Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome. 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 carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), so often those who suffer from nerve symptoms in their forearms and hands frequently jump to conclusions without having an accurate diagnosis.

An entrapment neuropathy, also called nerve compression syndrome, occurs when a nerve is wedged or “pinched” against a bone, inflamed muscle. 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

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: We’ll examine your arms for signs of neuropathy, and will likely ask you to perform several demonstrations of dexterity.  If we suspect you may have an underlying condition,lab tests may be recommended. To pinpoint the specific location of a compression, we may also suggest MRI.

Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, most cases of compression neuropathy are mild. Good self care for mild cases involves ice, rest, and a change in habits of motion or stress that are causing the symptoms. Otherwise, professional care in office as well as at home is often indicated.

If you suffer from a compression neuropathy or have questions about this or any other kind of neuropathy, call us ASAP. As with any neuropathy, don’t wait! The sooner you get an accurate diagnosis, the more conservative options for treatment you’ll have.

Join the conversation at Beating Neuropathy!

References:

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

Entrapment Neuropathy: More Than Just Carpal Tunnel! is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists

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Think You May Have Neuropathy?

Think you may have neuropathy? One hundred million Americans suffer some form of chronic pain—and 25% of those suffer from some form of peripheral neuropathy (PN). Unfortunately, like so many disorders, PN is reaching epidemic proportions.

Why is that? Well, it looks like many forms are lifestyle-related. The most common cause is likely related to the increasing rates of obesity and poor fitness. But because there are many different causes, it is important to work with a healthcare professional that understands this, and tries to identify any possible causes early on.

The most important thing of all while searching for possible correctable causes is to embark upon a self-treatment program early on. This includes learning more about your own health and fitness.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of maintaining proper body weight. Another immediate step you can take is limiting possible irritants and artificial sweeteners from your diet. Failing to take immediate action to help move your health in a positive direction is a big mistake.

Make every attempt to begin some non-drug therapies like nerve stimulation, laser, and physical therapy early on—even during the diagnostic process! The reason for this is quite simple: As we said, many patients search for answers, and all the while their health continues to deteriorate.Some care may dull the pain for a while. But, unfortunately, symptoms often return, with a vengeance.

Don’t let this be you. Please steer clear of the magic Google “cure” or  latest “Nerve Formula” on Facebook. Only an accurate diagnosis is the clearest pathway toward the best available treatment.

Please remember we are always here to help with a proper work-up and treatment.

Join the conversation on Facebook!

Think You May Have Neuropathy? What To Do Next is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists

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Is LLLT Effective Pain & Neuropathy Treatment?

LLLT (Low Level Light Therapy) including LLLT and laser in human healthcare dates back to the space program of the 1990s. But is LLLT effective pain and neuropathy treatment? The answer is a resounding yes, IF great equipment and trained physicians are utilized.

According to SBIR/NASA, LED has been utilized as part of cancer treatment, especially for a complication called oral mucositis. LEDs have also been used for improved wound healing, as well as “speeding deconditioned personnel to full duty performance”. LED (Light Emitting Diode) usage has also been approved by the Naval special warfare command. 1

But how exactly does this work? Well, the scientific explanations are highly technical. But what has been known for centuries is that light speeds healing. Once upon a time, ill patients from infectious disease units and TB wards were rolled out into sunlight daily. Wounds that failed to heal were also exposed to sunlight.

From a simple perspective though, we know that light energy is simply clusters of photons or energy particles that can penetrate tissue at selected depths.

We also know that various wavelengths of light can then have specific effects. The most important effect that may have a bearing on peripheral neuropathy and related conditions is the ability to stimulate metabolism, or cellular efficiency.

You see, all the work we have done in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy since 2008 has been focused upon improving cell energy. This also of course includes diet, exercise and certain other compounds found in nature such as amino acids, carnitine, and lipoic acid.

You probably also know we’ve extensively used electrotherapy via the NDGen® Neurostimulator.

With the combination of laser, both in clinic and at home with the Wearable Laser you see below, we are now able to expand our reach and help more patients than ever before with LLLT effective pain and neuropathy treatment.

Although the research is early, it is extraordinarily encouraging. Talk to our team about possibly adding light therapy to your treatment. Consider this especially if you suffer from diabetic neuropathy or other poor wound-healing complications.

Join our community on Facebook to learn about up-and-coming neuropathy and pain treatments!

1 http://sbir.nasa.gov/SBIR/successes/ss/8-035text.html

Can LED Be Part of Effective Neuropathy Treatment? is a post from: Neuropathy Doctors and Physical Therapists| Neuropathy | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Physical Therapists

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The Best And The Worst of At-Home Neuropathy Treatment

Better methods of neuropathy treatment are available…just be sure you are using them!

Pills as question on white isolated background. Medical concept. 3d

By now you realize that there are a huge number of pills, potions, and gadgets etc. that are marketed to people who suffer from neuropathy and many other forms of chronic pain.

Many years ago when I became involved in the treatment of neuropathy and realized that this was inevitable due to the sheer number of people who suffer from peripheral neuropathy worldwide. And the huge numbers of patients is growing rapidly. Peripheral neuropathy now occurs in younger and younger ages.

Make no mistake about it this directly parallels our modern lifestyle and expanding waistlines. This of course is due to a high sugar, carbohydrate diets and less physical activity.

In fact, the overall quality of diet and physical exercise for the vast majority of the population has deteriorated dramatically in the last 40 years.

All that said, doesn’t it make sense that these should be the primary targets of effective treatment?

Of course it does and even more so if you have the type of neuropathy that is directly related to obesity and poor fitness.

So why then did these critical two components get ignored until it’s often too late?

This one is a combination of public health and healthcare professional education to be sure. The relentless push on you that all you need to do is to take this pill so that you feel better is an extreme disservice to both patients and their physicians alike.

But all neuropathy is not caused by lifestyle. Some are due to accidents, usage of certain medications, a side effect of surgery, genetics, or just bad luck.

All this means is that better methods of controlling the pain and discomfort that peripheral neuropathy can bring are essential.

The worst neuropathy treatments are those that have no basis in science what so ever and there are plenty of them available. You only have to scan the aisles of your local pharmacies.

Employing other methods, which are researched and supported by science are our first choice both at home and in the clinic.

Shouldn’t they be yours as well?

So, why not take a very hard look at what YOU are doing to self diagnose or treat your neuropathy or other chronic pain.

Join the conversation by calling your nearest treatment center or talk to us directly here on Facebook!

We’ll help you sort out the real science from snake oil.

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What Do YOU Need To Know About Metabolic Syndrome

Increased blood pressure…

Higher than normal insulin or blood sugar levels…

Excess body fat, particularly around your waist…

Abnormal cholesterol levels – and that means both “good” and “bad” cholesterol…

If you have not just one but all of these conditions, you may have Metabolic Syndrome. And that increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes as well as peripheral neuropathy.

If you know you have one of these symptoms, you may have others and not know it.  Do any of these sound familiar?

1. Obesity – Are you carrying excess weight, particularly around your waist? Do you have an “apple shape”?

2. Elevated Blood Pressure – If your systolic (the top number) blood pressure is higher than 120 or your diastolic (the bottom number) is higher than 80, you have blood pressure issues that you need to talk to your doctor about.

3. Abnormal Cholesterol Levels – If you have high triglycerides (blood fat) and low “good” or HDL cholesterol, you need to ask your doctor about treatment.

4. Insulin Resistance – If your body doesn’t properly regulate the amount of sugar in your blood, you could be on your way to becoming diabetic.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about testing to make sure you don’t have others.  With the exception of obesity, any of these could be silent symptoms that remain undetected without proper medical testing.

Stay tuned…in our next edition, we’ll talk about the causes of metabolic syndrome and give you an idea of what your lifestyle may be doing to contribute to your metabolic syndrome.

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Neuropathy and the Dairy Connection

Here’s What You Need to Know About How Dairy Impacts Your Health.

A lot of people in the American food industry simply don’t want you to know about the real impact of diary on your health, especially for people with diabetic neuropathy.

But there’s more and more scientific evidence than adult humans just weren’t meant to consume milk, and when they do, negative health impacts can happen. The most common issue is the number of adult digestive and allergy disturbances that disappear when dairy is stopped.

And there are other, more serious issues including possible inflammatory and cancer connections.

And what we see in our offices is that eradicating gluten and dairy from your diet may lead to significant relief from inflammation and pain related to diabetic neuropathy.

We always recommend gradual shifts in dietary choices. It’s okay to replace milk with similar products like coconut milk, rice milk, or almond milk. Many people find that soy milk has a distinctive flavor that may not make it everyone’s favorite milk alternative. No matter, what, try to avoid products with added sugar and thickeners or preservatives. Carrageenan is one that is known to be detrimental to the digestive tract.

There are also alternatives to cheese, mainstream yogurt, and other products made from cows milk. We highly recommend doing the research on your own in order to tailor your dietary changes to your own life. This will give you a greater sense of control over your own health and wellness. Be sure to share with your doctor what you are doing and plan to do.

Remember, too, that no one “magic bullet” is going to be the one to reduce 100% of your diabetic neuropathy problems. Instead, look at a dietary shift as one of several gradual changes for better wellness, including exercise, at-home neurostimulation protocols recommended by your doctor, and any medications he or she feels is needed at least at first to get your diabetic neuropathy symptoms under control.
Looking for a NeuropathyDR® expert near you? Click here.

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What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

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

The causes of peripheral neuropathy are in many cases unfortunately unknown. In fact, the most common cause of neuropathy in this day and age may actually be idiopathic, meaning of unknown cause.

It’s no longer just diabetes.

In our modern world, we are subjected and exposed to many environmental toxins, including heavy metals. We also are seeing patients surviving cancer and living much longer.

Unfortunately, one of the undesired complications of chemotherapy is the development of peripheral neuropathy. We are also seeing patients developing compression neuropathy, such as carpal tunnel, chronic sciatica and back pain and nerve damage associated with conditions like degenerative spinal disc disease and spinal stenosis.

Part of this, of course, is because we are living longer and being more active than ever before.

Another common but often overlooked cause of peripheral neuropathy is the use of statin medication, which has expanded exponentially. It’s not too long ago that the statins were heralded to be the cure-all for many of mankind’s greatest diseases and illnesses. This is not the forum to debate the appropriate use of statins but if you or a family member are taking them, you do need to be aware that peripheral neuropathy is a potential complication.

There are other causes of peripheral neuropathy, like kidney disease and hormonal diseases that occur in patients with hyperthyroidism, as well as Cushing’s disease, which affects the adrenal glands and the output of cortisol. Alcoholism can cause peripheral neuropathy, as can vitamin deficiencies, especially deficiencies of thiamin, or vitamin B1.

There are still more causes: chronic hypertension, cigarette-smoking, immune-complex diseases, generalized degenerative lifestyles that include obesity, poor diet combined with cigarette smoking, abuse of over-the-counter medications, etc.

And all this is exactly why you must be very cautious about trusting your neuropathy treatment to just anyone who claims they have effective peripheral neuropathy care.

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Neuropathy Patients Must Be Powerful Self Advocates

As a neuropathy patient, you need to be the most powerful member of your medical team. Here’s how to do it.

Your neuropathy treatment team is well trained and highly educated. But they are not the true experts on your neuropathy.

The only real expert on YOUR neuropathy is you.

You’re the one who is there 24/7 experiencing neuropathic pain and physical limitations. You live in your body, and you know what’s normal for you.

The only way to get effective neuropathy care is to be a powerful self advocate. You are the most important member of your treatment team. They simply can’t get the job done without your vital input!

What does this mean?

Here is how you can advocate for yourself in your neuropathy treatment.

  1. Provide detailed, up to date information about your symptoms. Keep a daily log so that you can track frequency and severity. Be honest and don’t leave anything out.
  2. Tell your doctor about all medications and supplements you are taking, including vitamins and herbs, as well as over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or allergy medications.
  3. Be honest about your history and current use of alcohol, tobacco products, caffeine, and other drugs that can affect your symptoms and interact with prescription medications.
  4. Read what is out there about neuropathy treatment. Ask questions about whether the techniques you’ve read about are appropriate for your care.
  5. Share your worries and concerns. If the doctor seems to brush them off, state them again and make sure he or she understands what you mean. Ask WHY that particular symptom or occurrence is not significant in your doctor’s eyes.
  6. Write down everything that your doctor says during the visit. If that is difficult for you, bring a tape recorder or a family member / friend who can take notes.
  7. If you still have unanswered questions at the end of your visit, ask the doctor for more time or request another professional (such as a nurse practitioner) to come in and talk more with you.

If you feel that your current medical team is not addressing your needs, look for a doctor in your area who has specific training in neuropathy issues. Click here for a list of NeuropathyDR™ specialists.

Neuropathy Patients Must Be Powerful Self Advocates is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Neuropathy Diet for Cancer Treatment? What to Eat for Effective Immune Support

Find the ideal diet to help you combat neuropathy and other chemotherapy side effects to promote healing.

Peripheral neuropathy is an unfortunate side effect of some chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment. Other side effects you might experience as a chemo patient include nausea, dry mouth, and lack of appetite. The good news is that by adjusting your diet to include several key nutrients, you can help to minimize these side effects and support your body’s natural efforts at healing.

The first consideration for chemo patients with neuropathy and other side effects is to strengthen your immune system as much as possible, with a focus on foods that are gentle to your digestion at this time.

First, make sure you are getting enough protein, an essential component of a healing diet. You’ll also need lots of antioxidants, particularly vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Other good nutrients for neuropathy and other cancer side effects include calcium, amino acids, l-glutamine, carotenoids, folic acid, and soy isoflavones.

Staying hydrated is especially important, even if you are feeling nauseated. Consider juicing as a way to get all these healing nutrients without demanding much from your digestive system.

Any nutritionist will tell you that regardless of your weight struggles prior to a cancer diagnosis, now is not the time to worry about losing weight or even maintaining a goal weight. You need lots of calories right now to keep your energy up and promote healing.

If you’ve lost your appetite due to chemo side effects, it may seem impossible to keep the calories coming. But there is something you can do to combat this problem. Adding herbs and spices to your food will make it more appealing to you, with a bonus effect of providing healing properties. Look for ways to add these spices and herbs to your meals whenever possible:

  • Garlic, which is a natural antibiotic
  • Basil, parsley, and mint
  • Coriander, cinnamon, and cardamom
  • Cumin and turmeric
  • Ginger, which is a natural anti-inflammatory

What’s the best way to design a chemotherapy diet to aid with neuropathy and other chemo side effects? Talk with your NeuropathyDR™ clinician about a diet that addresses your side effects and nutritional needs for healing. He or she can help you create a meal plan that addresses both short-term side effects and long-term recovery from cancer. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR™ expert near you.

Neuropathy Diet for Cancer Treatment? What to Eat for Effective Immune Support is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Just Diagnosed? The Next Step After Your Neuropathy Diagnosis

A Neuropathy Diagnosis Can Be Frightening and Confusing. Here’s What To Do Next.

Finding out about your neuropathy diagnosis can be a confusing and even frightening time. You may be feeling overwhelmed with information and choices. Or you may be uncertain whether you are correctly understanding what your doctor has said.

Often, newly diagnosed neuropathy patients have been living with increasingly painful symptoms for a while. It may be stunning to discover that nerve damage is responsible for those symptoms.

You may also be adjusting to the diagnosis or treatment of a systemic condition that has led to neuropathy symptoms, such as lupus, cancer, or diabetes.

It’s a lot to get used to, and it may be hard to know what you should do next.

Let me share some of the most basic steps that should happen right after a neuropathy diagnosis.

The immediate step is to address any acute symptom flare-ups that may be happening. That may mean being hospitalized to get control of an episode related to an autoimmune disease or diabetic crisis. Or it may mean seeking appropriate medication to reduce inflammation or pain.

When this immediate crisis has settled, the next step for you is to address your daily health habits that can positively or negative affect the long-term outcome of your neuropathy diagnosis. If you are more than 20 pounds overweight, work with your doctor on a plan to drop those extra pounds in a safe way. Reduce or remove sugar and processed foods from your diet. Stop smoking as quickly as possible.

You can also take other steps such as filtering the water in your home, using only “green” cleaning agents, and building moderate exercise into your daily routine.

Perhaps the most important step is to identify a trained neuropathy doctor in your area who can provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive treatment plan for your neuropathy diagnosis. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you.

Just Diagnosed? The Next Step After Your Neuropathy Diagnosis is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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