Ending Numbness

Many people come to my site using the search terms “numb” and “numbness.” Some search using the specific question, “Can you get rid of numb feet?” I’ll answer that with three things I know about numbness from my experience.

1. B12 Works

Numb hands or feet can be a first sign of low vitamin B12

Numb hands or feet can be a first sign of low B12

I regained some feeling in my feet after my doctor prescribed regular, monthly B12 shots and showed me how to give them to myself. (One shot a month is about equal to one sublingual 1,000 mcg. Methylcobalamin lozenge used daily.)

Methylcobalamin ~ Read more.

More improvement came when my neurologist told me to have extra B12 shots when I was under stress. I was under a lot of stress at the time. So, for most months I had two or maybe three shots a month. That would be equal to two or three 1,000 mcg Methylcobalamin lozenges used daily.

Before B12 replacement the bottoms of my feet were no longer ticklish. My feet as a whole didn’t have much feeling. For instance, I was doing some clean up behind the chicken house and accidentally got a stick jammed into my foot. I noticed because the impact tripped me, but it didn’t hurt so I didn’t pay much attention.

Within a few days my foot was swollen and I could barely walk. I soaked my foot for six to eight hours a day in Epsom salts, which I refreshed with hot water so that it stayed warm. I also used a hydrogen peroxide solution for soaks. Epsom salts ~ Read more.

It took about three days, but the swelling went away, for which I was thankful. After that, I bought flip-flops with a bed of rubbery little “nails” sticking up and into the soles of my feet. I felt that the somewhat sharp rubber would stimulate the soles of my feet and maybe cause some feeling to return.

Since the flip-flops were uncomfortable, I was encouraged. The sharpness felt hopeful. When the soles of my feet became ticklish again, I felt certain that the stimulation had helped, but I knew, for sure, that the B12 shots had helped.
Jarrow Methyl B12, 5000mcg, 60 Lozenges

Jarrow Methyl B12 5000 mcg

The way I think it worked was that the B12 shots helped the nerves, and then by walking on a sort of sharp surface I built up my sense of feeling. Today I use methylcobalamin lozenges instead of shots. Lozenges are just as effective as shots.

2. Are Toxins Present?

There are many different toxins

There are many different toxins

After I moved into my condo, I noticed increasing difficulty in moving my toes. I would concentrate on trying to move my toes while I watched television. I felt that by working my toes I would increase their mobility, sort of the way the flip-flops had helped. I kept a Time Line of my symptoms and changes ~ Read more.

When my balance problems increased, and I had a lot of wheezing and memory problems, I went to my doctor and to the neurologist. I felt they should increase the amount of B12 they prescribed because it didn’t seem to be helping as much any more. They were, however, adamant that once B12 was being administered the neuropathy did not get worse. They completely discounted what I was experiencing.

The nurse practitioner at my doctor’s sent me to a podiatrist. The podiatrist tested my feet, and sure enough there was not very much, if any, feeling. And I couldn’t flex my toes. He pointed out that my toes were beginning to curl from the lack of muscle/nerve health. He said that unless I started exercising I would lose more and more muscle function.

I had been walking to the library, post office and farmers’market before my balance problems increased, but once I started falling I was afraid to walk and had limited my outings to places like the grocery store or Wal*Mart where there are carts to hang on to.

Shortly after my visit to the podiatrist I saw the Gazelle on telly. It looked perfect because I could hold on to the upright bars while using it. I bought the Gazelle Edge and the exercise was great. I lost several inches, but my numbness and falling problems didn’t go away ~ they got worse.

It was two years before I found out that my condo had been built over part of any old privy pit (that’s the untreated excrement under an outdoor toilet). Read more.

I’d had what I thought were small “sink holes” in my garden, which I had filled. I had no idea that they were from the privy pit subsiding. Eventually the subsidence had caused my sewer pipe to break, so there was all the new sewage being added to the old, and that made a lot of hydrogen sulfide, which is what was causing my feet to go numb.

The first nerve the hydrogen sulfide affects is the olfactory. It deadens it and after that you can’t really smell well enough to identify the rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfide.

I’d been living in the hydrogen sulfide (at low levels, but 24-7) for two years. After that amount of time I could no longer feel my kitty licking my toes. I’d have no idea she was doing it unless I looked up and saw her.

After I learned about the hydrogen sulfide, I was distressed, but I thought that probably since the nerve damage symptoms were similar to those from low B12, that if I had a few B12 shots, I’d be much improved if not fine. Well, that didn’t work. A few B12 shots did not make me Fine.

3. LOTS more B12

The nurse practitioner I saw while I was having the privy pit excavated gave me a prescription for more cobalamin for B12 shots. She also gave me Celebrex to reduce the swelling.

Later a holistic doctor prescribed a B12 shot a day. The prescription was for 12 bottles of cobalamin, each containing enough for 30 shots. The prescription was good for a year. But I wasn’t sure she meant so much more than I’d previously been prescribed. She hadn’t said it, after all, she’d just written the prescription that equaled a shot a day for a year.

Being doubtful, I had maybe two shots a week. The idea of more than that was beyond my grasp.

After I’d been having the extra B12 for awhile, the hair on my arms began to grow back, but my toes were unchanged. I still had balance problems and was still still bumping into door frames.

When I accidentally got a darning needle jammed into my toe it hurt when it hit the bone, but I didn’t have any pain from the part that broke off in my toe, so I didn’t know it was there and I didn’t do anything about it until I was giving myself a B12 shot one morning and my toe was glinting in the sunshine. It wasn’t my toe glinting, of course, it was the broken bit of needle.

I got the broken bit out and I soaked my foot in Epsom salts the way I’d done when I’d hurt my foot years earlier. I also took vitamin C. My foot didn’t swell, and I didn’t have a fever, so I wasn’t worried. I’d checked the internet to read about tetanus, and everything said that you’d have swelling and a fever. Well, I had tetanus. BAD disease. Just really BAD. You can read my tetanus journal if you want to get some idea of what it is like.

About the second worst thing about tetanus was the way it made my right thigh hurt where I have peripheral neuropathy. It was just sooo bad. The pain was screaming bad. Not as bad as the muscle seizures in my back, but the next worse thing.

I got the idea that I should have a B12 shot a day since the pain was in the area where I’d had peripheral neuropathy and I knew peripheral neuropathy was a symptom of B12 deficiency. Up until this point the worst my peripheral neuropathy had ever been was to feel like a third degree sunburn.

What is different about this, and why I say it was screaming bad pain, is that it would suddenly feel as if hot, molten glass, molten but still sharp, had been shot into my thigh, like from a shot gun where there would be lots and lots of entries.
Jarrow Methyl B12, 5000mcg, 60 Lozenges

Jarrow Methyl B12

It took a month, or two, maybe longer, but the sudden, extreme pain went nearly away, and it seemed as if the peripheral neuropathy was better, too. There wasn’t as much of a wooden feeling as there had been.

When I was finally able to see the homeless doctor, this was after my home had been foreclosed (I was living in my townhouse by now, which I had previously rented for income) I was prescribed enough Metronidazol to kill the clostridia bacteria and quite a lot of any blood infection I may have had, if that was what as causing the red lines under my toe nail.

After I was better from the tetanus and could stand up straight, the homeless doctor prescribed B12 for a shot a day for three months. (Sublingual Methylcobalamin is just as effective as shots, and a LOT nicer.)

Well, that made this huge difference. I could actually move my toes again, just like normal. They just moved perfectly easily and smoothly. Only then huge new stresses came up, and the improvement vanished.

It was the summer of 2005 that my toes were so good. The summer of 2006 they are not good, but, I was glad my peripheral neuropathy in my thigh had not been sunburn-bad again. (I still get flashes of that pain when there’s a lot of stress, like in relation to my condo which was foreclosed and sold without me knowing ~ after I’d had all the remediation of the pit completed. It was major distressing to find out when I got an offer that a Realtor in the same company where I had it listed, Sotheby’s, had bought my condo at a foreclosure sale I didn’t even know about.)

Numbness Gone

My thigh has feeling now. It no longer feels wooden when I touch it. My feet have feeling, too. So, I  know feeling can come back. I think B12 in sufficient amounts will allow the nerves to regenerate or heal ~ I’m not sure what they do, but I am sure they do something.

I am also certain that stress works against the healing. One weekend, for instance, I had a tingling in my foot that wasn’t good. I think it was from worry about the loss of the condo. I thought I could get my Chapter 13 reopened and get the condo back, but the judge denied my motion. After I read the order a few more times and found writing on the back of each sheet and saw that the judge was saying I could file an adversary proceeding. I was so relieved and I felt so much better. Literally much better.

But I worry the adversary proceeding may not go as well as the one I did years ago. It should, but you know how sometimes things you think will go one way, really go another? That’s what I started thinking and the tingling feeling came into my left foot and was pretty bad. Not quite to the point where it feels like frost bite… but uncomfortable.

It was about this time I started taking serrapeptase, which was so helpful that I still take it.

Serrapeptase ~ Read more.

I hope this is helpful to anyone who has questions about numbness and if there is any hope of regaining feeling.


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