Managing Your Own neuropathy TreatmenT

The following article is part of on-going series on how to be a better champion of your own care and treatment for neuropathy as featured in Neuropathy News. Over the next several months, we will explore how to navigate medical discussions, insurance claims, and other issues impacting your day-to-day management of your illness.

Part V:   THE VALUE OF assistive devices and OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY for neuropathy

As someone with peripheral neuropathy for the past twelve years as well as arthritis I know the value of the information in the American Occupational Therapists Association article featured in this edition.  My hands have been affected by both of these diseases, and I have had several rounds of occupational therapy.  The suggestions made by the occupational therapist and the various gadgets available which can assist in daily living activities have truly helped.

There are a number of gadgets I have personally found to be helpful for my own situation.  Around the house, I am unable to use a step stool because of balance problems.  So, I have a long-handled reacher that can not only help me retrieve articles from high places, but can also pick up objects that fall to the floor.  Because I am unable to button clothes easily, all my blouses have been pre-buttoned so they can go on over my head.  When I have the patience, I will use a button hook to do the job as well.  I have used coiled elastic shoelaces to practically turn my lace-up shoes into slip-ons.  Of course, I use my long-handled shoe horn to slip my feet into my shoes.

I have found Good Grips manufactures many household items with large rubber non-slip handles that make it easier for me to open jars, cut food, peel vegetables, and do other chores.  My button hook is also from Good Grips.  The Good Grips brand items are readily available in house ware stores, department stores and specialty home shops.

There are also soft pen/pencil grips to prevent the pen from slipping when I write.  Sometimes I even use a thick rubber band that I attach around the pen/pencil to help my grip.  Of course, the computer is wonderful because errors can be immediately fixed.

You can get additional help from some of the following resources:

Dr. Leonard’s Catalog
Has many products to assist.
(800) 455-1918 or

Sammons Preston
A catalog of assistive devices.
(800) 323-5547 or

Global Assistive Devices
(954) 784-0035 or

To get Occupational Therapy, you must ask your doctor for a prescription.  Occupational therapists are often situated at local community hospitals.  This therapy is a very good way to increase your skills when there are limitations in using your arms and hands.  It is challenging sometimes to figure out the best way to get something done, but when you achieve your goal despite your limitations it will give you a great sense of satisfaction!


    Part I:     Becoming Your Own Best Neuropathy Advocate

    Part II:    Improving Your “Deficits” to Make Life a Little Easier

    Part III:   Navigating the Seas of Social Security Disability

    Part IV:   Understanding Your Medications

    Part VI:   Benefiting From Support Groups


More Living with Neuropathy:

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