Does application of heat or cold help the
symptoms of peripheral neuropathy ??? Woman tested!
Updated: Monday, March 08, 2004 12:17:13 PM
CAUTION!!! Because of the decreased sensation to heat and cold in the areas affected by
peripheral neuropathy, one should be extra cautious about using heat or cold, or any
device/equipment that produces heat or cold. Otherwise, it is possible to damage the skin
of the affected area and not be aware of the damage.
Some suggestions from women with peripheral neuropathy:
- A 16 inch heating tube called a "Bed Buddy" provides warmth which is probably
safer than a heating pad. Purchased at major department stores, it is of soft granular
substance, and the tube is heated in the microwave for two minutes. However, the heat
lasts for hours. Make your own "bed buddy" by filling a large boot sock with
either uncooked corn or rice. Then just before use, microwave it for 2 minutes. BUT, be
extra careful as things heated in the microwave can get extremely HOT!
- Use an electric blanket in the winter and a heating pad in the summer for feet. Note:
Use electric heating pads with great caution as they may cause burns, which is much easier
to do with decreased sensation in the skin due to neuropathy. Follow the manufacturer's
- Wash dishes in warm soapy water to help the hands.
- The easiest way to soak the feet is to put a bath chair in the bath tub, run warm water,
and soak for a few minutes, and then alternately run cool water. An alternate to a bath
chair is the right width summer lawn chair with plastic feet (so it won't scratch the
- Warm soaks in the bath, especially with a head pillow.
- Add 1 cup of Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) and 1 cup of Baking Soda (sodium
bicarbonate) to bathwater for a pleasant experience.
- Soaking in Princess Marcella Borghese Bagno di Vita (Body Soak) in bath water for 15-20
minutes is the only thing that works. For sale (about $30) in the make-up departments of
stores like Dillard's, Kaufmann's, and Lord & Taylor's.
- Cold works better than heat (showers, hot baths, electric blankets) for some.
- Wrap the feet in a product called the Cool Thing, manufactured by Danscott Enterprises
(914-273-4090). The Cool Thing is sometimes sold at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It is a long
strip filled with a gel that has a cool sensation. The company also makes a pad that is
used for the feet.
- The best kind of ice packs are "ACE Reusable Cold Compresses with Soft Fabric
Touch," as they are soft, and long enough (5"x10") to wrap around the
toes/feet. Then they are held on with large fairly loose rubber band. Really helpful at
- A good foot soak with any type of foot soak "stuff" helps as does a soak in a
commercially made "foot spa."