Desensitization Techniques for Neuropathic (nerve) Pain

Desensitizing the affected area can be very beneficial in decreasing nerve pain and restoring normalcy feeling. Start slow to your individual tolerance. This is a process meant to help you. Do not do more than you can tolerate. To be effective, these techniques must be done 2 to 4 times a day every day. Below are listed several types of techniques. You may choose to do one or all but the more variety, the more likely a positive response.

  1. Contrast baths
    • You will need two containers of water big enough to place the painful area. Use a thermometer to measure water temperature. In one container place cold water (45 to 70 degrees) and in the other warm water (104 to 110 degrees). Place painful part in cold water for 30 seconds then warm water for two minutes. Repeat this process 5 times. The first time, start with cool water at 70* and warm water at 104*. Over time the cool water should become colder and the warm water warmer. Never exceed recommended temperatures.
  2. Touch stimulation. There are many types of touch stimulation that may be done. Length of time exercise is done depends on your individual tolerance to touch. The more variety, the more likely a positive outcome. This entire process should take 10 minutes. Start with 2 to 3 times a day every day for up to 10 minutes and progress to 10 minutes 4 times a day every day. Alternating stimulation sensation is critical to effectiveness. Do not pick just one and stay with it.
    • Stroke painful area with a cotton ball in one direction.
    • Stroke painful area with soft fabric (i.e. silk) alternating with a rougher one, such as a terry cloth towel.
    • Put cornmeal or rice in one container move painful area through it. What you choose to use depends on sensitivity of painful area. Work up to using unpopped popcorn or aquarium gravel.
    • Lightly stroke painful area with your fingers and work up to scratching with fingernails or applying deep pressure.

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