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.

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscribe to our newsletters at http://neuropathydr.com.

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!

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscribe to our newsletters at http://neuropathydr.com.

Hereditary Neuropathy

If you’re reading this and you’re already in your late 20’s or early 30’s (or older) and you have:

• Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
• Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies (HNPP)
• Dejerine-Sottas Disease (DSD)
• Hereditary Motor Neuropathy (HMN)

You were probably diagnosed in your teens or possibly earlier.  But if you or someone you know is in their teens (or younger) and they have a combination of the following symptoms:

• Numbness
• Tingling
• Pain in their feet and hands
• Weakness and loss of muscle mass (especially in their calves or lower legs and feet)
• Impaired sweating
• Insensitivity to pain
• Foot deformities such as hammer toes or high arches
• Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)

It might be time to do some genetic testing to determine if they have a form of hereditary neuropathy.

What is Hereditary Neuropathy?

Hereditary neuropathies are inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nervous system, often resulting in peripheral neuropathy.  Hereditary neuropathies can affect you in many different ways but they are usually grouped into four different categories:

Motor and sensory neuropathy – affecting movement and the ability to feel sensations
Sensory neuropathy – affecting the senses
Motor neuropathy – affecting the ability to move
Sensory and autonomic neuropathy – affecting the ability to feel sensation and the autonomic nervous system (the system that controls your ability to sweat, your heart rate, your body’s ability to regulate your blood pressure, your digestion, etc.)

As the names imply, they are classified based on exactly which nerves are affected and which functions are impaired.

The most common form of hereditary neuropathy is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (a motor and sensory neuropathy)  affecting 1 out of every 2500 people.  Most people with CMT are diagnosed before they reach their 20’s but their symptoms can begin years earlier.  CMT may take a while to diagnose because the symptoms can wax and wane over a period of years.

How Can I Find Out if I Have Hereditary Neuropathy?

The only way to diagnose hereditary neuropathy is through blood tests for genetic testing, nerve conduction studies and nerve biopsies.   If you’ve been diagnosed without going through any of these tests, you probably don’t have a good diagnosis.

Your doctor should take a very thorough history and physical.  In order to really determine if you are at risk for hereditary neuropathy, you need to look as far back as three generations.  However, a word to the wise, even if you hereditary neuropathy has not shown up in your family previously, all inherited diseases have to start somewhere.  You could just be the person starting it in your family.   That makes genetic testing even more important.

Are Hereditary Neuropathies Curable?

There are no cures for the various types of hereditary neuropathies.  Treatment is usually to treat the symptoms and give your body the support it needs to function as normally as possible.  That usually means physical and occupational therapy,  as well as

• Care and correction for your muscular and skeletal systems
• Treatment for any other underlying medical problems
• Nutrition education and diet planning
• A step by step exercise regimen
• Medication as needed or necessary

A highly skilled medical professional well versed in diagnosing and treating nerve damage is your best place to start for treatment of your Hereditary Neuropathy.  An excellent place to start is with a NeuropathyDr® clinician.  They have had great success in treating patients with hereditary neuropathy in all its various forms.

If you have a confirmed diagnosis of Hereditary Neuropathy or think you may have it, seek treatment now.  While you can’t be cured, you can take steps to treat and lessen your symptoms and greatly improve your quality of life.

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to our newsletters at http://neuropathydr.com.

Do You Suffer From Neuropathy Overwhelm?

Don’t let Neuropathy Overwhelm get the best of you. For many with the most common forms of neuropathy there are more treatment options than ever before!

One of the common things about neuropathy in most forms, except CMT, HNPP and other genetic cases is, most patients don’t even know what it is until they have it.

So a neuropathy diagnosis can come as a shock!

Up until recently, the approach to treatment has been drug-only. For years, patients heard the following, and unfortunately still often do:

“There is NOTHING you can do.” or “Just take the meds and live with it.”

Or worse.

Now, sometimes this is unfortunately true, and we are not offering false hope to those devastated patients we so wish we could do more for.

But, the reality for many with the most common forms of neuropathy (idiopathic neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, post chemotherapy neuropathy, small fiber neuropathy) is there are more treatment options than ever before.

Sometimes these can actually replace drug-only treatment options for patients. That’s really exciting for all of us!

We raised the awareness of single-frequency neurostimulation treatment when we first published Beating Neuropathy: Taking Misery to Miracles in Just Five Weeks!

Then, in just two short years of continuous work and development of treatment systems, we found better and better ways to help patients.

Things like laser and LED, vibration therapy, certain dietary supplement combinations… There are also certain other neuropathy treatment combinations, and even more powerful devices available now, thanks to some very bright and caring people.

Just as I predicted, patients now have more neuropathy treatment options than ever—and it can be overwhelming.

But there is a strategy you can use that will help!

First, understand you may never know 100% what caused your neuropathy. Sure, sometimes it’s very straightforward, but in most patients, it’s actually a combination of many things. Diet, lifestyle, obesity, and smoking are at the top of the list.

Secondly, delaying fixing correctable things like smoking, obesity (even as little as 10-20 pounds) poor, highly processed foods and sugar-laden diets, and excess alcohol consumption commonly make things worse.

So, start by making a list, two columns only. Call the first “things I could improve”. This is the time to be really honest with yourself. List out all we spoke about above, mainly lifestyle choices and habits.

In the second column, put “what I need to investigate”. Include “drugs I may be taking” and “tests I need to ask about”.

Lastly, we firmly believe that patients suffering from neuropathy and chronic pain deserve and should get very comprehensive approaches to care.

And DON’T delay treatment while searching for answers you may never find about causes. The good news is, many patients are good responders to our neuropathy treatment combinations!

But, as I’m sure you can see, good neuropathy treatment has now become a specialty all of its own! So choose your professional care very carefully.

Just be sure to do your homework first to avoid neuropathy treatment overwhelm!

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

Neuropathy Foot Wear – Your Shoes Could Be Killing You

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy?

Do you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet and/or legs?

Has your doctor told you how important it is to take proper care of your feet?

Now, for the $25,000 bonus question…

Are you doing what your doctor tells you to do?

Many patients with peripheral neuropathy don’t take proper care of their feet and don’t follow their doctors’ instructions on foot care.

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, not following your doctor’s instructions about the type of shoes you should wear and how to care for your feet can lead to amputation…

Ultimately, it could cost your life.

You’re Not Alone

If you’re not listening to your doctor and doing everything he tells you to do to care for your feet, you’re not the only one.[1]

A recent study that followed 41 patients with type 2 diabetes found that

  • 90% of the patients had been educated about proper footwear
  • 83% washed and dried their feet properly every day
  • 51% actually foot self-exams recommended by their doctors

But more than half the patients admitted that they walked around the house and even outside with no shoes.  And more than two thirds of them were not wearing appropriate footwear.  They were wearing shoes with pointed toes, high heels or flip flops, and even worse.

Finding the Right Shoes

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, choosing the right shoes is vitally important.  Here are some tips to help you know what to look for and what to avoid when you’re buying shoes:

  • Never wear shoes with pointed toes.
  • Avoid shoes with a really flat sole or high heels.  Neither of these styles allow for even distribution of foot pressure.
  • Buy shoes with soft insoles.
  • Never buy plastic or synthetic materials that don’t allow your feet to breathe.
  • Only wear shoes made of leather, suede or canvas that allow air to circulate around your feet and help them stay dry.
  • Avoid slip ons – buy shoes with laces and buckles that allow you to adjust how tight your shoes are.
  • Ask for professional assistance in getting the proper fit in every pair of shoes you buy.
  • Proper shoes don’t have to look like something your grandmother would wear.  You can buy stylish shoes that won’t land you in the hospital.

Remember that neuropathy is nerve damage.  That means that the nerves in your feet are not functioning properly and you may not feel a problem until it’s too late and you have sores, blisters or ulcers.  Those can be deadly.

See Your Doctor Regularly

Ultimately, you need to see your doctor regularly[2].  Find a doctor who specializes in treating patients with neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.  They can help you choose proper footwear and take care of your feet on a routine basis and stop any problems before they’re severe.  By seeing your doctor regularly and staying on top of any issues you may have, you can reduce your risk of amputation by between 20% and 70%.

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

 

What’s The Prognosis for Hereditary Neuropathy?

Diagnosed with a Hereditary Form of Neuropathy? Here’s How to Treat Longstanding and Progressive Nerve Symptoms.

If you have hereditary neuropathy, you may have received your diagnosis years ago in your 20s or 30s, or even in your teens. You’re probably already familiar with terms like these: HNPP (Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies), Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, DSD (Dejerine-Sottas Disease), or HMN (Hereditary Motor Neuropathy).

You probably also already know the kinds of symptoms that these hereditary neuropathies can cause:

  • Pain in the hands and feet
  • Tingling or numbness, especially in extremities
  • Weak and emaciated muscles in the legs and feet
  • Problems sweating
  • Deformities of the foot (such as hammer toes) or spine (such as scoliosis)

But what you may not know is the vast advancements in treating hereditary neuropathy that have been made over the past few years. Though your condition is not curable, it is in many cases highly treatable.

Here are the general types of hereditary neuropathy that we usually see in our clinics. People with sensory neuropathy have limited input from touch and the other “six senses” that we normally gather information about the world. People with motor neuropathies have limited mobility or range of motion. People with autonomic neuropathy have trouble with their bodies’ ability to efficiently regulate things like their heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and other body systems that normally take care of themselves without any input from us. And some folks have mixed neuropathies that affect more than one body system.

Genetic testing is the primary way to diagnose hereditary neuropathy, along with nerve biopsies and nerve conduction studies. All of these elements are needed for an accurate diagnosis. Your neuropathy specialist should also interview you for information about your family’s health going back two to three generations. It’s important to note that you might have a hereditary form of neuropathy even if you don’t know of anyone in your family with similar symptoms.

When it comes to formulating a treatment plan, keep in mind that hereditary neuropathy can’t be cured, but treatments are available to help you heal as much as possible and significantly improve your quality of life. Typically, your treatment plan should include several elements, including:

  • Addressing any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • Beneficial lifestyle changes, including nutrition and appropriate exercise
  • Medication (in some cases)
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Other high-tech treatment options, such as laser light therapy

It’s vital to seek a diagnosis and treatment planning from a highly trained neuropathy specialist who can customize your treatment for your specific needs. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you.

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Self-Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain is a Dangerous Game

Attempting to Diagnosis and Treat Neuropathic Pain On Your Own Just Delays Effective Treatment (and Could Worsen Your Symptoms)

In some ways, the Internet has been a blessing in terms of the availability of medical information. This can be so helpful if you suspect that you have the flu, or a mild skin rash, or poison ivy.

Where it’s not helpful, and may be very harmful indeed, is when you rely entirely on the Internet for self-diagnosis of serious health concerns related to neuropathic pain—including diabetic neuropathy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, shingles, peripheral neuropathy, or chemotherapy neuropathy.

When you attempt to self-diagnose and self-treat these conditions, you are impeding a truly helpful evaluation by a trained neuropathy doctor that can prevent additional nerve damage and substantially improve your quality of life.

In short, by attempting to treat your own neuropathic pain, you are wasting your health and valuable time—in short, making your condition worse. Early treatment is crucial for the success of eliminating neuropathic pain.

We’ve talked to so many patients with neuropathic pain who delayed seeing a NeuropathyDR® clinician because they wanted to save money. They inevitably tell us that they regret the wasted time and the long-term expense caused by increased nerve damage and all that it entails.

When you are dealing with neuropathy related to diabetes, chemotherapy treatment, and other serious conditions, it’s so important to think long-term. Neuropathy isn’t just an annoying side effect. It is a degenerative condition that will get worse over time and complicate other health concerns.

You may have learned that self-reliance and “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is a good thing. In the case of neuropathic pain symptoms, however, the worst thing you can do is spend time trying to diagnosis and treat yourself.

When we say that self-treatment and home care is important, we’re referring to lifestyle elements implemented over time that complement the medical therapies recommended for you by your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Self-treatment is an important component of your neuropathy treatment, AFTER a clinical diagnosis. Anything else is just a delaying tactic—one that could severely impact your health, not just today but years from now.

To read more about the diagnosis process and where to go from here with neuropathic pain, take a look at our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

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The One Neuropathy Treatment Component You Shouldn’t Overlook

The Most Important Neuropathy Treatment Is Something That Is Totally Within Your Control: Your Daily Routine.

More than anything else that you can do in terms of neuropathy treatment, your daily routines are the foundation of your well-being. That’s true not only in the short term but looking at your long-term health prospects as well.

Have you ever truly considered the powerful impact of daily habits on your physical and emotional health?

What you do every day can strengthen your overall health in a systemic way. Or, with different choices, it can be at odds with your health goals and may possibly undermine any neuropathy treatment plan developed for you.

It comes as no surprise that your daily health choices include things like what you eat and drink, whether you use tobacco, and how much exercise you’re getting.

In addition, take a careful look at how you use your mind over the course of a day. Are you engaging in lots of passive activities, like watching TV? Or do you choose actively stimulating options such as meditation, reading, or creative acts such as knitting or woodworking?

In effective neuropathy treatment, these choices are extremely important—especially as you advance in age and face more health challenges.

And it’s not just what choices you make, but how regularly you implement them, that matters most. Healthy habits to support your neuropathy treatment plan need to be scheduled in as a regular part of your daily routine.

Here are some great neuropathy treatment components that can and should be scheduled into your daily routine:

  • Non-strenuous movement activities
  • Small, frequent meals and snacks to support a neuropathy diet
  • Supplements recommended by your NeuropathyDR® clinician
  • Other basic health supports like sufficient sleep and hydration

Sometimes, timing is everything. That’s why consulting with a trained neuropathy treatment professional is key to your long-term health.

Interested in a consultation with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area? Click here to find a trained neuropathy professional near you.

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Laser Neuropathy Treatment: How Does It Help You?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Neuropathy Treatments Can Be Supplemented with Creativity is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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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.

Relieve Neuropathy Pain and Discomfort with These Simple Stretches is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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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.

How to Use Meditation for Chronic Neuropathy Treatment (Part 2): 5 Surprising Ways to Meditate is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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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!

Looking for a Home Treatment for Chronic Neuropathic Pain? Reasons to Give Meditation a Try is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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A Simple and Effective Treatment for Foot Neuropathy: Gentle Yoga

 

foot-neuropathy

Ease the pain of neuropathy in feet with a simple yoga practice—even if you’ve never done yoga before.

 

Peripheral neuropathy can be an aggravating and chronic condition, and it’s tough to treat using traditional medications. But there’s a treatment you can do on your own—in a class, or at home—that can be very beneficial over time, and that’s gentle yoga.

Yoga isn’t just about spiritual growth or physical fitness anymore. Many neuropathy patients are finding that simple yoga poses can alleviate uncomfortable tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes. Best of all, many basic yoga poses are easy to learn and don’t require special equipment.

Some of the benefits of a regular yoga practice include:

  1. Increased circulation to the hands and feet. Many yoga poses use the pull of gravity to shift habitual blood flow patterns, particularly to the feet. (Don’t worry, this doesn’t require a headstand!)
  2. Improved body self-awareness. A regular yoga practice can help you connect with your body sensations and really notice what your body is telling you.
  3. Relaxation and peacefulness. A simple, non-strenuous yoga practice for 10 to 30 minutes before bed can help you relax and sleep better. Or, if you prefer, use yoga as a gentle wake-up practice in the morning to set a peaceful tone for your day.

In general, yoga is a wonderful form of self-care that can be modified for your own unique physical goals and needs.

If you have no experience with yoga, it’s best to begin with assistance from a teacher. You can look for a local “gentle yoga” class or use a beginning yoga DVD as a guide at home.

Here’s one very simple yoga technique to get you started with relief for your feet. Sit cross-legged with your shoes and socks off. Weave your fingers one by one through the toes of the opposite foot, and hold this position for about 20 seconds. Then, switch to using the other hand and foot. You may want to do this 2 or 3 times for each foot.

What do you think about using yoga as a support for other types of foot neuropathy treatment? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

Neuropathy? Why did I get it?

In fact, neuropathy is a group of disorders.

neurodrProfessionals webready 300x86 Neuropathy? Why did I get it?

A question we get all the time is, why did I get neuropathy?

If you read advertisements in the popular press then you would likely believe neuropathy is one condition. As we have discussed many times before and will discuss again today, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact neuropathy is actually a group of disorders.

Neuropathy is the term that simply refers to nerve function gone wrong. Of course this is a gross oversimplification but I’m sure you get the picture.

The known causes of neuropathy include diabetes, certain medications; including some chemotherapy, poisonings from things such as heavy metals and some insecticides.

There are also some devastating forms of neuropathy that are genetic. Most commonly this is the CMT family of neuropathies.

But perhaps the most common cause of neuropathy and the reason for many more cases of neuropathy now appearing each year is the general decline in fitness in our adult population resulting in metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes.

As doctors we commonly assign half the cases of neuropathy we see to metabolic syndrome. As you probably have read about here before metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, or syndrome X, are all the same condition.

In a nutshell, this serious health problem occurs either in very tiny time increments or over a long period of time when body fat increases and with it brings elevations in blood fats and blood sugars.

But the sad part is we are seeing it in younger and younger ages. Unfortunately, now we are seeing patients in their 30’s developing peripheral neuropathy!

One other factor that is imperative to note: Most patients we see in the clinic have several different potential causes of peripheral neuropathy. For one example, district cigarette smoking. Example two is the consumption of statin or anti-hypertensive drugs. And three, excess body fat and decrease in lean muscle mass as a result of years of poor health habits.

And here is the answer to the title question:

You may never know completely with 100% accuracy what caused your neuropathy.

However, you now know about some of the critical factors that need to be addressed in order to boost your potential for healing and recovery.

Here at NeuropathyDR this our ongoing job for you!

Join the conversation on Facebook!

Neuropathy? Why did I get it? is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists

Peripheral Neuropathy and Your Quality of Life

There are things you can do to lessen the physical (and emotional) effects of peripheral neuropathy and help you function as normally as possible!

If you’re suffering from peripheral neuropathy, you know how much it affects your life.

Every single day…

oldercouple 300x233 Peripheral Neuropathy and Your Quality of LifeEven the simplest tasks can be difficult if not impossible…

To anyone unfamiliar with peripheral neuropathy and its symptoms, they might just think “your nerves hurt a little…”

But at a peripheral neuropathy sufferer, you know better…

Peripheral neuropathy not only affects your health, it can wreck your quality of life.

How Do You Define Quality of Life?

Generally speaking, Quality of Life is a term used to measure a person’s overall well-being. In medical terms, it usually means how well a patient has adapted to a medical condition.  It measures[1]:

  • Your physical and material well being
  • Your social relationships – how you interact with others
  • Your social activities
  • Your personal fulfillment – your career, any creative outlets you may have, how involved you are with other interests)
  • Your recreational activities – your hobbies, sports, etc.
  • Your actual health – what your health is really like and how healthy you believe you are

How do you feel about these aspects of your life?  Your attitude and approach to your illness, both your neuropathy and the underlying cause of your neuropathy (i.e., diabetes, HIV/AIDS, lupus, etc.) can make a huge difference in how well you adapt to your neuropathy symptoms.

Neuropathy Symptoms Aren’t Just Physical

The pain of peripheral neuropathy falls into the category of what is considered chronic pain.  It usually doesn’t just come and go.  You can’t just pop a couple of aspirin and forget about it.  It’s pain with its root cause in nerve damage.

The nerves that actually register pain are the actual cause of the pain.  When you’re in that kind of pain on a consistent basis, it affects you in many different ways[2]:

  • You become depressed and/or anxious
  • Your productivity and interest at work is disrupted
  • You can’t sleep
  • It’s difficult for you to get out and interact with other people so you feel isolated
  • You sometimes don’t understand why you’re not getting better

What You Can Do To Improve Your Quality of Life

You may feel like your situation is hopeless, especially if you’ve become mired in depression.

But it isn’t.

There are things you can do to lessen the physical (and emotional) effects of peripheral neuropathy and help you function as normally as possible:

  • Pay special attention to caring for your feet.  Inspect them daily for cuts, pressure spots, blisters or calluses (use a mirror to look at the bottom of your feet). The minute you notice anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician for help.  Never go barefoot – anywhere.
  • Treat yourself to a good foot massage to improve your circulation and reduce pain.  Check with your insurance company – if massage is actually prescribed by your doctor, they may cover some of the cost.
  • Only wear shoes that are padded, supportive and comfortable and never wear tight socks.
  • If you smoke, quit.  Nicotine decreases circulation and if you’re a peripheral neuropathy patient, you can’t risk that.
  • Cut back on your caffeine intake.  Several studies have found that caffeine may actually make neuropathy pain worse.
  • If you sit at a desk, never cross your knees or lean on your elbows.  The pressure will only make your nerve damage worse.
  • Be really careful when using hot water.  Your peripheral neuropathy may affect the way you register changes in temperature and it’s really easy for you to burn yourself and not even realize it.
  • Use a “bed cradle” to keep your sheets away from your feet if you experience pain when trying to sleep.  That will help you rest.
  • Try to be as active as possible.  Moderate exercise is great for circulation and it can work wonders for your emotional and mental health.
  • Make your home as injury proof as possible – install bath assists and/or hand rails and never leave anything on the floor that you can trip over.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.  If you don’t know what you should and shouldn’t eat, talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about a personalized diet plan to maintain proper weight and give your body what it needs to heal.
  • Try to get out as often as possible to socialize with others.

We hope this information helps you to better manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  Take a look at the list above and see how many of these things you’re already doing to help yourself. Then talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician about help with adding the others to your daily life.

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Peripheral Neuropathy and Your Quality of Life is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists