Lets get back on topic, when it comes to “Myths” about peripheral neuropathy.
it’s amazing what people will try, before settling on a modality which works; such as neuromuscular therapy. We like to call them “Grandmas Remedies” in our office. Surprisingly, there is a bit of truth in many “home remedies;” but, there are a lot more “placebos” than most people care to admit.
The first and foremost “myth” that I hear, when a new patient comes into my office, is the fact that the patient has tried placing a bar of Ivory Soap in the foot of their bed, under the covers. Frankly, I can’t image how this one came about; as it is so strange. But, it is probably started as many of my patients have told me: “a friend of a friend tried it, and it works every time!” Well, it doesn’t work every time; in fact, I have never heard of anyone that it actually worked for!
My dad, as a suggestive child, was a prime example of taking a note of nonsense, and following through with it; “while I am gone, don’t shove beans up your nose,” she once told him, before going into town. When she came back, she found him sitting there on the floor… with a nose full of beans! Most neuropathy patients fall into this ‘suggestive’ category as well. “If you want to bring feeling back to your feet… sleep wearing socks with a slice of purple onion in them.” Some people will hear this, and in, what I think, is an act of desperation, go to bed with sliced onion in their socks. (Perhaps, this is where the Ivory Soap comes in… to help take the smell away.) And, I have had a small amount of people say that they “DID“ achieve some results doing this. But, in actuality, this is just a placebo effect; people will be so desperate, that if they were told to shove beans up their nose for relief, a certain number of people would try!
Luckily, most “myth” remedies, aren’t as “desperate” as shoving beans up ones nose; but people will try just about anything. “Gin soaked white raisins,” is another “myth” I hear a lot about. Whereas, one might enjoy these as a treat, or they would go great on a salad, they would do very little to relieve neuropathy remedies. Of course, I have patients who argue with me, that “raisins have a lot of vitamins that can help neuropathy,” bit frankly, eating a few raisin would be like spitting on a fire to put it out! Variations of this use Vodka or even add dark chocolate to the mixture. All, perhaps, good or good for you; but, really won’t do anything for a neuropathy.
How about this one: rub gasoline or motor oil into the feet to reduce pain, edema and burning. Who in their right mind, would ever try such a thing… the desperate, that’s who! In fact, when my own neuropathy was at its worse, I might have considered this (or beans up my nose). Luckily, I was already treating neuropathy, when I developed it myself, so I knew better!
There are a lot more “myths” regarding neuropathy; and, over the coming months, we’ll discuss them more. We’ll even cover the ones which have a certain amount of truth involved in them!