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.

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.

What’s The Prognosis for Hereditary Neuropathy? is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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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.

Laser Neuropathy Treatment: How Does It Help You? is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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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.

Laser Neuropathy Treatment: How Does It Help? is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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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.

2 Essential Components in the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy 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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Meditation can help your neuropathy and chronic pain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neuropathy? Why did I get it?

In fact, neuropathy is a group of disorders.

neurodrProfessionals-webready

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!

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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…

Senior Couple Sitting In ParkEven 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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Flu Vaccine and Peripheral Neuropathy

It’s that time of year again…

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

Pre-flu season…

And everywhere you look are signs advertising “Flu Shots – Walk Ins Welcome” or “Get Your Flu Shot Today.”

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

After all, the flu accounts for 200,000 hospitalizations every year and up to 36,000 deaths.  If you can take a shot and avoid that, why wouldn’t you?

But if you have peripheral neuropathy caused by

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS or some other immune system disorder
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Gluten sensitivity (also known as celiac disease)
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Hereditary neuropathy

You may think that a flu shot isn’t for you.

HIV patients tend to be especially skeptical about receiving the vaccine.

If you have peripheral neuropathy caused by any of these underlying illnesses, you need to make an informed choice about whether or not to get a flu shot.

This is what you need to know.

The Flu Vaccine Will Not Actually Make You Sick

Contrary to urban myth, the flu vaccine will not make you sick.  It works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that actually fight the virus. It does not give you the flu.

You also need to know that there is no evidence that the flu shot will make your neuropathy symptoms worse if your neuropathy is caused by any of the underlying illnesses we listed above.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends that peripheral neuropathy patients with any of these illnesses receive a flu shot every year because they’re more prone to developing serious complications if they get the flu.

A Word of Caution for Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP Patients

If your peripheral neuropathy is caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you receive the flu vaccine.

Because the vaccine keeps you from getting the flu by tricking your immune system into producing antibodies to fight it off,  if you have neuropathy caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP,  this immune stimulation may actually cause a relapse in patients with a history of either of these illnesses.

If you have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the resultant peripheral neuropathy in the past, it might be a good idea to wait at least one year after your symptoms are gone before you receive the flu shot.

If you have CIDP and your symptoms are still present, you might want to avoid the flu vaccine.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional and consider the chances of complications from the vaccine as opposed to the health risks of actually getting the flu.  Take into account:

  • Advanced age
  • Other chronic medical conditions
  • Possible relapse triggered by getting the flu virus

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you receive the flu shot every year if you fall into any of these groups:

  • You’re six months to 19 years old
  • You’re 50 years of age or older
  • You have a chronic medical condition (lung, heart, liver or kidney disease, blood disorders, diabetes)
  • You live in a nursing home or other long term care facility
  • You live with or care for someone at high risk for complications from the flu (healthcare workers, people in your household (i.e., children too young to be vaccinated or people with chronic medical conditions)

In the end, the decision to get the flu shot or take a pass on it is up to you.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you make your decision and do what’s best for you.

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

Answering the “Why” of Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy as a result of

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

Neuropathy doesn’t just affect the hands and feet.

  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS or some other autoimmune disease
  • Chemotherapy
  • Shingles
  • Heredity

You probably have more questions than answers.

Neuropathy is probably the one symptom you never expected when you received your diagnosis.

To understand why you developed neuropathy, it helps to understand exactly what neuropathy is.

What Is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy[1] is a condition caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system.  The peripheral nervous system controls communication between your brain and your spinal cord and every other part of your body.  When you pick up a hot pan and feel the pain of the burn, that’s the peripheral nervous system at work.

When the peripheral nervous system is damaged by whatever your other condition is, the communication super highway of the peripheral nervous system is disrupted.  The signals from the brain and spinal cord don’t make it to whatever part of the body is affected by your neuropathy.  It’s like going into a dead zone with your cell phone and not having any “bars”.  Your nerves just don’t make the proper connection.

And neuropathy doesn’t just affect the hands and feet.  It can affect your digestive system, your cardiovascular system, your reproductive system, even your brain.

What Causes Neuropathy?

Any number of things can cause your neuropathy.  Here are a couple of common examples:

If you have diabetes and your blood glucose levels aren’t controlled and have been high for significant period of time, the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your nerves can be damaged.  Sort of like a potted plant that doesn’t get enough sunlight or water.  Your nerves will wither and cease to function, just like your sunlight deprived plant.

If you HIV/AIDS or some other autoimmune disease, your immune system begins to attack your body and that can include your nervous system.  That causes damage to the peripheral nerves.

Any of the conditions we discussed earlier can cause neuropathy because they all can damage your nervous system.  The damage and the part of the nervous system damaged can vary as much as the patients with neuropathy but any of these illnesses places you at a much higher risk than the average person for developing neuropathy.

What Happens Once Those Nerves Are Damaged?

If your nervous system is damaged you can experience[2]

  • Numbness in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Inability to feel heat, cold or even pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Burning or tingling or even the “pins and needles” feeling you get when your legs or arms “go to sleep”
  • Changes in the shape of your feet caused by weakened muscles
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

If your neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, you can experience

  • Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Inability to regulate your blood pressure

Your NeuropathyDR® specialist has an exclusive treatment protocol with proven results for neuropathy patients.  An integral part of that treatment protocol is nutrition counseling and diet planning.  Your specialist will sit down with you and plan your meals to include the proper portions of each of these categories on a daily basis to make sure that your blood sugar remains as constant as possible.

Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described.  If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of neuropathies.

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

Cholesterol Medication and Peripheral Neuropathy

Lipitor…

Once you know what caused the problem, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will sit down with you and formulate a plan.

Zocor…

Crestor…

If you own a television, you’ve probably seen at least one commercial for these popular cholesterol lowering medications.

If your cholesterol is high your doctor has probably prescribed one of them.

These drugs belong to a group of medications called statins and while they’re very effective in lowering your cholesterol levels, they have a serious side effect.

Patients taking statins are 14 times more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy than people not taking statins.[1]

If you’re taking statins and you have any of these problems with your feet:

  • Burning pain
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Prickling sensation

Or if you suffer from

  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Shooting pain in your muscles

You could be suffering from statin neuropathy.  You need to see a health care provider very familiar with the diagnosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy in all its forms, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician.

It is vitally important that you obtain a diagnosis and start treatment as quickly as possible to prevent permanent nerve damage.

What Causes Statin Neuropathy?

Statin neuropathy is nerve damage caused by exposure to cholesterol lowering medication.  By lowering cholesterol, statins also affect the cholesterol rich membranes that surround the nerves.   Prolonged exposure to statins just makes your peripheral neuropathy worse.

Why Is Statin Neuropathy So Difficult to Diagnose?

Patients with statin neuropathy often present with very subtle pain or mild weakness.  Because initial symptoms are fairly mild, it’s harder to pinpoint a diagnosis.  Many patients with statin neuropathy write off their early symptoms to being tired or just getting older.  The symptoms come on so gradually that it’s harder for the patient to give the doctor a clear picture of exactly when they started.

The difficulty in diagnosing statin neuropathy is one of the reasons that it is so important to consult a healthcare provider who specializes in treating neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR®.  Because this is your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s field of expertise, he or she is more likely to pick up on subtleties that will allow a faster diagnosis.  Faster diagnosis means faster treatment and that means less chance for permanent nerve damage.

What is the Treatment for Statin Neuropathy?

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s initial goal will be to confirm the diagnosis and then determine that what you have is statin neuropathy and not neuropathy caused by some other underlying illness.  Once you know what caused the problem, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will sit down with you and formulate a plan to take you off your statin medications, at least for awhile to see if your symptoms improve.[2]

The next step is to begin treatment.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will

  • Advise you to take over-the-counter pain medication unless your symptoms are severe enough to warrant prescription pain medication.
  • If you are already suffering nerve deficits that are affecting your ability to perform basic daily tasks due to loss of sensation, you will need to take safety precautions to avoid falls.
  • Treat you with nerve stimulation and manual manipulation of your skeletal system to get your body back into alignment and alleviate your nerve pain.

Remember, statin neuropathy can develop even after short term exposure to statins.  If you are suffering from any of the symptoms we’ve discussed, contact your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately.  Statin neuropathy is treatable but any kind of neuropathy is very unforgiving of delay and your nerve damage could be permanent.

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

Did You Inherit Your Neuropathy?


 

Chances are, if you’re reading this and you’re already in your late 20’s or early 30’s (or older) and you have [1]

•      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[2]:

•      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.  Contact us today for information on how your Hereditary Neuropathy can be treated, your suffering lessened and exactly how to find a NeuropathyDr® in your area.