There’s A Lot Neuropathy Patients Can Do At Home to Supplement Their Doctor’s Treatment Plan, But Don’t Think You Can Handle It All On Your Own.
We talk a lot about self-treatment for neuropathy and chronic neuropathic pain. But I want you to understand the difference between effective home treatment and dangerous stalling that can make your neuropathy worse.
I’ll be straightforward: if you are experiencing neuropathy symptoms like tingling, numbness, chronic pain, fatigue, and balance or movement problems, you absolutely need to be under the care of a trained neuropathy clinician. Neuropathy is often a degenerative condition that will get worse over time when not treated adequately.
The worst thing you could do for your neuropathy symptoms is to try to handle it all on your own through self-care based on what you’ve read on the Internet.
I am all for complementary forms of treatment like yoga, massage, and so on—but be aware that “complementary” means that you should use them in conjunction with effective medical treatments, not instead of medical treatment. That goes for vitamin supplementation as well.
If there is only one thing I can convey about self-treatment, it is this message: When it comes to neuropathy, it is absolutely vital to get early treatment in order to reduce or minimize your neuropathic pain. Ignoring it, self-medicating, or attempting to handle it on your own is NOT a good long-term health strategy.
Remember, home care and self-treatment strategies (like a health neuropathy diet, moderate exercise, and supplements) are intended to work WITH your neuropathy clinician’s treatment plan. The idea is to build a holistic treatment plan for neuropathy so that everything you do, in the doctor’s office and at home, is supporting your long-term health goals and improving your quality of life right away.
Read more about how to treat neuropathic pain in our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!
Self-Treatment for Neuropathy Symptoms: A Supplement, Not a Substitute is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment
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Sleep Problems are Common among Neuropathy Patients. Here’s What You Can Do to Make It Better.
Sleep disturbances aren’t unusual for most people during times of stress or illness. But people with neuropathy tend to experience sleep problems more often, and in a more severe way, than the general population.
You may have already experienced how a lack of sufficient restful sleep can negatively impact your daily function. It can also be detrimental to your long-term health and quality of life.
If you’re not getting enough restful sleep, your body’s major systems just aren’t able to recharge like they need to in order to combat neuropathy symptoms. You’ll be noticing more and more weight gain, fatigue, depression, and chronic pain over time as you continue losing sleep.
It’s so important to share information about your sleep problems with your neuropathy specialist, who can build sleep adjustment into your overall treatment plan.
You can also make lifestyle changes starting right away to help improve your sleep quality and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Daily movement or exercise, preferably outdoors for the addition of vitamin D from sunlight, is very important for neuropathy sufferers with insomnia. Stress reduction is another key to healthy sleep to supplement your neuropathy treatment. Make sure to also get enough water and eat foods from a healthy neuropathy diet. Some patients (those without kidney disease) may want to ask their doctors about magnesium supplements.
Another option is the daily use of our home care kit featuring an FDA-approved electrotherapy neurostimulator. By reducing tingling and other symptoms that can distract you from sleep, this daily care program can get help you get more Z’s on a regular basis. The NDGen Home Care Kit also offers automatic shut-off and a timer so that you can safely use it while drifting off to sleep. Take a look at our NDGen neuropathy home care kit.
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You Can Reduce Neuropathy Symptoms Through Appropriate Movement, Even If Exercise Usually Tends to Be Painful.
Even if your neuropathy symptoms leave you feeling like it’s impossible to exercise…
There ARE ways to get moving and stay active while supporting your neuropathy treatment needs.
Your doctor will tell you that gentle, appropriate exercise will help you maintain a healthier weight, improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen your bones, manage your blood sugar levels, and even help to ward off depression and anxiety.
The best exercise for reducing neuropathy symptoms is focused on gentle, fluid movement that isn’t jarring or overly taxing. Here are a few types of gentle exercise that you may want to consider as part of an overall treatment plan for neuropathy symptoms.
- Stretching is a basic but essential way to keep your body limber despite neuropathy symptoms. Try to develop a self-directed program of stretches that you do each day before getting out of bed as well as a few stretches to help you unwind before bed.
- Tai Chi is a type of martial art that involves very slowly and deliberately working each of the muscle groups in your body. It is considered a very gentle form of exercise that can also improve your circulation and improve mood.
- Some types of yoga are appropriate for people with neuropathy symptoms. Look for a class or video that is called “gentle” or “restorative” yoga. You don’t need to be particularly flexible or limber to participate in yoga and can move at your own pace.
- Swimming or a gentle version of water aerobics are both great movement choices for anyone who has difficulty or pain from walking. The support of warm water can help to loosen up your body and support your joints, as well as reducing pressure on your feet.
Be sure to talk with your doctor before undergoing any change in your activity level.
For more tips on reducing neuropathy symptoms, see our neuropathy owners manual: I Beat Neuropathy!
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A General Doctor or Nutritionist May Be Giving You Outdated Diet Information When It Comes to Managing Diabetic Neuropathy.
You’ll see that I have been mentioning diabetes frequently on this blog. That’s because it is unfortunately such a common precursor to developing symptoms of neuropathy.
And diabetic neuropathy can be painful and difficult to treat. It is frustrating for both doctors and patients!
What seems to be the case is that in general, diabetic neuropathy is not being treated aggressively. Diabetes patients are being told that they should lose some weight and get some exercise. But “some” isn’t good enough when it comes to diabetic neuropathy.
What’s worse, you may have been given specifics about a diabetes diet from a nutritionist, but if you look closely, that diet still contains too many grains and fruits.
With diabetic neuropathy, you will need to keep carbohydrates at an absolute minimum—even “healthy” carbs. Most people with diabetic neuropathy should be restricting carbs to 15 g at one meal.
Of course, talk with your doctor before undergoing any significant health lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise. These changes will require you to adjust any medications you are taking for diabetes control, especially insulin. It is dangerous to change your diet or activity level without consulting your doctor.
It’s also important, of course, to be your own best health advocate. Management of your diabetic neuropathy is within your control. The ideal is to work with a trained neuropathy specialist who can tailor your diabetic neuropathy treatment to your own specific health needs and lifestyle. A neuropathy clinician will be interested not only in your lab numbers but in the details of your quality of life and be looking to help you improve on that drastically.
To find a diabetic neuropathy expert in your area, click here.
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Gait Change or Loss of Balance is One of the Most Common Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy—Yet Many Doctors Miss This Connection.
Peripheral neuropathy can have a variety of symptoms—and some of them can be confusing or misleading. That’s why doctors who don’t have specialized training in neuropathy symptoms may not know peripheral neuropathy when they see it!
Commonly, a leading indicator of peripheral neuropathy is a significant change in gait (the way you walk) or your overall sense of balance. But this is also a feature of several neurological disorders.
Peripheral neuropathy causes changes in balance and gait because of the way that your feet begin to lose sensation.
If you are experiencing this problem, I urge you to seek the opinion of a qualified neuropathy clinician right away. The longer your peripheral neuropathy in feet is left untreated, the more severe the consequences. In time, you’ll be forced not only to treat the peripheral neuropathy at its source but also to undergo rehabilitation in order to regain some of your original sense of coordination and balance.
Worst of all, your peripheral neuropathy symptoms are putting you in danger of being a fall risk. An unexpected fall can have long-lasting repercussions and could even be fatal.
Fortunately, there are things you can do right away to help prevent serious accidents related to your peripheral neuropathy.
First, get fitted for good quality shoes and wear them whenever you are not in bed. (Be sure to also check your feet regularly for sores that could get infected and cause serious problems if not detected quickly.)
Next, reduce the slip and fall hazards in your home. Put non-slip backings on all area rugs. Don’t leave any object on your stairs or near a doorway. Bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas without carpeting are an area of special concern.
To learn more about how to improve your quality of life with peripheral neuropathy, check out our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!
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