Self-Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain is a Dangerous Game

Attempting to Diagnosis and Treat Neuropathic Pain On Your Own Just Delays Effective Treatment (and Could Worsen Your Symptoms)

In some ways, the Internet has been a blessing in terms of the availability of medical information. This can be so helpful if you suspect that you have the flu, or a mild skin rash, or poison ivy.

Where it’s not helpful, and may be very harmful indeed, is when you rely entirely on the Internet for self-diagnosis of serious health concerns related to neuropathic pain—including diabetic neuropathy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, shingles, peripheral neuropathy, or chemotherapy neuropathy.

When you attempt to self-diagnose and self-treat these conditions, you are impeding a truly helpful evaluation by a trained neuropathy doctor that can prevent additional nerve damage and substantially improve your quality of life.

In short, by attempting to treat your own neuropathic pain, you are wasting your health and valuable time—in short, making your condition worse. Early treatment is crucial for the success of eliminating neuropathic pain.

We’ve talked to so many patients with neuropathic pain who delayed seeing a NeuropathyDR® clinician because they wanted to save money. They inevitably tell us that they regret the wasted time and the long-term expense caused by increased nerve damage and all that it entails.

When you are dealing with neuropathy related to diabetes, chemotherapy treatment, and other serious conditions, it’s so important to think long-term. Neuropathy isn’t just an annoying side effect. It is a degenerative condition that will get worse over time and complicate other health concerns.

You may have learned that self-reliance and “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is a good thing. In the case of neuropathic pain symptoms, however, the worst thing you can do is spend time trying to diagnosis and treat yourself.

When we say that self-treatment and home care is important, we’re referring to lifestyle elements implemented over time that complement the medical therapies recommended for you by your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Self-treatment is an important component of your neuropathy treatment, AFTER a clinical diagnosis. Anything else is just a delaying tactic—one that could severely impact your health, not just today but years from now.

To read more about the diagnosis process and where to go from here with neuropathic pain, take a look at our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

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Distinguishing Between Fibromyalgia and Neuropathy

If You’re Wondering About the Differences Between Fibromyalgia and Neuropathy, You’re Not Alone. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Fibromyalgia and neuropathy have some symptoms in common, and that makes it difficult to make a differential diagnosis without close scrutiny. The common elements tend to be numbness, tingling, and/or chronic pain.

Did you know that a lot of serious health problems are directly linked to your personal lifestyle habits? Yes, even fibromyalgia and neuropathy. At our clinics, we look beneath the chronic pain symptoms and examine possible root causes that underlie the symptoms.

Not in every case, but in many cases of fibromyalgia and neuropathy, patients tend to be in poor condition physically as well as significantly overweight. They typically eat a diet that is poor in key nutrients, and many times they also have other health problems, such as thyroid disease.

Also, in some fibromyalgia cases there is a distinct neuropathic condition at work, according to research that has arisen recently. It has certainly been the case in our clinics over the years that a number of patients with fibromyalgia respond very positively to a modified version of our neuropathy treatment program.

The absolutely key piece of information you must have fibromyalgia and neuropathy is that the success of your treatment depends in large part on the specialized training and dedicated time of your treatment team. Unfortunately, in today’s healthcare climate, it’s unlikely that your current physician is able or willing to spend significant time and effort on your case alone.

But without fail, a trained NeuropathyDR® clinician will prioritize a treatment plan that is tailor-made for your specific health needs and goals. Your neuropathy treatment plan will be built around a detailed, in-depth assessment of your overall health in addition to specific symptoms related to fibromyalgia and neuropathy.

Your journey to good health begins with a solid understanding of neuropathy and concrete ways to combat this condition. For simple and straightforward information about how to effectively treat neuropathy, click here to read about our book I Beat Neuropathy! Getting Your Life Back On Track.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Peripheral Neuropathy Can Be Managed with More Frequent Meals

Contrary to Popular Thinking About Metabolism and Weight Management, Eating More Often Can Benefit Those with Peripheral Neuropathy.

We all like to blame obesity and excessive/unhealthy eating habits for the development of metabolic problems. In a way, it really is that simple: when you consume more calories at one meal than your body needs, and when what you’re eating is also laden with fats and carbohydrates, then you probably will gain too much weight—which can affect your body systems negatively.

On the other hand, changing HOW OFTEN you eat can have a positive impact and can even assist you in managing your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

By eating more frequent meals, you will be training your metabolism to operate differently, teaching your body to burn fat rather than store it. Your blood sugar with also even out, and you’ll stay warmer overall—two bonuses for those dealing with neuropathy related to diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

However, there’s a catch. You’ll need to eat smaller and more frequent meals and/or snacks that contain fewer carbohydrates and some type of protein. Ideally, you’ll be eating something every three hours.

An example of the kinds of meals I’m talking about would be a breakfast of steel-cut oats with berries, or perhaps a protein shake. For a substantial snack, you could have a small handful of almonds (which contain healthy fats).

Of course, if you suffer from diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy, you’ll need to be very careful about sugar intake. This just underscores the importance of working with a neuropathy treatment clinician such as one of our NeuropathyDR® professionals, who can create a customized dietary and treatment plan based on your peripheral neuropathy symptoms and individual health needs.

Looking for a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area? To work with one of our specially trained peripheral neuropathy professionals, click here.

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Is Peripheral Neuropathy Interrupting Your Sleep?

For Peripheral Neuropathy Sufferers, Here’s Why Insomnia is a Serious Symptom that Can’t Be Ignored

Did you know that more than 70 percent of people with neuropathy also struggle with insomnia? When chronic pain and tingling in feet or hands is keeping you awake at night, it’s a good bet that you’re not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep that you need for good overall health.

There are mixed reasons why neuropathic pain is tied to sleep problems. Pain associated with peripheral neuropathy has a tendency to feel more intense at night, when you’re tired and when there are fewer distractions available to break your focus on the pain.

What’s more, there may be another strong tie between insomnia and neuropathy. Sleep apnea is a very common cause of sleep disorders, and research has indicated that untreated sleep apnea can actually lead to peripheral neuropathy symptoms. And if you’re diabetic and resistant to insulin, sleep apnea may be even more likely to affect your neuropathy.

Of course, it stands to reason that lack of adequate sleep can make your peripheral neuropathy symptoms seem even worse than before. It’s a fact that lack of sleep tends to lower one’s pain threshold significantly.

Here are some of our guidelines for improving sleep when dealing with peripheral neuropathy.

  • Limit your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening.
  • Institute a sleep routine that helps you wind down at night and go to sleep at about the same time every evening.
  • Don’t eat a large or heavy meal late in the evening. If your body is hard at work on digestion, it’s not resting.
  • Make any needed changes to your bedroom to induce restful sleep, including temperature, darkness, and noise.
  • Limit electronics at night, including television, computers, and any handheld devices. These have a stimulating effect on your brain. If you need an activity to help you sleep, try reading an actual book!

These are simple guidelines that can help you institute lasting positive change in your sleep patterns, hopefully leading to reduced peripheral neuropathy discomfort. But true relief can come only with the support of a trained NeuropathyDR clinician who can tailor the treatment to your specific needs. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR clinician in your area.

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Neuropathy and the Holidays: Ways to Reduce Damaging Holiday Stress

Holiday stress can contribute to worsening of neuropathy symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about how to effectively cope at this time of year.

Hands down, the holidays are one of the most stressful events we encounter in our lives… and they come every year, just like clockwork!

That’s true for anyone, but it’s also true that people with neuropathy related to diabetes or chemotherapy cancer treatment may have higher stress levels than most. In this situation, without a strategic self-care in place, you may be feeling far from thankful or joyful. Holiday stress can add a physical burden to your already overburdened body.

But there’s good news. Holiday stress can be significantly reduced with just a little advance planning. Here’s how you can reduce the impact of the holidays on your neuropathy symptoms.

First, begin by understanding the physical toll that stress takes on your body’s systems. Whether it’s mentally or physically based, stress activates the release of hormones that tell your liver to create glucose, which can wreck your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic. What’s more, people who are stressed and tired are more likely to ignore their glucose levels or stick to a diabetes-friendly diet.

The second strategy for reducing neuropathy aggravating stress during the holidays is to know yourself and what is most stressful for you. Do what you can to control and minimize your exposure to stressful situations. For example, if driving during rush hour frays your nerves, try to vary your route to work to avoid some of that traffic or leave home at a different time than usual. Or consider alternatives, such as public transportation or carpooling. If you hate to cook but feel obligated to provide a lavish Thanksgiving meal, think of a different way to accomplish the same goal, such as ordering an already prepared turkey or asking a family member to share the cooking responsibilities this year.

Third, it’s a great idea from a neuropathy treatment standpoint to teach yourself a couple of simple relaxation exercises now so that they are easily accessed in your memory when you really need them. Start by reconnecting with your breathing—not by trying to change the pattern of your breath, but simple noticing how it feels to breathe. Spend at least twenty seconds relaxing into your breathing pattern. Progressive relaxation, in which you tense the muscles of each part of your body and then relax them, can also be an effective way to deal with holiday stress.

Be sure to talk with your NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways for you personally to minimize holiday stress. He or she will be able to prescribe specific types of exercise, supplements, and healthy eating that can support you best during the stress of the holiday season.

If you need help connecting with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area who can effectively monitor and treat your neuropathy, click here.

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The Most Important Aspect of Your Neuropathy Treatment

There can be many components to a custom neuropathy treatment plan—but this one element is more important than all the rest!

Neuropathy treatment can be a tricky thing. In many of the common kinds of neuropathy that we see as neuropathy clinicians, the symptoms can be subtle and you may find that lab tests or other diagnostic tools return “normal” results. Sometimes even a nerve conduction study will fail to explain what’s going on.

Or perhaps there are simply slightly abnormal results that are confusing rather than clarifying in terms of a diagnosis. Yet the patient knows that these symptoms are not normal for him or her.

What does this mean for the patient seeking neuropathy treatment?

It means that by far the most important element of your treatment is the human element—that is, the skill and training of your neuropathy clinician.

In short, your neuropathy treatment clinician needs excellent, up-to-date examination skills in order to properly diagnose and treat your symptoms.

Your treating clinician will probably examine several factors, including your sensitivity to things like temperature, pressure (touch), and vibration. He or she will look closely at your range of motion as well as whether you are able to walk on your toes and heels.

Advanced technological testing is wonderful, and often helpful, but there is truly no alternative to a skilled examination by a professional who is well versed in the subtleties of neuropathy treatment and diagnosis.

Bedside manner is important, too, of course. Don’t discount how your neuropathy clinician makes you feel and whether you believe your concerns are being heard. This is all part of the total package you should look for in a neuropathy treatment professional. Your healthcare is in your hands, so remember that you can choose another clinician if this one is not right for you.

What are your questions about neuropathy treatment?

Talk with us all day long on our Facebook page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Risks vs Benefits

Male Doc Elderly Male Patient 300x199 Risks vs BenefitsNeuropathy & Pain Treatment Risks vs Benefits

Here is a proven fact. All of healthcare in fact you could argue most of life our “decisions” are made pitting risks versus benefits.  As adults we ask ourselves and teach our children, do our actions today set us up for a healthier and better future or not?

What if we take no action at all? Is that better than doing something?

All of these are decisions that you need to make along with your healthcare providers on a regular basis. You see everything we do is risks versus benefits. This is so important to understand.  Make no mistake about modern science and medicine have developed amazing treatments.This also includes what we do here. We are continually working on treatments to help neuropathy and chronic pain patients.

Do YOU Always ASK your clinicians Is the cure is worse than the problem?

So, what if instead, we as both doctors and patients took a very strong look at the underlying causes of so much of illness and treated those first?

You know, all those things just get us into trouble. Poor dietary habits especially over the long haul, inactivity, cigarette smoking, not paying attention to stress and emotional health. I’m sure you get the picture.

What if we did all of those things before we prescribed for patients neuropathy and chronic pain treatment drugs, or surgical procedures that could cause significant harm.

For example, if doctors and patients paid more careful attention and worked together just like we do in NeuropathyDR Treatment Centers on weight loss and lifestyle, far less patients would be placed on statin medication.

Statin medications as you probably know are one major cause of neuropathy..

What if instead of injecting patients, and suggesting invasive procedures early on what if we both make sure as doctors and patients that all conservative treatment options were exhausted first?

You already know the answer…

You understand, as your NeuropathyDR clinician does, that’s all good neuropathy and chronic pain treatment is risks vs benefits!

So why not learn more today? Why not take actions that will help you live much more fully, without devastating side effects.

Make all your decisions about your neuropathy and chronic pain treatment very carefully!

Please join us in this conversation all day long on Facebook.

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Chronic Pain Answers?

 How To Prevent Acute Pain from Becoming Chronic Pain

PT Dumbell Pink 300x199 Chronic Pain Answers?Right now, this is a staggering statistic: one fourth of the population in United States suffers from some form of chronic pain. Unlike acute or short-term pain, chronic pain is difficult to treat requiring much more effort, resources, and is more expense than acute pain.

Even more amazing is that of these hundred million plus people a substantial number of people suffer from pain related to neuropathy, shingles, and other nerve related painful disorders or neuralgias. All of these belong to the family of chronic conditions called neuropathic pain.

But why is this? There are no simple answers. Bad things do happen to good people every day.

But two largely preventable causes of neuropathy and related conditions do stand out.

The first is that as a society, we pay less attention to our health on the whole than ever before. This of course is a lifestyle issue that we address here every single day.

The other issue, which is better known, is the failure of both patients and their professionals to manage acute pain correctly.

You see, pain that accompanies largely correctable causes that does not go away in a reasonable period of time can turn into the menace called chronic pain.

But there are some simple things that you can do that will prevent acute pains from becoming chronic.

The most important thing is to learn to treat new symptoms seriously. A good rule of thumb is to never ignore anything that persists more than two days or keeps you awake at night.

This will only serve to heighten the possible risk of developing a chronic or much more serious underlying condition. These can also be the signs that infection, inflammation, or other serious process is at work.

One other very important point that could prevent many acute pain cases from turning chronic,

Be sure that any injuries, accidents and any acute illness is treated appropriately.This often means early and active intervention on both the part of yourself and your healthcare professionals.

As inconvenient and time-consuming as this may sometimes be to treat acute health problems, it’s imperative that we in healthcare get the message out.

Initiating good early treatment, diagnostics and appropriate home care programs could save many from chronic pain and all the disability and life disruption that it brings with it.

For more much more chronic pain answers join us all day on Facebook!

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