considerable recovery time, so try not to overlap shower days with errands, doctor appointments or other energy-draining activities.
  • Make sure you have plenty of time to yourself – that way you do not need to rush.
  • Think about the temperature of the water. Some people feel hot water can help ease their muscles while others have issues with hypersensitivity. Cold water can help with dizziness but it could have reverse effects.
  • If needs be, spread out your washing routine, so washing your hair one day, your body on another.
  • Dry body wash could help you easily freshen up on the days where you can’t have a full shower. It’s a foam that is antibacterial and all you do is rub it in wherever required. Instead of masking odours, it treats the cause. . It’s also perfect for hospital stays. In the same vein, dry shampoo can help in between washes.

What to think about while washing:

  • Preparation is key – be sure to have all necessary items within reach, as you’ll have more energy and wits to find them before your shower than afterwards.
  • Products – using a 2-in-1 shampoo with built-in conditioners saves you a step in hair care and limits the amount of stretching and holding your arms over your head. Some of the brands who carry these combination products are Suave, Pantene, and Prell. Your own personal preference will tell you which to choose.
  • Try avoid using bars of soap – they are often drying, which causes skin issues for some. In addition, that wet bar of soap can easily slip from your grasp during shower time, causing you to have to bend and reach for it on the tub/shower floor. This can cause muscle strain and even lead to falling in the shower. Liquid soap may be easier to use.
  • Pump bottles – Squeeze bottles and tubes can be a problem. Pump bottles could be easier on the joints.
  • Towels – fluffy absorbing towels are worth the investment, even on a fixed budget. When used to wrap your hair turban-style, the thicker the towel, the shorter time you need to raise your arms to towel-dry your hair yourself.
  • Shower stools –  a waterproof shower stool or chair to go inside the shower is an essential item if you are unable to stand long enough to have a shower. The stool or chair will provide support, stability, and safety, allowing you to enjoy the shower as best you can. Shower chairs can be large or small, and can be bought sturdy enough to hold up to at least 450 pounds (around 200 kg). In the UK, you can hire shower stools from the Red Cross, otherwise they can be purchased through those health product catalogues. In the US, mobility aids can be bought from online health stores such as Dr Leonards.
  • Grip bars – Securely installed grip bars are a must for getting safely in and out of the bathtub. Read more: Gadgets to help cope with HNPP
  • Handheld showers – dual shower heads can allow you to stand under the shower spray for all-over rinsing, train the spray on a particular set of muscles that ache, or you can hold the spray while seated and direct it where you need it. This may mean you are likely to need assistance installing your new shower apparatus. It is simple to do, but requires the ability to stand and hold your arms up for an extended time.
  • Suction cup bin – another good preparation is to install one or more suction-cup baskets to the wall of your shower which you will be facing. Be sure that the bin you choose has holes in the bottom so water can drain out. IKEA sells them for £5 ($6.50 USD). Once you’re settled on your shower chair, there is a suction-cup plastic bin facing you at seated eye level which holds all your shower items, and you do not have to bend or reach or twist your back to reach for items when you need them.
  • Bath brush – a long-handled bath brush, preferably with a wide handle as well for easy grip, will help in washing those feet that seem, oh, so far away.
  • Entering and exiting your tub – if you have a walk-in shower, so much the better. However, for those with tub showers, caution is needed in entering/exiting the
    tub. For many, the most dangerous moment is getting in or out of the shower, and for most, getting out after expending a lot of energy is a tenuous process. If you use a cane for strength or stability, make use of it when climbing in or out of the tub. Regardless of your shower configuration, be sure that you have a non-slip absorbent bathmat outside your tub, and non-slip surfaces on your tub floor, whether adhesive or built-in.
  • Hair dryers – hair dryer stands are great to avoid holding the device for too long and causing fatigue.
  • Terry cloth bathrobes – it absorbs the water so you don’t have to towel dry and while you’re waiting to dry you get to rest from taking a shower.

The biggest ‘hack’ is to remind yourself that you do have a health condition, so if you don’t have the energy to shower one day, it’s completely okay.

Read: When small tasks become daunting with HNPP

HNPP

Gadgets to help cope with HNPP

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With its muscle aches and chronic fatigue, HNPP can make the simplest activities painful and difficult. At its worst, it can make chores you once took for granted suddenly seem daunting. So what is available to help with these trying times?

“The number-one tool that one needs during a flare, by far, is this word called autonomy,” says Nortin Hadler, MD, a professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “It means the ability to pace the day and choose activities.”

Fortunately, there are an array of tools to control pain and lessen the burden on sore muscles.

Seat lift

If you have problems with your knee, raising the seat by a few inches can make all the difference. A seat lift assistant is a mechanical lifting cushion that you can take with you wherever you go.

There are dynamic sitting pads which are air filled cushions thought to aid active sitting and outstanding sitting comfort, while encouraging an upright posture. Specially designed pads, like the Sissel Sitfit Plus, make it easy to retrofit chairs for more comfortable seating. So what’s the verdict?

It’s been mostly praised by those suffering from various neuromuscular injuries including an Amazon customer who had a herniated disc. However, others have echoed the above opinion that durability may be an issue, and with a one year warranty, you may need to think a little more about investing in this.

On the upper-end of the scale is the Upeasy’s Power Seat and Seat Assist (electric and nonelectric, respectively), which will give you a gentle push on your way up. They can be used with pretty much any chair or sofa, and they’re portable. The lifting action is activated automatically as the user stands, lifting up to 70 per cent of their weight. Make sure to buy this product from a reputable dealer, some sellers using Amazon’s marketplace sell knock-off versions instead which break, according to a few reviewers.

Ergonomic Jar Opener

These specialised jar openers provide a strong, safe grip for opening many items and feature a comfortable, ergonomic handle. There are several options if you’re looking for help with opening jars or cans. Most of these provide four to eight different sizes of circles in a bid to release a variety of condiments.

 

I have a standard one from Amazon – and it’s not perfect. The grip needed just on the handle puts pressure on the hand itself, and if the jar is shut tight, it may not budge at all. However, I can swear on a jar popper – the Jarkey opens jars in a jiffy by simply releasing the vacuum.

Portable Grips

Securely installed grip bars are a must for getting safely in and out of the bathtub.

If you don’t always need the help, there are portable versions that you can install as needed – these are also useful for travel. It’s important to get a good quality one, as a less than adequate grip can actually be dangerous if the suction isn’t strong enough while you’re trying access your bathtub or get up from anywhere.

Double grip

Bridge Medical has been recommended as the company makes a single-grip bar, as well as a telescoping pivot-grip grab bar that can be installed at a variety of angles. There are several reviewers on Amazon however, who have complained that although it is well-made, the bar would not attach properly on to ceramic tiles or tubs hence becoming a liability. I’d suggest shopping around and checking out reviews to see if it’s worth the purchase.

Gripped Cutlery

When you have arthritic fingers, everyday tasks, such as eating your dinner, can be painful and difficult. You may need knives, forks and spoons with handles that are easy to grip and won’t slip out of your hands.

These eating utensils from Good Grips fit the bill with large, cushioned handles made of a rubber-like material. Each utensil has a metal shaft that can twist in any direction, making it easy to hold in a position that’s comfortable to you.

Electric Can Opener

These little beauties are fully automated – you don’t even have to hold the can. You place the gadget on a can, press a button, and the can opens. The integrated magnet lifts the lid off the can for easy disposal. Cans are cut around the sides to minimise sharp edges. Ideal for those with limited manual mobility.

Some products can be rather noisy, and there seems to be a whole host of other problems encountered by users including breaking on the first try, lids getting stuck, cutting on the outside of the can instead even the fact that it refuses to switch off.

According to BestReviews, the West Bend 77202 Electric Can Opener comes out on top with a powerful 70-watt motor, a locking/cutting mechanism, and an automatic shut-off feature.

Ring Pullers

Made especially for ring pull cans this specific can opener has a J shape that opens them easily. No more struggling to get your fingers under the tab, simply slip the tip under the tab and rock your hand back.

ring pull can opener hnpp hereditary neuropathy

It has a comfort grip non-slip handle, perfect for those with arthritis, and is dishwasher safe. You may have to be slightly dexterous to try and insert this under the ring pull.

Slow Cooker

Slow cookers can make meals so much faster and easier. You have the ability to drop in all the ingredients in, turn it on and leave it… and if you buy one with the warming feature then your meal is still hot when everyone’s hungry.

It is perfect for making large batches of sauces, chillis, soups, etc. and freezing them for when you’re having a chronic pain flare up and all you can manage is too pull something out of the freezer.

Don’t assume more expensive options are better. Sometimes you’re paying for fancy controls, more timer options and even auto-stir functions. Be sure that you genuinely need these if you fork out for them.

Think about the size of the pot – it’s no good buying a cheap and cheerful slow cooker that’s on offer if it only feeds two people and you have a large family. Generally speaking, a 1.5-3L slow cooker will feed one or two people; a machine that’s 3-5L will serve three or four people; and anything between 5-6.5L will feed five or more people. You can get bigger ones too for six or more people.

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Lakeland Slow Cooker is recommended by the BBC Good Food site. It’s lightweight with a nice ceramic pot that you can take to the table, and it feeds three to four people easily. There’s an auto-warm function for keeping food at serving temperature, and Lakeland will give you your money back if you aren’t happy.

So as you can see, there is a whole host of gadgets at your disposal – whether it works or not differs from person-to-person. Having tried a few of these myself, it can be hit and miss, but mostly a success.

Please feel free to comment below about gadgets that you feel are essential for your daily living.

Read: When Small Tasks become Daunting with HNPP

HNPP · Physical Health

Can new technology help HNPP sufferers?

A discussion about how technology needs to advance to fulfil the needs of HNPP sufferers led to me searching about smart new neurotechnology devices available out there. There are some already on the market linking up with apps, morphing into wearables and becoming fully customisable. But do they work?

Quell Wearable Pain Relief

quell pain relief neuropathy HNPP

The first device I came across was Quell Wearable Pain Relief from NeuroMetrix. The US based company claims to be the only FDA approved device that can be worn while sleeping, and says that it can reduce pain at the flick of a switch. It sounds like a dream to those who suffer from chronic pain, who usually end up sounding like a maraca with the amount of drugs having to be taken on a daily basis.

The way it works is that you  strap it to your calf muscle and when the device is activated, and it is said to stimulate nerves in the leg that send signals through to your brain which induce your body to release its own pain blocking chemicals, known as endogenous opioids, which should reduce or eliminate chronic or even temporary pain.

That is a big statement to declare, especially as the creator claims that the device is “FDA cleared, doctor recommended and 100% drug free.” Neuromix also say that 81 per cent of users said they reported an improvement in their chronic pain.

Much like other wearables, the Quell can connect up to a companion smartphone application in order to give the wearer a way to customise their experience and it can potentially even work while they’re asleep, based on customisable preferences.

The difference between a TENS unit and Quell’s device is said to be the fact that it is a wearable intensive nerve stimulation (WINS) unit, which is five times more powerful.

While it is relatively new, meaning there are still not that many consumers reviewing it, it seems that it has begun helping some tweeters:

Pros

  • It can be worn 24/7, even while sleeping
  • It can help relieve some symptoms of pain
  • There’s a customer care number for one-to-one help
  • Easy to set up
  • 60 day money-back guarantee
  • Can be paid in instalments.

Cons

  • You will need a smartphone or tablet, which gives access to an optional app that allows for further individualisation and tracking
  • According to Fed Up With Fatigue, it can take several weeks for chronic pain sufferers to see a difference
  • It won’t relieve all pain, but it should help relieve some of it
  • It is likely to help people differently according to the severity of the symptoms
  • It isn’t cheap at $249 for a starter kit.
  • Quell’s electrodes have to be changed every two weeks
  • Some people may experience a stinging sensation which may need recalibration, as well as headaches
  • Quell’s impact on pain relief seemed to be very treatment-dependent.
TENS Units

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a non-pharmacological treatment for pain relief. TENS has been used to treat a variety of painful conditions. Clinical trials suggest that adequate dosing, particularly intensity, is critical to obtaining pain relief with TENS. Hence it seems clinical trials continue to support the use of TENS for the treatment of a variety of painful conditions while identifying strategies to increase TENS effectiveness.

Tens

TENS is the application of electrical current through electrodes placed on the skin for pain control. On the normal setting (90-130 Hz), the electrical impulses generated by the unit are believed to block the pain messages being sent to the brain. This belief is based on the “gate theory.”

This theory suggests that the central nervous system has a gate mechanism built into it. When the gate is open, pain signals are able to pass through to the brain and we feel pain as a result. If the gate is closed, the pain messages are effectively blocked and we do not feel any pain.

And while it has shown a difference in terms of pain relief, the effectiveness of TENS on individual pain conditions, such as low back pain, is still controversial. There are lots of over-the-counter units, with many muscle massagers claiming to be one, but the following have been approved by some HNPP’ers.

TENS 7000

When it comes to value for money, TENS 7000 is priced in the lower end of TENS units.

The ever-popular pocket-size device has been around for years, and is most certainly here to stay. The downside is that it isn’t rechargeable.

AccuRelief

The AccuRelief Wireless TENS Electrotherapy Pain Relief has no electrode wires and requires only pushing buttons. It offers 20 levels of intensity adjustment, which may not be enough for some, but it is lightweight.

Cons

  • 30 minute shut off – you’ll need to re-start again if you’d like to continue treatment
  • You’ll have to change the batteries every 2-3 weeks, depending on usage

Most people use TENS machines without experiencing any side effects. The most common side effect is not related to the machine itself, but the self-adhesive pads.

If the pulse is too high or you use the TENS machine too often, the stimulation can cause pain or muscle twitching.

Footbeat

More than $7 million was raised to produce this new kind of footwear. Footbeat is reported to change the method of circulatory enhancement in the lower extremities. The company’s co-founder, Dr. David Mayer, a practising orthopaedic surgeon, says “Footbeat applies precise, cyclic pressure on the bottom of the foot to increase the body’s circulation, improving health and athletic performance.”

The way this rechargeable shoe is supposed to work is that a smart engine in the centre of the insole applies precise, cyclic pressure to the arch of the foot, increasing circulation.

This pump helps apparently plays a role in the venous system, is a transportation network that supplies oxygen and nutrients to your body while also removing metabolic waste.

With Footbeat applying pressure at regular intervals into the arch of the foot, it is reported to create physical benefits. These benefits mimic the benefits people get naturally from increased circulation due to physical activity including increased removal of metabolic waste and increased delivery of important nutrients that help accelerate healing and recovery. The micro-mechanical device can be activated using mobile technology in the form of a remote control. 

It’s still being rolled out so watch this space.

Pros

  • 30 day full replacement guarantee
  • The remote uses Bluetooth low energy (LE) technology that provides a range of six feet while using less power for longer battery life
  • Supposed to massage the feet
  • It claims to speeds active recovery after athletic exertion, helping to prevent soreness and injury.

Cons

  • At $450 for the starter kit, it seems ridiculously expensive
  • Cannot drive with these shoes
  • It isn’t waterproof
  • Takes an hour to charge
  • Keeps charge for only four hours
  • Can’t be worn while walking in water, mud, rain, snow or any outside moisture.

There are plenty more technologies in the developmental stage being produced, which seems exciting for many who struggle daily. But real testing needs to be done on those who have actual symptoms to understand the benefit.

Have you tried any new gadgets?

HNPP · Physical Health

How to deal with coordination and balance with HNPP

 

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My muscles are twitching continuously as I write this, which is among a long list of symptoms that tend to appear with HNPP such as lack of coordination, weakness and generally falling over for no apparent reason.

Well of course there’s a reason. But for most it can differ quite significantly.

HNPP affects both motor and sensory nerves, which causes weakness in the foot and lower leg muscles. Deformities of the feet are also common, making it difficult to walk and often resulting in falls. In its later stages, HNPP can also affect the muscles in the hands. Sensory nerves carry messages from your senses through your spinal cord to your brain, while motor nerves travel in the opposite direction. They carry messages from the brain to your muscles.

If nerve cells, or neurons, are damaged or destroyed, it distorts the way the neurons communicate with each other and with the brain.

Causes of falls

The physical causes can be many and complex, there are, however, some factors that feature very regularly:

  • A previous fall – Somebody who has fallen in the last year is more likely to fall again. This may be because the same factor that caused the first fall is still present, or it may be that fear of falling has reduced their level of activity, making them weaker and more prone to fall.
  • Medications – Some widely used drugs, including anti-depressants and diuretics, can cause dizziness and loss of balance. Taking a combination of four or more drugs also ramps up the danger of falling.
  • Poor balance and impaired gait – Balance problems are common with HNPP. Inability to walk in a straight line or at a steady speed; requiring support in order to walk; inability to stand on one leg or to sit down in a controlled manner, can all indicate an increased likelihood of falling.
  • Effects of illness – Several acute and chronic conditions increase the likelihood of falling.
  • Poor vision – Not surprisingly, you are more likely to trip if you can’t see obstacles clearly. Bifocal and varifocal glasses can also cause problems by distorting the view, if you look through the wrong part of the lens. With peripheral nerve issues, neuropathy can affect the eyes. According to the website at E Medicine Health, there are two specific types of what is referred to as cranial neuropath and these are optic neuropathy and auditory neuropathy. Optic neuropathy refers to damage or disease of the optic nerve that transmits visual signals from the retina of the eye to the brain according to E Medicine Health.
  • Environmental hazards – Most falls occur in the home. Familiar culprits are trailing flexes, uneven rugs, poor lighting, general household clutter left in passageways. Climbing on chairs or stools to reach items stored in high cupboards. Outside, it is often damaged, uneven paving or unexpectedly high kerbs that cause problems.
  • Numbness – numbness in the feet can make it difficult to maintain balance, especially in the dark.

What can be done?

Dr Scott Berman, who also suffers from neuropathy writes in Coping With Peripheral Neuropathy, that if the nerves that carry position sense are damaged we depend on eyes more. If your feet can’t tell your brain where you are and your eyes can’t see, then you will fall. [1] Here are some of his suggestions:

  • Using nightlights all the time – this makes sure you’re aware of your surroundings
  • Use a cane or canes, arm braces – this sends information about the floor to your arms, and from there to your brain
  • Touching surfaces lightly with hands may improve balance
  • Proofing your environment – using walkers, canes, grab bars in showers, shower seats, bed rails, car door frame handles etc. may help prevents falls. Also securing rugs and carpets around the edges, reduce floor clutter, modify low furniture and much more.
  • Get a Personal Emergency Response System if you live alone – these are buttons on a bracelet or necklace to summon help
  • Get a physical therapist to help plan ways to help avoid falls
  • Get an occupational therapist, if you are still working, to set up your workplace for your safety
  • Buy adaptive equipment – kitchen gadgets and special utensils, reaching instruments to make life easier.
  • Get adequate footwear – Adam Sternbergh, in his article, “You Walk Wrong” says wrong footwear has wrecked our gait. Inserts can often offload pressure points on your feet and will reduce the chance of ulcers. Make sure you have soft slippers for hard floors.
  • Look into getting a stairlift if you have a fair few steps in your home.
  • Think about doing low-impact exercises that improve balance such as Tai Chi and water aerobics.

The last thing you need is an injury on top of the chronic pain and fatigue, so finding methods to prevent falling and gaining good balance is essential to stop future health problems.

  • Page 38, “Coping With Peripheral Neuropathy”, Berman, Scott M.D