Making the Most of Your Time with Your Doctor to Treat Your Peripheral Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, chances are that diagnosis was made by your family doctor.

The longer you wait, the more severe and potentially permanent your nerve damage can be.

Chances are even better that he’s sent you to a specialist to confirm that diagnosis and begin immediate treatment (if you’re lucky).

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy as a result of[1]:

  • Diabetes
  • Shingles
  • Chemotherapy
  • HIV/AIDS or some other immune deficiency disease
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

If your treating physician hasn’t referred you to a specialist, one of the best things you can do is request a referral to a specialist in treating peripheral neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Once that referral is made, you need to take advantage of every minute you have with your specialist.  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.

So What Should You Do?

First, realize that your appointment with your specialist is much more than just time blocked on both your schedules.  It’s a chance to take your life back.  If you have peripheral neuropathy, your body is at war and this is your chance to win.

You want to be prepared so you can take advantage of every minute and get started with an effective treatment program ASAP.

To do that, you need to[2]

  • Write your symptoms down, even if you don’t think they have anything to do with your peripheral neuropathy.  Making a list will ensure that you don’t forget anything.
  • Make a list of every medication you take.  That includes vitamins, herbal supplements and anything over the counter.  Those liquid glucosamine drinks you may be taking to alleviate joint pain count as a medication.
  • Line up someone to go with you, either a family member or a friend.  You’ll want someone there to write down what the doctor tells you.  There’s no way you’ll remember it all.
  • Write down any questions you want to ask.  There is no such thing as a stupid question so ask about anything you’re not sure about.

Here are a few samples:

  1. What causes peripheral neuropathy?
  2. Does everyone have the same symptoms or are mine different?
  3. What else could be causing my symptoms?
  4. Are there any tests I need?
  5. What are my chances of a full recovery?
  6. Will the treatment you’re prescribing have any side effects?
  7. What are my treatment options?
  8. Do you have any reading material I can take home to learn more about peripheral neuropathy?

These are just suggestions so don’t limit yourself to these questions.  Again, write down anything you’re not sure about.

Be Ready to Help Your Doctor

Depending on your symptoms, your underlying medical conditions and any other issues that are specific to you and your peripheral neuropathy, your doctor will ask you quite a few questions.

To make the most efficient use of your time with him, do what you can to help him.  Think about the answers to these basic questions before your appointment:

  • Do you have any underlying medical conditions (like the ones we listed above?)
  • When did you first notice your symptoms?
  • How often do you experience your symptoms? Do you have problems at specific times of the day or after any specific activity?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being mild and 10 being severe), how would you rate your symptoms?
  • Have you noticed anything that makes your symptoms better or worse?

Just thinking about these questions ahead of time and actually putting together answers will make your time with your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other specialist more efficient and productive.  You’ll both be much happier with the result if you know what to expect.

And don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for suggestions to help you manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician specializes in treating the whole patient, including recommending lifestyle changes, preparing diet plans, whatever it takes to make your treatment plan effective for you.

We hope this gives you a head start on taking charge of your peripheral neuropathy and making sure that you and your medical professional get the most out of your time together.

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


Peripheral Neuropathy and Foot Wear –Your Shoes Could Be Killing You

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy?

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, choosing the right shoes is vitally important.

Do you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet and/or legs?

Has your doctor told you how important it is to take proper care of your feet?

Now, for the $25,000 bonus question…

Are you doing what your doctor tells you to do?

Many patients with peripheral neuropathy don’t take proper care of their feet and don’t follow their doctors’ instructions on foot care.

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, not following your doctor’s instructions about the type of shoes you should wear and how to care for your feet can lead to amputation…

Ultimately, it could cost your life.

You’re Not Alone

If you’re not listening to your doctor and doing everything he tells you to do to care for your feet, you’re not the only one.[1]

A recent study that followed 41 patients with type 2 diabetes found that

  • 90% of the patients had been educated about proper footwear
  • 83% washed and dried their feet properly every day
  • 51% actually foot self-exams recommended by their doctors

But more than half the patients admitted that they walked around the house and even outside with no shoes.  And more than two thirds of them were not wearing appropriate footwear.  They were wearing shoes with pointed toes, high heels or flip flops, and even worse.

Finding the Right Shoes

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, choosing the right shoes is vitally important.  Here are some tips to help you know what to look for and what to avoid when you’re buying shoes:

  • Never wear shoes with pointed toes.
  • Avoid shoes with a really flat sole or high heels.  Neither of these styles allow for even distribution of foot pressure.
  • Buy shoes with soft insoles.
  • Never buy plastic or synthetic materials that don’t allow your feet to breathe.
  • Only wear shoes made of leather, suede or canvas that allow air to circulate around your feet and help them stay dry.
  • Avoid slip ons – buy shoes with laces and buckles that allow you to adjust how tight your shoes are.
  • Ask for professional assistance in getting the proper fit in every pair of shoes you buy.
  • Proper shoes don’t have to look like something your grandmother would wear.  You can buy stylish shoes that won’t land you in the hospital.

Remember that neuropathy is nerve damage.  That means that the nerves in your feet are not functioning properly and you may not feel a problem until it’s too late and you have sores, blisters or ulcers.  Those can be deadly.

See Your Doctor Regularly

Ultimately, you need to see your doctor regularly[2].  Find a doctor who specializes in treating patients with neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.  They can help you choose proper footwear and take care of your feet on a routine basis and stop any problems before they’re severe.  By seeing your doctor regularly and staying on top of any issues you may have, you can reduce your risk of amputation by between 20% and 70%.

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

Cholesterol Medication and Peripheral Neuropathy

Lipitor…

Once you know what caused the problem, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will sit down with you and formulate a plan.

Zocor…

Crestor…

If you own a television, you’ve probably seen at least one commercial for these popular cholesterol lowering medications.

If your cholesterol is high your doctor has probably prescribed one of them.

These drugs belong to a group of medications called statins and while they’re very effective in lowering your cholesterol levels, they have a serious side effect.

Patients taking statins are 14 times more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy than people not taking statins.[1]

If you’re taking statins and you have any of these problems with your feet:

  • Burning pain
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Prickling sensation

Or if you suffer from

  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Shooting pain in your muscles

You could be suffering from statin neuropathy.  You need to see a health care provider very familiar with the diagnosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy in all its forms, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician.

It is vitally important that you obtain a diagnosis and start treatment as quickly as possible to prevent permanent nerve damage.

What Causes Statin Neuropathy?

Statin neuropathy is nerve damage caused by exposure to cholesterol lowering medication.  By lowering cholesterol, statins also affect the cholesterol rich membranes that surround the nerves.   Prolonged exposure to statins just makes your peripheral neuropathy worse.

Why Is Statin Neuropathy So Difficult to Diagnose?

Patients with statin neuropathy often present with very subtle pain or mild weakness.  Because initial symptoms are fairly mild, it’s harder to pinpoint a diagnosis.  Many patients with statin neuropathy write off their early symptoms to being tired or just getting older.  The symptoms come on so gradually that it’s harder for the patient to give the doctor a clear picture of exactly when they started.

The difficulty in diagnosing statin neuropathy is one of the reasons that it is so important to consult a healthcare provider who specializes in treating neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR®.  Because this is your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s field of expertise, he or she is more likely to pick up on subtleties that will allow a faster diagnosis.  Faster diagnosis means faster treatment and that means less chance for permanent nerve damage.

What is the Treatment for Statin Neuropathy?

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s initial goal will be to confirm the diagnosis and then determine that what you have is statin neuropathy and not neuropathy caused by some other underlying illness.  Once you know what caused the problem, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will sit down with you and formulate a plan to take you off your statin medications, at least for awhile to see if your symptoms improve.[2]

The next step is to begin treatment.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will

  • Advise you to take over-the-counter pain medication unless your symptoms are severe enough to warrant prescription pain medication.
  • If you are already suffering nerve deficits that are affecting your ability to perform basic daily tasks due to loss of sensation, you will need to take safety precautions to avoid falls.
  • Treat you with nerve stimulation and manual manipulation of your skeletal system to get your body back into alignment and alleviate your nerve pain.

Remember, statin neuropathy can develop even after short term exposure to statins.  If you are suffering from any of the symptoms we’ve discussed, contact your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately.  Statin neuropathy is treatable but any kind of neuropathy is very unforgiving of delay and your nerve damage could be permanent.

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

Peripheral Neuropathy and Your Quality of Life

If you’re suffering from peripheral neuropathy, you know how much it affects your life.

You may feel like your situation is hopeless, especially if you’ve become mired in depression. But it isn’t.

Every single day…

Even the simplest tasks can be difficult if not impossible…

To anyone unfamiliar with peripheral neuropathy and its symptoms, they might just think “your nerves hurt a little…”

But at a peripheral neuropathy sufferer, you know better…

Peripheral neuropathy not only affects your health, it can wreck your quality of life.

How Do You Define Quality of Life?

Generally speaking, Quality of Life is a term used to measure a person’s overall well-being. In medical terms, it usually means how well a patient has adapted to a medical condition.  It measures[1]:

  • Your physical and material well being
  • Your social relationships – how you interact with others
  • Your social activities
  • Your personal fulfillment – your career, any creative outlets you may have, how involved you are with other interests)
  • Your recreational activities – your hobbies, sports, etc.
  • Your actual health – what your health is really like and how healthy you believe you are

How do you feel about these aspects of your life?  Your attitude and approach to your illness, both your neuropathy and the underlying cause of your neuropathy (i.e., diabetes, HIV/AIDS, lupus, etc.) can make a huge difference in how well you adapt to your neuropathy symptoms.

Neuropathy Symptoms Aren’t Just Physical

The pain of peripheral neuropathy falls into the category of what is considered chronic pain.  It usually doesn’t just come and go.  You can’t just pop a couple of aspirin and forget about it.  It’s pain with its root cause in nerve damage.

The nerves that actually register pain are the actual cause of the pain.  When you’re in that kind of pain on a consistent basis, it affects you in many different ways[2]:

  • You become depressed and/or anxious
  • Your productivity and interest at work is disrupted
  • You can’t sleep
  • It’s difficult for you to get out and interact with other people so you feel isolated
  • You sometimes don’t understand why you’re not getting better

What You Can Do To Improve Your Quality of Life

You may feel like your situation is hopeless, especially if you’ve become mired in depression.

But it isn’t.

There are things you can do to lessen the physical (and emotional) effects of peripheral neuropathy and help you function as normally as possible:

  • Pay special attention to caring for your feet.  Inspect them daily for cuts, pressure spots, blisters or calluses (use a mirror to look at the bottom of your feet).   The minute you notice anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician for help.  Never go barefoot – anywhere.
  • Treat yourself to a good foot massage to improve your circulation and reduce pain.  Check with your insurance company – if massage is actually prescribed by your doctor, they may cover some of the cost.
  • Only wear shoes that are padded, supportive and comfortable and never wear tight socks.
  • If you smoke, quit.  Nicotine decreases circulation and if you’re a peripheral neuropathy patient, you can’t risk that.
  • Cut back on your caffeine intake.  Several studies have found that caffeine may actually make neuropathy pain worse.
  • If you sit at a desk, never cross your knees or lean on your elbows.  The pressure will only make your nerve damage worse.
  • Be really careful when using hot water.  Your peripheral neuropathy may affect the way you register changes in temperature and it’s really easy for you to burn yourself and not even realize it.
  • Use a “bed cradle” to keep your sheets away from your feet if you experience pain when trying to sleep.  That will help you rest.
  • Try to be as active as possible.  Moderate exercise is great for circulation and it can work wonders for your emotional and mental health.
  • Make your home as injury proof as possible – install bath assists and/or hand rails and never leave anything on the floor that you can trip over.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.  If you don’t know what you should and shouldn’t eat, talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about a personalized diet plan to maintain proper weight and give your body what it needs to heal.
  • Try to get out as often as possible to socialize with others.

We hope this information helps you to better manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  Take a look at the list above and see how many of these things you’re already doing to help yourself. Then talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician about help with adding the others to your daily life.

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


Hope for Inclusion Body Myositis?

Recently we discharged to home care a patient with neuropathy and weakness secondary to Inclusion Body Myositis, an inflammatory muscle disease with sensory and strength changes (weakness). As far as I am aware, there is no known cure.

In no way am I suggesting curative care was achieved. But this patient was 20% better in just five weeks, and this is after 2-3 years of standard interventions. The most striking gain though was in proximal lower extremity muscle strength gains, which objectively improved substantially off base-line measurements.

We modified our ND Protocols to include enhanced anti-inflammatory activity by boosting glutathione levels (a master detoxification system in the human body) and increasing EPA (the most anti-inflammatory Omega 3 EFA) levels, monitoring vitamin D levels, and a few other tweaks.

The best thing about our work is to see patients like this respond, and that gives us both hope, and reason to explore how we can help more people with similar illnesses.

More Patients respond…

In this group of 4, we have different case types. Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetic Neuropathy, Bilateral Mechanical Neuropathy (following an acute disc herniation), and an Idiopathic Neuropathy (meaning the cause could not be determined with accuracy.)

That fact that ALL these cases respond well to similar protocols with minor variations, and continue to do so, lends significant understanding that will help millions find quality of life and relief at last.

Why the Neuopathies behave similarly, according to David Phillips, PhD.

“My entire experience has been extremely positive, the atmosphere is excellent, as is the staff!”
-Another satisfied neuropathy patient

“My experience was very positive and I look forward to my visits and always leave feeling great. I feel that Dr. Hayes’ philosophy is to make me free of pain and it is working! The staff is welcoming, positive, total top notch!”
-Paul Goguen, Rockland, MA

“My feet feel wonderful, much much better! It’s much easier to fall asleep at night without pain. The staff is great, good with accommodating my different appointments, couldn’t be friendlier!”
-Eddie Phelan, Quincy, MA

“I feel much better since beginning treatment with Dr. Hayes. The staff is excellent, definitely a 10!
-Another satisfied neuropathy patient