Originally Posted by optimumeg
1. Do you have chronic pain, pain during activity, or both?
2. What parts are affected (just hands, feet, or legs also?) Where is the pain and where is the numbness?
3. What are your general activities during the day? Do you work?
4. Do you exercise, how much, how intense?
1. I have chronic neuropathic pain in my feet and legs, sometimes very mild (like now), other times bad enough to keep me awake. Rarely the pain is extreme and excruciating, like a steady electric shock, or like a parasitic worm in a joint is eating the tissue. The PN pain is worse at the start of most activities, but then the endorphins kick in and the pain reduces, and stays reduced till the next day's activities.
2. Generally, the numbness is on the skin of my toes and parts of my feet. The pain is deeper, mainly in the toes and joints. I do not have arthritis.
3. I retired as a data processing programmer/analyst about six years ago. I now work as a handyman (third career) and love it. Because of the PN, I cannot work the intense 8 - 12 hour days that I did before. I still manage to get a lot done in 5 or 6 hrs. My current projects are doing a slate mosaic backsplash for a granite sink (it's coming out gorgeous), repairing some maple chairs and rebuilding a landing and stairs for a poor very old lady living in a trailer (that will be for very low charge), and adding to a wall to a closet to take bifold doors. The work is varied, interesting, and challenging. It gives me a good excuse to buy really neat tools.
My wife is an engineer, so I do the cooking, gardening, auto repair, and keep our animals happy and socialized (works for me too).
4. We have a dog that we walk vigorously (not a power walk...just fast) for 30 - 45 minutes a day, including walking hills. Today we'll take her for a vigorous hilly hour hike. I also do martial arts type Tai Chi.
Intensity and level is an interesting question. I used to run and backpack, did power hikes with a load to build strength and stamina, and did interval training in running for the same purpose. I don't feel that level of intensity is appropriate for people with PN. Neither is inactivity, or leisurely strolling during walking. My exercise now is to get the blood circulating, the nerves firing in a coordinated rhythmic manner to help heal them, to keep my joints lubricated and healthy, to maintain muscle tone and strength, and to keep me sane.
I can't imagine PN pain being less than intolerable without exercise...our nerves, joints, bones, blood vessels, and muscles NEED exercise to be happy and healthy. Two different neurologists assured me that exercise is good for my PN.
Back in my running/hiking days we has an expression, "listen to your body." That doesn't work with PN. Our damaged nerves and hypersensitive brain receptor areas lie to us, feeling painful tissue damage with every step where no damage is actually occurring. With PN, healthful exercise is the time to just ignore the pain and carry on, but not to exercise to the point of overuse injury or tissue trauma. We have to use good personal judgment to exercise at a level appropriate for our age, health, weight, and physical condition. The level of walking, work, and Tai Chi that I do would not at all be appropriate for a diabetic 95 year old, but that diabetic 95 year old would benefit from exercise at a level appropriate for them.