Some CAM Therapies May Help with Peripheral Neuropathy Related to Chemo Treatment.
The most well-known side effects of chemotherapy treatments are hair loss and nausea. But the general public typically is not aware of one of the most debilitating side effects of chemo, which is peripheral neuropathy.
This side effect of chemo can range from numbness to tingling and burning to shooting pains in the feet or hands. In some people, the discomfort is so intense that it causes sleep disturbances.
Unfortunately, chemo-related peripheral neuropathy doesn’t always go away after treatment ends. The symptoms can linger for months or years.
Your oncologist may have prescribed medications intended to reduce your peripheral neuropathy symptoms. But you should be aware that some types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies can also be very effective for some people with chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy.
CAM therapies are sometimes called “alternative” treatments. In reality, they are intended to be used alongside conventional medical treatment (rather than in place of it). Sometimes this is called “integrative” therapies. More and more studies are demonstrating that these types of therapies can lead to good outcomes for people with peripheral neuropathy and other cancer treatment side effects.
Here are just a few of the CAM therapies that are continuing to be explored in the medical community as a way to reduce pain and discomfort from chemo side effects, including peripheral neuropathy:
- Art therapy and music therapy
- Vitamin supplements, such as vitamins B12 and B6
- Massage therapy
- Yoga therapy
Ask your oncologist or other physician about the availability of these CAM therapies in your area and which CAM treatment may be right for you. These therapies can be so effective because they address both physical symptoms and stress reduction.
Remember, you are the most important part of your medical team. Knowing what complementary therapies could help your peripheral neuropathy is the first step to advocating for your own wellness.
For more information about complementary ways to treat chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, see our neuropathy owners manual.
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