Lyme Disease and Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy and Lyme Disease

Could Your Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms Be Related to Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a significant problem in some areas of the U.S., especially those with a lot of densely wooded areas. Unfortunately, many doctors these days are not up to date on their knowledge of this disease enough to accurately diagnose it.

In part, that’s because Lyme disease can be complicated in how it presents itself. Sometimes it can cause arthritis or a variety of neuropathic pain symptoms. It’s so important to be able to distinguish between peripheral neuropathy and Lyme disease.

Patients with Lyme disease leading to neurological damage can sometimes experience symptoms like burning, numbness, or tingling. Lyme disease can even lead to a type of nerve paralysis in the face called Bell’s palsy.

We don’t know exactly why Lyme disease can cause these types of peripheral neuropathy symptoms. But what is known about Lyme disease based on more recent case histories is that it can be chronic. A typical dosage of a month’s worth of antibiotics may not be enough to prevent or reduce neurological symptoms from occurring.

One of the classically recognizable symptoms of Lyme disease is a bulls-eye shaped rash stemming from the site of a tick bite.

But, according to Columbia University Medical Center, about 18 percent of Lyme disease cases don’t feature the classic symptoms. If you don’t have the textbook symptoms of Lyme disease, including a bulls-eye rash and a known tick bite, you may not be given an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes Lyme disease simply mimics the flu, with fatigue and fever along with headache.

An early accurate diagnosis of Lyme disease is vital in order to prevent the development of peripheral neuropathy symptoms and/or symptoms of arthritis.

As always, if you are having peripheral neuropathy symptoms, I urge you to seek an experienced and highly trained neuropathy clinician who can make a differential diagnosis and help you reduce symptoms as quickly as possible. Click here to locate a NeuropathyDR® clinician near you.

 

Neuropathy Treatment Decisions

Neuropathy Treatment Decisions: Should You Take Medications for Neuropathy?

The Most Comprehensive and Effective Neuropathy Treatment Approach Goes Beyond Medicating Symptoms and Treats the Root Cause.

There is so much more to effective neuropathy treatment than masking symptoms with medications.

Unfortunately, you would hardly know that’s the case, given how the majority of doctors still approach neuropathy treatment. The truth is that relying on the expertise of a doctor who isn’t specifically trained in neuropathy treatment could end up making your neuropathy symptoms worse, not better.

That’s because so many of the drugs that doctors tend to prescribe for neuropathy symptoms like tingling, numbness, and nerve pain have side effects, some of which will intensify over time.

This “one drug fits all” approach often stems from a lack of understanding about the root cause of neuropathy symptoms.

So-called idiopathic neuropathy, for which there is no known cause, may actually be developed over time due to metabolic syndrome—formerly known as pre-diabetes—a condition that will not be addressed at all by traditional symptom-focused drug therapies for neuropathy.

Or worse, if a doctor ignores the neuropathy and attempts to treat metabolic syndrome using medications for lowering cholesterol or blood pressure, your neuropathy symptoms are likely to get worse in reaction to these drugs.

The most effective approach to neuropathy treatment is a multi-modal approach that begins with substantial lifestyle changes and complementary therapies to support your body’s own natural healing process. Work with a trained neuropathy expert on a treatment plan that includes safe weight loss, a healthy neuropathy diet with no sugars or processed foods, and regular moderate exercise.

When you take the wheel of your own neuropathy treatment plan and consult with an expert trained in the best that neuropathy treatment has to offer, your quality of life will improve for the better.

There is a place for prescription medications. But I truly believe that a comprehensive neuropathy treatment approach that goes beyond drugs and puts YOU in the driver’s seat is the best way to begin healing from neuropathic pain.

Click here to find a neuropathy treatment expert near you.

 

Dairy and Your Neuropathy Diet

Your Neuropathy Diet: The Hard Truth About Dairy

You Won’t Hear This Advice From Many Doctors, But This One Factor Can Change the Effectiveness of Your Neuropathy Diet.

The consumption of dairy products has always been a highly charged topic in nutrition. On the one hand, there is a sizable lobby advocating for the U.S. dairy industry. On the other hand, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that regular consumption of dairy products is a pretty bad idea for human beings.

In short, if you are wrestling with whether to include milk and other dairy products in your neuropathy diet, any contemplation of this question leads to a straightforward conclusion.

More than half of the human population has trouble digesting milk, leading to digestion problems, allergic reactions, and eventually elevated levels of “bad fats” in your body. What’s worse, there is a hormonal growth factor contained in most dairy products that is known to instigate several different types of cancer, including prostate and breast cancer. One specific kind of milk sugar called galactose is linked to ovarian cancer.

And the regular consumption of dairy is additionally linked to the likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes, which is a major risk factor for neuropathic pain.

All of this means that a neuropathy diet that eliminates dairy (as well as gluten) is one of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation and pain associated with neuropathy and chronic pain.

It’s best to make a gradual shift in your diet so that the changes you instill can be permanent. There are many dairy alternatives out there, including products made from coconut, rice, and almonds. Just watch out for any added sugar or thickening agents like carrageenan.

As always, I urge you to become your own best health advocate. Do your research and seek out a doctor who has the background to prescribe an effective neuropathy diet.

Need to find a neuropathy doctor near you?

 

Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetic Neuropathy

The Connection Between Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetic Neuropathy

What Do You Need to Know About Diabetic Neuropathy and Metabolic Syndrome?

Years ago, we called it pre-diabetes. Lately, the common term is Syndrome X. No matter what name we give it, metabolic syndrome is a potentially devastating diagnosis.

I would go so far as to say that metabolic syndrome is the number one most dangerous medical condition challenging our society today.

That’s because so many people start to take care of themselves in terms of diet, exercise, and other self care only AFTER they have been diagnosed with diabetes or diabetic neuropathy. And by then, for so many of those people, it’s almost too late to matter.

Metabolic syndrome lies hidden for years, causing damage to multiple major body systems. At our clinics, we see so many patients with diabetic neuropathy and chronic pain related to metabolic syndrome.

Typically, metabolic syndrome tends to show up as a collection of subtle symptoms many years before a diabetes diagnosis. People with metabolic syndrome will notice a weight increase and thickening of the waist, along with small changes in their blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

The first thing you can do to protect yourself from the ravages of metabolic syndrome is to accept that a 20+ pound weight gain and spreading waistline is not a normal part of aging, and in fact can lead to very dangerous health complications. Being overweight is a risk factor for peripheral neuropathy in addition to other conditions, like heart disease.

Your next line of defense is to begin working with a medical specialist who is well trained in diagnosing metabolic syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, and other disorders. Remember that only you can be an effective health advocate for yourself.

Finally, ask your doctor about lifestyle changes that can have a significant positive impact on your health related to metabolic syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.

Get your copy of our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

 

Build your support network for better coping with chronic pain.

Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

Don’t go it alone. Here’s why accepting support from family and friends is so important in treating chronic pain.Fotolia 5256891 XS 300x200 Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is  SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

 

Although it may be a shocking idea, your personal support network may be equally as important to your health as your medical treatment team—or any kind of supplemental therapies.

Why? Because the bottom line is that a positive outlook is the best medicine for good health outcomes. If you are feeling contented and supported in your personal relationships, you’ll be much better equipped to cope with pain when it arises.

Unfortunately, many people find it hard to ask for help from their family and friends. We may have heard the message that it was weak or shameful to be dependent on others.

The truth is that when we are able to accept love and support, we’re better equipped to be as independent as possible in our daily lives.

Make a list of people in your life who have helped you in big and small ways in the past, as well as people that would probably be willing to help now if you were to ask.

Now, think about the things that are making your life the most difficult or stressful right now. This list could be anything from a leaky faucet in your kitchen to a pile of medical bills. Just get it all down on paper.

Finally, begin matching the list of stress points with the list of helpers in your life. Who could come over and fix that leaky faucet for you? Who could help you make phone calls to arrange a payment plan for those bills?

You will find that most of the people on your list are grateful for a chance to help you—they just didn’t know what to do that would be truly helpful. And when your stress level decreases (now that the leaky faucet or pile of bills is a thing of the past), your overall health will be optimized. That means chronic pain becomes less of a burden because you’re better able to cope with it.

Building your support network is just one way that you can take control of your own health and overcome chronic pain. Learn more by visiting our Facebook page.

Gluten Sensitivity and Peripheral Neuropathy

Gluten free bakeries…

femaledocblue 150x150 Gluten Sensitivity and Peripheral Neuropathy

Many people who have peripheral neuropathy symptoms with no other indicators for neuropathy should be checked for celiac disease.

Gluten free cereals…

Totally gluten free diets…

You can’t look through a magazine or turn on the TV these days without seeing something about the benefits of going gluten free in your diet.

Going gluten-free is more than just the latest fad diet.

Especially for the growing number of people with celiac disease (aka gluten sensitivity)[1].

If you’re one of those people, you’re probably all too familiar with the symptoms of celiac disease:

  • Anemia
  • Change in weight
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
  • General weakness
  • Oily, foul-smelling stools
  • Stomach problems, cramping, gas, distention, bloating, vomiting

Those symptoms all make sense when you understand exactly what celiac disease is.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that damages the lining of the small intestine.  If you have celiac disease, eating foods that contain gluten – a protein found in wheat and other grains – starts a reaction in your autoimmune system that directly affects the small intestine.  Without treatment, celiac disease can lead to cancer, anemia, seizures, osteoporosis – any of these can be fatal.

Since celiac disease directly affects the small intestine, digestive issues make perfect sense.  But what about these symptoms:

  • Burning, tingling and numbness in hands and feet
  • Loss of feeling in hands and feet
  • Numbness, tingling or reduced sensation in the face and body

The Celiac Disease – Peripheral Neuropathy Connection

At first glance, it’s hard to make the connection between gluten sensitivity and peripheral neuropathy.  A recent study discovered that about 10% of people with celiac disease had peripheral neuropathy symptoms before their digestive system issues appeared.  For that reason, many people who have peripheral neuropathy symptoms with no other indicators for neuropathy, should be checked for celiac disease as a possible cause of their peripheral neuropathy.

The best thing you can do for yourself is contact a neuropathy specialist, like your local NeuropathyDr® clinician, to undergo the appropriate testing to find out if celiac disease is causing your peripheral neuropathy.

Testing and Evaluation

If you have peripheral neuropathy and/or celiac disease symptoms and haven’t been tested for one or both of these conditions, this is what you can expect.

To determine if you have peripheral neuropathy, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will conduct a thorough neurological examination, electromyography and nerve conduction tests.

If you determine that you have neuropathy and you don’t have any other underlying potential cause, the next step will be to test you for celiac disease.  Those tests will include blood tests and possibly a biopsy of the lining of your small intestine.

Living with Celiac Disease and Peripheral Neuropathy

Once your testing is completed, if you have celiac disease your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to manage your condition.  In order to manage your celiac disease symptoms you will need to:

  • Follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life[2]
  • Avoid all foods containing wheat
  • Avoid other grains that contain gluten (rye, barley and oats – that means no pasta, grains, cereals and many processed foods).

To help cope with your peripheral neuropathy symptoms caused by your celiac disease, you should:

  • Stop taking any medications that cause peripheral neuropathy (like statins to lower cholesterol)
  • Modify your lifestyle to reduce your pain – like avoiding standing or walking for extended periods of time
  • Wear looser shoes
  • Soak your feet in ice water
  • Take pain medications prescribed by your NeuropathyDR® clinician
  • Take safety precautions to compensate for your inability to feel sensation in your feet and hands
  • Ask your NeuropathyDr® clinician about special therapeutic shoes that may be covered by insurance or Medicare

Celiac disease and peripheral neuropathy can wreak havoc on your body.  Talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician to take steps to minimize the ill effects of both your conditions.

For more information on coping with celiac disease and peripheral neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.


Neuropathy Diet and Nutrition

Neuropathy Diet and Nutrition: How to Get Started

You Know That A Healthy Neuropathy Diet Can Make All the Difference in Your Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy. But Do You Know How to Implement This Change in the Best Way?

If you’re been reading for a while, you know that we discuss a healthy neuropathy diet as one of the primary ways to improve your health immediately and over time.

Unfortunately, many neuropathy patients struggle with this lifestyle change. When you are accustomed to processed foods, which typically contain lots of salt and sugar, learning to enjoy leafy green vegetables and other staples of the neuropathy diet can be a challenge.

But it’s well worth it. You’ll begin feeling better overall within a matter of days, and a neuropathy diet offers control over your symptoms which can have both physical and emotional impacts.

So many of the neuropathy patients we see in our clinics are suffering from chronic GI problems—irritable bowel, ulcers, and so on. Those things complicate neuropathic pain and certainly detract from quality of life. They can be precipitated by stress, but often a very poor diet is also to blame.

Here’s why we advocate whole foods for a neuropathy diet. Whole foods simply contain more things that your body needs to heal from neuropathy: vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water.

Ideally, your neuropathy diet will contain local fresh farmer’s market produce whenever possible. You’ll also want to learn how to flavor and season your food primarily with spices rather than salt.

As with any significant change in your health regimen, talk with your neuropathy specialist about how to begin incorporating a healthy neuropathy diet into your lifestyle in a gradual way.

Looking for a neuropathy specialist who is highly trained in all aspects of treating and managing neuropathy, including a healthy neuropathy diet? Click here to find a neuropathy expert near you.

Neuropathy Supplements: Biotin

Neuropathy Supplements: What You Need to Know About Biotin

Many People Don’t Know About Vitamin B7, One of the Important Neuropathy Supplements.

If you’ve heard about the B vitamin known as biotin, you might have only seen references to it in terms of cosmetics. Recently there’s been a surge of beauty products that include biotin as an ingredient, supposedly to strengthen or enhance nails, skin, and hair.

The truth is, using personal products with added biotin probably will not have any impact on your hair or make your nails stronger. There’s very little hard evidence of this.

And in the general population, most people don’t have a biotin deficiency, because it’s generated by our normal gut bacteria. (The exception is when someone is taking long-term antibiotics, which can harm those intestinal bacteria and lead to low biotin levels.)

But in terms of neuropathy supplements, biotin or vitamin B7 can be a powerhouse. Here’s what neuropathy patients and especially those struggling with diabetes need to know about supplementing with biotin.
If you have a genuine deficiency in biotin, similar to the other B vitamins, you might be experiencing symptoms like fatigue, skin rashes, depression, and peripheral neuropathy.

Diabetics may have a higher than average need for supplementing with biotin. Neuropathy supplements like biotin can aid in regulating blood sugar and lipids for diabetics.

Biotin is naturally present in a broad range of foods, although the amount of biotin in a single serving tends to be very small. The key to getting enough biotin in your diet without supplementation is to stick with a regimen of plenty of leafy green veggies, eggs, and other healthy whole food sources.

For most people with neuropathic pain, biotin can help. Consult with your neuropathy specialist about whether neuropathy supplements like biotin are needed to bolster your symptom-busting neuropathy diet.

For more information about what to eat for a neuropathy diet, take a look at our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

 

Neuropathy Self-Treatment

Self-Treatment for Neuropathy Symptoms: A Supplement, Not a Substitute

There’s A Lot Neuropathy Patients Can Do At Home to Supplement Their Doctor’s Treatment Plan, But Don’t Think You Can Handle It All On Your Own.

We talk a lot about self-treatment for neuropathy and chronic neuropathic pain. But I want you to understand the difference between effective home treatment and dangerous stalling that can make your neuropathy worse.

I’ll be straightforward: if you are experiencing neuropathy symptoms like tingling, numbness, chronic pain, fatigue, and balance or movement problems, you absolutely need to be under the care of a trained neuropathy clinician. Neuropathy is often a degenerative condition that will get worse over time when not treated adequately.

The worst thing you could do for your neuropathy symptoms is to try to handle it all on your own through self-care based on what you’ve read on the Internet.

I am all for complementary forms of treatment like yoga, massage, and so on—but be aware that “complementary” means that you should use them in conjunction with effective medical treatments, not instead of medical treatment. That goes for vitamin supplementation as well.

If there is only one thing I can convey about self-treatment, it is this message: When it comes to neuropathy, it is absolutely vital to get early treatment in order to reduce or minimize your neuropathic pain. Ignoring it, self-medicating, or attempting to handle it on your own is NOT a good long-term health strategy.

Remember, home care and self-treatment strategies (like a health neuropathy diet, moderate exercise, and supplements) are intended to work WITH your neuropathy clinician’s treatment plan. The idea is to build a holistic treatment plan for neuropathy so that everything you do, in the doctor’s office and at home, is supporting your long-term health goals and improving your quality of life right away.

Read more about how to treat neuropathic pain in our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

Neuropathy and Sleep Problems

Neuropathy and Sleep Problems

Sleep Problems are Common among Neuropathy Patients. Here’s What You Can Do to Make It Better.

Sleep disturbances aren’t unusual for most people during times of stress or illness. But people with neuropathy tend to experience sleep problems more often, and in a more severe way, than the general population.

You may have already experienced how a lack of sufficient restful sleep can negatively impact your daily function. It can also be detrimental to your long-term health and quality of life.

If you’re not getting enough restful sleep, your body’s major systems just aren’t able to recharge like they need to in order to combat neuropathy symptoms. You’ll be noticing more and more weight gain, fatigue, depression, and chronic pain over time as you continue losing sleep.

It’s so important to share information about your sleep problems with your neuropathy specialist, who can build sleep adjustment into your overall treatment plan.

You can also make lifestyle changes starting right away to help improve your sleep quality and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Daily movement or exercise, preferably outdoors for the addition of vitamin D from sunlight, is very important for neuropathy sufferers with insomnia. Stress reduction is another key to healthy sleep to supplement your neuropathy treatment. Make sure to also get enough water and eat foods from a healthy neuropathy diet. Some patients (those without kidney disease) may want to ask their doctors about magnesium supplements.

Another option is the daily use of our home care kit featuring an FDA-approved electrotherapy neurostimulator. By reducing tingling and other symptoms that can distract you from sleep, this daily care program can get help you get more Z’s on a regular basis. The NDGen Home Care Kit also offers automatic shut-off and a timer so that you can safely use it while drifting off to sleep. Take a look at our NDGen neuropathy home care kit.

 

What Is a Neuropathy Diet

What Is a Healthy Neuropathy Diet?

Improve Your Quality of Life By Adopting a Truly Healthy Neuropathy Diet and Nutrition Plan.

Regardless of what type of neuropathy you’ve been diagnosed with, I promise you that there are things within your control that can dramatically lessen your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

The number one thing you can do is to adopt a way of eating that can truly sustain your health and give your body the healing power that it needs to fight neuropathy. When we talk about a healthy neuropathy diet, we are not necessarily talking about weight loss—although for some individuals, weight loss will be an added benefit to a change in nutrition. The main goal here is to provide your body with the basics it needs for excellent systemic functioning as a baseline for improving your neuropathy symptoms over time.

Aim to eat several small meals and snacks each day, featuring proteins and low glycemic index foods. Ideally, you shouldn’t go more than two or three hours without eating something. Keep packaged and processed foods to an absolute minimum; your body needs the best possible fuel to produce the best health.

Don’t forget about the importance of staying hydrated when planning your neuropathy diet. Water helps to flush toxins from your body and keeps everything well-oiled. Be sure to drink filtered water. You should be consuming (in ounces) about half of your own body weight every 24 hours.

Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t jump into a significantly different neuropathy diet without your doctor’s approval. This is especially true for certain individuals whose food or water intake can have dramatic or dangerous effects on their immediate health. For example, diabetics who are dependent on insulin will need to continue carefully matching their sugar intake to their insulin use, and people with heart disease or kidney disease may be advised to avoid excessive fluid intake.

It’s so important to work with a doctor who is well-trained in using nutrition as a key component of neuropathy treatment. To find a neuropathy diet expert near you, click here.

Nutrients for Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy 101: The Basics of Nerve Pain

Now That You’ve Been Diagnosed with Peripheral Neuropathy, How Can You Treat and Manage Your Nerve Pain?

There are so many causes of peripheral neuropathy. Chemotherapy drugs, diabetes, shingles, injuries, even hereditary conditions can lead to nerve pain and numbness.

Unfortunately, there are almost as many ways to treat peripheral neuropathy as there are causes. When you have just received a peripheral neuropathy diagnosis, how can you know what to do next?

Many doctors will prescribe medications, or surgery.

But there are other options, too, and one of them might be a lifesaver for you. What I mean is that your quality of life can be as high as possible, despite peripheral neuropathy.

Consider some of these complementary therapies that can make a tremendous difference for many neuropathy patients:

Walk, Swim, or Cycle as Often As You Can

Moving the biggest muscles of your legs on a regular basis can result in positive changes to your circulation and improved blood flow. That’s good news for people with peripheral neuropathy.

Getting Blood Sugar Under Control

It’s almost unbelievable, but when you’re dealing with diabetic neuropathy, controlling your blood sugar can sometimes reverse nerve damage.

Be Sure To Take Excellent Care of Your Feet

Peripheral neuropathy can cause foot numbness, which means you may not immediately notice a small injury that could become infected—a very dangerous condition for diabetics and others with foot neuropathy. You should wear comfortable shoes with socks (even at home) to avoid injuries, and inspect your feet thoroughly each and every day.

Take the Right Supplements for Nerve Health

For reducing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, a combination of folic acid, vitamin B12, B6, and B1 is ideal. Even the healthiest diet may not provide enough of the nutrients you need to heal nerve damage. Of course, always talk with your doctor before changing your vitamin regimen or taking any new supplement.

Looking for reliable supplements for peripheral neuropathy? Take a look at our FDA-approved neuropathy supplements.

Compressive Neuropathy and Chronic Pain

Compressive Neuropathy: What Are My Treatment Options?

Chronic Back Pain Related to A Herniated Disc Often Leads to Compressive Neuropathy Symptoms.

If you have back pain related to a herniated, ruptured, or slipped disc, you are most likely also suffering from compressive neuropathy. And that means chronic pain, because it’s almost impossible to get comfortable when your back always hurts.

Even though compressive neuropathy symptoms are caused by your back problems, the first place this new chronic pain will show up is in your legs and feet.

Pain from compressive neuropathy can include symptoms like:

  • A sense of deep cold or burning in your legs or feet
  • Continual tingling, weakness, or numbness in your legs and feet
  • Spasms in the muscles of your legs
  • Pain that radiates from legs down into feet
  • Sharp, shooting pain like an electric shock

This kind of pain can be crippling. It affects your entire life, from your everyday moods to your ability to sleep or even perform normal activities. Many people with compressive neuropathy also suffer from anxiety or depression.

A doctor who is well-trained in compressive neuropathy will focus first of all on managing your pain, and then begin treating numbness or weakness in your back, legs, and feet. Preventing any additional injuries will also be a high priority in your treatment.

It is possible to recover from compressive neuropathy without surgery within just a few months, if appropriate treatment is sought.

The key is to seek out a trained neuropathy clinician who will do a thorough assessment and evaluation in order to give you an accurate diagnosis. He or she will then prescribe a combination of in-office treatments, medications, lifestyle adjustments, and integrative stress-reducing activities in order to reduce your compressive neuropathy symptoms as quickly as possible.

It all begins with the right treatment team. To find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area, click here.

Reducing Neuropathy Symptoms with Exercise

4 Gentle Exercises for Reducing Neuropathy Symptoms

You Can Reduce Neuropathy Symptoms Through Appropriate Movement, Even If Exercise Usually Tends to Be Painful.

Even if your neuropathy symptoms leave you feeling like it’s impossible to exercise…

There ARE ways to get moving and stay active while supporting your neuropathy treatment needs.

Your doctor will tell you that gentle, appropriate exercise will help you maintain a healthier weight, improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen your bones, manage your blood sugar levels, and even help to ward off depression and anxiety.

The best exercise for reducing neuropathy symptoms is focused on gentle, fluid movement that isn’t jarring or overly taxing. Here are a few types of gentle exercise that you may want to consider as part of an overall treatment plan for neuropathy symptoms.

  • Stretching is a basic but essential way to keep your body limber despite neuropathy symptoms. Try to develop a self-directed program of stretches that you do each day before getting out of bed as well as a few stretches to help you unwind before bed.
  • Tai Chi is a type of martial art that involves very slowly and deliberately working each of the muscle groups in your body. It is considered a very gentle form of exercise that can also improve your circulation and improve mood.
  • Some types of yoga are appropriate for people with neuropathy symptoms. Look for a class or video that is called “gentle” or “restorative” yoga. You don’t need to be particularly flexible or limber to participate in yoga and can move at your own pace.
  • Swimming or a gentle version of water aerobics are both great movement choices for anyone who has difficulty or pain from walking. The support of warm water can help to loosen up your body and support your joints, as well as reducing pressure on your feet.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before undergoing any change in your activity level.

For more tips on reducing neuropathy symptoms, see our neuropathy owners manual: I Beat Neuropathy!

Diabetic Neuropathy Diet

Diabetic Neuropathy May Not Respond to Traditional Treatment Approaches!

A General Doctor or Nutritionist May Be Giving You Outdated Diet Information When It Comes to Managing Diabetic Neuropathy.

You’ll see that I have been mentioning diabetes frequently on this blog. That’s because it is unfortunately such a common precursor to developing symptoms of neuropathy.

And diabetic neuropathy can be painful and difficult to treat. It is frustrating for both doctors and patients!

What seems to be the case is that in general, diabetic neuropathy is not being treated aggressively. Diabetes patients are being told that they should lose some weight and get some exercise. But “some” isn’t good enough when it comes to diabetic neuropathy.

What’s worse, you may have been given specifics about a diabetes diet from a nutritionist, but if you look closely, that diet still contains too many grains and fruits.

With diabetic neuropathy, you will need to keep carbohydrates at an absolute minimum—even “healthy” carbs. Most people with diabetic neuropathy should be restricting carbs to 15 g at one meal.

Of course, talk with your doctor before undergoing any significant health lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise. These changes will require you to adjust any medications you are taking for diabetes control, especially insulin. It is dangerous to change your diet or activity level without consulting your doctor.

It’s also important, of course, to be your own best health advocate. Management of your diabetic neuropathy is within your control. The ideal is to work with a trained neuropathy specialist who can tailor your diabetic neuropathy treatment to your own specific health needs and lifestyle. A neuropathy clinician will be interested not only in your lab numbers but in the details of your quality of life and be looking to help you improve on that drastically.

To find a diabetic neuropathy expert in your area, click here.

 

Loss of Balance with Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy Common Symptoms: Loss of Balance

Gait Change or Loss of Balance is One of the Most Common Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy—Yet Many Doctors Miss This Connection.

Peripheral neuropathy can have a variety of symptoms—and some of them can be confusing or misleading. That’s why doctors who don’t have specialized training in neuropathy symptoms may not know peripheral neuropathy when they see it!

Commonly, a leading indicator of peripheral neuropathy is a significant change in gait (the way you walk) or your overall sense of balance. But this is also a feature of several neurological disorders.

Peripheral neuropathy causes changes in balance and gait because of the way that your feet begin to lose sensation.

If you are experiencing this problem, I urge you to seek the opinion of a qualified neuropathy clinician right away. The longer your peripheral neuropathy in feet is left untreated, the more severe the consequences. In time, you’ll be forced not only to treat the peripheral neuropathy at its source but also to undergo rehabilitation in order to regain some of your original sense of coordination and balance.

Worst of all, your peripheral neuropathy symptoms are putting you in danger of being a fall risk. An unexpected fall can have long-lasting repercussions and could even be fatal.

Fortunately, there are things you can do right away to help prevent serious accidents related to your peripheral neuropathy.

First, get fitted for good quality shoes and wear them whenever you are not in bed. (Be sure to also check your feet regularly for sores that could get infected and cause serious problems if not detected quickly.)

Next, reduce the slip and fall hazards in your home. Put non-slip backings on all area rugs. Don’t leave any object on your stairs or near a doorway. Bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas without carpeting are an area of special concern.

To learn more about how to improve your quality of life with peripheral neuropathy, check out our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

Fibromyalgia or Neuropathy?

Is it Fibromyalgia or Neuropathy?

Knowing Whether You Have Fibromyalgia or Neuropathy Can Be Tricky, But These Distinctions Are Important.

Every neuropathy doctor has heard these words many times: “Is it fibromyalgia, or neuropathy?”

Unfortunately, the symptoms overlap a great deal.

That’s why it’s essential to seek a diagnosis from a trained neuropathy expert who can differentiate between the two and tell you for sure whether it’s fibromyalgia or neuropathy in your case.

Both conditions can involve tingling or numbness and elements of chronic pain.

The good news is that both conditions can be helped with lifestyle changes that support the in-office treatment you are getting from your doctor. Like many other serious health conditions, whether it’s fibromyalgia or neuropathy, your day to day experience can be improved with diet and exercise.

Eating non-processed foods that are rich in key nutrients is one way to improve your health when dealing with fibromyalgia or neuropathy.

We also know that gentle daily movement protocols can greatly aid your recovery from fibromyalgia or neuropathy. Your doctor can help you identify which types of exercise are most appropriate for your specific health condition and fitness level.

But the most important piece of the puzzle is your relationship with your doctor. Does he or she spend considerable time with you in evaluating your unique health needs? Has your doctor been able to effectively distinguish whether you are suffering from fibromyalgia or neuropathy?

Ideally, you will want to work with a trained neuropathy clinician who can tailor a treatment plan to YOUR needs. Whether you’re dealing with fibromyalgia or neuropathy, a cookie-cutter approach will not improve your health!

The most important first step is in connecting with an expert who can provide an in-depth assessment to correctly diagnose your fibromyalgia or neuropathy.

To find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area, click here.

Exercise and Neuropathy Treatment

Does Your Neuropathy Treatment Include Exercise and Movement?

No Neuropathy Treatment Plan is Complete Without a Strategy for Physical Activity to Enhance Health.

You already know that physical exercise is good for everyone.

It’s easy to think that this general advice about movement for good health just doesn’t apply to someone like you who is struggling with neuropathy pain or numbness.

After all, many people undergoing neuropathy treatment have a hard time with mobility. It might seem absurd to think of yourself “exercising” when it’s hard to even reliably walk without falling, or when neuropathy pain makes it uncomfortable to be very active.

However, the fact is that your health is on a downhill decline as long as you are living a sedentary lifestyle. Inactivity contributes to problems with metabolism, which can lead in turn to diabetes and other global health problems. It can also make your neuropathy symptoms worse.

And there ARE safe and effective ways for people in neuropathy treatment to become more active on a day to day basis.

For example, people who struggle with walking because of neuropathic pain in the legs or feet can have good success with low-impact exercise equipment, such as a stationary bike. You might also consider exercises done in a heated pool. Chair yoga and stretching are also appropriate ways to incorporate gentle movement into your day.

The best part of incorporating more movement into your daily routine is that it’s simple to add just a little exercise here and there. Even making sure that five minutes out of every hour contains some kind of physical activity will make an impact on your long-term health.

Be sure to talk with your neuropathy treatment clinician about the best kind, frequency, and duration of exercise for you and your unique health situation. Remember, in neuropathy treatment, there is no “one size fits all” prescription.

For more information about ways to enhance your neuropathy treatment through diet and exercise, take a look at our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

Neuropathy Treatment and Anxiety

Neuropathy Treatment Includes Treating Anxiety and Depression

Does Your Neuropathy Treatment Plan Address Underlying Anxiety and Depression?

Most patients in neuropathy treatment are dealing with more than just physical symptoms. Depression and anxiety are extremely common among those struggling with the various forms of neuropathy. That’s because neuropathy is a global condition that affects your nervous system in addition to the emotional stress brought on by any major medical condition.

Whether you are newly diagnosed and not sure where to turn, or already in the care of a highly trained neuropathy treatment clinician, it’s not unusual for anxiety or depression to be a daily part of your life.

But there is help. In addition to talking honestly with your doctor about these difficulties, you can take action right away to help yourself heal from the anxiety and depression that comes with neuropathy treatment.

The first step is to identify what you can’t control in the course of your neuropathy treatment, as well as what you CAN control. Make an effort to let go of those things that are out of your reach and trust your neuropathy doctor to competently follow the neuropathy treatment plan you have outlined together.

Make a list of the things you do have control over. Most likely this includes all the things you can do at home:

  • Nutrition
  • Movement and appropriate exercise
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Reducing stress in your environment
  • Spiritual practices such as meditation or prayer
  • Bringing joy into your life through family and friend relationships, pets, new hobbies, etc.
  • Prioritizing your physical and emotional needs first, especially if you are in a caregiver role

Although self care at home for anxiety and depression is a vital part of neuropathy treatment, make sure you aren’t trying to go it alone. Talk with your doctor today about getting the support you need for depression or anxiety symptoms.

If your current doctor is not trained in current approaches to neuropathy treatment including complementary therapies, click here to locate a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you.

 

What Is a Neuropathy Diet

Peripheral Neuropathy is Best Managed Through Frequent Meals

Did You Know That Eating More Often Can Actually Help Heal Your Peripheral Neuropathy?

We know that obesity can contribute to medical conditions like diabetes that cause peripheral neuropathy. So it may not seem logical that eating more often, not less often, could be a primary way to address peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Why would frequent meals be a GOOD idea for peripheral neuropathy sufferers? Here’s an explanation.

When you eat few meals per day, you are essentially training your body to store fat. That’s a primal survival mechanism to keep calories available to you as needed for fuel. It works against you when you are eating more calories in one meal than you really need—and especially if your meals are loaded with “bad” fats and simple carbohydrates.

On the other hand, when you eat more frequent meals, you’ll be training your body to burn fat more efficiently through stimulating metabolism. Frequent meals can also help to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Of course, there’s a catch. It isn’t enough to just eat more often. You’ve got to make sure that WHAT you are eating is nutritious and supportive so that you’re slowly healing your peripheral neuropathy, not making it worse.

The diet we recommend for those with peripheral neuropathy is based on fewer (and complex) carbs and plenty of good protein and healthy fats. It’s best to avoid going more than three hours without eating a meal or snack.

Obviously, for diabetics who need insulin to regulate blood sugar, follow the advice of your doctor.

Everything we know about healing peripheral neuropathy is based on a close working relationship with a specially trained neuropathy treatment specialist who can customize YOUR treatment to address YOUR neuropathy symptoms and overall medical condition.

Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist in your area.