Answering the Why of Neuropathy

Answering the Why of Neuropathy

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

  • 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 https://neuropathydr.com.

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

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.

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

A Simple and Effective Treatment for Foot Neuropathy: Gentle Yoga

A Simple and Effective Treatment for Foot Neuropathy: Gentle Yoga

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.

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

 

Neuropathy Foot Wear – Your Shoes Could Be Killing You

Neuropathy Foot Wear – Your Shoes Could Be Killing You

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy?

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

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

Now, for the $25,000 bonus question…

Are you doing what your doctor tells you to do?

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

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

Ultimately, it could cost your life.

You’re Not Alone

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

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

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

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

Finding the Right Shoes

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

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

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

See Your Doctor Regularly

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

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

[1] http://diabetes.webmd.com/guide/caring-feet?

Neuropathy Lab Tests

Neuropathy Lab Tests

There is No Single Neuropathy Lab Test as Neuropathy is often a “Symptom” of Many Conditions.

One of the things that surprises many patients new to peripheral neuropathy and many other forms of chronic pain, is that is there is no single neuropathy or pain causing lab test to identify their problem.

In fact there is no single laboratory tests by itself, which is hundred percent accurate for so many disorders.

This of course is difficult not only for patients, but their families AND the physicians and therapists like ourseslves who treat peripheral neuropathy and chronic pain.

As we talk about often, neuropathy is most often a “symptom” of other conditions and as in the case of chemotherapy, toxic, or drug related neuropathy possibly caused by treatment. It is not necessarily a primary diagnosis.

So what this means is that very careful attention needs to be paid to multiple factors at the same time. This also often includes multiple laboratory tests.

For the patient new to neuropathy or chronic pain, this will oftentimes include blood tests. If it’s possibly related to a structural or spinal condition then MRIs, x-rays, CAT scans, and other tests may also be necessary.

One of the most important things your clinician will do is to conduct a very detailed physical examination.

Only after ALL of these things are done and then put together by an expert, can you most accurately identify what maybe going on.

This is NOT a one step or simple process!

So realize that in order to maximize your recovery, EARLY good care must still be administered ESPECIALLY when an accurate diagnosis is not possible! As we spoke about last time, waiting to act on correctable factors while obtaining a “perfect” assessment is the worst thing you can do.

And many times neuropathy and chronic pain patients are frustrated with negative or nearly normal tests. But as I tell my patients all the time, this is often the sign of a much better prognosis!

So of course you should work with your doctors and therapists in establishing an accurate diagnosis.

But don’t be surprised if this is not possible.

Often times there are several different conditions and lifestyle factors that work together to cause neuropathy and chronic pain. Typically these are stress, obesity, smoking and poor physical conditioning.

This is why it is so important that you address ALL these things together with your NeuropathyDR Clinician to give your body the best shot at any possible improvement or recovery!

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

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Part II

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Part II

Your local NeuropathyDR® specialist can help you understand Chemotherapy Neuropathy Treatments

Last time, we talked about some therapies that can help alleviate chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. The precise combination of these complementary therapies in NeuropathyDR® protocol can bring relief from your peripheral neuropathy and put you back on the road to a full life.

Nutrition

As a cancer patient, you’re already familiar with the effects chemotherapy and other treatments can have on your digestive system. The side effects of cancer treatment can not only affect your ability to eat but they can also prevent your body from getting the nutrition you need to heal.

If you have cancer, you need to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients to prevent or reverse nutritional shortfalls, lessen the side effects of treatment and improve your quality of life.

If at all possible, you need to make sure you’re eating enough high calorie, high-protein foodto give your body proper nutrition. But sitting down and eating a big meal may not be possible. Try eating small meals or snacks frequently instead. Frequent small meals will give your body a steady supply of nutrients, be easier for your sensitive digestive system to handle and maintain a consistent blood sugar level. All of this will often make you feel much better.

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician to discuss a meal plan that will give your body what it needs to repair the damage done by cancer treatment. Good nutrition will boost your immune system and let it do its job in fighting off illnesses brought on by the damage of chemotherapy.

NeuropathyDR® practitioners often use diet plans and our nutrition guidelines to complement their chiropractic and NDGen treatment protocols to treat the whole patient from the inside out.

Nerve Stimulation (Neurostimulation or NeuroStim)

Once a NeuropathyDR® course of treatment has been designed and a nutrition plan established, the final piece in the overall treatment of your post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy treatment plan is nerve stimulation.

There are several nerve stimulation techniques to help peripheral neuropathy patients. Our protocol that is having great success includes the NDGen Family of Neurostimulation Devices.

By employing electrical stimulation to the nerves, in a wave-like low frequency motion the nerves may be stimulated to heal wherever possible. This specialty treatment allows the nerves to communicate more normally again and that, in itself, seems to start the process of reversing some damage of peripheral neuropathy.

You may watch our Cancer Patients speak out at http://YouTube.com/NeuropathyDoctor

The combination of good NeuropathyDR® in-clinic care, nutrition and NDGen nerve stimulation and Laser/LED Therapy is showing great promise in helping post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients return to a pain free life, without the debilitating effects of post-chemotherapy peripheral  neuropathy.

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