Entrapment Neuropathy: More Than Just Carpal Tunnel!

Entrapment Neuropathy:  More Than Just Carpal Tunnel!

Last week we talked about carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), one of the most common forms of neuropathy affecting a single nerve (mononeuropathy).  What you might not know is that carpal tunnel syndrome is only one of a family of ailments in the upper limbs known as entrapment neuropathies.  The other entrapment neuropathies are not as well-known in the mainstream as CTS, and so people who suffer from nerve symptoms in their forearms and hands frequently jump to conclusions.  NeuropathyDR® is here to help set the record straight!

An entrapment neuropathy, also called nerve compression syndrome, occurs when a nerve is wedged or “pinched” against a bone, inflamed muscle, or other internal mechanism in your arm.  Aside from the median nerve (the one associated with CTS) there are two main nerves that help to control your arm and hand: the radial nerve and the ulnar nerve.  Both are susceptible to compression, and the results can be painful!

Entrapment occurs under a number of conditions, most commonly:

  • When there is an injury originating at your neck or a disease of the cervical spine
  • When your elbow has been injured due to fractures or improper use
  • When your wrist has been injured due to fractures or Guyon canal alignment problems
  • An aneurysm or thrombosis in your arteries
  • Factors commonly associated with peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetes, rheumatism, alcoholism, or infection

Your radial nerve runs the length of your arm, and is responsible for both movement and sensation.  Radial neuropathy usually occurs at the back of the elbow, and can present itself with many of the common symptoms of neuropathy such as tingling, loss of sensation, weakness and reduced muscle control (in this case, often difficulty in turning your palm upwards with your elbow extended).

A number of palsies affect the radial nerve, such as:

  • Saturday night palsy (also called Honeymooner’s palsy), where your radial nerve is compressed in your upper arm by falling asleep in a position where pressure is exerted on it by either furniture or a bed partner
  • Crutch palsy, where your nerve is pinched by poorly-fitted axillary crutches
  • Handcuff neuropathy, wherein tight handcuffs compress your radial nerve at your wrists

    Peripheral neuropathy is not a condition forgiving of delayed treatment. The longer you wait, the more severe and long-lasting (potentially permanent) your nerve damage can be.

Two main conditions affect the ulnar nerve: Guyon’s canal syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome.  Guyon’s canal syndrome is almost exactly the same in symptoms as carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and tingling in the palm and first three fingers), but involves a completely different nerve.  Guyon’s canal syndrome is caused by pressure on your wrists, often by resting them at a desk or workstation, and is frequently experienced by cyclists due to pressure from the handlebars.

Nearly everyone has experienced cubital tunnel syndrome: it’s the “dead arm” sensation we’ve all felt when we wake up after sleeping on top of our arm!  Sleeping with your arm folded up compresses the ulnar nerve at your shoulder, causing it to effectively “cut off” feeling to your arm.  As you probably know from experience, this sensation is unsettling but temporary.

Diagnosis for all compression neuropathies is fairly consistent: your NeuropathyDR® clinician will examine your arms for signs of neuropathy, and will likely ask you to perform several demonstrations of dexterity.  If your clinician suspects you may have an underlying condition, nerve or blood tests may be recommended.  To pinpoint the specific location of a compression, your clinician may also suggest MRI or x-ray scans.

Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, most cases of compression neuropathy are mild. Treatment for these mild cases involves ice, rest, and a change in habits of motion or stress that are causing the symptoms.  For more severe cases, your clinician may prescribe painkillers or anti-inflammatories, and in extreme cases, a surgical solution is sometimes justified.

If you suffer from a compression neuropathy or have questions about this or any other kind of neuropathy, NeuropathyDR® can help!  Contact us, and we can answer your questions and put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area who has been specially trained to treat any symptoms you might have.  As with any neuropathy, don’t wait!  The sooner a condition is diagnosed, the more options for treatment your clinician will have.

 

http://www.mdguidelines.com/neuropathy-of-radial-nerve-entrapment

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1285531-overview

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1244885-overview

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2599973/?tool=pmcentrez

 

Taking Chemotherapy? You Need A Healthy Diet

If you’re taking chemotherapy to fight cancer and you’re suffering from

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ clinician or other medical professional about diet planning.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Post chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy
  • Dry mouth

You can help yourself heal without resorting to even more medication.

By giving your body the nutrients and vitamins that it needs for repair and recovery.

If you’re suffering from loss of appetite, telling you to eat may sound crazy but you have options.  You can eat a healthy diet, with foods that are appetizing, and give yourself a head start on healing.

Nutrition and Cancer

Chemotherapy wreaks havoc on your immune system[1].  You need to give yourself every ounce of immune support possible.  A diet of whole foods that are easy on your sensitive digestive tract is your best option.

Get plenty of anti-oxidants and protein.  Your chemotherapy nutrition plan must include foods rich in vitamins, especially vitamins C, D and E and nutrients like soy isoflavones, amino acids, folic acid, l-glutamine, calcium and carotenoids.  Make sure you stay well hydrated (especially if you are nauseated) and forget about counting calories.  Eat every calorie you can get your hands on – this is not time to worry about weight issues.

If you’re having problems with digesting food, invest in a good juicer.  A juicer will make it easy for your digestive system to break down the food you take in and still get the nutrition your body desperately needs to build itself back up.

The Best Foods For The Chemotherapy Patient

To make it easy for you to remember which foods you need[2], here is a simple cheat sheet of foods that will ensure that your body is being well nourished while undergoing chemotherapy:

Vitamin C

  • Red cabbage
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Oranges
  • Red and Green Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries and tangerines

Vitamin D

  • Salmon and tuna

Vitamin E

  • Nuts, including almonds and peanuts
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Mangoes
  • Sunflower seeds

Carotenoids

  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Greens, especially collard greens and spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Acorn squash

Soy Isoflavones

  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk – might be easier to digest than regular milk because it’s lactose-free

Folic Acid

  • Asparagus
  • Dried beans
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Turkey

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ clinician or other medical professional about diet planning to make sure that you’re getting everything from your food that you need to rebuild your immune system.

The Beauty of Herbs and Spices

Adding herbs and spices to your food will not only make them taste better (which is vital if you have no appetite), many herbs and spices have medicinal properties.  Some really good options are:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Ginger (natural anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Garlic (natural anti-biotic properties)
  • Mint (great for fighting nausea as well)
  • Fennel
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley

Again, talk to your NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist about cancer recovery nutrition and diet planning. Sit down and formulate what you need to eat and gather recipe ideas that sound appealing to you.  By working with your medical professionals and doing what you can on your own to rebuild your immune system, you will have a much better chance of recovery, both from your cancer and your chemotherapy treatment.  By giving your body what it needs, you can also give yourself a better chance of fewer long term effects from post chemotherapy neuropathy.

Have this article handy for your next doctor appointment and take it with you when you go to the grocery store. It’s a great reference for planning your weekly diet and making sure you’re eating the right foods for chemotherapy recovery.

For more information on nutrition to help you fight cancer and post chemotherapy neuropathyget your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

Diabetic Neuropathy and Nutritional Supplements

Your requirements in nutritional supplements are different than those of other people.

If you have insulin dependent diabetes, you know you need to take insulin to keep your blood sugar under control…

You’ve probably also been told to exercise…

And you’ve definitely been told to watch your diet – especially when it comes to sugar…

What you might not realize is that there are nutritional supplements and vitamins you can take to help control your blood sugar as well.
And many of these supplements can also help with the effects of diabetic neuropathy – one of the chief contributors to amputations in diabetic patients.

The number of clinical studies that show adding key nutrients to the health care regimen of diabetic neuropathy patients is growing constantly.

Granted, these nutritional supplements will not take the place of proper diet, controlling your blood sugar and a sound exercise plan, but they can definitely improve the effectiveness of all of these pieces of the diabetic neuropathy puzzle.

What You Should Look For in Nutritional Supplements

As a patient with diabetic neuropathy, your requirements in nutritional supplements are different than those of other people. While many companies use the convenience of their once-a-day multivitamin as a selling point, a pill you take only once a day is only going to be really effective for the two hours after take it. You need more than that for the symptoms of your diabetic neuropathy.

To get the full effect for treating your diabetic neuropathy, you need to maintain a steady therapeutic level of these vitamins and nutrients throughout the day to help keep your blood sugar under control.

Choose supplements that you take at last three times a day to keep the levels steady in your blood stream.

And look for nutritional supplements that come from an FDA approved manufacturer to ensure that what you’re taking is pharmaceutical grade.

Which Vitamin Supplements You Should Take

There is so much information on the market now about nutritional supplements and vitamins. Don’t go out there and buy vitamins without being prepared. Do your research and talk to a specialist like your NeuropathyDR® clinician to make sure you’re taking the right vitamins for your specific diabetic neuropathy symptoms. We have a very specific protocol in our clinics.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet of the Top 12 vitamins and nutrients for diabetic neuropathy treatment to help you identify some of the essential supplements that can help your diabetic neuropathy and exactly what they do:

Thiamin (Vitamin B1) – helps maintain healthy oxygen levels in the blood stream which means that you less chance of nerve damage due to poor oxygen levels reaching the nerves. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of thiamine for the average person is 1.0 to 2.4 mg per day but diabetic neuropathy patients should take in the range of 60 mg per day in equally divided doses.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) – works in combination with Vitamin B6 to help your body use glucose properly. The RDA is 1.2 to 1.6 mg per day but therapeutic levels should be around 60 mg per day.

Vitamin B6 – along with folic acid and B12, it helps prevent nerve damage and heart attacks. It can also help prevent diabetic blindness and/or vision loss. Therapeutic levels should be at least 60 mg per day but be very careful with your dosage. Some toxicity has been reported with extremely high levels of B6.

Vitamin B12 – works with folic acid to help prevent stroke and loss of limbs due to diabetic neuropathy. It also helps relieve neuropathy pain.

Biotin – when taken in combination with chromium, biotin (a B vitamin) helps insulin work more effectively, keeps the pancreas working well, and lowers blood sugar levels.

Chromium – when taken with biotin, helps insulin work better, keeps the pancreas working well and lowers blood sugar levels.

Copper – helps protect the cells in the pancreas that make insulin healthy, helps prevent diabetes related damage to blood vessels and nerves and lowers blood sugar levels.

Folic Acid – works with B12 to help prevent strokes and loss of limbs due to diabetic neuropathy.

Magnesium – helps relieve diabetic neuropathy pain and helps insulin work more effectively.

Manganese – helps prevent damage to blood vessels and nerves.

Selenium – sometimes called an insulin imitator, selenium helps take blood sugar into the cells. Selenium protects against blood vessel and nerve damage from elevated blood sugar levels, two of the contributing factors in diabetic neuropathy.

Zinc – helps blood sugar get into the cells and insulin work more efficiently.

These supplements, when used properly and under the care and supervision of your NeuropathyDR® clinician, can help improve your diabetic neuropathy symptoms and lessen the chances of permanent nerve damage and eventual amputation.

But take note – these supplements will not take the place of eating properly and exercising. They work in combination with a healthier lifestyle, not in place of it.

And never self prescribe vitamins supplements and nutrients. Work with you NeuropathyDR® clinician to arrive at the levels you need for your particular diabetic neuropathy and blood sugar control issues. As with many other things, too much of a good thing can do more harm than good if not properly regulated and monitored by a specialist.

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

Manual Therapies for Your Diabetic Neuropathy

If you have diabetes and one or more of these symptoms[1]:

Chiropractic care for diabetic neuropathy patients usually concentrates on correcting misalignments in the spine.

  • Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Deep pain, especially in your legs and feet
  • Loss of sensation and ability to feel warmth or cold
  • Muscle cramps
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in your arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness, especially when you try to stand up
  • Drooping facial muscles
  • Loss of bladder control

You’ve probably been diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy.

Your doctor has probably explained that diabetic neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy specific to patients who have diabetes and that diabetic neuropathy is caused by lack of blood flow to the nerves and elevated and uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

You’re probably taking painkillers…

You’re probably closely monitoring your blood sugar (hopefully)…

You’re probably being more careful about your diet (as you should)…

So how are your diabetic neuropathy symptoms now?

If they’re not improving, you might want to add something else to your treatment plan…

Chiropractic and Manual Physical Therapy Treatments for Diabetic Neuropathy

Chiropractic care for diabetic neuropathy patients usually concentrates on correcting misalignments in the spine.  Those misalignments can wreak havoc on your nervous system and your internal organs – including the pancreas, a direct link to diabetes.

If the other pieces of your treatment puzzle are not working as quickly as you had hoped, and you’re doing everything else your doctor tells you to do, contact your local NeuropathyDR® specialist.  Your NeuropathyDR® has an exclusive treatment protocol with proven results for diabetic neuropathy patients.  An integral part of that treatment protocol is chiropractic adjustment to correct problems with your spinal alignment.

Pain Reduction and Nerve Repair

As a result of your chiropractic adjustment for diabetic neuropathy, the next step in your treatment for diabetic neuropathy is taking steps to reduce your symptoms and help the nerves repair themselves.  This can be done through a combination of topical pain medications, manual manipulation of the bones and joints to properly align the nervous system and nerve stimulation.

Proper alignment of the bones and muscles and nerve stimulation are all important aspects of successful treatment of diabetic neuropathy.

Personal Care Tips For The Diabetic Neuropathy Patient

Diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States and the number of people diagnosed with diabetes is growing at an alarming rate.

One of the things that makes diabetes so deadly is the risk for infection and resulting amputation.  Diabetic neuropathy is a serious contributing factor in the risk for amputation.

While you’re undergoing treatment for diabetic neuropathy[2] and having chiropractic adjustments, pay particular attention to your feet, hands, arms and leg.  Contact your NeuropathyDR® specialist immediately if you notice any blisters, sores, torn skin, or inflammation.   The combination of your diabetes and your diabetic neuropathy can lead to very serious infections that are slow or impossible to heal.   This can lead to dire complications that can be avoided if you receive the proper medical treatment early.

Do a visual inspection and don’t rely on soreness or pain.  Your diabetic neuropathy impairs your ability to feel pain in your extremities and you may not notice the problem until it’s too late for successful treatment.

Keep a close eye on your diabetes.  Make note of any of the symptoms we described.  If you have any of the issues we’ve discussed, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies, including diabetic neuropathy and their ability to provide chiropractic care to correct misalignment in your spine.

The positive effects of chiropractic adjustment on diabetic neuropathy are being affirmed by a growing number of case studies.  Give it serious consideration in treating your diabetic neuropathy.

For more information on coping with diabetic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com/.


Flu Vaccine and Peripheral Neuropathy

It’s that time of year again…

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

Pre-flu season…

And everywhere you look are signs advertising “Flu Shots – Walk Ins Welcome” or “Get Your Flu Shot Today.”

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

After all, the flu accounts for 200,000 hospitalizations every year and up to 36,000 deaths.  If you can take a shot and avoid that, why wouldn’t you?

But if you have peripheral neuropathy caused by

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS or some other immune system disorder
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Gluten sensitivity (also known as celiac disease)
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Hereditary neuropathy

You may think that a flu shot isn’t for you.

HIV patients tend to be especially skeptical about receiving the vaccine.

If you have peripheral neuropathy caused by any of these underlying illnesses, you need to make an informed choice about whether or not to get a flu shot.

This is what you need to know.

The Flu Vaccine Will Not Actually Make You Sick

Contrary to urban myth, the flu vaccine will not make you sick.  It works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that actually fight the virus. It does not give you the flu.

You also need to know that there is no evidence that the flu shot will make your neuropathy symptoms worse if your neuropathy is caused by any of the underlying illnesses we listed above.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends that peripheral neuropathy patients with any of these illnesses receive a flu shot every year because they’re more prone to developing serious complications if they get the flu.

A Word of Caution for Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP Patients

If your peripheral neuropathy is caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you receive the flu vaccine.

Because the vaccine keeps you from getting the flu by tricking your immune system into producing antibodies to fight it off,  if you have neuropathy caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP,  this immune stimulation may actually cause a relapse in patients with a history of either of these illnesses.

If you have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the resultant peripheral neuropathy in the past, it might be a good idea to wait at least one year after your symptoms are gone before you receive the flu shot.

If you have CIDP and your symptoms are still present, you might want to avoid the flu vaccine.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional and consider the chances of complications from the vaccine as opposed to the health risks of actually getting the flu.  Take into account:

  • Advanced age
  • Other chronic medical conditions
  • Possible relapse triggered by getting the flu virus

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you receive the flu shot every year if you fall into any of these groups:

  • You’re six months to 19 years old
  • You’re 50 years of age or older
  • You have a chronic medical condition (lung, heart, liver or kidney disease, blood disorders, diabetes)
  • You live in a nursing home or other long term care facility
  • You live with or care for someone at high risk for complications from the flu (healthcare workers, people in your household (i.e., children too young to be vaccinated or people with chronic medical conditions)

In the end, the decision to get the flu shot or take a pass on it is up to you.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you make your decision and do what’s best for you.

For more information on coping with your peripheral neuropathy, get our Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com/.

Do You Have Peripheral Neuropathy?

If you have

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

Diabetics are not the only people susceptible to peripheral neuropathy in their feet and hands.

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Exposure to toxins

 

You have a pretty good idea of what to expect from your disease. Your doctor has probably given you a list of symptoms that you’re likely to experience, if you’re not experiencing them already.

But if in addition to the symptoms you were expecting, you’re having[1]

  • Swelling in your feet, legs or hands
  • Muscle cramps in your legs
  • Changes in your skin and nails
  • Numbness in your feet and hands
  • Inability of feel heat or cold
  • Sleepless nights due to pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Painful burning and itching in your hands or feet
  • Feeling like you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not

 

You could be developing another symptom that your doctor might not have told you about.

And it could cause permanent nerve damage.

You could have peripheral neuropathy in your feet and/or hands.

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy[2] is a condition that develops when your peripheral nerves are damaged. That damage can occur because of your diabetes, as a result of toxic chemotherapy, nerves being damaged by shingles, a lack of oxygen to the nerves caused by some other underlying condition or even as a result of HIV.

If you have the symptoms listed above, the nerves in your hands and feet have probably been damaged by your illness.

Granted, when you’re dealing with the debilitating effects of diabetes or cancer or HIV/AIDS, peripheral neuropathy may sound like nothing to really worry about.

But you know how miserable it is to have constant nerve pain…to be unable to feel the simplest sensation in your hands and feet…or on the opposite end of the spectrum, to go to bed at night and be so hypersensitive that even the sheets touching your hands and feet is torture.

How Serious is Hand/Foot Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy can be very serious. How many diabetic patients have you seen with amputations below the knee?

Those amputations are usually caused by damage to the circulatory and nervous system caused by their diabetes. Peripheral neuropathy plays a big part in these complications.

Diabetics are not the only people susceptible to peripheral neuropathy in their feet and hands. If you are taking chemotherapy, if you have HIV/AIDS, if you’ve had shingles, or even if you’ve had some other infectious disease, you’re a candidate for peripheral neuropathy.

The damage caused by peripheral neuropathy can be so gradual that you don’t think much about it.

One day you have a small cut on one of your feet. The nerves in your feet are damaged so you don’t really feel it and you don’t know it’s there if you don’t pay really close attention to the condition of your feet.

That small wound becomes infected. Your immune system and circulatory system are compromised so the tissue doesn’t heal properly. Before you know it, you have a serious infection and you lose your foot.

You’re a little less likely to have that problem with your hands simply because you see them all the time and you’re much more likely to notice if something is wrong. That means you’ll seek treatment faster.

What To Do If You Think You’re Developing Peripheral Neuropathy
The first thing you need to do is make sure your treating physician is aware of the problems you’re having with your feet and hands. Then you can take steps to help yourself.

First, find a local medical professional specializing in treating patients with peripheral neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR® clinician. Make an appointment as soon as possible.

To get ready for your appointment –

  • Make note of what your underlying conditions are
  • Make a list of all medications you take
  • Write down when you first noticed your symptoms
  • Write down all of your symptoms
  • Write down what your typical daily diet looks like

 

Get started with treatment as quickly as possible to avoid additional nerve damage and possibly even reverse the damage that’s already there. Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to treat your symptoms, adjust your diet if you’re not eating like you should in light of your underlying condition and give you information and help on coping with the effects of peripheral neuropathy.

It’s critical that you seek treatment immediately.

For more information on determining whether or not you have peripheral neuropathy and how to cope with it if you do, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

[1] http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131/METHOD

Gluten Sensitivity and Peripheral Neuropathy

Gluten free bakeries…

Many people who have peripheral neuropathy symptoms with no other indicators for neuropathy should be checked for celiac disease.

Gluten free cereals…

Totally gluten free diets…

You can’t look through a magazine or turn on the TV these days without seeing something about the benefits of going gluten free in your diet.

Going gluten-free is more than just the latest fad diet.

Especially for the growing number of people with celiac disease (aka gluten sensitivity)[1].

If you’re one of those people, you’re probably all too familiar with the symptoms of celiac disease:

  • Anemia
  • Change in weight
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
  • General weakness
  • Oily, foul-smelling stools
  • Stomach problems, cramping, gas, distention, bloating, vomiting

Those symptoms all make sense when you understand exactly what celiac disease is.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that damages the lining of the small intestine.  If you have celiac disease, eating foods that contain gluten – a protein found in wheat and other grains – starts a reaction in your autoimmune system that directly affects the small intestine.  Without treatment, celiac disease can lead to cancer, anemia, seizures, osteoporosis – any of these can be fatal.

Since celiac disease directly affects the small intestine, digestive issues make perfect sense.  But what about these symptoms:

  • Burning, tingling and numbness in hands and feet
  • Loss of feeling in hands and feet
  • Numbness, tingling or reduced sensation in the face and body

The Celiac Disease – Peripheral Neuropathy Connection

At first glance, it’s hard to make the connection between gluten sensitivity and peripheral neuropathy.  A recent study discovered that about 10% of people with celiac disease had peripheral neuropathy symptoms before their digestive system issues appeared.  For that reason, many people who have peripheral neuropathy symptoms with no other indicators for neuropathy, should be checked for celiac disease as a possible cause of their peripheral neuropathy.

The best thing you can do for yourself is contact a neuropathy specialist, like your local NeuropathyDr® clinician, to undergo the appropriate testing to find out if celiac disease is causing your peripheral neuropathy.

Testing and Evaluation

If you have peripheral neuropathy and/or celiac disease symptoms and haven’t been tested for one or both of these conditions, this is what you can expect.

To determine if you have peripheral neuropathy, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will conduct a thorough neurological examination, electromyography and nerve conduction tests.

If you determine that you have neuropathy and you don’t have any other underlying potential cause, the next step will be to test you for celiac disease.  Those tests will include blood tests and possibly a biopsy of the lining of your small intestine.

Living with Celiac Disease and Peripheral Neuropathy

Once your testing is completed, if you have celiac disease your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to manage your condition.  In order to manage your celiac disease symptoms you will need to:

  • Follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life[2]
  • Avoid all foods containing wheat
  • Avoid other grains that contain gluten (rye, barley and oats – that means no pasta, grains, cereals and many processed foods).

To help cope with your peripheral neuropathy symptoms caused by your celiac disease, you should:

  • Stop taking any medications that cause peripheral neuropathy (like statins to lower cholesterol)
  • Modify your lifestyle to reduce your pain – like avoiding standing or walking for extended periods of time
  • Wear looser shoes
  • Soak your feet in ice water
  • Take pain medications prescribed by your NeuropathyDR® clinician
  • Take safety precautions to compensate for your inability to feel sensation in your feet and hands
  • Ask your NeuropathyDr® clinician about special therapeutic shoes that may be covered by insurance or Medicare

Celiac disease and peripheral neuropathy can wreak havoc on your body.  Talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician to take steps to minimize the ill effects of both your conditions.

For more information on coping with celiac disease and peripheral neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.


Exercising Caution With Autonomic Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy[1], you know you’re at risk for some serious medical issues.

Exercise can help control the symptoms of your underlying illness and by doing that, you can help lessen the symptoms of your autonomic neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy (i.e., nerve damage to the autonomic nervous system) can affect every system in the body, especially:

  • Cardiovascular – your heart, blood pressure and circulation
  • Respiratory
  • Gastrointestinal – your digestion, ability to ability to empty your bowels
  • Genitourinary – erectile dysfunction and loss of bladder control

While you’re dealing some or all of these issues, exercise may not be on your radar.

But it should be.

Exercise can help control the symptoms of your underlying illness (whatever caused your autonomic neuropathy) and by doing that, you can help lessen the symptoms of your autonomic neuropathy.

But a word of caution is in order here.

The very nature of your autonomic neuropathy can affect the systems that are most sensitive to the effects of exercise.  Any exercise program you begin should be designed and monitored by a medical professional well versed in the effects of autonomic neuropathy, like your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Use Vs. Disuse

When you’re thinking about starting an exercise program[2] and you’re thinking about how dangerous it can be, you also need to consider the effects of not starting an exercise program.  The effects of not exercising are called “disuse syndrome”.  If your level of activity seriously out of synch with your level of inactivity, you can develop:

  • Decreased physical work capacity
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Negative nitrogen and protein balance
  • Cardiovascular deconditioning
  • Pulmonary restrictions
  • Depression

The effects of any of these symptoms of disuse syndrome in combination with your autonomic neuropathy symptoms can make a bad situation even worse.

What You Need To Think About Before You Start Exercising

Think about what happens to your body when you exercise.

Your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes labored, you sweat.

Every single one of those results is controlled by the autonomic nervous system.  Autonomic neuropathy can seriously impact how your body responds to the stimulus of exercise.  And your body may not react as it should.

  • Heart rate – If your autonomic neuropathy affects your cardiovascular system, you need to make sure that your exercise program is designed and monitored by your NeuropathyDR® clinician. Your autonomic neuropathy can lead to abnormal heart rate, inability to properly regulate blood pressure and redistribution of blood flow.  Your cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy may cause you to have a higher resting rate and lower maximal heart rates during exercise.
  • Blood pressure – Blood pressure response with posture change and during exercise is abnormal in patients with cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy.  Postural hypotension, defined as a drop in blood pressure may be seen.  This can mean that the blood pressure doesn’t react normally during exercise.  Symptoms are similar to hypoglycemia and may be mistaken for a drop in blood glucose even though it’s actually a drop in blood pressure.  Patients should be alerted to the potential confusion in these symptoms and instructed to check blood glucose before treating for hypoglycemia.
  • Sweating and Disruption of Blood Flow – Autonomic neuropathy may reduce or even eliminate your ability to sweat.  The loss of sweating, especially in your feet, can cause dry, brittle skin on the feet and you can develop skin ulcers.  It can also make it more difficult for your body to respond to cold and heat. You need to make sure that you’re taking proper care of your feet before and during any exercise program.  Make sure your shoes fit properly and examine your feet regularly to make sure you don’t have any sores, cracks or ulcers.

Autonomic neuropathy can have a serious effect on the very systems in the body that are directly affected by exercise.  Make sure you talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician before you start an exercise program and let them monitor your progress.

For more information on coping with autonomic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

Answering the “Why” of Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy as a result of

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

Neuropathy doesn’t just affect the hands and feet.

  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS or some other autoimmune disease
  • Chemotherapy
  • Shingles
  • Heredity

You probably have more questions than answers.

Neuropathy is probably the one symptom you never expected when you received your diagnosis.

To understand why you developed neuropathy, it helps to understand exactly what neuropathy is.

What Is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy[1] is a condition caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system.  The peripheral nervous system controls communication between your brain and your spinal cord and every other part of your body.  When you pick up a hot pan and feel the pain of the burn, that’s the peripheral nervous system at work.

When the peripheral nervous system is damaged by whatever your other condition is, the communication super highway of the peripheral nervous system is disrupted.  The signals from the brain and spinal cord don’t make it to whatever part of the body is affected by your neuropathy.  It’s like going into a dead zone with your cell phone and not having any “bars”.  Your nerves just don’t make the proper connection.

And neuropathy doesn’t just affect the hands and feet.  It can affect your digestive system, your cardiovascular system, your reproductive system, even your brain.

What Causes Neuropathy?

Any number of things can cause your neuropathy.  Here are a couple of common examples:

If you have diabetes and your blood glucose levels aren’t controlled and have been high for significant period of time, the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your nerves can be damaged.  Sort of like a potted plant that doesn’t get enough sunlight or water.  Your nerves will wither and cease to function, just like your sunlight deprived plant.

If you HIV/AIDS or some other autoimmune disease, your immune system begins to attack your body and that can include your nervous system.  That causes damage to the peripheral nerves.

Any of the conditions we discussed earlier can cause neuropathy because they all can damage your nervous system.  The damage and the part of the nervous system damaged can vary as much as the patients with neuropathy but any of these illnesses places you at a much higher risk than the average person for developing neuropathy.

What Happens Once Those Nerves Are Damaged?

If your nervous system is damaged you can experience[2]

  • Numbness in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Inability to feel heat, cold or even pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Burning or tingling or even the “pins and needles” feeling you get when your legs or arms “go to sleep”
  • Changes in the shape of your feet caused by weakened muscles
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

If your neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, you can experience

  • Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Inability to regulate your blood pressure

Your NeuropathyDR® specialist has an exclusive treatment protocol with proven results for neuropathy patients.  An integral part of that treatment protocol is nutrition counseling and diet planning.  Your specialist will sit down with you and plan your meals to include the proper portions of each of these categories on a daily basis to make sure that your blood sugar remains as constant as possible.

Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described.  If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of neuropathies.

For more information on coping with diabetic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

Why Do Diabetics Develop Neuropathy?

If you have diabetes and you have any of these symptoms[1]:

If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious and possibly permanent nerve damage.

  • Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Deep pain, especially in your legs and feet
  • Loss of sensation and ability to feel warmth or cold
  • Muscle cramps
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in your arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness, especially when you try to stand up
  • Drooping facial muscles
  • Loss of bladder control

You could have diabetic neuropathy.  Diabetic neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy specific to patients who have diabetes.  If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious and possibly permanent nerve damage.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek treatment with a medical professional with experience in diagnosing and treating diabetic neuropathy like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Why Does Diabetes Cause Neuropathy?

If your blood glucose levels aren’t controlled and have been high for significant period of time, the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your nerves can be damaged.  Elevated blood glucose can also damage the sheath that covers and protects the nerves. That leaves them vulnerable to damage.  Diabetic neuropathy is just the medical term for the nerve damage caused by elevated blood glucose levels.

What Happens to Your Body Once Those Nerves Are Damaged?

Diabetic neuropathy happens when the nervous system is damaged.

If your peripheral nervous system is damaged you can experience[2]

  • Numbness in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Inability to feel heat, cold or even pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Burning or tingling or even the “pins and needles” feeling you get when your legs or arms “go to sleep”
  • Changes in the shape of your feet caused by weakened muscles
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

If your neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, you can experience

  • Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Inability to regulate your blood pressure

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Diabetic Neuropathy?

The best defense against diabetic neuropathy is to get and keep your blood sugar under control.  Your best bet for doing that is proper diet, strictly monitoring your blood sugar levels and always taking your diabetes medication as prescribed by your doctor.

A good diet for controlling your blood sugar includes:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • High fiber
  • Whole grains
  • No sweets

Your NeuropathyDR® specialist has an exclusive treatment protocol with proven results for diabetic neuropathy patients.  An integral part of that treatment protocol is nutrition counseling and diet planning.  Your specialist will sit down with you and plan your meals to include the proper portions of each of these categories on a daily basis to make sure that your blood sugar remains as constant as possible.

Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described.  If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with diabetic neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies, including diabetic neuropathy.

For more information on coping with diabetic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.