The Positive Side

Fall/Winter 2001 

Book review: Numb Toes and Other Woes

More on Peripheral Neuropathy

By Sean Hosein

Numb Toes and Other Woes: More on Peripheral Neuropathy
by John A. Senneff
MedPress (San Antonio, Texas) 2001

People with HIV/AIDS, particularly those who use the “d” drugs — ddC, d4T, ddI — can develop a form of nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy (PN). The symptoms include shooting pain, tingling and numbness in the extremities — hands, arms, feet and legs. This pain can come at any time during the day or night and, if severe, can greatly affect one’s everyday activities. Unfortunately, PN tends to sneak up on people: At first there may be a little pain or a slight tingle and then, suddenly, full-blown pain appears. The bad news is that there is no cure for PN because repairing damaged nerves isn’t easy. The good news is Numb Toes and Other Woes, which offers the latest strategies for helping people manage the pain of neuropathy and regain control over their lives.

John Senneff, the author of this second book on PN (his first was Numb Toes and Other Woes: Coping with Peripheral Neuropathy, 1999), writes from the point of view of someone living with this problem. His reaction to his own PN diagnosis was to find out everything (and we mean everything) about the cause and treatment of this pain. The book is very well researched and organized, with plenty of practical tips, such as how to work with your doctor, and useful Web resources. Senneff offers extensive coverage of prescription, experimental, complementary and nutritional approaches to nerve healing and pain management. Although Senneff doesn’t have HIV, there’s clearly been a lot of collaboration with AIDS expert Lark Lands (see “The 10 Commandments”), which goes to show that true healing knows no boundaries. Numb Toes is a superb source of information on how to control PN and a valuable addition to the world of pain relief.