Taking Charge of Your Health

Is Your Neuropathy Making You Feel Like You’ve Lost Control?

Neuropathy symptoms can make you feel like your health has spun out of control. But regardless of the particulars of your situation, there’s one thing for sure—anxiety and disappointment about the state of your personal healthcare are likely exacerbating your symptoms.

The number one reason to step in and take charge of your own wellness is that feeling in control will make you feel better. Anxiety can compound existing symptoms (such as trouble sleeping) and create new ones by putting the focus on what’s not working. But it’s important to remember that you DO have control over many of the factors that can positively influence your health in a big way.

Many people come to us looking for a “magic bullet,” one simple pill or procedure that will cure neuropathy overnight and permanently. They want a neuropathy treatment formula in a bottle like a one-a-day supplement.

Of course, there are many medically-based aspects to our treatment program, but there are also several significant components of the program that are completely in your control as beneficial lifestyle changes to impact neuropathy. Here are just two simple examples of things that YOU can control in your healthcare, starting today.

First, begin making small, gradual improvements in your diet. Start by weaning away from sodas and processed foods. Notice that you don’t have to go cold turkey or give them up “forever.” Just switch to thinking of them as occasional treats. Choose organic and local produce and other foods whenever you can. Seek out natural and healthy alternatives to your usual meal routine.

Second, get moving. Many people shudder at the thought of doing “exercise”. Forget all that and just start moving more than usual—a walk around the block twice a day, slow-dancing to the oldies in your living room, or even vigorous housework or gardening are all candidates for healthy and fun exercise. Make sure you check with your doctor first to find out what’s appropriate for you.

The key is to think of “diet and exercise” not as unreachable fitness goals but as things you already incorporate into your everyday life. Just introduce a small shift in the WAY you do these things, and let a tiny pebble of intention turn into an avalanche of increased health!

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

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.

Is Peripheral Neuropathy Causing Your Sleep Disturbances?

For Peripheral Neuropathy Sufferers, Sleep Disturbances Can Cause Serious Symptom that Can’t Be Ignored

Did you know that more than 70 percent of people with neuropathy also struggle with insomnia? When chronic pain and tingling in feet or hands is keeping you awake at night, it’s a good bet that you’re not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep that you need for good overall health.

There are mixed reasons why neuropathic pain is tied to sleep problems. Pain associated with peripheral neuropathy has a tendency to feel more intense at night, when you’re tired and when there are fewer distractions available to break your focus on the pain.

What’s more, there may be another strong tie between insomnia and neuropathy. Sleep apnea is a very common cause of sleep disorders, and research has indicated that untreated sleep apnea can actually lead to peripheral neuropathy symptoms. And if you’re diabetic and resistant to insulin, sleep apnea may be even more likely to affect your neuropathy.

Of course, it stands to reason that lack of adequate sleep can make your peripheral neuropathy symptoms seem even worse than before. It’s a fact that lack of sleep tends to lower one’s pain threshold significantly.

Here are some of our guidelines for improving sleep when dealing with peripheral neuropathy:

  • Limit your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening.
  • Institute a sleep routine that helps you wind down at night and go to sleep at about the same time every evening.
  • Don’t eat a large or heavy meal late in the evening. If your body is hard at work on digestion, it’s not resting.
  • Make any needed changes to your bedroom to induce restful sleep, including temperature, darkness, and noise.
  • Limit electronics at night, including television, computers, and any handheld devices. These have a stimulating effect on your brain. If you need an activity to help you sleep, try reading an actual book!

These are simple guidelines that can help you institute lasting positive change in your sleep patterns, hopefully leading to reduced peripheral neuropathy discomfort. But true relief can come only with the support of a trained NeuropathyDR clinician who can tailor the treatment to your specific needs. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR clinician in your area.

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

 

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

The minute you injured you back, your life changed forever.

The constant pain…

The loss of mobility…

The inability to live a normal life.

You wanted so desperately to feel normal again you agreed to back surgery. And your pain is worse than ever.

If you’ve undergone back surgery and you’re still suffering from

• Dull, aching pain in your back and/or legs
• Abnormal sensitivity including sharp, pricking, and stabbing pain in your arms or legs
• Peripheral neuropathy and the symptoms that go with it – numbness, tingling, loss of sensation or even burning in your arms and legs

You could have “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome” or “FBSS”. You’re not alone.  Back surgeries fail so often now they actually have a name for the condition patients develop when it happens.  As back pain experts, NeuropathyDR® clinicians see patients like you almost every day.

What Exactly Is “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome”?

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome[1] is what the medical community calls the chronic pain in the back and/or legs that happens after a patient undergoes back surgery.

Several things can contribute to the development of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.  It can be caused by a herniated disc not corrected by the surgery, swelling or a “mechanical” neuropathy that causes pressure on the spinal nerves, a change in the way your joints move, even depression or anxiety.

If you smoke, have diabetes or any autoimmune or vascular disease, you have a much higher chance of developing Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.

If you do have any of these conditions, think long and hard before you agree to back surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

You know you don’t want another surgery and who could blame you? You’ve already been through the pain of surgery and recovery only to be in worse shape than you were before the surgery.

The good news is that there are some excellent alternatives to surgery.

• Therapeutic massage to manipulate the soft tissues of the body to relax the muscles and eliminate “knots” in the muscles that can cause or contribute to your back pain and other symptoms.
• Manual therapy to restore motion to the vertebrae, alleviate pressure and get your spine and muscular system back into proper alignment.
• Yoga and other low impact exercises to aid in relaxation, pain management and alleviating stress and depression.
• Proper nutrition to help your body heal itself.  This is especially important if you have diabetes or some other underlying illness that could be contributing to your peripheral neuropathy.

All of these are components of the NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol.

The right combination of these treatment approaches in the hands of a knowledgeable health care provider, well versed in the treating Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, can be an excellent alternative to yet another surgery.

If you’re tired of living with the pain and don’t want to go under the knife again, contact your local NeuropathyDR® specialist to see if their exclusive protocol for treating chronic back pain, peripheral neuropathy, and Failed Back Surgery Syndrome will work for you.

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

Avoiding Self-Diagnosis Roulette

The next time you have a headache…

Or indigestion…

Or even muscle cramps or twitching…

Go online and “Google” any of those terms and see what you come up with.

I’m willing to bet you’ll be terrified by the results.

For headache you’ll see anything from brain tumor to bleeding in the brain to meningitis and encephalitis.

Indigestion will lead you to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or even abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts.

And muscle cramps or twitching will run the gamut from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Your search will also give you the more common reasons for any of these symptoms.  Many people latch on to the more dramatic reasons and begin living like every day is their last.[1]

Others will downplay symptoms, assume that they have something simple to treat and go to the corner drug store and buy whatever over the counter remedy “seems” to treat their symptoms.

Either of these reactions could be courting disaster.  Especially if you have a condition that can lead to peripheral neuropathy.  Delaying treatment with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician can lead to severe lifelong nerve damage that will destroy your quality of life.

Expecting the Worst

If you fall into the “I know I’m dying” category, you will probably begin doctor shopping.  Going from specialist to specialist looking for someone to confirm the worst.  Even beyond the physical damage the stress of this process can do to your body, your emotional well-being is destroyed.

You live day to day expecting the worst with the specter of the Grim Reaper hanging over your shoulder.  That is no way to live.

The first thing you need to do is make appointment with your primary care provider, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Tell them your symptoms and let them do some diagnostic testing.  If the results warrant it, they will get you started on a treatment protocol to not only alleviate your symptoms but treat the root cause of your medical problem.  The NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol includes nutrition counseling, diet planning, stress management techniques, and hands on adjustment to properly align your nervous system.

If you actually do have a serious condition, the earlier you start this process, the better off you’ll be.  The earlier you receive treatment for any condition that can lead to peripheral neuropathy, the less your chances of permanent nerve damage.

Ignoring the Obvious

There Is No Substitute For Caring NeuropathyDR Professional To Guide You…

The other end of the spectrum is the patient who does their own research, opts for the condition easily treatable with over the counter meds, and puts off seeing a specialist until their symptoms are much worse.

Let’s take the muscle twitching or cramping symptom as an example.  Yes, this could be caused by overworking the muscle or even a vitamin deficiency.   Either of those are easy to fix.

But what if it’s something more serious?

If the condition lasts longer than a few days, you need to see your local NeuropathyDR® clinician. You could have a condition leading to peripheral neuropathy.  Failing to treat the underlying cause quickly can lead to lasting nerve damage, muscle degeneration, and ultimately, even amputation of the affected limb.[2]

Something as simple as seeing a specialist well versed in conditions affecting the bones, muscles and bones, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician, can make the difference between life in a wheelchair and getting back to normal quickly.

Cyberchondria vs. Informed Caution

Before you think we’re advocating running to the doctor every time you have a hang nail, that is definitely not the case.  We’re not advocating the spread of Cyberchondria[3] (i.e., the rising epidemic of online diagnosis and treatment), just asking that you approach any medical condition with informed caution.

An informed and educated patient is a gift for any physician.  Informed patients are much more likely to participate in their own care and keep their physician apprised of any changes in their condition.  That’s a win for both sides.

Instead of using the internet as a tool to diagnose (or, in many cases, misdiagnose) your own conditions, choose to use it as a means of educating yourself enough to provide your health care provider with all the information he needs to accurately and quickly diagnose your illness.

You’ll be making your life, and your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s life, much easier.

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


[1] http://health.usf.edu/NR/rdonlyres/08895641-BCCF-43C2-85DB-691FE2D159A7/25680/Cyberchondria2.pdf

[2] http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm

[3] http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/internet-makes-hypochondria-worse

The Winding Road of Chronic Pain

The Winding Road of Chronic Pain

Written by: Carol Jeffrey

Carol Jeffrey

We’re traveling down this windy, crazy, hazardous road of chronic pain. Often we’re speeding in the darkness with our headlights off, violently crashing into unseen obstacles. We shake off and often minimize the damage caused by these collisions. But if we don’t attend to these damages as they occur…our vehicle will soon be totaled.

 

Wildly we slip and slide out of control in the storms that overwhelm us. So we pull over, rest and wait for the storm to pass. But if the storm lasts too long, we stop clearing the windows, and cease to look if the sun has reappeared. This type of apathy is a slow and silent killer of hope.

Bridges often crumble beneath the weight of our burdens. This type of loss and isolation is one of the greatest hardships of chronic pain. If we are to avoid being stranded on an isolated island, and trapped in a deep dark pit of depression…survival requires us to adapt, learn new skills, maintain healthy relationships, and build connections to life.

We easily see when others are in need, and graciously pull over to offer assistance. After all, this is a welcomed distraction from our own painful journey…but lets not make it a road-stop. While it’s easy to identify needs and solutions for others, it’s equally as difficult to acknowledge our own need for fuel or repair. Our engines will cease to run, if we allow our ego to fill our gas tank with gallons of guilt, instead of letting another fill us with fuel.

At times we’re impatiently and painfully held up in surgical construction or we may find ourselves on a needed detour learning new paths that promote health. Pit stops are required, to clear the windshield, change the tires, tweak the engine so that we may travel with optimal performance. Maintenance and checking our route is essential for a less burdensome journey.

We are not alone in our chronic pain journey, for our doctors, friends and family are passengers…who’s needs also need to be acknowledged. It’s easy to forget that it’s a challenging and painful journey for them as well.

We are in control of our life and choose whether the pain steers us wildly off of a cliff or whether we take control of our vehicle and steer it in the path of our desires.

Physical Therapy

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.

Physical TherapyThere 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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

Does Your Neuropathy Treatment Include Exercise and Movement? is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Neuropathy Treatments and Too Many Choices

Choosing Your Neuropathy Treatments Specialist is the Most Important Step Back to Wellness.

The first step to choosing effective neuropathy treatments is the hardest. That’s because it may feel that the path of treatment is entirely up to you.

Unfortunately, many general practitioners, oncologists, and other doctors are just not trained with a specialty background in neuropathy—leaving patients to research on their own to try to understand their treatment options.

This is a confusing process that is made worse by the fact that neuropathy isn’t just a single disease. It’s a condition with many individual factors. Your experience of neuropathy is unique in the context of your entire medical history and specific symptoms.

And that is why there are so-called neuropathy treatments or “cures” out there that just will not work for most people…. because they are a blanket approach to a very individual problem.

When it comes to neuropathy treatments, the most effective path is one that uses multiple effective treatment components in a way that is uniquely tailored to your needs.

For that reason, the first step and the very most important step, before looking at any specific neuropathy treatments for your symptoms, is to find a highly trained neuropathy specialist who will do a thorough assessment in order to create YOUR unique treatment plan.

This plan will probably involve addressing any underlying conditions that aggravate neuropathy, such as diabetes, as well as components of lifestyle and diet changes, appropriate medications, and state of the art therapies like laser light therapy.

Note that medication was not the first item on that neuropathy treatments list. That’s because neuropathy specialists understand that medication is not a cure-all for neuropathy symptoms, and sometimes can actually impair your quality of life due to side effects.

The most important thing you can do for your health today is to talk with a NeuropathyDR® clinician. Click here to find a neuropathy specialist in your area.

Neuropathy Treatments and Too Many Choices is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Everyday Toxins That Aggravate Neuropathy Symptoms

Take These Steps Today to Minimize Your Exposure to Harmful Toxins That Make Neuropathy Symptoms Worse.

Most people picture toxins on a huge, catastrophic level, like nuclear waste. Unfortunately, our everyday lives are full of potential toxins that exist in our food, air, and water, some of which can live for days or longer in the fatty tissues of our bodies. This is a significant issue for those who are living with neuropathy symptoms, which can be made worse by exposure to toxins.

It’s also important to understand that these toxins tend to accumulate over time, so small amounts of toxin exposure can lead to significant negative health effects.

Some of the toxins we’re talking about here include antibiotic residues in water, chemical residues on your food from the use of pesticides, and hidden household pollutants like radon gas.

The good news is that you can take steps right away to begin reducing your exposure to harmful toxins that can make neuropathy symptoms worse.

Start by using a filter for your drinking water. Depending on your needs and preferences, you could choose to use a pitcher with a built-in filter that you change frequently, or a whole-house filtering system that will provide filtered water from every tap.

We also recommend filtering your food, so to speak, by avoiding processed foods and selecting organic produce whenever possible. Growing vegetables for your own use is a wonderful alternative to buying them, although you’ll need to avoid using commercial pesticides in your garden. Chemicals that kill insects tend to be very bad for your body, too! Consider using non-toxic spray soap to deter insects instead.

Speaking of growing things, no matter how much you enjoy having a perfectly green and manicured lawn, we urge our patients not to use commercial chemicals to enhance lawn growth or color.
You can also choose to use “green” cleaners around your home. But don’t assume that anything with the word “green” on the label is a good idea—you’ll need to read the label. Better yet, do an Internet search to learn about using very basic materials like vinegar and baking soda to clean your home. You’ll save money in addition to knowing that harsh chemicals in your home aren’t aggravating your neuropathy symptoms.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reducing toxins in order to reduce neuropathy symptoms. For more information about a healthy lifestyle to support treatment of your neuropathy symptoms, take a look at our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

Everyday Toxins That Aggravate Neuropathy Symptoms is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Chemotherapy Neuropathy and What You Can Do About It

Chemotherapy Neuropathy is One of the Least Well-Known Side Effects of Cancer Treatment, But You Can Take Action to Minimize Its Effects.

We’ve all heard about the classic side effects of chemotherapy for cancer treatment: hair loss, nausea, disrupted digestion. But did you know that a common side effect, which is rarely discussed, is tingling or numbness in the extremities?

This condition, known as peripheral neuropathy or Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN), can be unpredictable, and it can severely impact your quality of life. What’s more, sometimes chemotherapy neuropathy will subside and eventually disappear months or years after your treatment is over, but sometimes the nerve damage lingers well after you are believed to be cancer free.

Some of the typical symptoms of chemotherapy neuropathy in the hands or feet include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Burning sensation
  • Shooting or “electric” pains

For many patients, chemotherapy neuropathy is so bad that it keeps them from functioning normally during the day or even sleeping at night.

So, what can you do to combat chemotherapy neuropathy?

Your oncologist or other physician may have prescribed medications to help manage the symptoms of your CIPN. But there’s so much more that you can do beyond simply taking drugs and hoping for the best.

Complementary and integrative therapies have been shown to be effective in reducing or eliminating chemotherapy neuropathy for many people. You might have heard of these as a broad category called CAM, for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

If chemotherapy neuropathy is an issue for you, some of the complementary therapies you might consider are:

  • Supplements like alpha lipoic acid (B12) that can ease symptoms
  • Acupuncture and Chinese medicine
  • Specific herbal supplements to strengthen nerve health
  • Massage therapy aimed at cancer patients
  • Gentle exercise, as recommended by your physician

Be sure that you talk with your oncologist before beginning to use any kind of supplement or alternative treatment, to make sure that it will not interfere with your primary cancer treatment.
For more information about nerve health and chemotherapy neuropathy, we recommend the “neuropathy owners manual,” I Beat Neuropathy!

Chemotherapy Neuropathy and What You Can Do About It is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Is Lipoic Acid a Miracle Drug for Neuropathy Treatment?

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True that Lipoic Acid Could Be the Only Neuropathy Treatment You Need… You Might Be Right. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Recent studies on the use of lipoic acid supplements for neuropathic pain have led to a frenzy of interest in using this nutrient for neuropathy treatment.

In fact, it’s been touted as some kind of magic bullet that can make your neuropathy just disappear.

While lipoic acid is found in many types of foods naturally, such as spinach and broccoli, it occurs in small amounts. Preliminary studies have shown that lipoic acid may potentially improve the way that your nerve cells function, which seems like good news for neuropathy treatment.

Let’s remember, though, that there is truly no known cure for neuropathy!

As with anything else in life, something that sounds too good to be true…. probably is.

So proceed with caution if you encounter these “miracle” lipoic acid supplements at your health food store, or even if your doctor suggests lipoic acid for you.

Our neuropathy treatment principles are built around the idea that nutritional supplements can be helpful in neuropathy treatment, IF they are custom prescribed for your specific medical condition and IF they are taken in conjunction with other beneficial nutrients. That means not relying on the idea that large doses of lipoic acid, or indeed mega doses of any single nutrient, could make your neuropathy treatment worries disappear.

It’s also important to note that lipoic acid appears to work best for patients whose blood sugar is under control via careful dietary choices and regular exercise.

So, the bottom line when it comes to lipoic acid?

It may be beneficial, for SOME patients, when taken in appropriate doses in conjunction with other nutrients and a comprehensive neuropathy treatment plan.

The real first step for your neuropathy treatment should never focus on one “miracle” approach. We always recommend a thorough assessment by a clinician who is highly trained in state of the art neuropathy treatment options. Find a NeuropathyDR® clinician near you.

Is Lipoic Acid a Miracle Drug for Neuropathy Treatment? is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Neuropathy Treatment 101: Scheduling Time for Self Care

You Might Be Surprised at How Vital Self Care and At Home Changes Can Be for Successful Neuropathy Treatment.

With all the complexities of the typical neuropathy treatment plan, it is shocking how often a critical element of success is left off—and that’s self care.

Like many others, you might think of self care as indulgent or silly. Things like bubble baths or spa days might come to mind.

But when we talk about self care as a component of neuropathy treatment, what we mean is the very basic and vital aspects of taking control of your own health on a day to day basis.

The fact is, you’re not doing all you can do for your own neuropathy treatment success if you’re not scheduling time EVERY day for self care.

Some key aspects of self care for neuropathy treatment include:

  • Appropriate exercise that meets your health goals
  • Following a beneficial neuropathy diet that eliminates common neuropathy aggravators, such as caffeine and wheat
  • Meditation, prayer, or another meaningful spiritual practice
  • Relaxation, including guided visualization, yoga, massage, etc.
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) such as acupuncture
  • Neurostimulation using home care tools recommended by your NeuropathyDR® clinician

Naturally, these types of self care neuropathy treatments are not a cure for your neuropathy symptoms. In fact, there is no known cure for neuropathy. But what these self care remedies do is to reduce your symptoms as much as possible and enhance your quality of life overall.

While there is a place for medication and surgery in some cases, there are so many less intrusive ways to treat neuropathy, including basic home care and self care neuropathy treatment.

Your most effective neuropathy treatment plan begins with a thorough assessment and diagnosis by a qualified neuropathy treatment specialist, followed by regular in-office treatments with the high-tech options appropriate for your specific medical condition, as well as daily self care.

Click here to locate a highly trained neuropathy treatment clinician near you!

Neuropathy Treatment 101: Scheduling Time for Self Care is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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