Lets Make The Most Accurate Diagnosis First. We have been teaching patients and professionals this for many years. Here is one example why.
Recently, I had the opportunity to read an article written about pain & neuropathy treatment. This article was written directly for patients.
Now maybe you even saw this yourself. It has been widely publicized as a “neuropathy treatment solution” in a bottle.
As I read through the article I couldn’t help but think of the patients I’ve seen in my clinic that have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, or another named condition when in fact they have also have another serious underlying health problem.
Unfortunately, this is not at all uncommon. I recently had this discussion with another doctor who repeated the same thing to me.
The fact of the matter is not every patient with a diagnosis or cause of their pain has had it fully explored and when possible confirmed. Far too often, the problem turns out to be something different than what they believed.
Treating patients with pain and neuropathy requires great skill, with much time dedicated to proper assessment and evaluation.
So often, pain, including peripheral neuropathy accompanies other medical conditions. Unless your Doctors are thorough, you can spend months and sometimes years chasing the wrong thing! This is happening more and more with all the Social Media “cures” and practices being promoted.
And that is why it is very important before beginning any extended program of care, it is crucial to most accurately understand what may be causing your symptoms.
Too often, patients with peripheral neuropathy have impaired sensation, and judgment affected by medication. This is one of the things that make self-treatment and home care without supervision potentially dangerous.
Be aware, there are also drug/diet supplement interactions, which can be potentially dangerous. A common one is Coumadin and Co Q10. Then there is the potential interaction with acetyl l Carnitine with thyroid, HIV and many chemotherapy drugs.
Choose your Doctor carefully. Stay away from fads, quick fixes or “magic treatment” pills or supplements.
When in doubt seek out our help before engaging any any questionable treatment. You can Call us anytime @ 781-659-7989.
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“Why Do I Feel so Lousy With Weather Changes?” This is one of things we hear very often from pain and neuropathy patients, “While do I still feel so lousy?”
Sometimes, it’s easy to put your finger on the reason why. For example you fail to eat properly. You over exercise. You under exercise. But lately you’ve been eating better and drinking lots of water but sometimes, you feel lousy for seemingly no reason at all.
It could be, that you are suffering from what we call “denervation hypersensitivity”.
Now, that sounds like a mouth full. And at first glance it is!
You see your body is very sensitive to environmental changes. These could include things such as air pressure, temperature, humidity, and other environmental changes. Much more so with nerve irritation due to injury, arthritis or neuropathy.
Is it sunny and warm or hot and humid today?
The reason for this is that when nerves are damaged they become hypersensitive to environmental changes. This is not an old wives tale.
A very common scenario is when an approaching storm seemingly increases your level of pain and discomfort oftentimes dramatically.
It is a well-known phenomenon that anybody familiar with neuropathy treatment, arthritic pain, or patients that suffer from neuropathy and probably many forms of chronic pain..
Some of my patients even joke that they have become walking barometers. Now there’s nothing you can do to change the weather. However there are some things you can do to make yourself more comfortable. Number one, make sure you maintain as even environmental temperature and humidity level as you possibly can in your home and car.
Number two, keep yourself away from draft exposure. Even on relatively warm days, you need to make sure that you’re protected from wind and drafts.
Lastly, armed with this knowledge plan on extra treatment at home or maybe even in the clinic during times of flare-up
The most important thing of all though?
Recognize that your body while suffering from pain and neuropathy is very sensitive and take steps to protect it.
This is one of the reasons, we advocate every neuropathy treatment patient owns their own homecare kit which can give you invaluable relief during the times of flare-up, during the middle the night, weekends, and even for breakthrough pain.
Tell us how your neuropathy treatments are effected by the environment HERE!
“Doctor, my blood sugar is just a little off–that can’t cause Neuropathy…”
Unfortunately, the reverse is probably true.
Here is reality: Aggressive treatment of both metabolic syndrome and diabetes can lessen the progression and the severity of one of the most common forms of peripheral neuropathy.
We have written extensively about diabetes and metabolic syndrome. We talk often about about how carrying excess body fat impairs our body’s ability to process blood fats and blood sugars.
There’s also really good evidence and multiple clinical studies that show even borderline elevations in the blood sugar over long periods of time make patients more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy.
So how does this slight elevation of blood sugar and blood fats or triglycerides cause neuropathy? Unfortunately, nobody is 100% sure. But there are several good theories.
The most likely explanation is that excess amounts of circulating fats and sugar interfere with your delicate nerves’ ability to take in critical nutrients, including oxygen.
Over a long period time, these can eventually manifest as the tingling, numbness, and burning so commonly found in peripheral neuropathy.
Because it is a well-known fact that patients with metabolic syndrome can likely develop a number of diseases, including heart disease and high blood pressure–as well as peripheral neuropathy—it is critical to attempt to reverse the changes wherever possible.
If frank diabetes develops, it is necessary to treat it as aggressively as possible with minimal side effects. We do know that aggressive treatment of both metabolic syndrome and diabetes can lessen the progression and the severity of one of the most common forms of peripheral neuropathy. But what happens if you’ve done all the right things and your neuropathy persists?
This is the most common presentation we now see in our clinics.
This is because so many more enlightened patients are taking charge of their health by improving their diet and starting to exercise on a regular basis.
And this is how we should all first approach patients with neuropathy and chronic nerve pain.
Let our team help you too.
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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
If you or someone you love suffers from peripheral neuropathy or chronic pain, I don’t have to tell you how frustrating treatment options can be. You probably also are aware how limited many conventional treatments are. In reality, proper neuropathy and chronic pain treatment requires individualized attention. A haphazard approach just won’t do.
Unless an individualized treatment approach is taken right from the very beginning, and fully implemented, patients continue to suffer the pain, sleeplessness, often needlessly.
That is why the most important thing you can do is to work with a highly competent professional. But you also need to learn everything you can, and take proven action steps that will help improve the quality of your life. That is exactly why we publish the dietary and lifestyle posts every week.
Simply wishing the problem will go away, or masking it’s symptoms without attempting to treat the underlying cause is futile. A combined treatment approach really works best in the long term. The good news is, we now have available more effective and far less invasive treatment strategies for patients with chronic pain and peripheral neuropathy than ever before.
When these are combined with your own powerful self-care program the net result is many of our patients are now experiencing significant improvements in quality of life.
So we encourage you to talk with us, and learn about all the advances in the new technology that more and more neuropathy & chronic pain patients can now take advantage of!
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