Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. This can include the hands, feet, arms, and legs. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include tingling, numbness, burning sensations, and pain. One of the biggest challenges for people living with peripheral neuropathy is managing their symptoms during the winter months. The cold weather can exacerbate the symptoms and make everyday tasks more difficult.
The cold can cause problems and more pain for some people struggling with peripheral neuropathy, but there are some ways to manage the pain and stay active during the colder months. Managing peripheral neuropathy symptoms when it’s cold outside can be difficult, but preparation is key to managing the pain and staying active.
Make sure you are well-prepared for the cold weather. Wear layers of clothing to keep warm, and make sure to cover your head, hands, and feet. For those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy especially, consider wearing warm, waterproof footwear to keep your feet dry and protected from the cold.
Try to avoid going outside in extreme weather conditions. If you have to go out, dress appropriately and take precautions against the cold weather. Keep your home warm and comfortable. Use a space heater if necessary and make sure your bedroom is at a comfortable temperature for sleeping. Be mindful of how the cold weather may be impacting your symptoms. If you notice that your symptoms are worse in the cold, take steps to manage them accordingly. Avoid going out in the cold when your body temperature is low. If you have a fever, stay inside or bundle up before going outside to protect yourself from catching a cold.
Regardless of how the winter weather impacts your neuropathy, it is still important to try and remain active. Continue with your normal exercise routine in the winter, but be mindful of how you feel after exercising or being in cold environments. If you notice any change in your symptoms, do not push yourself to work out and consult your physician. If it is too difficult for you to go outside, consider finding an indoor activity such as yoga or a hobby that allows you to get physical exercise without going outside into the cold temperatures. Monitor your pain levels carefully throughout the day and take breaks if necessary. Pain often increases during periods of immobility, so make sure to change positions and stay active as frequently as possible.
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- “Peripheral neuropathy – Symptoms and causes”. Mayo Clinic