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Book Reviews
September 2000

Numb Toes and Aching Soles: Coping With Peripheral Neuropathy

Author Affiliations

Not Available

Arch Neurol. 2000;57(9):1375-1379. doi:

Numb Toes and Aching Soles: Coping With Peripheral Neuropathy is written by a patient with peripheral neuropathy and is designed to educate patients with peripheral neuropathy about treatment options. The first 2 chapters briefly (18 pages) define peripheral neuropathy and its subtypes, discuss diagnostic evaluation and testing procedures, and discuss the basis of pain. The following 6 chapters (224 pages) cover a wide spectrum of treatment modalities. A chapter on pain medications discusses individual agents from many drug classes, including opioid, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, topical, and antiarrhythmic, and also there is a brief section that considers medication cost and payment assistance opportunities. A chapter on "other medical therapies" includes immunomodulants (eg, immune globulin and plasmapheresis) and physical procedures, such as nerve blocks and stimulation. These 2 chapters provide enough specific information to allow a patient to consider individual medications and to discuss possible options with a physician in an informed manner. Alternative treatments are then discussed, including biofeedback, meditation, hypnosis, prayer, hyperbaric oxygen, acupuncture, massage, reflexology, qigong, therapeutic touch, magnets, and chelation. Many vitamins, herbs, minerals, and other supplements are individually covered in a chapter on nutrients. There is also 1 chapter on experimental or "unapproved" drugs covering more than 20 agents. Throughout the text, a patient testimonial section follows the description of most medications, alternative therapies, or nutrient supplements. Special considerations related to diabetes mellitus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–related neuropathies are discussed in a separate chapter. A final chapter provides many helpful suggestions for coping with pain, including exercise, foot care, sleep hygiene, and the use of hot or cold.

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