Neuropathy is damage or abnormal dysfunction to one or more nerves in the body. Consequently, this often results in muscle weakness and pain, numbness, a “pins and needles” type feeling, and general tingling.
Neuropathy is most common in the hands and feet; however, other areas of the body, including your lower limbs, can also be affected.
So, what exactly is neuropathy? Neuropathy is a sign of a problem within the peripheral nervous system. This is also why the full term for neuropathy is: “peripheral neuropathy.” The peripheral nervous system includes all nerves that are not a part of the central nervous system (nerves outside your brand and spinal cord). Unlike the central nervous system that effectively acts as the central hub for your body, the peripheral nervous system sends information to the brain and central nervous system via our nerves. When nerve cells (also known as neurons) become damaged, the communication between the two systems is interrupted. Also, these nerve cells can be destroyed, creating further disruption in the body.
The peripheral nervous system is made up of three nerves – you’ve likely heard of these before:
- Sensory nerves – messages delivered from your five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing) via your spinal cord to your brain, e.g., touching a hot object.
- Autonomic nerves – nerves that do not require direct control, e.g., breathing, digestion, blood pressure, and bladder control.
- Motor nerves – these nerves carry messages from your brain to your muscles, e.g., how to walk, run, jump, or even get up off the couch.
What are the symptoms of neuropathy?
The symptoms of neuropathy differ from person to person. However, these may include damage to the sensory nerves (not knowing when something is instantly hot), damage to the motor nerves (impaired or delayed movement), or impaired involuntary movement (digestion, bladder function, raised or low blood pressure).
Your symptoms differ depending on the type of neuropathy you have; in other terms, what nerves are affected. For example, sensory neuropathy may result in pins and needles, numbness in the body, burning or sharp pains in the feet, loss of balance, or pain from non-painful tasks.
We won’t explain all the symptoms across the nerves, but general symptoms for some form of neuropathy include:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Low or high blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Twitching or muscle cramps
- Difficulty lifting your foot and toes
- Excessive sweating
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Double vision or trouble focusing your eyes
- Foot or shin pain
- Weakness of one side of your face
If you have one or more of these symptoms or are worried, you may have neuropathy or another medical condition seek medical attention at the earliest convenience. Similarly, if you have one or more symptoms, this may not be neuropathy and a sign of another condition. For this reason, it is always recommended to receive a medical diagnostic.
What is compression therapy?
Neuropathy may never completely go away; however, some effects can be reversed or alleviated. For example, if you currently lead a sedentary lifestyle, regularly exercising and eating a well-balanced diet may reverse some aspects. But this does depend on the initial cause of your neuropathy.
Despite this, certain symptoms can be alleviated. For example, the use of compression therapy is popular for reducing muscle pains, cramps, shin pain, and general lower limb discomfort.
Compression therapy involves wearing compression socks, tights, or stockings. Compression technology is tight-fitting, specifically designed to support your veins and increase circulation to your lower limbs. This increase in circulation is managed via controlled applied pressure built-in to the socks technology.
When circulation increases, blood flow is also increased. This helps recover and release pressure from aching muscles or cramps, while also stretching out vein walls and improving general circulation. Regular circulation may be affected via neuropathy; compression helps restore natural lower limb function while also reducing swelling.
Many people when they hear the words “compression socks” or “compression therapy” often think of sports athletes. These elite athletes also use compression technology, reducing similar symptoms, although not from a condition but instead recovery from intense exercise. However, compression gear is not exclusive to athletes, and actually a very beneficial form of therapay for those sufferingwith neuropathy.
Although the initial neuropathy pain may return when not wearing compression socks or stockings, the pain should be somewhat alleviated. Compression gear is especially great for those who are unable to partake in regular exercise, whether that be due to obesity, pain, and discomfort from neuropathy, or another reason.
We’ve gathered together three compression products to reduce pain, swelling, and general discomfort as a result of neuropathy or other lower limb pain.
Compression support stockings for men and women
First up, we have the compression support stockings for both men and women. These compression stockings are available in nine different colors, including black, navy blue, and lime green.
The breathable, knitted fabric increases comfort and blood flow to the lower limbs and muscles. This also reduces swelling and general discomfort, combating that “numbing” or “pins and needles” pain you may experience.
For both men and women, wear these at least once a day, especially if experiencing general discomfort or pain in your legs.
Best for: affordability to compression support ratio.
- Choice of nine colors
- Breathable material for increased comfort
- Knitted fabric for graduated compression
- Reduced swelling and discomfort
To view this product, click here.
Comfort and performance compression socks
Next, we have the comfort and performance compression socks. While the first pair was the most cost-effective in that price range, this pair contains the best compression and comfort – great for those experiencing greater pain or discomfort.
The addition of a padded heel, foot, and toe box not only provides a secure fit, but also enhances comfort and compression capability. The optimal compression increases blood flow and reduces swelling, slightly more than our suggested first pair, but comes with a slightly more expensive, but still affordable price tag.
Wearing a pair of comfort and performance compression socks first thing in the morning or before bed may reduce pain, discomfort, and swelling. Also, this may contribute to overall alleviated pain from Neuropathy, reducing several symptoms temporarily.
Best for: optimal compression and enhanced comfort.
- Padded heel, foot, and toe box for additional comfort
- Optimal compression for increased blood flow, reduced swelling, and added comfort
- Promotes rehabilitation
To view this product, click here.
Open-toe compression socks/stockings
Finally, we have the open-toe compression socks/stockings. Unlike the two other pairs mentioned above, this pair is unique in its open-toe design. This pair is ideal for those who struggle to get into regular socks or compression socks, allowing you too, to experience the benefits of compression therapy.
The dense structure of the socks/stockings support the lower limbs, enhancing compression and increased blood flow for all-round comfort and reduced swelling. Effectively, this promotes rehabilitation, allowing you the freedom to perform regular tasks with less pain than usual.
Like the two other pairs, wear these once or twice a day for a couple of hours max at a time. Instead of wearing during regular dailly activities, wear to relax when sitting or lying down, such as before bed or first thing in the morning. This should alleviate some symptoms, pain, and general discomfort for the following hours.
Best for: those who struggle to get into regular socks, but with increased compression.
- Promotes effective rehabilitation
- Dense structure to support lower limbs
- Optimal compression for increased blood flow and all-round comfort
To view this product, click here.
Neuropathy is damage or dysfunction to one or more nerves in the body. Symptoms of neuropathy are determined by the type of nerves that are affected, e.g. sensory or motor nerves. Nonetheless, you will find general symptoms highlighted toward the beginning of this article.
Neuropathy, in some cases, can be treated. However, this depends on the initial cause and development of the condition. However, symptoms can be alleviated such as changes to your daily habits and routines, increasing physical activity, and living a balanced lifestyle.
Also, for those who suffer from painful, numb, or swollen lower limbs, the use of compression therapy may be beneficial. Compression therapy increases blood flow and circulation throughout the body and to the target muscle(s) the compression is applied to. This may reduce swelling, discomfort, and general pain, thus alleviating symptoms and improving quality of life.
Ideally, wear compression socks or stockings one to two times per day, ideally first thing in the morning or before bed. Avoid sleeping in these and instead wear for short periods of time, alleviating pain for the hours following wearing.
We must note that compression gear will not cure neuropathy, instead, it may help alleviate symptoms such as swelling, muscle pains and cramps, and general discomfort of the lower limbs.
If you’re still unsure regarding whether or not you have neuropathy, visit a medical professional at your earliest convenience.