Neuropathy at the Holidays

Neuropathy and the Holidays: Ways to Reduce Damaging Holiday Stress

Holiday stress can contribute to worsening of neuropathy symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about how to effectively cope at this time of year.

Hands down, the holidays are one of the most stressful events we encounter in our lives… and they come every year, just like clockwork!

That’s true for anyone, but it’s also true that people with neuropathy related to diabetes or chemotherapy cancer treatment may have higher stress levels than most. In this situation, without a strategic self-care in place, you may be feeling far from thankful or joyful. Holiday stress can add a physical burden to your already overburdened body.

But there’s good news. Holiday stress can be significantly reduced with just a little advance planning. Here’s how you can reduce the impact of the holidays on your neuropathy symptoms.

First, begin by understanding the physical toll that stress takes on your body’s systems. Whether it’s mentally or physically based, stress activates the release of hormones that tell your liver to create glucose, which can wreck your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic. What’s more, people who are stressed and tired are more likely to ignore their glucose levels or stick to a diabetes-friendly diet.

The second strategy for reducing neuropathy aggravating stress during the holidays is to know yourself and what is most stressful for you. Do what you can to control and minimize your exposure to stressful situations. For example, if driving during rush hour frays your nerves, try to vary your route to work to avoid some of that traffic or leave home at a different time than usual. Or consider alternatives, such as public transportation or carpooling. If you hate to cook but feel obligated to provide a lavish Thanksgiving meal, think of a different way to accomplish the same goal, such as ordering an already prepared turkey or asking a family member to share the cooking responsibilities this year.

Third, it’s a great idea from a neuropathy treatment standpoint to teach yourself a couple of simple relaxation exercises now so that they are easily accessed in your memory when you really need them. Start by reconnecting with your breathing—not by trying to change the pattern of your breath, but simple noticing how it feels to breathe. Spend at least twenty seconds relaxing into your breathing pattern. Progressive relaxation, in which you tense the muscles of each part of your body and then relax them, can also be an effective way to deal with holiday stress.

Be sure to talk with your NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways for you personally to minimize holiday stress. He or she will be able to prescribe specific types of exercise, supplements, and healthy eating that can support you best during the stress of the holiday season.

If you need help connecting with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area who can effectively monitor and treat your neuropathy, click here.

Laser neuropathy treatment

Laser Neuropathy Treatment: How Does It Help?

Lasers are no longer the giant, destructive beams that were featured in sci-fi movies of the past. Today, laser neuropathy treatment uses low-level focused lasers with healing powers.

Lasers used to be the stuff of science fiction, but today they seem to be everywhere—from the checkout station at your local library to the self-scan at the grocery store. Of course, lasers have also been in use as a surgical tool for many years now.

These days, the use of Low Level Laser Therapy, or LLLT, and Light Emitting Diodes (LED) is commonplace, with much continuing research that shows their effectiveness as healing modalities for neuropathic pain and discomfort.

The fact is, many cases of peripheral neuropathy can be significantly improved with the use of laser neuropathy treatment. Laser treatment can reduce symptoms in chronic pain and even for conditions like disc degeneration and spinal stenosis. What’s more, the use of lasers can also help to stimulate nerves in order to speed up the body’s natural healing process.

You don’t need to understand the actual science behind how lasers work, which can be pretty challenging for the layperson to grasp. But the user experience of laser neuropathy treatment is simple. A laser is a painless and highly focused light beam, which is carefully directed at a specific part of your body for short amounts of time. The time duration and laser power is based on research about the effects of laser treatment on certain body tissues.

Laser neuropathy treatment isn’t an immediate fix for your chronic pain or discomfort. It does take several treatments for an effect to be noticed. However, many patients see a significant positive change within about 12 treatments.

Laser neuropathy treatment is best applied by a trained NeuropathyDR™ clinician. For at-home treatment, please read about our NDGen Home Care Kit.

Neuropathy Treatment Clinician

The Most Important Aspect of Your Neuropathy Treatment!

There can be many components to a custom neuropathy treatment plan—but this one element is more important than all the rest!

Neuropathy treatment can be a tricky thing. In many of the common kinds of neuropathy that we see as neuropathy clinicians, the symptoms can be subtle and you may find that lab tests or other diagnostic tools return “normal” results. Sometimes even a nerve conduction study will fail to explain what’s going on.

Or perhaps there are simply slightly abnormal results that are confusing rather than clarifying in terms of a diagnosis. Yet the patient knows that these symptoms are not normal for him or her.

What does this mean for the patient seeking neuropathy treatment?

It means that by far the most important element of your treatment is the human element—that is, the skill and training of your neuropathy clinician.

In short, your neuropathy treatment clinician needs excellent, up-to-date examination skills in order to properly diagnose and treat your symptoms.

Your treating clinician will probably examine several factors, including your sensitivity to things like temperature, pressure (touch), and vibration. He or she will look closely at your range of motion as well as whether you are able to walk on your toes and heels.

Advanced technological testing is wonderful, and often helpful, but there is truly no alternative to a skilled examination by a professional who is well versed in the subtleties of neuropathy treatment and diagnosis.

Bedside manner is important, too, of course. Don’t discount how your neuropathy clinician makes you feel and whether you believe your concerns are being heard. This is all part of the total package you should look for in a neuropathy treatment professional. Your healthcare is in your hands, so remember that you can choose another clinician if this one is not right for you.

What are your questions about neuropathy treatment?

Talk with us all day long on our Facebook page.

Three young military personnel in front of flag, horizontal

Agent Orange and Other Factors in Peripheral Neuropathy

One of the most devastating effects to come out of the Vietnam era was agent orange.  Agent Orange has been linked to a number of health disorders not the least of which is often a brutal neuropathy.

There are also other disorders from which are veterans suffer due to everything from infections, trauma, and a multitude of other exposures.

We recently discharged a veteran serviceman with 40% improvement in his PN Symptoms after completing 2 months of intensive in-office care.

His history included Agent Orange exposure, and unfortunately lymphoma.

He was recently post-chemotherapy.

After 3.5 weeks of our in-office care, he was able to stop wearing lidocaine patches, and shortly thereafter was able to reduce his gabapentin (Neurontin) significantly.

He also cut down pain meds substantially.

His care was intensive, using different manual therapies, component dietary supplements and modifications along the way, topical supplements, various ND Techniques were performed until the right combination was achieved.

He was discharged to follow-up care after just 5 weeks!

There is more on Agent Orange and Our Veterans HERE

Meanwhile, we welcome your patient inquiries and can even help get you some treatment tools via the VA.

If you are, or know a Vet who needs extra help, You Can Send us an email at patientcare@gmail.com with “VET NEEDS HELP” in the subject line.

Thank You For Your Service!

 

Dairy and Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy: What’s Dairy Got To Do With It?

Most people probably shouldn’t be consuming dairy… and that’s doubly true for those with diabetic neuropathy. Here’s why.

It has long been known that there is a scientifically proven link between type 1 diabetes and the consumption of dairy products. Of course, we also know that many diabetes patients suffer from neuropathy as a side effect of the disease.

You may not realize that dairy products contain a growth factor similar to insulin. This substance has been recognized as a catalyst for certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer and breast cancer. What’s more, ovarian cancer has been linked in part to a certain type of milk sugar known as galactose.

And milk, for most people (more than half of the population), is just plain difficult to digest. Dairy consumption is the cause of several common maladies, from indigestion to food allergies. Dairy also contains high-cholesterol components—what we’ve been told are the “bad” fats that we should reduce or avoid.

All of these factors taken together, is it any wonder that we frequently recommend a dairy-free diet for people with diabetic neuropathy? We’ve seen again and again that this type of diet (as well as cutting out gluten) can lead to significantly less inflammation and pain for our diabetic neuropathy patients.
It’s not always easy to make this kind of significant dietary shift, but it can be done—and you’ll be grateful that you’ve chose to do without dairy. It’s best to make a gradual shift, first by reducing your dairy intake, and then by beginning to explore dairy alternatives.

There are many great products out there made with coconut, almonds, and rice. Do take a look at the labels, of course, since some products have added sugars or thickeners (such as carrageenan) that can irritate your digestive tract.

A few small changes to your diet and lifestyle can make a tremendous difference in your health, especially for those with diabetic neuropathy.

Need more information about nutrition for healing neuropathic pain? See our guide to Beating Neuropathy.

Neuropathy Diet Supplements

Neuropathy Diet Supplements: Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

A Supportive Neuropathy Diet Must Include Calcium. Here is the Truth About the Best Way to Get the Calcium You Need for Nerve Health.

Whether you are following a neuropathy diet to treat symptoms of pain and tingling, or simply choosing to eat more healthfully for overall functioning, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right amount of calcium.

We all need proper calcium levels in the bloodstream to maintain nerve function and regular heartbeat. If your calcium levels are off, it can even cause heart arrhythmia that can be fatal. Calcium is so important for your body’s everyday functioning that your body will self-adjust if calcium levels in the blood are too low. Unfortunately, the body’s way of doing this is by leaching calcium directly from your bones!

Often, we’ve heard the message that it’s important to get enough calcium through dairy products to avoid osteoporosis. We might have also been told that supplements of calcium and other key nutrients are necessary for a successful neuropathy diet. However, many cultures that prioritize physical activity along with a plant-based diet (and NO dairy) have almost no incidence of osteoporosis. Instead of dairy, people in these cultures eat nuts, vegetables, and fish or other lean proteins, with sparing use of animal products and little to no fat or sugar. This is the Neuropathy DR diet in a nutshell!

There are cases in which supplementing calcium and other nutrients can be a good thing, but it’s best done under the close supervision of a Neuropathy DR clinician or other knowledgeable medical professional. That’s because inappropriate supplementation can be dangerous. Your calcium level is too important to be addressed simply on guesswork, and sometimes overdosing on calcium supplements can contribute to the formation of other diseases or disorders.

If you do take a calcium supplement under the guidance of your doctor, keep in mind that calcium is best delivered alongside magnesium, as these elements work together for your health.

For a balanced formulation of nutrients to support a neuropathy diet, take a look at our NDGen Metabolic Support Formula.

Preventing and Treating Diabetic Foot Neuropathy

Warning Signs of Diabetic Foot Neuropathy

Do You Have These Symptoms of Diabetic Foot Neuropathy?

Did you know that around 20 percent of people with diabetes have serious foot problems that require hospitalization? Unfortunately, diabetic foot neuropathy is all too common. That’s because one side effect of diabetes is reduced blood flow to the feet, as well as numbness or tingling, which can make it hard for you to notice that there are problems in your feet.

For this reason, if you’re diabetic, it’s absolutely essential to your overall health for you to take excellent care of your feet. Untreated foot problems resulting from diabetes can cause serious health issues. In the worst-case scenario, some diabetics have had to face lifesaving foot amputations because of foot problems that became serious quickly.

Be aware of these key warning signs of diabetic foot neuropathy:

  • A “pins and needles” sensation in your feet, or any kind of ongoing pain or numbness
  • Wounds or sores on the feet, especially ones that don’t seem to heal
  • Cracked skin between your toes
  • Dark or black areas of skin on or around your feet
  • Swelling or redness of the feet
  • Hammer toes, bunions, or ingrown toenails

You can also help to prevent serious side effects of diabetic foot neuropathy by taking the following precautions in caring for your feet.

First, make foot care a daily part of your hygiene routine. Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry your feet every day to prevent fungus and bacteria growth. Follow this with a lotion to prevent your skin from drying and cracking, but don’t use lotion between your toes, where it will act as a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep your toenails trimmed straight across and filed, but don’t trim them too short.

Next, every day take a good look at your feet to check for any swelling, blisters, or sores. Make sure to look at the soles of your feet, not just the tops. If it’s hard to see the bottom of your foot, ask for help or use a mirror. When you bathe, avoid putting your feet in very hot water. Check the water temperature with your elbow before you get into the bathtub.

You can also help to prevent diabetic foot neuropathy damage by always wearing socks and shoes throughout the day, even when you’re in your own home. This helps to avoid accidental damage to your feet by stepping or tripping on something, or stubbing a toe. You might not notice an injury right away until it has caused an infection or other serious problems. You should be wearing specially designed shoes to support diabetic foot neuropathy.

And remember that the best way to avoid problems with diabetic foot neuropathy is to effectively manage your diabetes as a whole. Regular appropriate exercise, blood sugar monitoring, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet are keys to diabetes management that will improve your issues with diabetic foot neuropathy.

For more about how to treat foot neuropathy at home safely, take a look at our Home Care page.

 

Vitamin D for Neuropathy Diet

Neuropathy Diet and Key Supplements: Vitamin D

Don’t Overlook This Important Nutrient in Healing Through Neuropathy Diet and Supplementation.

 

Vitamin D is an absolutely essential nutrient that plays an important role in a healing neuropathy diet, not to mention multiple other types of disorders.

This vitamin has many key functions in your body. For one thing, it helps you maintain bone mass. Perhaps most importantly, Vitamin D allows you to build an immune system that can fight off invading diseases and restore order when your health has gone awry.

We may not even know everything there is to know about Vitamin D! New research continues to turn up additional ways that this vitamin is important for overall health as well as a vital part of a neuropathy diet.

Low levels of Vitamin D can really wreak havoc on your immune system. You’ll find that you get sick more easily with colds or the flu. You may also have global aches and pains that are hard to define or treat.
For your optimum health when battling neuropathic pain or discomfort, Vitamin D can be a significant part of a clinician-recommended neuropathy diet. That’s because Vitamin D helps your body manufacture certain substances, called neurotropins, that exist to repair and regenerate damaged nerves.

You may be wondering how to determine an effective dose of Vitamin D as a part of a neuropathy diet.
Unfortunately, experts don’t necessarily agree on this topic, especially in terms of world regions. Many European countries have a standard recommendation of several thousand international units (IUs) every day for adults. In the U.S., doctors tend to say that a good daily dose for adults is 600 IUs.

When I am helping a patient develop a customized neuropathy diet, I often recommend 2500 IUs or even more. That’s because the research shows that most people don’t get enough sunlight or enough natural food-based Vitamin D, so they need plenty of supplementation.

The best place to start is with a baseline check of your Vitamin D levels, so that you can work with your clinician to come up with the perfect dosage for your body’s needs. Most of all, be sure not to take TOO much Vitamin D without close monitoring—in very high doses, it can be toxic.

For at-home supplementation of a neuropathy diet, we recommend the NDGen Metabolic Support Formula, a safe and effective mix of key nutrients to support optimum healing. Click here to learn more.

NDGen Metabolic Support Formula for better nerve health

Nerve Health and Vitamin E: A Key Supplement for Neuropathic Pain

Did You Know That It’s Nearly Impossible to Get Enough Vitamin E from Food Sources? Read More About This Essential Supplement for Nerve Health.

Vitamin E plays such an important role in nerve health that a variety of serious health problems can be caused by a deficiency of this vitamin. What’s more, vitamin E is known to be very beneficial for people who are dealing with peripheral neuropathy and certain other types of neuropathic pain or dysfunction.

It’s true that you can get certain types of vitamin E, or tocopherols, from a small number of whole foods. For example, avocados and asparagus both contain reasonably significant levels of vitamin E. Corn and soybean oil also have some tocopherols in them. But you’d be hard-pressed to eat just the right combinations of tocopherol-containing foods in the right amounts—and on a nearly day by day basis, too!

For most people, and particularly those with neuropathic issues, it’s a good idea to supplement your vitamin E levels. Somewhere between 100 and 400 international units, or IUs, is a typical recommended dose of alpha tocopherol for bolstering nerve health. (We recommend doing this under the close care of a NeuropathyDR® clinician, however, as too much vitamin E—like certain other vitamins and minerals—can actually be dangerous.)

Here’s why vitamin E is so important. For optimum nerve health, your nerves need to create a certain amount of myelin—the insulation around nerves that acts as a conductor to pass their signals along. The tocopherols are a big help in supporting the manufacture of myelin. If you’re not getting enough vitamin E, your nerve health may be at risk. And for those experiencing neuropathy, vitamin E is an absolute must in rebuilding healthy nerve function.

The NDGen Metabolic Support Formula contains vitamin E in addition to other key vitamins and trace minerals that your body needs for nerve health and self-healing. Click here to learn more about Metabolic Support Formula.

lifestyle change for chronic pain

Lifestyle Change for Chronic Pain: How Do You Do It?

Knowing the Benefits Isn’t Enough to Elicit Lifestyle Change for Chronic Pain… So What Is?

 

By Carol Jeffrey

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined “health” as not merely the absence of disease but as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.” That’s a rather rigid utopian view, however; an increasing amount of research is showing that patients fare much better when a multifactorial treatment approach is used to combat disease. In sharing my experience, I will expound on the physical, mental and social factors associated with making a healthy lifestyle change for chronic pain in our mindset and diets.

REFRAMING

Whenever I heard the word “diet” my thoughts went directly to lack of comfort food, deprivation and fear of failure, but these were misguided thoughts. This reminded me of a study which showed that one’s mindset could alter a person’s visual acuity. “Because the letters get progressively smaller on successive lines, participants expected only to be able to read the first few lines on a traditional eye chart. When the participants viewed a shifted and reversed chart, they were able to see letters in which they previously couldn’t identify. This showed that mindset manipulation can counteract physiological limits imposed on vision.” (Believing Is Seeing…, Langer E, Dept. of Psych, Harvard.) Shifting my view allowed me to see not only the gains of feeling better from eating a well balanced diet, but the losses that I had incurred from making poor nutritional choices. I used this information to reframe the word “diet” into new thoughts of nutrition, health, and well-being. The success of healthy eating depends not only on our mindset, but understanding how the mind-body connection affects our eating habits.

MIND-BODY CONNECTION

Let me briefly explain what the mind-body connection is about. It’s important to “be present to one’s self” in a way that fosters self-awareness and acceptance…this allows us to change. I used to work in a physician’s office, and I usually scarfed down my lunch between patients and phone calls. This ended up being a mindless task of squelching my hunger pains with food devoid of nutritional value, leaving me lethargic by the end of the day. Often, after the long commute home I would be too tired to cook, so I’d stop for fast food, only to ingest more food devoid of nourishment. My mindlessness carried on into the late evening when I would find myself absentmindedly munching on snacks as I relaxed. My poor eating habitsextended Into my weekend, not due to lack of time but due to the social pressures of eating out with friends…where healthy food choices were limited. I was not psychologically present while eating nor mindful of my food choices.

BEING MINDFUL

Unfortunately, prolonged psychological stress, years of detrimental lifestyle, and poor eating habits had greatly contributed to my poor health. This eventually led to physical disability, unemployment, and the inability to do many of the things that I once loved. I was finally ready to break this cycle, and needed to become aware of the circumstances which led to my poor lifestyle choices and eating habits. I began paying attention to my internal dialogue (i.e., I don’t want to let them down, I’m expected to “…” I know I should choose the salad but I’ve had a difficult day so I deserve to eat what I want. I’m feeling anxious…Ice cream is always soothing. I’m not overweight so it isn’t like I’m pigging out). When I quit accepting my excuses, I became more mindful of my thoughts and choices, and discovered that I had much more control over my health than I had previously realized.

MISGUIDED DEPENDENCE

By this time I had reframed my thoughts about diet, understood the mind-body connection, was mindful of my choices, realized I had control over many aspects of my health. Yet, I was still depending upon my physician to heal me, or at least make me feel better with pharmaceuticals. Which leads me to the next issue I needed to address.

ENCULTURED

I had been encultured into believing that it was my physician’s job to heal, and the pharmaceutical company’s job to relieve my pain. If I failed to get better, it wasn’t my fault, or was it? “In 2012, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $24 billion on marketing to influence physicians, and over $3 billion in advertising to consumers.” (Cegedim Strategic Data) Traditionally, very few non-M.D. or non-D.O. practitioner appointments or treatments have been covered by insurance. These practices enculture and direct us into accepting the limitations that Western medicine on its own has to offer. It also moves us further away from more natural treatments and the means of self-healing. The strategies used by insurance and BigPharm are contrary to obtaining optimal health, since integrative medicine has shown to be most effective in managing disease. Now that I understood why I was so dependent on my physician, what could I do about it?

SELF-HEALING BEHAVIOR

Fabrega Horacio, Jr. wrote an interesting article (Sickness and Healing and the Evolutionary Foundations of Mind and Minding) which shows how non-human primates (i.e., chimpanzees) are reliant on self-healing behaviors that not only remedy illness but prevent many illnesses, through social functions and diet. I had been relying on my doctors to heal me and a pill to ease my pain, instead of taking personal responsibility, and using preventive and self-healing behaviors…like the chimps. I understood that eating a healthy diet along with living a well balanced life was essential for pain reduction, but I still wasn’t motivated to change.

MOTIVATION

Pain is fundamentally unpleasant, and is designed to protect by promoting motivation and learning. I was now enlightened to the fact that my lifestyle and poor diet were fueling the raging fire within my damaged nerves. However, like many others, I have an aversion to change and even though the reward of pain relief should have provided enough motivation to elicit change…it wasn’t. It is said that most people are motivated by one of two things, “inspiration” or (in my situation) “desperation.” My chronic pain was extremely difficult to handle, but it was the lack of being able to engage in life that made me desperate enough to make changes. My attitude and desire toward change had evolved from I wish, I want, to I must. My reason to change had now been clarified and my need for change had transformed from I should, I intend, to “I am” making a lifestyle change for chronic pain. However, what would keep me motivated? This is where goal setting came into play.

GOAL SETTING

“Remember the word ‘SMART.’ Successful goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.” This is based on research conducted by Dr. Edwin A. Lock of the University of Maryland.

  • Specific: I asked myself what my life was currently missing and what I wanted in my life. Connecting life goals to specific health-related goals clarified the reason I wished to be well and what I would do once my health improved. Thereby answering the questions what, where and why.
  • Measurable: I then determined how I would accomplish and measure my success. (i.e. Add three new organic, non processed foods to my grocery cart each week. Actively work with my doctor on natural pain relief techniques at each visit. Exercise as tolerated but do it two times a week. Do one thing each day to prepare me for a less stressful career.)
  • Achievable: I then asked myself if I had the skill, tools, and resources needed. (i.e. I researched YouTube, and I borrowed books from the library to learn about natural pain relief techniques, meditation, healthy diet, etc., and sought out physicians who practiced integrative medicine.)
  • Realistic: To avoid frustration, I focused on honest goals that I believed were obtainable. There was plenty of evidence to show that changing my lifestyle and eating a healthy diet would decrease my pain and improve my quality of life. It was realistic to train for a less stressful career. Total health and no pain was impossible; however, controlling diet, decreasing narcotic use and learning healthier ways of dealing with pain were within my control.
  • Timely: I gave myself one year to turn my health around and begin a new career. This goal challenged me but it was possible. I set daily, weekly and monthly goals which were frequently reviewed and revised as necessary.

There aren’t any shortcuts to change, including a lifestyle change for chronic pain. I had to reframe my negative thoughts, become more self-aware and mindful of my decisions, accept personal responsibility for my health, incorporate self-healing behavior, determine what would motivate me, set and commit to my goals.

The rewards of an improved quality of life came by default as I achieved my goals. I have not yet reached the utopia of health that the WHO refers to, but I have significantly decreased my pain level and again live an active and meaningful life. This article reflects my journey, but more importantly, I hope it encourages and guides you to make your own changes so that you too may live life to its fullest.

What is your experience with lifestyle change for chronic pain? Talk with us at our Facebook page.

NDGen Kit: Which Neuropathy Treatments Are Effective?

Neuropathy Treatments: What’s Just a Scam and What’s Effective?

Neuropathy is a growing problem worldwide. Inevitably, that means there are plenty of products out there being marketed as effective neuropathy treatments.

From pill-based supplements to creams, elixirs, and various types of gadgets, the marketplace is filled with things you can buy that are supposed to help reduce your neuropathy symptoms or even make them go away completely. This glut of products is directly related to the growing numbers of people suffering from systemic illnesses, like diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which tend to include neuropathy as a side effect.

The good news is that health conditions like these can be directly impacted through your own lifestyle choices, including reducing sugar and carbohydrates, reducing dairy, and being physically active. The best neuropathy treatments turn out to be the ones you have the most control over!

You’ve probably already experienced the fact that doctors today tend to offer medication as a first line of defense. Just take this pill, they seem to say, and your problem will be solved. Unfortunately, medications often come with their own set of side effects.

What are the lessons learned here?

One, use good common sense when you’re evaluating at-home neuropathy treatments. Is there information available about the science behind that supplement or device? Have others used it with good results? Talk with your clinician about the efficacy of the device or supplement you’re considering.

Two, there is plenty you can do to positively impact your health just through nutrition, exercise, and good self-care practices. These choices can be a great supplement to neuropathy treatments in your clinician’s office. When you combine a healthy lifestyle with scientifically based home care tools, you’ll be in great shape for beating your neuropathy.

Have you read about our NDGen Home Care Kit? This exclusive FDA-approved package bundles together everything you need for excellent home care, and we offer an unbeatable value in 24/7 support. Hands down, this kit is the best among self-care neuropathy treatments. Check out the NDGen Home Care Kit here.

neuropathy in feet

Neuropathy in Feet or Fingers: Don’t Ignore Tingling Symptoms!

It’s all too easy to avoid dealing with symptoms of neuropathy in feet, fingers, or elsewhere, but here’s why it’s so important to address these symptoms quickly.

Sometimes I find that my patients have been ignoring new symptoms, such as neuropathy in feet or fingertips. I understand why—maybe it has to do with not wanting to acknowledge the symptom and hoping it will go away. Or maybe your experience with medical issues has taught you that there’s “nothing you can do” about neuropathy pain and tingling.

But here’s the thing. That tingling isn’t going to go away. Eventually, it’s going to get worse…. unless you seek diagnosis and treatment. Why not decide to start feeling better today?

The fact is that for many people, neuropathy in feet, fingers, or other areas CAN be effectively treated. The key is in seeking a trained Neuropathy DR clinician who can take into account the unique circumstances of your symptoms, in the context of your medical history and your current needs, and craft a custom treatment protocol for you.

What if there’s no Neuropathy DR clinician in your area? Then the next best thing is effective self-care with an informed change in health habits, coupled with effective in-office therapies from your doctor (and perhaps a long-distance consult between your doctor and a Neuropathy DR expert). Nutrition can make a huge difference in neuropathy symptoms, for example. Did you know that many patients experience a significant positive change by reducing or eliminating dairy or gluten from their diets?

I’ve put together a guide just for people like you that offers a step-by-step introduction to what neuropathy really means and how you can overcome it. If you have symptoms of neuropathy in feet or other areas, I encourage you to take a look at my book, I Beat Neuropathy.

Nutrition is an essential component in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy.

2 Essential Components in the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy

Does Your Treatment Plan Include Manual Therapy and Nutrition Therapy? Read More About This Non-Invasive and Cost-Effective Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy.

It’s our experience that the best results in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy are able to happen when we include two specific non-invasive components along with neurostim treatments and general lifestyle changes. These components appear simple, but they can be very powerful and have nearly immediate results, with improvements compounding over time as the therapies are continued long-term.

The first component is manual therapy. This modality can include many specific approaches, such as stretching, massage, mobilization, and spinal manipulation. These are time-tested methods that have been extremely well researched for many medical conditions, from diabetes to cancer-related neuropathy. Best of all, manual therapy utilizes cost-effective techniques that are minimally invasive, meaning that they are gentle and not intrusive to your body’s own internal healing processes. I believe, like any good doctor will tell you, that you should always try a simpler and less invasive treatment of peripheral neuropathy before resorting to more strenuous methods, such as medication and surgery, that can have serious long-term side effects and impact your quality of life.

The second component in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy is nutrition therapy, which ideally will be customized to address the needs of a specific patient. Our approach includes an extensive patient evaluation done in our office, taking into account your medical history and up-to-date lab work, so that you can be confident you are taking the supplements that are optimum in supporting the medical challenges you are facing. With clinical monitoring, we’ll work together on achieving and maintaining the nutrient levels you need to feel and perform your best in your day-to-day functioning.

Did you know that a nutritional supplement doesn’t even have to come in pill form? Sometimes we recommend that patients use a topical creme to administer certain nutrients through the skin as part of a comprehensive plan for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy. Take a look at our ND ReGen Soothing Topical Supplement Creme.

Should People with Neuropathy Pain Get a Flu Shot?

Should People with Neuropathy Pain Get a Flu Shot?

If You Have Neuropathy Pain from Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP, There Are Special Considerations When Choosing Whether to Have a Flu Shot. Keep Reading for Details On How to Weigh the Risks and Benefits.

Flu season will be here before we know it. Most healthy adults will choose to get a flu shot to help stop the spread of this sometimes incapacitating illness, which can be responsible for thousands of deaths every year. And finding a place to get immunized is easy, with availability at nearly any drugstore, pharmacy, and walk-in clinic. Your insurance may even cover the cost.

But for some, deciding whether to get a flu shot isn’t an easy decision. People with neuropathy pain face a tough dilemma due to potential reactions to the vaccine. The list of folks who may be wary of the flu vaccine due to possible side effects includes people with peripheral neuropathy caused by cancer treatments, immune disorders such as AIDS and HIV, celiac disease, liver or kidney disease, shingles, and diabetes.

It’s important for people with neuropathy pain to realize that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) actually recommends getting a flu shot due to the serious complications that can arise from flu exposure with certain underlying illnesses.

However, if you have neuropathy pain caused by some illnesses, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome and CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy), you will need to discuss this issue in detail with their doctors. That’s because the immune system stimulation from a flu shot can sometimes trigger a relapse of these illnesses. Many doctors will recommend waiting a year after symptoms cease before receiving a flu shot.

Who is most at risk of catching and transmitting the flu virus? The CDC says you may want to consider getting a flu shot if any of these apply to you:

• You’re at least 50 years old. (Children under 19 are also at higher risk.)
• You are dealing with a chronic serious medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.
• You are a resident of a long-term care facility or nursing home.
• You are living with someone who is in a high-risk category, such as a child who is below the recommended age for vaccination.

Ultimately, whether to be vaccinated for the flu is your decision. People with neuropathy pain should speak with their doctors or NeuropathyDR clinicians about this issue before taking action.

Looking for more discussion about special topics on neuropathy pain? Come talk with us at our Facebook page.

Creativity Prescription as a Supplement for Neuropathy Treatments

Neuropathy Treatments Can Be Supplemented with Creativity

Are You Surprised That Making Art Could Be a Supportive Addition to Your Neuropathy Treatments?

One of the most effective at-home neuropathy treatments can be done anytime, anywhere, and you don’t need special materials to do it. You don’t even have to have a special talent or training in art.

Making art can include everything from drawing or painting to collage, scrapbooking, or even flower arranging. The basic human drive to make art, going back to cave paintings many thousands of years ago, is simply about making things that are special and unique that have personal meaning or bring beauty into your world.

And as it turns out, making art is physically good for you! Creativity might even be the perfect way to supplement neuropathy treatments.

Even way back in 2008, the National Institutes of Health described in their newsletter that scientists had already begun studying how the process of making art can reduce stress, ease pain, and improve quality of life. Art therapy has been shown positive benefits with many medical and emotional issues, from trauma or depression to chemotherapy fatigue. In other words, creativity can be a great supplement to your other neuropathy treatments.

There are many options for making art besides drawing and painting, and anyone can do these relaxing creative activities without any special training or materials. Try one of these easy art options.

Magazine Collage Journal

Materials you’ll need:

  • Blank journal or spiral notebook
  • Magazine
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Flip through any magazine looking for images that speak to you. Perhaps they make you feel happy or excited, or they remind you of good memories. Choose three images to glue down to your journal page in any way that looks right to you. If you want, flip to a new page in your journal and write down your thoughts about the images you selected today.

Index Card Mandala

Materials you’ll need:

  • Index cards
  • Pencil
  • Small jar lid
  • Markers or colored pencils

“Mandala” is a Sanskrit word for “sacred circle.” Psychologist Carl Jung used to make a daily practice of creating mandala designs to help him process his ideas. Coloring mandalas has also been shown to be relaxing to your nervous system. All you need to do is find a small circular object, like a jar lid, and trace around it onto your index card. Now use markers, colored pencils, or crayons to fill in the circle with any shapes, colors, and lines that you want. If you prefer to color in larger and more elaborate mandala designs, you can find free printable mandalas online.

Blind Contour Drawing

Materials you’ll need:

  • A Sharpie marker
  • Blank paper
  • Willingness to try something new

Elizabeth Layton is famous for having become an artist at the age of 68, using a daily practice of making blind contour drawings to help her battle depression. “Blind contour” means that you will be drawing a continuous line without looking at the paper; instead, you focus your gaze on the object you’re drawing. The end result obviously won’t be a perfect drawing, but what’s important in this process is the experience of drawing. I recommend a Sharpie marker because there’s no temptation to erase or “fix” anything and you can concentrate on really seeing an object, rather than forcing your drawing to look a certain way. Try it for a few days and see how much fun it can be to create messy, process-oriented drawings!

Are you curious about how to add a creativity prescription to your neuropathy treatments? Talk with us about it at our Facebook page.

foot stretches for neuropathy pain

Relieve Neuropathy Pain and Discomfort with These Simple Stretches

A Series of Simple Daily Stretches Could Help You to Reduce Neuropathy Pain and Discomfort

Neuropathy pain can lead you to feel immobilized. It’s easy to gradually become fearful of making the pain and discomfort worse by moving around too much, in the belief that too much exercise could increase your pain.

But in truth, mild exercise is likely to actually help you feel better on a daily basis. If moderate exercise causes more neuropathic pain for you, try some of these simple stretches, which you can even do lying down or in bed. You can repeat each stretch five or six times.

  1. First, gently spread your fingers wide apart, then loosely close them into a fist. Spread your toes wide, then curl them up.
  2. Next, begin making circles with your wrists and ankles. Be sure to rotate in both directions several times.
  3. Now pull your hands in toward your shoulders and bend your knees in gently toward your chest. Gently relax back into your original position.
  4. Slowly bring up your arms toward your ears, then back down to a resting position.
  5. Last, lift one leg as far as you comfortably can while keeping your knee straight. Gently lower the leg, then repeat on the other side.

These stretches are great for anyone with neuropathy pain that results in limited range of motion. They can help to improve circulation in your legs and arms in addition to giving your joints a gentle workout.

Remember, even mild and occasional exercise is helpful in keeping yourself as healthy and pain-free as possible. Start at a very slow pace, only going as far as you feel comfortable, and then build up your stretching stamina on a daily or weekly basis. Of course, be sure to speak with your NeuropathyDR® clinician before initiating any new exercise program.

Want to know more about stretching as a way to reduce neuropathy pain? Talk with us about it at our Facebook page.

Exercise for Diabetic Neuropathyv

Exercise for Diabetic Neuropathy Can Be Helpful, Not Harmful

If it seems to you that exercise for diabetic neuropathy sounds like a path to pain and discomfort, read these tips for turning exercise into a beneficial factor for your health.

Exercise is always a beneficial element of a healthy lifestyle. Yes, even for people with diabetic neuropathy! In fact, diabetics need regular exercise to help control blood sugar and to slow down the onset of new diabetes symptoms by maintaining good circulation and heart health.

It’s true that neuropathy can make your daily activities seem much harder, and some physical movements such as walking can become more difficult. But there are ways to safely and effectively exercise for diabetic neuropathy.

Before beginning any exercise program, be sure to talk with your NeuropathyDR® clinician about workout adjustments to accommodate your specific health needs. You’ll also want to consider exercise clothes and shoes to help prevent injury, including silica gel midsoles.

Which exercises should you stay away from? For most individuals with diabetic neuropathy, weight-bearing or repetitive exercises like walking or running can be harmful and make symptoms worse. There’s some debate about weight training, which could be beneficial in small doses but potentially harmful in excess.

The best exercise for diabetic neuropathy may swimming, which is adaptable for any fitness level and can be easily modified to alleviate neuropathy symptoms. As a no-impact exercise, swimming is the least likely to cause harm to your feet, legs, or joints but also offers great benefits for circulation.

Another great exercise for diabetic neuropathy is biking, whether you’re riding an actual bicycle or a stationary bike. This low-impact activity can easily be built into your overall treatment program for neuropathy.

Keep in mind that even the most basic, minimal types of exercise can be beneficial! For example, a simple and effective stretch for your feet and legs involves flexing your ankle several times and then rotating the foot in each direction.

With any type of exercise, be sure to check your extremities (especially your feet) for any kind of sores, blisters, or irritation that can develop into an infection. Make sure you don’t get overheated, since many people with neuropathy have trouble regulating their body temperature. Also, keep an eye on your blood pressure and heart rate when exercising, particularly if you suffer from autonomic neuropathy.

What kind of exercise for diabetic neuropathy has helped you? Join the conversation at our Facebook page.

clouds-floating

How to Use Meditation for Chronic Neuropathy Treatment (Part 2): 5 Surprising Ways to Meditate

Chronic neuropathy treatment can be supported with meditation—and it doesn’t have to be fancy, structured, or even spiritual in nature. Here’s a list of 5 ways to begin a meditation practice today on your own, for free.

When you think of meditation, do you picture a very serene-looking monk sitting cross-legged on a cushion? Or maybe a young man or woman in yoga gear on a cliff by the ocean? Maybe you’ve heard that there’s only one right way to meditate, and you’d need to watch a DVD or attend a class to find out how.

But I have great news for you! The truth is that you don’t need a class, a DVD, or a perfect body to meditate. You don’t even have to sit on a cushion on the floor. Best of all, meditating is so easy, you can start today.

Here are 5 kinds of meditation that don’t require any kind of training. You can start with just 5 or 10 minutes each day.

1. Sitting meditation

Sitting doesn’t have to mean sitting on a cushion. You can sit upright in any chair that is comfortable for you. The key factor is in having appropriate posture. Think of your head as a balloon that is rising toward the ceiling on a string; let it float over your shoulders. Now think of having a strong, upright back and an open, receiving heart. Sit in this way for 5 to 10 minutes and just notice any thoughts or feelings that arise, like clouds floating by in the sky.

2. Walking meditation

This is a special way of walking that holds less danger of repetitive stress, because you won’t cover much ground in 5 minutes. It might more accurately be called balancing meditation. Simply slow down each step and notice every aspect of it: shifting your weight onto one foot, letting the other foot rise forward, contacting the ground, shifting your weight again. Then repeat on the other side. It’s just like walking, but at a glacial pace that allows you to really notice the sensations of movement and balance.

3. Meditating in bed

For those who find sitting or walking meditation too painful due to neuropathy symptoms, the wonderful thing to know about meditation is that you can do it in any position—even lying down. (The Buddha himself said so!) The key practice isn’t your body position, although it’s best to be in a posture that allows for effective breathing. Instead, the key is in noticing sensations and thoughts and simply allowing them to pass by without judgment.

4. Mindfully doing a creative act

Meditation doesn’t even have to happen in stillness. It’s possible to engage in a daily meditative practice involving any creative act, such as cooking or creating music. Again, the key to a meditative practice is in being fully aware in each moment of how you are feeling, what you’re thinking, and what judgments are arising about the situation. If you find that your attention drifts, just gently bring it back to this moment.

5. Mindfully completing any household chore

Finally, meditation works with any activity, regardless of its nature. The dullest of household chores can be a form of meditation if they are done mindfully—that is, with your attention on sensation and awareness. For example, when you are washing the dishes after dinner, spend those 10 minutes noticing how the soapy water feels on your hands and being aware of the pattern of your breathing.

Meditation of any kind can be an effective stress relief and a self-help supplement for your chronic neuropathy treatment.

Have you tried meditation? Talk with us about it at our Facebook page.

healing chronic disease with the power of positive attitude

Healing Chronic Disease with the Power of Positive Attitude

How to Transform Negative Self-Talk into Positivity for Healing Chronic Disease

The bad news: Negative self-talk can be very damaging to your health.

The good news: You can easily learn to transform negative self-talk into positive thinking that can actively help you in healing chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer.

What is negative self-talk? This is the term for the kind of demeaning, insulting, or belittling internal messages that we give ourselves when we are frustrated by our perceived failings. “I’m so stupid.” “I always mess up.” “Nobody could ever love me.”

These messages are so hurtful because they are based on labeling and judgment. They tell you that there is something wrong with you as a person. When your goal is healing chronic disease, negative self-talk tells you that instead of getting better, you ought to BE a better person.

You wouldn’t allow your best friend to talk this way to herself. It’s time to become your own best friend and intervene in negative self-talk. All you have to do is learn to break the pattern and replace negativity with truly healing actions that support you in healing chronic disease. Remember that healing begins from within, and you have total control over the mindset that is either helping or hurting your chance at optimum health.

Begin by simply noticing during the day when you use negative self-talk. Write down what the circumstances were, what you said or thought to yourself that was negative, and how those thoughts made you feel. Then, pick one recurring negative thought and decide how you will turn it around into a healing action.

For example, if you have noticed that you think to yourself “I’m such a klutz,” use this thought as a cue to notice what you need. The next time you catch yourself thinking about being a klutz, stop and say, “What do I need right now?” Maybe it’s a rest break, some water to rehydrate you, or a kind word from a good friend. Then take that healing action.

We think of negative self-talk as “automatic thoughts,” but the truth is that you can break the negative cycle and turn the negative into a positive. Let your negative thoughts be a signal that it’s time for a wellness check-in to find what your body needs right now. Soon, every moment will become a healing moment on the path to healing chronic disease.

Come take part in the ongoing conversation at our Facebook page!

Meditation can help your neuropathy and chronic pain.

Looking for a Home Treatment for Chronic Neuropathic Pain? Reasons to Give Meditation a Try

Could Meditation be an Effective Home Treatment for Chronic Neuropathic Pain?

Meditation is a free wellness tool that you can use anytime and anywhere. And it’s not as complicated as you might think.

It might surprise you to hear that meditation can be an effective home treatment for chronic neuropathic pain. Maybe it doesn’t seem like something that would be an accepted neuropathy treatment, like medications or other traditional approaches to chronic pain.

In fact, there is a type of meditation that is actually considered to be evidence-based. In other words, multiple studies have looked at this method and seen positive results for chronic pain. A program called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction has been used in many renowned hospitals and medical centers, incorporating a type of mindfulness meditation that focuses on noticing thoughts and sensations without judgment.

There are books and tapes available about this program, but you don’t even need that kind of specialized training to begin using meditation for wellness on your own. All you need is to understand why mindfulness meditation works with chronic pain.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed this evidence-based program, says that when we have chronic pain, there are two things that make us suffer: the physical pain itself, and our thoughts and emotions about the pain that intensify what we are feeling. Our story about the awfulness or unbearableness of the pain builds a layer of tension around it, like wearing a shirt with a collar that’s too tight.

Meditation lets us change the way we feel ABOUT the pain, so that we can be more relaxed and accepting of it. That way, we can experience peacefulness even when physical pain is present.

Those are the reasons why meditation can be an effective home treatment for chronic neuropathic pain. Soon, we’ll discuss some different ways to meditate and how you can find the method that works best for you.

Meanwhile, please join us for an ongoing discussion at our Facebook page!