Sleep disturbance is a very common human condition. In fact, sometimes it’s unavoidable. For most of us, fortunately, sleep disturbances are mild and brief. This is When Counting Sheep Won’t Stop Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms…
Space your meals and pay attention to things like too much sugar or too much caffeine.
However, when sleep disturbances or insomnia last for long periods of time, they can cause serious health problems.
Last time, we spoke extensively about RLS, or Restless Leg Syndrome. As you probably now know, RLS is often associated with peripheral neuropathy.
So let’s talk a bit more about sleep. Sleep is the time when both your brain and your body rest.
It’s part of normal 24-hour, or, Circadian, rhythms. During the normal sleep rhythms of the body, certain functions such as changes in our body temperature (which help induce sleep), and hormone levels that control things such as appetite take place.
But when things like peripheral neuropathy, restless leg syndrome, or even simple stress intervene, the net result is disturbance in all of the above. So, side effects from sleep disturbance can include weight gain, muscle aches and pains, overall lack of energy, and sometimes serious depression.
But what is the neuropathy sufferer to do? Well, fortunately, there are several things that can be done. First of all, work with your doctors to take appropriate dosages of medications, when absolutely necessary.
We also strongly suggest that you keep yourself is active during the day, if your condition allows. Wherever possible, this should include some exercise in bright sunlight.
Stay well hydrated. Dehydration or too much water consumption late in the day also disturbs sleep.
Space your meals and pay attention to things like too much sugar or too much caffeine.
Magnesium supplementation taken throughout the day may also be very helpful. We commonly suggest 200 to 400 mg of NDGen Magnesium per day into divided dosages. Never do this without your doctor’s knowledge, and never in the presence of kidney disease.
Finally, if you have not already taking advantage of one of our NDGen Home Care Kits which includes a unique neurostimulator, you should know that one of the chief reasons for owning these is that they can greatly help reduce painful symptoms when used 1-2 hours before bed—and thus help you sleep more easily.
They’re so easy to use, they will even shut themselves off with a built-in timer, which means you can go to bed with them on. Gentle electric stimulation often helps you feel better in a number of different ways. Don’t let sleep disturbance—whether due to peripheral neuropathy, RLS or some other condition—continue.
Pay attention to diet, and stress reduction. All of these things, plus the use of your NDGen home care kit will greatly facilitate a good night’s rest!
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When Counting Sheep Won’t Stop Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists
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But we’re trying! Neuropathy is tough, but together we can be tougher. Check out here how we go beyond conventional neuropathy treatment at neuropathydr.com.
Your cholesterol or blood pressure was elevated so you take multiple medications…
You work in a manufacturing environment…
You’ve been exposed to lead, mercury or thalium in your job…
You have a history of drug or alcohol abuse…
Any of these things can cause one of the most difficult types of peripheral neuropathy to diagnose –
If you have any of these problems with your feet:
Or if you suffer from
- Difficulty walking
- Shooting pain in your muscles
It is vitally important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis and start treatment as quickly as possible to try and prevent permanent nerve damage. This commonly includes extensive lab tests, electro-diagnostics like EMG/NCV, hair samples and maybe even tissue biopsy.
What Causes Toxic Neuropathy?
Toxic neuropathy is basically nerve damage caused by exposure to toxic substances. The two most common causes of toxic neuropathy are drug abuse and exposure to chemicals on the job. More and more though environmental sources such as mercury from heavy fish consumption for example must be considered. Any type of prolonged exposure to toxins in the environment can cause toxic neuropathy. Even prolonged exposure to some organic insecticides or certain self-administered supplements can cause toxic neuropathy. Some herbal medicines are particularly high in mercury and arsenic, both of which can cause peripheral neuropathy.
Why Can Toxic Neuropathy So Difficult to Diagnose?
Patients with toxic neuropathy often present with very subtle pain or mild weakness. Because initial symptoms are fairly mild, patients may “blow them off” and it’s then harder to pinpoint a diagnosis. When symptoms are more pronounced and painful, there may be a lag time between the exposure to the toxin and the onset of significant symptoms. The symptoms come on so gradually that it’s harder for the patient to give the doctor a clear picture of what they may have been exposed to.
The difficulty in diagnosing toxic neuropathy is one of the reasons that it is so important to consult a doctor with legitimate training. Do your homework here. With experience & expertise and so often a team approach, 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 Toxic Neuropathy?
Our initial goal is always help make the most accurate diagnosis FIRST.
The next step is to devise a treatment plan. The first order of business will be to stop exposure to the suspected toxin(s). If the cause of your toxic neuropathy was environmental, we will work with you to formulate a plan to decrease or eliminate your exposure.
Then you can begin treatment but note these precautions:
- 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.
- Treatment is often in-office and home care simultaneously. Unless you do your part, good results will certainly be limited.
Remember, toxic neuropathy can develop even after short term exposure to toxic chemicals and some well known drugs. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms we’ve discussed and you know or suspect you’ve been exposed to chemicals or you have or have had a drug problem, your doctor immediately. Toxic neuropathy and chronic pain is often treatable but any kind of neuropathy is very unforgiving of delay and your nerve damage could be very dangerous.
For more information on diagnosis, treatment and coping with toxic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at https://neuropathydr.com
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 their diet, exercise, and other self care only AFTER they have been diagnosed with diabetes or diabetic neuropathy. And by then, for so many, it’s a major health crisis!
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. In fact, it’s the likely cause of most cases of “idiopathic” (cause unknown) neuropathy.
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 many serious conditions, like heart disease.
Your next line of defense is to begin working with a medical specialist who is well trained in diagnosing and teaching you how to treat metabolic syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, and other disorders.
Remember that only you can be an effective health advocate for yourself.
Finally, let us help! There is lot’s of of information here in our library and videos.
Next, be sure to share with your doctor the crucial lifestyle changes you are making that can have a significant impact on your health related to metabolic syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.
Get your copy of our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!
One main factor in many cases of peripheral neuropathy is diet. You probably know that neuropathy is linked to diabetes and other conditions where daily intake of sugars and nutrients is important, but your diet can also influence the condition of nerves in more direct ways, such as in cases where a nutritional deficiency is causing neuropathic damage. We call this Neuropathy Nutrition.
Perhaps the most common links between neuropathy and nutrition is a deficiency in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12. Fight neuropathy by eating foods that are all high in B vitamins. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry! There are plant foods that contain substantial amounts of B-12 (GREAT Reference HERE).
Vegetables are high in nutrients that have been shown to be effective treating neuropathy. Additionally, if you suffer from diabetes, fresh produce can mellow your blood sugar levels. If numbness or pain in your extremities is severe, keep pre-cut vegetables and limited fruits at the ready, so you don’t have to worry about the stress involved with preparing them! Just be careful of too much fruit sugars. This means a serving is 1/2 apple, banana, etc. Most non-starchy vegetables like greens and asparagus especially are great for most of us.
Foods that are high in Vitamin E are also good for neuropathy nutrition, according to neurology.com. A deficiency of Vitamin E can happen in cases where malabsorption or malnutrition are taking place, such as the case with alcoholic neuropathy. Whole grains and nuts are all excellent sources of vitamin E.
Lean proteins are also an important part of a healthy diet for people with neuropathy. Saturated fats and fried foods increase risk of diabetes and heart disease, in addition to aggravating nerve decay from lack of nutrients. If you suffer from diabetes, lean proteins also help to regulate blood sugar levels.
For some types of neuropathy, research shows that specific antioxidants may help slow or even reverse nerve damage that has not existed for too long a time. For HIV sensory neuropathy, Acetyl-L-Carnitine has demonstrated good results, and Alpha lipoic acid is being studied for its effects on diabetic nerve damage. But PLEASE, do not self treat! Get an accurate diagnosis and work with a professional armed with the latest research before beginning any supplementation or treatment, even with antioxidants. Let our team help.
Use Tools Like Journaling and Blood Sugar Monitoring Every Day…
So what are the best ways to monitor what you are neuropathy nutrition? The easiest way is to make lasting changes it to keep a food journal. Record everything you eat at meals, for snacks, and any vitamin supplements you might be taking. Your journal will help you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician determine if your diet could be a factor in your neuropathy symptoms! As a bonus, food journaling is a great way to be accountable for your overall nutrition, as well as to help avoid dietary-related conditions other than neuropathy. If you have a goal for weight loss, weight gain, or better overall energy, those are other areas in which keeping a food journal can help! Other ways to monitor what you eat include cooking at home as opposed to going out to restaurants, keeping a shopping list instead of deciding what groceries to buy at the store, and consulting a qualified NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways to meet your specific needs.
Dietary supplements (when properly prescribed and monitored by blood testing) may also help manage neuropathic symptoms and nerve degeneration. Supplementing with only the highest quality, liquid distilled fish oil can help supply Omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for brain and neurologic help. Many other types of supplements can be beneficial if you suffer from neuropathy; consult us directly for specific recommendations.
Patients and Doctors are invited to call us at 781-659-7989 at 12:30 EST Monday, Wednesday and Thursday to talk with the next available senior clinician.
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