These days, it seems like everyone is stressed, no matter their situation in life. Constantly feeling the weight of the world is bad enough — but could it also lead to dangerous health conditions? Does stress cause peripheral neuropathy? Let's find out.
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that occurs to your peripheral nerves (the nerves which are not part of the central nervous system). Most people diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy will experience symptoms such as painful tingling, numbness, or weakness, especially in their feet and legs. It has a variety of causes — the most common being diabetes — and is generally irreversible, especially once it has progressed past its early stages.
Under pressure: The role of stress in peripheral neuropathy
So, can stress cause peripheral neuropathy? Not exactly. Anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions may not feel great, but they can’t damage your nerves.
However, being stressed can affect people diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. Here are 4 ways stress can make peripheral neuropathy worse.
1. It can lead to diet changes.
Studies have shown that uncontrollable stress has a negative impact on diet habits. You’re much more likely to opt for unhealthy, easy-to-access foods when you’re hungry and stressed. This can be especially dangerous for diabetics and people with neuropathy, who need to watch their diets carefully to ensure that their blood glucose levels remain in a safe range.
2. It can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
When you’re stressed, your body reacts quickly to what it perceives as a danger by releasing hormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline). This triggers the release of glucose, which raises your blood sugar levels so that you can respond to the stressful "fight-or-flight" situation.
3. It can burn you out.
Chronic stress can make even the simplest tasks — such as cooking, exercising, taking medication, checking your blood sugar levels, etc. — feel unbearable, difficult, or unimportant. As a result, diabetics who are overly stressed are more likely to neglect their diabetes treatment plan, which often makes the condition much worse.
4. It can amplify your neuropathy pain.
Have you ever had a bad day that completely changed your outlook on life? Being in a bad place mentally can influence how you handle even the smallest problem you encounter — and neuropathy is far from a small problem. Feeling stressed, anxious, or upset can make neuropathic pain feel much more potent.
5. It can mess with your sleep.
Stress is often linked to insomnia, and insomnia can exacerbate neuropathy symptoms. It is already common for patients to experience heightened neuropathy pain at night — the problems are compounded when stress prevents you from falling asleep or staying asleep long enough to get the rest you need.
Quick tips to relieve stress
- Talk to a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or medical professional. They can help you cope and direct you to further assistance if needed.
- Spend time participating in a favorite hobby.
- Do some relaxation exercises such as meditating, deep breathing, or yoga.
- Create a worry journal where you can write down the things that are causing you stress.
- Spend quality time with people that you care about.
- Avoid, fix, accept, or find a way to deal with the different stressors in your life so that you aren’t worrying about them constantly.
- Spend time in nature or get outdoors and exercise.
Keep pain at bay and help reduce your stress with Viasox
If your stress stems from consistent neuropathy pain, there are several things you can do to find some relief. One of the easiest and most effective ways to combat neuropathic foot pain is with Viasox non-binding diabetic socks or compression socks.
Made from an ultra-soft, stretchy material blend, our socks have been specially designed to increase blood circulation to help combat nerve pain without being too tight. Even better? Our socks offer antimicrobial, moisture-wicking properties and provide superior support to protect your feet against some of the most common diabetic foot problems, including injuries and infections.
Visit us online today to shop our selection of fun and funky socks and discover your perfect fit. And don’t worry — with our affordable price, nationwide shipping, and extensive range, finding socks online has never been less stressful.
Need help placing your order or picking out a product? We’re always happy to assist! Contact one of our friendly team members to learn more.