“Does My Behavior Affect My Neuropathy?”

“Does My Behavior Affect My Neuropathy?”

Wow. You mean how I act around my family, and even my health care professionals has an impact on my peace of mind, my health and maybe even my neuropathy treatment?

In a word, yes! This may be a very difficult discussion for some, but a very important one. In the clinic, we call this “illness behavior”.

There is a Better Way! Join our Family of Friends Who Share Everyday on Facebook

Lets break it down. When you were a little kid, and you got those scrapes from falling down, or maybe the assault from a bully. Or even something worse. Just like me you learned that being “sick” certainly brings more attention to us.

And in an emergency, rightly so! NOT letting the correct people know you need help in a crisis is just as bad!

But problems arise when we carry these inappropriate learned behaviors from childhood over into adulthood. Often it begins unconsciously. Being diagnosed with a new health problem, like peripheral neuropathy, having a genetic disease or major accident is life changing.

These all require a period of time to uncover real choices, treatment options, etc. And in neuropathy treatments especially this is true now more than ever as more and more neuropathy claims are being made.

Here’s my point. When we display illness behaviors, the biggest negative effect is on ourselves! If we tell our subconscious mind how sick we are, what do we get? More sickness!

This in no way demeans anyone suffering from a serious or life threatening disease. But plenty of studies even in really sick patients tell us as neuropathy treatment specialists that when you have a healthier outlook, and a healthy set of behaviors to match, the better chance we have at really doing really well with your treatment success!

We also know that our attitudes and behaviors affect our immune systems, our sleep, and yes even our aging process.

We also know that even in really severe illness, our behaviors have a huge impact.

And the most difficult but important behavior of all?

Asking for professional and spiritual guidance, or in a word, acceptance.

If you’d like another perspective, Listen in as I talk for 2 minutes with Mal Duane once again…

 

A Neuropathy Get Well Plan

A Neuropathy Get Well Plan

If you have spent even just a little time with our last few messages, you probably are starting to see there ARE some very easy steps you can take to deal with the effects of neuropathy.

Of course, everyone is different but simply relying on neuropathy treatment drugs to do the entire job can be risky.

Neuropathy is one of those health conditions that is caused by so many different conditions, toxins or diseases. Some are extraordinarily painful, and can really disrupt your life.

But, as bad as it can be, we find that taking some little steps can make for a much better quality of life. And we know from experience in the NeuropathyDR Center the sooner we can help you sort this out, the better and faster your progress will be!

There are probably at least three things in your life you really will need to take a look at.

No doubt, the first is your diet. Is it full of processed foods? Or, loaded with vegetables, lean protein. Are you drinking only clean water throughout the day or haven’t yet kicked the soda or juice habit?

Next is your relative fitness level. For example, are you in the best physical shape you can be given everything else you may be dealing with? Even patients with walkers need to move as much as possible throughout the day.

Last, not least and probably most important, what about your attitude? This is one area that has a huge impact on not only yourself, but also those trying to help you.

Tell us what concerns you the most...and we'll really listen!

I’m not saying it’s easy. If fact as your health professional, it can be one of the most difficult, but yet important things we can help you sort out.

And you know what? This is one area where talking about this in private in the clinic really can help!

I look forward to helping you with more steps toward neuropathy treatment success!  Join us on Facebook during the week and help others with what you have found helpful in your neuropathy game plan!

 

 

 

The Second Step in Neuropathy Treatment Success

The Second Step

During our last time together, we talked about the very first step in dealing with neuropathy and really any major life challenge. Pain is something nobody welcomes into his or her life.

You heard Mal Duane and I talk about a different approach to neuropathy treatment patients than you may have expected.

And I bet you don’t hear it from your friends who do not suffer neuropathy, and maybe even your own doctors.

Simply, we spoke about regaining a sense of control. Taking some really very basic steps. You see, so much of modern health care is still about what can doctors do for us, when instead we should be asking ourselves daily “Am I doing my part and what else should I be doing?”

Or not doing.

Use Tools Like Journaling and Blood Sugar Monitoring Every Day...

So if regaining control is the first step, “action” is the second step. A game plan in any of life’s accomplishments, backed up by great coaches and cheerleaders is so important to us, whether we admit it or not.

Action is what allows us to actually maintain the control we start out with! And it could be the simplest step!  For example, today, it’s no more soda. Next week is cutting the poor foods out of our diet. Even if these steps have to be taken to be one by one.

Think about that. Don’t you feel better with each good thing you do just for you, just because it’s the right thing to do?

But we can’t have one without the other. Intention without action is wasted life energy. To do so is inviting failure.

And I know that’s not what you want from your neuropathy treatments.

PS I really do thank you for your kind comments following our last articles and videos.  It really is great to see you engaged here and over on Facebook too! It’s also so good to see so many of you putting into place what we talk about every week when it comes to your self-care!

Dr John (:

The Very First Step In Neuropathy Treatment

Ever Feel Out Of Control With Your Neuropathy? You are NOT alone!

So often in the clinic we get to meet and care for people who are or have been seriously ill for quite some time. Sometimes they are in the middle of dealing with an illness, sometimes recovering and getting their lives “back on track”.

Neuropathy patients frequently ask me “What’s the fastest way to get better Dr Hayes?”

And what I have found is this. Simply establish a state or feeling of Control. On a regular basis. Now this can be moment to moment in crisis. But I can tell you that those neuropathy patients that make this part of their daily routines get better faster, sleep better, worry much less and generally regain that crucial sense of being in control.

Now of course much of what we face in illness is seemingly random. But recovering, just like dealing with problems in any area of life is about taking control of what you can, and releasing or letting go what we cannot.

But how do we do that? It can seem to be overwhelming!
What I have found to be very helpful for my patients and also myself of course is meditation.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview the bestselling author of “The Alpha Chick” Mal Duane. Mal and I talked for some time about regaining a sense of control as it applies to dealing with chronic pain.

You can listen and watch a brief clip of that wonderful interview here too.

You see, too often in our crazy world we forget that our answers come from solitude, from doing less, not more! Now this can be relaxation, exercise, and hobbies too.

But meditation can put you in contact with your deep inner reserves that can help you beat neuropathy and vastly improve the condition of your health.

Some of our next articles will focus on meditation and your pain and neuropathy treatment success.

Let us know if you find this discussion helpful, as you are the reason we do what we do!

Chemotherapy Neuropathy “Cure?”

Cancer is one of the most persistent scourges of modern medicine.  Not only are the various types of cancer extremely dangerous, but the methods to combat them, including chemotherapy, can be aggressive to the point of heavily impacting a person’s health and quality of life. Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients in North America alone receive chemotherapy every year, and many of them experience damage to the peripheral nervous system—chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, or CIPN.

Like most neuropathy, chemotherapy-caused neuropathy shows up in the form of pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of temperature sensation, most commonly in the extremities.  Other symptoms, while less ubiquitous, are still common: loss of bladder control, constipation, loss of body awareness, and difficulty walking or standing.  Sometimes the condition is chronic, and will be a factor in the rest of a sufferer’s life.  In many cases, however, the pain and discomfort from chemotherapy-caused neuropathy can be effectively managed, allowing a cancer survivor to lead a normal, active life.

So what can you do to help protect yourself from chemotherapy-caused neuropathy?  First, report any unusual sensations, pain, or numbness to your doctor or a qualified NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Like any neuropathy, the sooner we identify a problem, the better we will be able to control your symptoms.  Let your chemotherapy provider know you might be experiencing a complication; in some cases, they may decide to postpone treatments to help your nerves recover.

Second, take steps to protect your peripheral nervous system, which is already under strain from the chemotherapy.  Wear gloves when performing manual labor.  Make sure your clothing and shoes do not rub against your skin and cause abrasions (loose clothing can aggravate neuropathy symptoms).  Work with a NeuropathyDR® clinician to develop a diet and exercise regimen that will contribute to overall nerve stimulation and health.  Perhaps most importantly, make sure to abide by your cancer doctor’s orders—managing the underlying condition is the most important factor in treating any kind of neuropathy.

Our patient, Joanne, knows firsthand how hard chemotherapy can be on the nervous system.  Joanne is a cancer survivor who, when she came to us, had been recovering from the effects of her chemotherapy for five years.  Along with most of the common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, Joanne complained of severe pain in her lumbar back, extreme stiffness in her neck and shoulders, and weakness in her legs.  Joanne’s pain, especially in her feet, was intense to the point of affecting her daily lifestyle.  She was taking medication for pain, but the medicine was marginally effective at best.

Our treatment plan for Joanne involved a combination of manual therapies to her spine, as well as  2 forms of electro-stimulation to her feet and hands.  We treated Joanne three times a week for five weeks; in only four weeks, Joanne was commenting that her symptoms had subsided dramatically. Immediately following each treatment, Joanne noticed a reduction in her pain level.  The pain and numbness in her feet subsided a whopping 65-70%!

In a thank-you note Joanne wrote us a long time after the completion of  the clinic portion of  her NeuropathyDR® treatment plan, Joanne told us she had been able to stop taking her pain medications and was feeling fine, almost entirely pain-free.  Her strength had begun to return, and her mobility improved as well.

Cold, burning and tingling, scaling skin and loss of sensation are unfortunate but treatable!

Joanne is a success story we are proud to have to our credit.   To be entirely honest, not many patients show the level of improvement we saw in Joanne in such a short time.  Even so, it goes to show that not only is there hope for cancer survivors who live with neuropathy pain, but in some cases the recovery can be swift and dramatic.  Everyone who experiences neuropathy can learn to manage their symptoms, and our treatment methods are highly effective.  If you suffer from CIPN or any other kind of neuropathy, contact us!  NeuropathyDR® can answer your questions and put you in touch with a specially-trained clinician who can help you get back to living at your best!

 

http://www.chemocare.com/managing/numbness__tingling.asp

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chemotherapy-neuropathy/MY01327

 

Your Quality of Life and Good Neuropathy Treatment

If you’re a NeuropathyDR® patient or follow our blog, you already know “no cure” is never the same as “no help!”  It’s an unfortunate truth: so far, peripheral neuropathy (sometimes referred to incorrectly as ‘neurophy’) has no actual cure, and most nerve damage is permanent.  That may sound discouraging, but the chronic nature of neuropathy only means that developing options for treatment is even more important, not less.

When you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician approach neuropathy treatment, you will really be talking about two things: managing your symptoms, and improving your overall quality of life.  We’ve made significant strides in both of these areas, and it’s important to realize how deeply they are interconnected.

NeuropathyDR Clinicians Use Several Methods to Assist Your Unique Neuropathy

In addition to the often-discussed pain, neuropathy has the potential to greatly impact your mobility.  Between motor neuropathy (which affects the strength in your limbs directly), difficulty walking due to foot pain and joint stiffness, and difficulty with manual dexterity and fine motor skills, it’s no wonder that many people who live with peripheral neuropathy have trouble doing simple tasks they once found easy; things the people around them still have no trouble doing!  The frustration that goes along with mobility loss can be almost as bad as the pain itself.  Anesthesia & Analgesia published a clinical study from Queens University which suggested that the impact of neuropathy on your mood alone is enough to be considered a serious symptom!

NeuropathyDR® clinicians use a neuropathy treatment method several known techniques and we are continuously testing newer technologies too! NeuropathyDR® Clinicians actually take new courses every single month, so they are never “stale”!

Your case is unique—no two cases of neuropathy are exactly alike—so it’s important that you and your clinician develop your treatment plan together.  Don’t forget feedback!  Be sure to let your clinician know what seems to be working, what eases pain, what helps your overall mobility, and what isn’t having any effect for you.

Our patient, Beverly, came to us about six months after major surgery.  Beverly had been undergoing radiation for breast cancer, and was experiencing severe pain in her hands and feet, as well as tightness and inflexibility in her spine and limb joints.  Over the course of 5 weeks, we treated Beverly with electro- stimulation, among other therapies to address her pain and range of movement.

Beverly’s pain lessened only incrementally over the time we treated her, but she let us know that the real improvement she experienced was in her range of movement!  Sure enough, our examination found that her range of movement had increased measurably (in some areas as much as fifty percent), and overall tightness in her back was reduced.  Needless to say, being able to move more freely will greatly impact Beverly’s quality of life—many of our patients stress to us that their mobility is what they miss most of all while living with peripheral neuropathy.

One of the factors that allowed us to help Beverly as much as she did was that she was very forthcoming about her symptoms, her improvement, and—also importantly—when a treatment wasn’t helping.  Neuropathy is complex, and different people will benefit in various ways from different neuropathy treatments.  In Beverly’s case, we were able to provide her with a home care kit which she was able to use to treat her flexibility and pain at home.  Even though she still lives with neuropathy, Beverly now knows how to make sure her condition won’t keep her from getting on with life!

Controlling your symptoms and improving your overall quality of life is what we’re all about at NeuropathyDR®.  If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, don’t wait to get in touch with us.  We can answer all your neuropathy-related questions and connect you with a NeuropathyDR®-trained clinician who will help you ease your pain, restore your flexibility, and live your life to its fullest!

http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.org/content/102/5/1473.full

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1262363609000408

http://www.neurology.org/content/68/15/1178.abstract

 

Motor Neuropathy Care- Long Term Strategies are Key

If you are a regular NeuropathyDR® blog reader, you know that we tend to focus on the latest developments and research in treating neuropathy pain.  With peripheral neuropathy, though, pain is only one component.  This week, we’re going to talk about how neuropathy can affect your muscles, also called motor neuropathy.

There are essentially three kinds of motor neuropathy.  The first is the overall weakening effect of the muscles, especially in the extremities, which often accompanies peripheral neuropathy.  This can occur because the nerves which control motor function in the muscles have become damaged, or—in the case of a compression neuropathy—constricted.  The second kind is called multifocal motor neuropathy, and takes place when the immune system itself begins to attack the nerves, as can happen after a series of infections or after an illness.  The third kind is Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, which, as the name suggests, is genetic in nature.  Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, or HMSN, occurs when there is a naturally-occurring deterioration in the nerves that control the muscles, causing the muscles to not be used, become weak, or even atrophy.

Motor neuropathy usually starts in the hands and feet, and can affect the full extension of fingers and toes.  In addition to the dexterity problems this obviously causes, it often also has a visual appearance of “clawlike” fingers.  The condition is degenerative, getting worse over a period of months and years.  Twitching and spasms can also happen in affected limbs.  While motor issues associated with peripheral neuropathy usually accompany pain, tingling, and numbness, multifocal motor neuropathy involves no pain (only the motor nerves are affected).  Generally, none of the varieties of motor neuropathy are life-threatening, although they can absolutely impact your comfort and quality of life if you suffer from them.

When we met our patient Robert, he complained of a steady and declining loss of strength in his feet, which he had experienced over the past 4 years.  Robert had had cancer during that time, culminating in having his prostate removed.  His motor neuropathy caused Robert to have trouble walking or standing for long periods, and he even had trouble feeling his feet on some occasions.  He also complained of shooting pain, tingling, and soreness in his feet, all typical calling cards of peripheral neuropathy.  Since in cases of multifocal motor neuropathy, the sensory nerves are usually unaffected, Robert’s pain and numbness ruled that out.  Sure enough, when we performed a battery of tests, we found that Robert’s sensation to vibration was all but gone in several places on his feet.

Motor Neuropathy is Characterized by Weakness of The Muscles

Robert did not respond with the typical level of relief we usually see after treating a patient with electro-stimulation.  Over the course of three treatment sessions, Robert’s level of strength and comfort in his feet did not change in any meaningful way.  While this is unusual, it highlights an important theme: neuropathy is a complex problem with many symptoms and manifestations, and NO single therapy technique or tool—even those with a very high rate of success—can stand on their own as a complete treatment.

We designed a treatment for Robert intended to produce more long-term benefit, as his short-term progress was not substantial.  Motor neuropathies require an extensive MULTI-MODAL level of treatment, sometimes pharmaceutical and sometimes homeopathic, and usually involving some level of regular exercise and controlled diet.  Robert is currently improving steadily, and is seeing his NeuropathyDR® clinician as prescribed to monitor his condition and progress.

If you suffer from weakness or pain in your limbs, you may have peripheral neuropathy.  If so, we are here to help!  Contact NeuropathyDR® right away and we will help you find the best course of treatment for your specific symptoms.  We can even put you in touch with a specially-trained NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you develop a therapy plan that will get results.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm

 

Beating Fibromyalgia: A New Therapy?

If you suffer from pain, chances are good you’ve heard of fibromyalgia.  Nearly 4% of people suffer from fibromyalgia, making it one of the most common pain syndromes in the world!  Although women are 70% more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men, the condition hits everyone.  Like neuropathy, fibromyalgia can profoundly impact your quality of life, from mobility and strength to living with chronic pain.  If you believe you may have fibromyalgia, as with neuropathy, it is important to see a NeuropathyDR® clinician before your symptoms get worse!

Symptoms

The most common indicator of fibromyalgia is pain and sensitivity to pressure on the skin.  Most sufferers describe the pain as stabbing and shooting, and it can occur all over the body.  Fibromyalgia pain is often worse in the mornings, and can vary based on restlessness and even temperature/humidity.

Neuropathic symptoms very frequently accompany fibromyalgia.  If you suffer from the condition, you may also be experiencing tingling in your extremities, numbness, the sensation of clothing running over your skin when none is there, and difficulty determining hot and cold in addition to the telltale pressure-sensitivity.  Of course, these symptoms can themselves contribute to other problems, such as sleep disturbance, disruption of appetite, and bladder-control problems.

Don't Waste Another Sleepless Night! Real Non-Drug Help is available!

Causes

The true cause of fibromyalgia is a point of some debate, and has never been decisively established; some researchers even point to the lack of physical abnormalities as evidence that it’s a distinct condition.  There are commonly-held theories, though, which include:

  • Dopamine dysfunction- one of the most common theories explains why fibromyalgia is so frequently found in cases where someone suffers from restless leg syndrome and sleeplessness.  These are conditions which result in part from insufficient dopamine in a certain part of the body.
  • Stress- Fibromyalgia shows up frequently in people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, fatigue, and depression.  This has led many researchers to conclude that there is a distinct link between stress and developing fibromyalgia.
  • Genetic predisposition- Recent research has suggested fibromyalgia may have a genetic component. The disorder is often seen in families, among siblings or mothers and their children.
  • Physical trauma- Physical trauma can act as a trigger for fibromyalgia, research suggests, since it tends to show up for the first time in many cases where a person is suffering from an acute illness or injury.

Treatment

Fibromyalgia is traditionally treated with a variety of medications ranging from simple pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and even dopamine agonists.  Since the root cause of fibromyalgia is not entirely understood, treatment with pharmaceuticals is a game of trial and error at best.  Understandably, this has led many doctors and researchers over the past decade to advocate alternative, non-pharmaceutical treatments.

Some of the more modern methods for fibromyalgia treatment include exercise, cognitive behavior therapy, adjustments to diet and lifestyle, electrotherapy, and even massage therapy.  Extensive research over the past few years even points to chiropractic and other manual therapies and acupuncture as potential routes for effective treatment.

NeuropathyDR® promotes newer methodologies for treatment, and discourages medications that could be ineffective, temporary fixes, or even lead to additional complications.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician is an expert in the latest methods of treating the symptoms of your fibromyalgia in ways that are both more effective and more affordable than dated pharmaceutical techniques.

Because everyone who has fibromyalgia experiences different symptoms, it’s very important to have a one-on-one evaluation with someone who really knows the condition.  If you’re not seeing a NeuropathyDR® clinician, contact us!  We can put you in touch with an expert who can help you find the ideal treatment for your specific case.

http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/natural-therapies-and-alternative-treatments-for-fibromyalgia

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fibromyalgia/DS00079

http://fmaware.org/PageServerded3.html?pagename=fibromyalgia

 

Neuropathic Nutrition!

One main factor in many cases of peripheral neuropathy is diet.  You probably know that neuropathy is linked to diabetes and other conditions where daily intake of sugars and nutrients is important, but your diet can also influence the condition of nerves in more direct ways, such as in cases where a nutritional deficiency is causing neuropathic damage.

One of the most common links between neuropathy and nutrition is a deficiency in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12.  Fight neuropathy by eating foods like meat, fish, and eggs that are all high in B vitamins.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry!  There are many kinds of fortified cereals that contain substantial amounts of B vitamins as well (in addition to supplements, which we’ll talk about in a moment).

The Mayo Clinic recommends a diet high in fruits and vegetables for people who suffer from neuropathy.  Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients that have been shown to be effective treating neuropathy.  Additionally, if you suffer from diabetes, fresh produce can mellow your blood sugar levels.  If numbness or pain in your extremities is severe, keep pre-cut fruit and vegetables at the ready, so you don’t have to worry about the stress involved with preparing them! Just be careful of too much fruit sugars. This means a serving is 1/2 apple, banana, etc. Most non-starchy vegetables like greens and asparagus especially are great for most of us.

Foods that are high in Vitamin E are also good for neuropathy, according to neurology.com.  A deficiency of Vitamin E can happen in cases where malabsorption or malnutrition are taking place, such as the case with alcoholic neuropathy.  Breakfast cereals, whole grains, vegetables and nuts are all excellent sources of vitamin E.

Lean proteins are also an important part of a healthy diet for people with neuropathy.  Saturated fats and fried foods increase risk of diabetes and heart disease, in addition to aggravating nerve decay from lack of nutrients.  A variety of foods—skinless white-meat poultry, legumes, tofu, fish, and low-fat yogurt—are good sources of lean protein.  If you suffer from diabetes, lean proteins also help to regulate blood sugar levels.  Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are good for maintaining levels of Omega-3 acids, healthy fats the body needs but cannot produce on its own.

For specific types of neuropathy, research shows that specific antioxidants may help slow or even reverse nerve damage that has not existed for too long a time.  For HIV sensory neuropathy, Acetyl-L-Carnitine has demonstrated good results, and Alpha lipoic acid is being studied for its effects on diabetic nerve damage.  Consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician for the latest research before beginning any supplementation or treatment, even with antioxidants.

Use Tools Like Journaling and Blood Sugar Monitoring Every Day...

So what are the best ways to monitor what you are eating?  The easiest way is to keep a food journal.  Record everything you eat at meals, for snacks, and any vitamin supplements you might be taking.  Your journal will help you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician determine if your diet could be a factor in your neuropathy symptoms!  As a bonus, food journaling is a great way to be accountable for your overall nutrition, as well as to help avoid dietary-related conditions other than neuropathy.  If you have a goal for weight loss, weight gain, or better overall energy, those are other areas in which keeping a food journal can help!  Other ways to monitor what you eat include cooking at home as opposed to going out to restaurants, keeping a shopping list instead of deciding what groceries to buy at the store, and consulting a nutritionist or qualified NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways to meet your specific needs.

Dietary supplements can also help manage neuropathic symptoms and nerve degeneration.  Supplementing B Vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12, can help regulate your nutrient levels and prevent neuropathy symptoms.  Supplementing with fish oil can help replenish Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important if you suffer from type-II diabetes. Many other types of supplements can be beneficial if you suffer from neuropathy; consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician for specific recommendations.

Contact us if you have any questions about proper eating when it comes to your neuropathy.  We can help you find the information you need and put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you with this and other neuropathy-related questions!

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies

http://www.foundationforpn.org/livingwithperipheralneuropathy/neuropathynutrition/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/82184-foods-fight-neuropathy/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/121841-nutrients-neuropathy/

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and NeuropathyDR Treatment Centers

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:  A Common Household Neuropathy

If you experience sharp, shooting pains in your arms and wrists when sitting at your desk, driving, or doing other stationary activities, you probably don’t think of neuropathy.  You probably associate neuropathy with extensive nerve damage, like the kind that has to do with diabetes, severe injury, or cancer.  One of the most common forms, though, is a relatively minor condition that affects millions of healthy people: carpal tunnel syndrome.

The carpal tunnel is the small space between bones in your wrist that small tendons and the median nerve run through.  The median nerve runs from your forearm into your palm and controls movement and feeling in most of your hand, except for your little finger.   Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve in your wrist from swelling or tension.  This is known as mononeuropathy, or neuropathy that affects only a single nerve.

People who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome usually experience symptoms in their arms and hands that are similar to other kinds of neuropathy.  Soreness, numbness and tingling, loss of temperature sensation and problems with fine motor control are common.  Because the little finger is not controlled with the median nerve, symptoms that affect the other fingers but not the little finger could represent carpal tunnel syndrome.  At first, symptoms usually show up at night (people often sleep with flexed wrists) and go away by shaking the affected hand.  As time passes, though, symptoms can really stick around throughout the day.

So who is the most susceptible to getting carpal tunnel syndrome?  Many sufferers are simply genetically predisposed, usually because they have thinner wrists that constrict the carpal tunnel and the median nerve.  Women are three times more likely than men to develop the condition, again, because of thinner wrists. 

Many people associate carpal tunnel syndrome with heavy computer use.  This is probably unfounded; a 2001 study at the Mayo Clinic found that using a computer for up to 7 hours a day did not increase the likelihood of CTS developing.  Carpal Tunnel syndrome is not particularly confined to any specific industry or job over any other, but studies establish that it is more common in workers doing assembly, due to the repetitive nature of the task.  Because of the incorrect “conventional wisdom,” conditions such as tendonitis and writer’s cramp are often mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome.

As with any neuropathy, it is important to identify carpal tunnel syndrome early to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve.  A NeuropathyDR® clinician will be able to examine your neck, back, arms, and hands to establish the nature of any symptoms you might be having.  The clinician may also recommend blood tests to check for related health conditions and nerve tests to determine any damage.

It's Important To Have a CORRECT Diagnosis before treatment!

If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, there are several routes for treatment.  Mild conditions can be treated at home with ice and rest to reduce swelling.   Avoid activities that cause repetitive wrist motions for extensive periods without resting.  Practice keeping your wrist in a neutral position, such as the way it rests when holding a glass of water.  Additionally, practice using your whole hand, not just your fingers, when you hold objects.

For more serious cases, or when damage to the nerve has already taken place, your NeuropathyDR® clinician may recommend more extensive measures.  If your symptoms have continued for more than a few weeks with home treatments, see your ND clinician as soon as possible!  Your ND clinician will be able to prescribe our specially designed CTS Protocol which is proving successful in centers around the country!

For the most serious cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, where mobility or nerve function is seriously impaired, surgery can be a solution. But almost never should you do this without trying the non-invasive ND/CTS Protocol First! [In these rare cases, a surgeon can reduce tension on the median nerve by cutting the ligament that constricts the carpal tunnel.]

If you have any questions about carpal tunnel syndrome or other neuropathic conditions, NeuropathyDR® is here to help!  Don’t hesitate to contact us—we can give you more information about your symptoms and help you find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area.

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/DS00326

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/carpal-tunnel-syndrome-topic-overview