Slow Down for Summer: Mindfulness for Patients with Peripheral Neuropathy

Shanna Patterson, MD,  and  Kripa Ahuja provide insight on mindfulness and its positive impact for patients with peripheral neuropathy.

Does Mindfulness Help?

Summer is a time for relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation. In the spirit of slowing down, we wanted to take this opportunity to delve into the topic of mindfulness. Mindfulness has proliferated in the news and is often cited for its role in stress reduction and well being. However, it is interesting to learn how mindfulness specifically can also potentially improve quality of life for patients with neuropathy. Following is a summary of some related research findings, with references to the original sources at the end of this piece, for those interested in reading more:

  • According to an analysis on the impact of mindfulness for pain treatment, a significant benefit of mindfulness meditation was found compared with support groups and other controls.
  • Research indicates that in addition to improving pain, mindfulness also addresses the psychological consequences of chronic pain, including depression symptoms.

Research indicates that mindfulness can be helpful for patients with peripheral neuropathy.

How can one begin to practice mindfulness?

There are a number of approaches, however, in general mindfulness always involves directing attention and awareness to the present moment. This can involve a breathing practice, mental imagery, and/or conscious muscle relaxation. For optimal benefits, mindfulness can be incorporated daily. For more information on one mindfulness mediation technique, see this link: https://www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-meditation-88369.

Reading Recommendation

Finally, a book recommendation for summer reading: “Peripheral Neuropathy: What it is and What You Can Do to Feel Better.” Published by Johns Hopkins Press, this is a patient education book detailing the causes, treatments, and even real-life experiences regarding neuropathy. Enjoy!

 

References
(2017) “Treating Neuropathic Pain: Mindfulness Meditation Is More Effective Than Pharmacotherapy,” Intuition: The BYU Undergraduate Journal in Psychology: Vol. 12 : Iss. 2 , Article 6.
Hilton, Lara, et al. “Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine : a Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Springer US, Apr. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5368208/.
“Peripheral Neuropathy.” Peripheral Neuropathy | Johns Hopkins University Press Books, Johns Hopkins University Press, jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/peripheral-neuropathy.
Wong, Cathy. “Mindfulness Meditation – How Do I Do It?” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 30 Sept. 2018, www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-meditation-88369.

 

Written by Shanna Patterson, MD, Patient Education Advisor and Kripa Ahuja, Associate Patient Education Advisor for the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy.   For more information on Living Well with Peripheral Neuropathy, see our website.

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