The First Steps You Should Take After You Learn That You Have Neuropathy

Unsure What To Do Next After a Neuropathy Diagnosis? The First Steps Are Simple But Effective in Managing This Condition.

Finally, after a lot of confusion and misdiagnosis, your doctor has said that your symptoms are caused by neuropathy. It may be a relief to have a diagnosis and a name for the pain, tingling, or numbness you’ve been experiencing. Then again, you may simply feel discouraged and have no idea what to do next.

By far, the number one question I get from patients is, “Now what?” After a neuropathy diagnosis, what should a patient do next?

In particular, the doctor who diagnosed you may not have been able to offer much guidance. Most doctors just don’t have the training or knowledge in this area.

But there are specialists out there who can collaborate with you on a customized neuropathy treatment plan, one that is tailored to your specific needs—because neuropathy is not a cookie-cutter condition.

My advice to you as a newly diagnosed neuropathy patient is to follow these steps:

  1. Immediately put in place an effective management plan for any urgent or underlying medical conditions that you may have, including cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
  2. Locate a neuropathy treatment specialist who can aid you in forming a treatment plan specific to your needs. If there is not a trained neuropathy doctor local to you—one who is willing to advise real corrective action rather than simply masking symptoms with medication—then there may be a NeuropathyDR® specialist who can consult from a distance with your medical team.
  3. Look closely at the everyday habits that are impacting your health. Do you smoke? Are you physically inactive? These are things that you can, and should, change so that your overall health will improve both short-term and long-term. Willingness to shift your eating habits toward a supportive neuropathy diet will also have a huge impact on your symptoms and well-being.

There is much that you can do on your own to benefit your health and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Working hand in hand with your NeuropathyDR® clinician, your health WILL improve.

Take a look at our patient’s guide to neuropathy and how to navigate your neuropathy treatment: I Beat Neuropathy! Getting Your Life Back on Track.

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Agent Orange and Other Factors in Peripheral Neuropathy

One of the most devastating effects to come out of the Vietnam era was agent orange.  Agent Orange has been linked to a number of health disorders not the least of which is often a brutal neuropathy.

There are also other disorders from which are veterans suffer due to everything from infections, trauma, and a multitude of other exposures.

We recently discharged a veteran serviceman with 40% improvement in his PN Symptoms after completing 2 months of intensive in-office care.

His history included Agent Orange exposure, and unfortunately lymphoma.

He was recently post-chemotherapy.

After 3.5 weeks of our in-office care, he was able to stop wearing lidocaine patches, and shortly thereafter was able to reduce his gabapentin (Neurontin) significantly.

He also cut down pain meds substantially.

His care was intensive, using different manual therapies, component dietary supplements and modifications along the way, topical supplements, various ND Techniques were performed until the right combination was achieved.

He was discharged to follow-up care after just 5 weeks!

There is more on Agent Orange and Our Veterans HERE

Meanwhile, we welcome your patient inquiries and can even help get you some treatment tools via the VA.

If you are, or know a Vet who needs extra help, You Can Send us an email at patientcare@gmail.com with “VET NEEDS HELP” in the subject line.

Thank You For Your Service!

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Neuropathy in Feet or Fingers: Don’t Ignore Tingling Symptoms!

It’s all too easy to avoid dealing with symptoms of neuropathy in feet, fingers, or elsewhere, but here’s why it’s so important to address these symptoms quickly.

Sometimes I find that my patients have been ignoring new symptoms, such as neuropathy in feet or fingertips. I understand why—maybe it has to do with not wanting to acknowledge the symptom and hoping it will go away. Or maybe your experience with medical issues has taught you that there’s “nothing you can do” about neuropathy pain and tingling.

But here’s the thing. That tingling isn’t going to go away. Eventually, it’s going to get worse…. unless you seek diagnosis and treatment. Why not decide to start feeling better today?

The fact is that for many people, neuropathy in feet, fingers, or other areas CAN be effectively treated. The key is in seeking a trained Neuropathy DR clinician who can take into account the unique circumstances of your symptoms, in the context of your medical history and your current needs, and craft a custom treatment protocol for you.

What if there’s no Neuropathy DR clinician in your area? Then the next best thing is effective self-care with an informed change in health habits, coupled with effective in-office therapies from your doctor (and perhaps a long-distance consult between your doctor and a Neuropathy DR expert). Nutrition can make a huge difference in neuropathy symptoms, for example. Did you know that many patients experience a significant positive change by reducing or eliminating dairy or gluten from their diets?

I’ve put together a guide just for people like you that offers a step-by-step introduction to what neuropathy really means and how you can overcome it. If you have symptoms of neuropathy in feet or other areas, I encourage you to take a look at my book, I Beat Neuropathy.

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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.

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Should People with Neuropathy Pain Get a Flu Shot?

If You Have Neuropathy Pain from Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP, There Are Special Considerations When Choosing Whether to Have a Flu Shot. Keep Reading for Details On How to Weigh the Risks and Benefits.

Flu season will be here before we know it. Most healthy adults will choose to get a flu shot to help stop the spread of this sometimes incapacitating illness, which can be responsible for thousands of deaths every year. And finding a place to get immunized is easy, with availability at nearly any drugstore, pharmacy, and walk-in clinic. Your insurance may even cover the cost.

But for some, deciding whether to get a flu shot isn’t an easy decision. People with neuropathy pain face a tough dilemma due to potential reactions to the vaccine. The list of folks who may be wary of the flu vaccine due to possible side effects includes people with peripheral neuropathy caused by cancer treatments, immune disorders such as AIDS and HIV, celiac disease, liver or kidney disease, shingles, and diabetes.

It’s important for people with neuropathy pain to realize that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) actually recommends getting a flu shot due to the serious complications that can arise from flu exposure with certain underlying illnesses.

However, if you have neuropathy pain caused by some illnesses, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome and CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy), you will need to discuss this issue in detail with their doctors. That’s because the immune system stimulation from a flu shot can sometimes trigger a relapse of these illnesses. Many doctors will recommend waiting a year after symptoms cease before receiving a flu shot.

Who is most at risk of catching and transmitting the flu virus? The CDC says you may want to consider getting a flu shot if any of these apply to you:

• You’re at least 50 years old. (Children under 19 are also at higher risk.)
• You are dealing with a chronic serious medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.
• You are a resident of a long-term care facility or nursing home.
• You are living with someone who is in a high-risk category, such as a child who is below the recommended age for vaccination.

Ultimately, whether to be vaccinated for the flu is your decision. People with neuropathy pain should speak with their doctors or NeuropathyDR clinicians about this issue before taking action.

Looking for more discussion about special topics on neuropathy pain? Come talk with us at our Facebook page.

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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!

Are you curious about how to add a creativity prescription to your neuropathy treatments? Talk with us about it at our Facebook page.

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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.

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Healing Chronic Disease with the Power of Positive Attitude

How to Transform Negative Self-Talk into Positivity for Healing Chronic Disease

The bad news: Negative self-talk can be very damaging to your health.

The good news: You can easily learn to transform negative self-talk into positive thinking that can actively help you in healing chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer.

What is negative self-talk? This is the term for the kind of demeaning, insulting, or belittling internal messages that we give ourselves when we are frustrated by our perceived failings. “I’m so stupid.” “I always mess up.” “Nobody could ever love me.”

These messages are so hurtful because they are based on labeling and judgment. They tell you that there is something wrong with you as a person. When your goal is healing chronic disease, negative self-talk tells you that instead of getting better, you ought to BE a better person.

You wouldn’t allow your best friend to talk this way to herself. It’s time to become your own best friend and intervene in negative self-talk. All you have to do is learn to break the pattern and replace negativity with truly healing actions that support you in healing chronic disease. Remember that healing begins from within, and you have total control over the mindset that is either helping or hurting your chance at optimum health.

Begin by simply noticing during the day when you use negative self-talk. Write down what the circumstances were, what you said or thought to yourself that was negative, and how those thoughts made you feel. Then, pick one recurring negative thought and decide how you will turn it around into a healing action.

For example, if you have noticed that you think to yourself “I’m such a klutz,” use this thought as a cue to notice what you need. The next time you catch yourself thinking about being a klutz, stop and say, “What do I need right now?” Maybe it’s a rest break, some water to rehydrate you, or a kind word from a good friend. Then take that healing action.

We think of negative self-talk as “automatic thoughts,” but the truth is that you can break the negative cycle and turn the negative into a positive. Let your negative thoughts be a signal that it’s time for a wellness check-in to find what your body needs right now. Soon, every moment will become a healing moment on the path to healing chronic disease.

Come take part in the ongoing conversation at our Facebook page!

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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!

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A Simple and Effective Treatment for Foot Neuropathy: Gentle Yoga

Fotolia 594977 S 300x200 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.

What do you think about using yoga as a support for other types of foot neuropathy treatment? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

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