Neuropathic Pain and Vitamin C

Do You Need Vitamin C Supplementation to Help Treat Your Neuropathic Pain?

Vitamin C is most famous for its role in reducing the time it takes to recover from a cold or other infections. This key nutrient boosts the immune system through its role in cell repair and replication of new cells.

But there’s more to it than that. Vitamin C is important for many body systems. For example, skin and ligament tissues are bound together by collagen, and vitamin C is needed in order for tissue repair to occur. This vitamin also helps the body to process toxins.

You might think of vitamin C as being a fairly innocuous substance. In fact, you might assume that more is better when it comes to vitamin C and treating neuropathic pain.

The fact is, it may not be a good idea for anyone with neuropathic pain to take more than 2,000 mg daily, or to take large amounts of vitamin C in a short period of time. As with any new supplement, it’s important to talk with your doctor or medical treatment team about how to best include vitamin C in your treatment regimen.

And here’s the best news… if you are faithfully following the NeuropathyDR® diet to combat neuropathic pain, it’s highly unlikely that you would be vitamin C deficient. You’ll be eating a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits that tend to contain a high amount of vitamin C. If this is the case, you may not even need to supplement vitamin C to reach optimum levels.

Again, I have to emphasize the vital importance of combining self-care and lifestyle changes alongside any treatments recommended by your neuropathic pain medical team.

Are you treating your neuropathic pain in collaboration with a trained expert in the NeuropathyDR® method? Find an expert near you.

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Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and CAM Therapies

Some CAM Therapies May Help with Peripheral Neuropathy Related to Chemo Treatment.

The most well-known side effects of chemotherapy treatments are hair loss and nausea. But the general public typically is not aware of one of the most debilitating side effects of chemo, which is peripheral neuropathy.

This side effect of chemo can range from numbness to tingling and burning to shooting pains in the feet or hands. In some people, the discomfort is so intense that it causes sleep disturbances.

Unfortunately, chemo-related peripheral neuropathy doesn’t always go away after treatment ends. The symptoms can linger for months or years.

Your oncologist may have prescribed medications intended to reduce your peripheral neuropathy symptoms. But you should be aware that some types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies can also be very effective for some people with chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy.

CAM therapies are sometimes called “alternative” treatments. In reality, they are intended to be used alongside conventional medical treatment (rather than in place of it). Sometimes this is called “integrative” therapies. More and more studies are demonstrating that these types of therapies can lead to good outcomes for people with peripheral neuropathy and other cancer treatment side effects.

Here are just a few of the CAM therapies that are continuing to be explored in the medical community as a way to reduce pain and discomfort from chemo side effects, including peripheral neuropathy:

  • Acupuncture
  • Reflexology
  • Art therapy and music therapy
  • Vitamin supplements, such as vitamins B12 and B6
  • Massage therapy
  • Yoga therapy
  • Homeopathy

Ask your oncologist or other physician about the availability of these CAM therapies in your area and which CAM treatment may be right for you. These therapies can be so effective because they address both physical symptoms and stress reduction.

Remember, you are the most important part of your medical team. Knowing what complementary therapies could help your peripheral neuropathy is the first step to advocating for your own wellness.

For more information about complementary ways to treat chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, see our neuropathy owners manual.

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Your Neuropathy Diet: The Hard Truth About Dairy

You Won’t Hear This Advice From Many Doctors, But This One Factor Can Change the Effectiveness of Your Neuropathy Diet.

The consumption of dairy products has always been a highly charged topic in nutrition. On the one hand, there is a sizable lobby advocating for the U.S. dairy industry. On the other hand, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that regular consumption of dairy products is a pretty bad idea for human beings.

In short, if you are wrestling with whether to include milk and other dairy products in your neuropathy diet, any contemplation of this question leads to a straightforward conclusion.

More than half of the human population has trouble digesting milk, leading to digestion problems, allergic reactions, and eventually elevated levels of “bad fats” in your body. What’s worse, there is a hormonal growth factor contained in most dairy products that is known to instigate several different types of cancer, including prostate and breast cancer. One specific kind of milk sugar called galactose is linked to ovarian cancer.

And the regular consumption of dairy is additionally linked to the likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes, which is a major risk factor for neuropathic pain.

All of this means that a neuropathy diet that eliminates dairy (as well as gluten) is one of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation and pain associated with neuropathy and chronic pain.

It’s best to make a gradual shift in your diet so that the changes you instill can be permanent. There are many dairy alternatives out there, including products made from coconut, rice, and almonds. Just watch out for any added sugar or thickening agents like carrageenan.

As always, I urge you to become your own best health advocate. Do your research and seek out a doctor who has the background to prescribe an effective neuropathy diet.

Need to find a neuropathy doctor near you?

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The Connection Between Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetic Neuropathy

What Do You Need to Know About Diabetic Neuropathy and Metabolic Syndrome?

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 themselves in terms of diet, exercise, and other self care only AFTER they have been diagnosed with diabetes or diabetic neuropathy. And by then, for so many of those people, it’s almost too late to matter.

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.

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 other conditions, like heart disease.

Your next line of defense is to begin working with a medical specialist who is well trained in diagnosing metabolic syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, and other disorders. Remember that only you can be an effective health advocate for yourself.

Finally, ask your doctor about lifestyle changes that can have a significant positive impact on your health related to metabolic syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.

Get your copy of our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy Diet and Nutrition: How to Get Started

You Know That A Healthy Neuropathy Diet Can Make All the Difference in Your Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy. But Do You Know How to Implement This Change in the Best Way?

If you’re been reading for a while, you know that we discuss a healthy neuropathy diet as one of the primary ways to improve your health immediately and over time.

Unfortunately, many neuropathy patients struggle with this lifestyle change. When you are accustomed to processed foods, which typically contain lots of salt and sugar, learning to enjoy leafy green vegetables and other staples of the neuropathy diet can be a challenge.

But it’s well worth it. You’ll begin feeling better overall within a matter of days, and a neuropathy diet offers control over your symptoms which can have both physical and emotional impacts.

So many of the neuropathy patients we see in our clinics are suffering from chronic GI problems—irritable bowel, ulcers, and so on. Those things complicate neuropathic pain and certainly detract from quality of life. They can be precipitated by stress, but often a very poor diet is also to blame.

Here’s why we advocate whole foods for a neuropathy diet. Whole foods simply contain more things that your body needs to heal from neuropathy: vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water.

Ideally, your neuropathy diet will contain local fresh farmer’s market produce whenever possible. You’ll also want to learn how to flavor and season your food primarily with spices rather than salt.

As with any significant change in your health regimen, talk with your neuropathy specialist about how to begin incorporating a healthy neuropathy diet into your lifestyle in a gradual way.

Looking for a neuropathy specialist who is highly trained in all aspects of treating and managing neuropathy, including a healthy neuropathy diet? Click here to find a neuropathy expert near you.

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Self-Treatment for Neuropathy Symptoms: A Supplement, Not a Substitute

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!

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Neuropathy and Sleep Problems

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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What Is a Healthy Neuropathy Diet?

Improve Your Quality of Life By Adopting a Truly Healthy Neuropathy Diet and Nutrition Plan.

Regardless of what type of neuropathy you’ve been diagnosed with, I promise you that there are things within your control that can dramatically lessen your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

The number one thing you can do is to adopt a way of eating that can truly sustain your health and give your body the healing power that it needs to fight neuropathy. When we talk about a healthy neuropathy diet, we are not necessarily talking about weight loss—although for some individuals, weight loss will be an added benefit to a change in nutrition. The main goal here is to provide your body with the basics it needs for excellent systemic functioning as a baseline for improving your neuropathy symptoms over time.

Aim to eat several small meals and snacks each day, featuring proteins and low glycemic index foods. Ideally, you shouldn’t go more than two or three hours without eating something. Keep packaged and processed foods to an absolute minimum; your body needs the best possible fuel to produce the best health.

Don’t forget about the importance of staying hydrated when planning your neuropathy diet. Water helps to flush toxins from your body and keeps everything well-oiled. Be sure to drink filtered water. You should be consuming (in ounces) about half of your own body weight every 24 hours.

Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t jump into a significantly different neuropathy diet without your doctor’s approval. This is especially true for certain individuals whose food or water intake can have dramatic or dangerous effects on their immediate health. For example, diabetics who are dependent on insulin will need to continue carefully matching their sugar intake to their insulin use, and people with heart disease or kidney disease may be advised to avoid excessive fluid intake.

It’s so important to work with a doctor who is well-trained in using nutrition as a key component of neuropathy treatment. To find a neuropathy diet expert near you, click here.

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Peripheral Neuropathy 101: The Basics of Nerve Pain

Now That You’ve Been Diagnosed with Peripheral Neuropathy, How Can You Treat and Manage Your Nerve Pain?

There are so many causes of peripheral neuropathy. Chemotherapy drugs, diabetes, shingles, injuries, even hereditary conditions can lead to nerve pain and numbness.

Unfortunately, there are almost as many ways to treat peripheral neuropathy as there are causes. When you have just received a peripheral neuropathy diagnosis, how can you know what to do next?

Many doctors will prescribe medications, or surgery.

But there are other options, too, and one of them might be a lifesaver for you. What I mean is that your quality of life can be as high as possible, despite peripheral neuropathy.

Consider some of these complementary therapies that can make a tremendous difference for many neuropathy patients:

Walk, Swim, or Cycle as Often As You Can

Moving the biggest muscles of your legs on a regular basis can result in positive changes to your circulation and improved blood flow. That’s good news for people with peripheral neuropathy.

Getting Blood Sugar Under Control

It’s almost unbelievable, but when you’re dealing with diabetic neuropathy, controlling your blood sugar can sometimes reverse nerve damage.

Be Sure To Take Excellent Care of Your Feet

Peripheral neuropathy can cause foot numbness, which means you may not immediately notice a small injury that could become infected—a very dangerous condition for diabetics and others with foot neuropathy. You should wear comfortable shoes with socks (even at home) to avoid injuries, and inspect your feet thoroughly each and every day.

Take the Right Supplements for Nerve Health

For reducing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, a combination of folic acid, vitamin B12, B6, and B1 is ideal. Even the healthiest diet may not provide enough of the nutrients you need to heal nerve damage. Of course, always talk with your doctor before changing your vitamin regimen or taking any new supplement.

Looking for reliable supplements for peripheral neuropathy? Take a look at our FDA-approved neuropathy supplements.

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Compressive Neuropathy: What Are My Treatment Options?

Chronic Back Pain Related to A Herniated Disc Often Leads to Compressive Neuropathy Symptoms.

If you have back pain related to a herniated, ruptured, or slipped disc, you are most likely also suffering from compressive neuropathy. And that means chronic pain, because it’s almost impossible to get comfortable when your back always hurts.

Even though compressive neuropathy symptoms are caused by your back problems, the first place this new chronic pain will show up is in your legs and feet.

Pain from compressive neuropathy can include symptoms like:

  • A sense of deep cold or burning in your legs or feet
  • Continual tingling, weakness, or numbness in your legs and feet
  • Spasms in the muscles of your legs
  • Pain that radiates from legs down into feet
  • Sharp, shooting pain like an electric shock

This kind of pain can be crippling. It affects your entire life, from your everyday moods to your ability to sleep or even perform normal activities. Many people with compressive neuropathy also suffer from anxiety or depression.

A doctor who is well-trained in compressive neuropathy will focus first of all on managing your pain, and then begin treating numbness or weakness in your back, legs, and feet. Preventing any additional injuries will also be a high priority in your treatment.

It is possible to recover from compressive neuropathy without surgery within just a few months, if appropriate treatment is sought.

The key is to seek out a trained neuropathy clinician who will do a thorough assessment and evaluation in order to give you an accurate diagnosis. He or she will then prescribe a combination of in-office treatments, medications, lifestyle adjustments, and integrative stress-reducing activities in order to reduce your compressive neuropathy symptoms as quickly as possible.

It all begins with the right treatment team. To find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area, click here.

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