Improving Function in Patients with Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

VIDEO | 17:00

Memorial Sloan Kettering occupational therapist Gabrielle Miskovitz describes techniques such as sensory reeducation that may be used to restore sensory function in patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation may be recommended to reduce symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling in patients who do not respond to medications, says Memorial Sloan Kettering physical therapist Laryssa Buoneto.

Patients can take several steps to prevent injury due to sensory and functional limitations, such as inspecting skin daily for cuts and infections; avoiding excessively hot water in the bath or shower; using supportive footwear; and wearing gloves or oven mitts when handling hot or cold items.

Patients with balance problems should change position slowly, consume plenty of water and salt, and wear compression abdominal binders or compression socks to prevent dizziness and falls. Patients with autonomic nerve damage may lower their risk of urinary tract infections with self-catheterization and relieve constipation with appropriate water and fiber intake.

Occupational therapists recommend a variety of strategies to improve daily function, such as putting rubber cement on your computer keyboard to increase tactile sensation; using button hooks to button clothes; and opting for shoes with Velcro closures.