Is Your Diet Affecting Your Neuropathy?

The next time you have a headache…

Or indigestion…

Or even muscle cramps or twitching…

Go online and “Google” any of those terms and see what you come up with.

I’m willing to bet you’ll be terrified by the results.

For headache you’ll see anything from brain tumor to bleeding in the brain to meningitis and encephalitis.

Indigestion will lead you to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or even abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts.

And muscle cramps or twitching will run the gamut from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Your search will also give you the more common reasons for any of these symptoms.  Many people latch on to the more dramatic reasons and begin living like every day is their last.[1]

Others will downplay symptoms, assume that they have something simple to treat and go to the corner drug store and buy whatever over the counter remedy “seems” to treat their symptoms.

Either of these reactions could be courting disaster.  Especially if you have a condition that can lead to peripheral neuropathy.  Delaying treatment with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician can lead to severe lifelong nerve damage that will destroy your quality of life.

Expecting the Worst

If you fall into the “I know I’m dying” category, you will probably begin doctor shopping.  Going from specialist to specialist looking for someone to confirm the worst.  Even beyond the physical damage the stress of this process can do to your body, your emotional well-being is destroyed.

You live day to day expecting the worst with the specter of the Grim Reaper hanging over your shoulder.  That is no way to live.

The first thing you need to do is make appointment with your primary care provider, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Tell them your symptoms and let them do some diagnostic testing.  If the results warrant it, they will get you started on a treatment protocol to not only alleviate your symptoms but treat the root cause of your medical problem.  The NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol includes nutrition counseling, diet planning, stress management techniques, and hands on adjustment to properly align your nervous system.

If you actually do have a serious condition, the earlier you start this process, the better off you’ll be.  The earlier you receive treatment for any condition that can lead to peripheral neuropathy, the less your chances of permanent nerve damage.

Ignoring the Obvious

The other end of the spectrum is the patient who does their own research, opts for the condition easily treatable with over the counter meds, and puts off seeing a specialist until their symptoms are much worse.

Let’s take the muscle twitching or cramping symptom as an example.  Yes, this could be caused by overworking the muscle or even a vitamin deficiency.   Either of those are easy to fix.

But what if it’s something more serious?

If the condition lasts longer than a few days, you need to see your local NeuropathyDR® clinician. You could have a condition leading to peripheral neuropathy.  Failing to treat the underlying cause quickly can lead to lasting nerve damage, muscle degeneration, and ultimately, even amputation of the affected limb.[2]

Something as simple as seeing a specialist well versed in conditions affecting the bones, muscles and bones, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician, can make the difference between life in a wheelchair and getting back to normal quickly.

Cyberchondria vs. Informed Caution

Before you think we’re advocating running to the doctor every time you have a hang nail, that is definitely not the case.  We’re not advocating the spread of Cyberchondria[3] (i.e., the rising epidemic of online diagnosis and treatment), just asking that you approach any medical condition with informed caution.

An informed and educated patient is a gift for any physician.  Informed patients are much more likely to participate in their own care and keep their physician apprised of any changes in their condition.  That’s a win for both sides.

Instead of using the internet as a tool to diagnose (or, in many cases, misdiagnose) your own conditions, choose to use it as a means of educating yourself enough to provide your health care provider with all the information he needs to accurately and quickly diagnose your illness.

You’ll be making your life, and your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s life, much easier.

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

 

The Power of Nutrition in Healing Postherpetic Neuropathy

 

When you were diagnosed with shingles, you thought that as soon as the rash disappeared you would be free and clear…

You didn’t count on the nerve damage and pain you’re still dealing with.

The pain of postherpetic neuropathy.

You’re frustrated…depressed…irritable.

Yes, you know you can take pain medications to help ease some of the discomfort but you don’t want to do that forever.

The good news is that there are other things you can do to help your body heal.  With a little patience, perseverance and the help of medical professionals well versed in dealing with postherpetic neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR™ specialist, you can live a normal life again.

It Starts With Good Nutrition

The human body is a very well designed machine.  If you put junk into it, you get junk out of it.  But if you give it what it needs to function properly and to repair itself, the results can be awe inspiring.

The very first thing you need to do is make sure you’re giving your body the right tools to fight back against postherpetic neuropathy.  And that means a healthy diet.

Your diet should include[1]:

–           Whole grains and legumes to provide B vitamins to promote nerve health.  Whole grains promote the production of serotonin in the brain and will increase your feeling of well-being.

–           Fish and eggs for additional vitamins B12 and B1.

–           Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and other greens) for calcium and magnesium.   Both of these nutrients are vital to healthy nerve endings and health nerve impulse  transmission and, as an added bonus, they give your immune system a boost.

–           Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as squash, carrots, yellow and orange bell  peppers, apricots, oranges, etc.) for vitamins A and C to help repair your skin and boost  your immune system.

–           Sunflower seeds (unsalted), avocados, broccoli, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts (unsalted), tomatoes and tomato products, sweet potatoes and fish for vitamin E to promote skin health and ease the pain of postherpetic neuropathy.

–           Ask your neuropathy specialist for recommendations on a good multivitamin and mineral supplement to fill in any gaps in your nutrition plan.

Foods you should avoid[2]:

–           Coffee and other caffeinated drinks.

–           Fried foods and all other fatty foods.  Fatty foods suppress the immune system and that’s the last thing you need when you’re fighting postherpetic neuropathy.

–           Cut back on animal protein.  That’s not to say you should become a vegetarian.  Just limit the amount of animal protein you take in.  High-protein foods elevate the amount of  dopamine and norepinephrine which are both tied to high levels of anxiety and stress.

–           Avoid drinking alcohol.  Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse.

–           Avoid sugar.  You don’t have to eliminate sweets completely, just control them.  Sugar contains no essential nutrients and “gunks up” your system.  Keeping your blood sugar level constant will help control your irritability.

–           Control your salt intake.  Opt for a salt substitute with potassium instead of sodium and stay away from preserved foods like bacon, ham, pickles, etc.  Reducing the amount of  salt you eat will help ease inflammation and that alone will work wonders in the healing process.

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist for a personalized diet plan to help you to help your body to heal with the right nutritional support for postherpetic neuropathy.

Give Your Body A Break by Managing Stress

We all know that stress is a killer.  But few of us really take steps to manage the stress in our lives.  By keeping your stress level under control, you give your body a chance to use the resources it was using to deal with stress to actually heal itself.

Some tips for managing your stress level:

–           Exercise regularly.  You don’t have to get out and run a marathon.  Just walk briskly for about 15 minutes a day, every day, to start.  You can build from there.

–           Employ relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, tai chi, yoga or meditation.  Any of these will calm the mind and, in turn, calm the body and nerves.

–          Find a hobby that will take your mind off your pain.
Ask your local NeuropathyDR™ clinician for suggestions and make stress management a part of your treatment plan to overcome postherpetic neuropathy. But remember, healing is a process not an event.  Be patient with yourself and start the healing process today.

We hope this gives you some tips to get started on the road to putting postherpetic neuropathy behind you.  Working with your medical team, including your local NeuropathyDR™ specialist, to design a nutrition and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs is a great place to start.

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


[1] http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/default.htm

 

[2] http://www.healingwithnutrition.com/sdisease/shingles/shingles.html

What You Need to Know About Shingles and Postherpetic Neuralgia


What You Need to Know About Shingles and Postherpetic Neuralgia

 

You wake up one morning to a red painful rash…

A band of blisters wrapped around your body from the middle of your back around your side to your breastbone.  As if that weren’t bad enough, you may also have

–            Pain, burning, numbness or tingling

–            Fluid-filled blisters

–            Itching

–            Headache

–            Fatigue

–            Body aches

–            Fever and chills

If not for the rash, you might think you were coming down with the flu.  Instead, your first thought is that you’re having an allergic reaction to food, or a new bath soap or even the perfume in your laundry detergent…

But if you are[1]

–            Over 50 years of age

–            Had chicken pox at some point in your life

–            Have an autoimmune disease

–            Have any other health issue or significant stress that weakens your immune system

You probably have a virus called Varicella zoster virus (VZV), more commonly known as shingles. VZV is the same virus that causes chicken pox.  Once you’ve had chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in your system until it’s reactivated by various risk factors and you develop shingles.

And that’s a good news/bad news diagnosis.

Contrary to several old wives’ tales, shingles is not life-threatening…that’s the good news.

The bad news is that shingles is extremely painful and you may experience nerve pain (Postherpetic Neuropathy) long after the actual rash and other symptoms are gone.

If you think you have shingles or that you might be at risk of developing them, this is what you need to know about shingles and Postherpetic Neuralgia:

Is Shingles Contagious?

Yes, like chicken pox, shingles is contagious.  You can pass the shingles virus to anyone who hasn’t had chicken pox.  And how’s this for a twist?  The person you pass the virus to will develop chicken pox, not shingles.

Fortunately, the shingles virus is not an airborne virus.  It’s passed through direct contact with the open sores caused by shingles.  Until your blisters are healed, you are contagious.  Avoid contact with

–            Newborns

–            Pregnant women

–            Anyone with a weakened immune system

How Is Shingles Treated?[2]

Shingles is not life-threatening and, much like any other virus, it will probably resolve on its own within a few weeks.

However, getting to the doctor as soon as your shingles appear (within 72 hours) is the wise (and much less painful) course of action to speed up the healing process and lessen the likelihood of potentially serious complications.

Once your doctor confirms that you have shingles, usually through taking a complete history and physical and cultures from your rash, the standard course of treatment is anti-viral and pain medications to kill the virus and make you more comfortable.

To help the medication work, you need to get plenty of rest, avoid stress and either take a cool bath or use cold wet compresses to ease the itch and pain.

What Are Some of the Complications from Shingles?

While shingles is not a serious illness, some of the complications arising from shingles can be.

Postherpetic Neuropathy

Your blisters go away but the pain remains. Postherpetic Neuropathy is caused by damaged nerve fibers sending exaggerated pain messages to your brain.  Pain medication, antidepressants or even anticonvulsant medications are often prescribed to bring relief from Postherpetic Neuropathy; however, repairing the damaged nerves is more desirable for long term relief.  Contact your local NeuropathyDR clinician to ask about their unique treatment protocol for treating Postherpetic Neuropathy and repairing the damaged nerves.

Loss of Vision

If your shingles erupt around or in your eyes, you can develop serious eye infections that could damage your eyes and result in loss of vision. If you have shingles anywhere on your face, contact a healthcare professional for immediate treatment.

Neurological Problems

Depending upon where your shingles erupt and which nerves they affect, you can develop

–            Hearing or balance problems

–            Facial paralysis

–            Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)

Skin Infections

If your shingles blisters are not properly treated, you can develop skin infections cause by bacteria.  If the skin around your shingles becomes reddened, warm, firm, or possibly has red streaks spreading out from the affected area, contact your doctor.  You will need antibiotics to stop the infection.

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

This complication is rare but it does happen.  If cranial nerves are affected by shingles you can develop Ramsay Hunt Syndrome resulting in facial nerve weakness and deafness.  If you have shingles around or inside your ear, seek medical treatment immediately.

How Can I Protect Myself From Shingles?

The best way to protect yourself from shingles is to stay healthy, control stress and exercise on a regular basis.

The shingles vaccine is often recommended for people who are 60 years of age or older and have actually had chicken pox.  Again, this vaccine won’t guarantee that you won’t develop shingles but it could lessen the severity of symptoms. It might reduce your chances of developing Postherpetic Neuralgia.

A word of caution – do not get the vaccination if you

–            Have ever had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin or any other component of the shingles vaccine.  Ask your healthcare provider what’s in the vaccine before you are             vaccinated.

–            Are receiving radiation, chemotherapy or any kind of steroid treatment

–            Have ever had bone marrow cancer or any cancer affecting the lymphatic system

And by all means, if you know someone has shingles, exercise precautions!

We hope this information helps you deal with this very uncomfortable illness and the possible lasting effects of Postherpetic Neuropathy.  Having a bit more background information on your illness will help you participate in your care and give you a better chance of a positive outcome.

Don’t just live in pain. Call your local NeuropathyDR® clinician today and talk to them about treating your postherpetic neuropathy our clinicians specially trained techniques.

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


[1] See www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles

 

[2] http://www.medicinenet.com/shingles/article.htm

Neuropathy and Nutrition

If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy brought on by any of these medical issues:

·           Diabetes

·           Post-chemotherapy

·           Shingles

·           Guillian Barre Syndrome

·           Lyme Disease

Or any one of a multitude of other health problems and your over-the-counter or even prescribed medication isn’t helping, you may be overlooking a very important link in the management of your neuropathy and your neuropathy pain.  You may be missing a key element in your peripheral neuropathy treatment plan.

Look at what you’re feeding your body.

Many of the side effects from peripheral neuropathy you’re experiencing can be brought under control or possibly eliminated by following a good nutrition plan.

What Exactly Is “Good Nutrition”?

We hear so much today about the value of a good diet yet few people actually think about what they feed their bodies on a daily basis and what that food does to them.

A good way of thinking about it is “garbage in, garbage out”.  It’s like putting a really cheap grade of gas into a Formula One race car.  It may fuel the car, for maybe 100 feet from the starting line, but after that, the engine will sputter, stall and eventually just stop.  It certainly won’t run at peak performance.

The same thing happens over time when we put bad food into our bodies.  People who suffer from peripheral neuropathy are even more susceptible to the effects of poor nutrition.

Good nutrition involves putting the right mix of nutrients in the right amounts into your body.  The right mix of protein, good fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals (and staying properly hydrated) all comprise a good diet.  Even if you’re eating enough during the day, if you’re not getting the right mix of the ingredients that your body needs to function, you could be suffering from malnutrition.

Malnutrition leads to a host of medical problems and sometimes serious diseases, including diabetes.  If you already suffer from peripheral neuropathy, you’re just making the problem worse by not giving your body the basic building blocks it needs to repair itself.

All the medications in every big pharmaceutical lab on the planet won’t fix your body if you don’t give it what it needs to fix itself.

The Link Between Nutrition and Neuropathy Treatment

Food is fuel.  It’s what the body needs to function properly and support us in our daily lives. If you’re eating a healthy diet and giving the body what it needs to support you and take care of itself, it can not only lessen the effects of your neuropathy, it can even help you avoid other complications.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 20 or 30 years, you know the benefits of a healthy diet.  Significant medical evidence has shown that, especially in the elderly and diabetics (two populations with a high incidence of neuropathy), a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, even certain types of cancer.

If you already suffer from neuropathy and you develop any of these other complications, your condition will be even more serious than for someone who doesn’t suffer from neuropathy.

For example, you already know that neuropathy can affect your sense of touch.

A further complication of that loss of sensation is that it can make it more likely that you will fall and possibly suffer broken bones.  If your body doesn’t have the materials available internally to help mend those bones, your healing process can be severely compromised.

Even if your neuropathy is being treated with NeuropathyDR™ systems or other medical intervention, you still need a healthy diet to give your body and your mind what it needs to heal itself.  It will help you keep your energy level high for your therapy sessions, keep your mind sharp to follow the doctor’s instructions and may even eliminate the need for medications with serious side effects.

NeuropathyDR™ Clinicians are up to date on the best diets for your particular case. Keep in mind that we’ll also typically recommend oral and sometimes topical nutrition supplements and dietary programs.

Does What You Eat Really Affect Your Neuropathy?

In a word, yes.  If you want to be healthy and control or even stop disease, you have to eat a healthy diet.  You can’t continue to put junk into your body and not expect the body to deteriorate.  Especially if you already suffer from any of the health problems that lead to neuropathy.

One of the main components in diabetic neuropathy is metabolic syndrome.  And that’s brought on by high blood sugar  levels, high fat levels in the blood, and low insulin.  If you’re not putting foods into your body that create those problems, you’ve already won half the battle.

Even beyond the blood sugar issues faced by diabetics, other neuropathy sufferers can be affected by diet as well.  If you suffer from neuropathy, regardless of whether or not you have diabetes, here are some other problems you may be facing due to your diet:

  • Vitamin deficiencies – One of the most common is the lack of B-12.  Even if you ‘re taking a supplement, your body may not be absorbing it properly and that can cause anemia and/or nervous system disorders.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR™ Clinician about testing and what you can do to make sure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals in the right amounts.
  • Alcohol abuse – In addition to what excessive use of alcohol does to the liver and kidneys, it can also lead to nutritional deficiencies because your body doesn’t properly absorb what you put into it.  If you suffer from any form of neuropathy, your best course of action is to lay off alcohol.
  • Cancer – Studies have found a direct relation between certain types of cancer and poor diet and lack of antioxidants.  Also, if you smoke, stop now.  Cancer is one of the leading  risks of smoking and other unhealthy habits but if you have neuropathy and you smoke, you’re a ticking time bomb.

Above all else, the best way to help your body fight your neuropathy symptoms is to give it the tools it needs to do it.  Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ Clinician about what you can do, in addition to their treatment, to feed your body well and give yourself everything you need to repair your body and fight your neuropathy symptoms.

Subscribe to our Weekly Ezine at “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com to get your life back.

How Do I Know If I Have Peripheral Neuropathy?

Knowing if you have peripheral neuropathy  should be very straightforward. Unfortunately, patients with peripheral neuropathy suffer greatly. In my experience and the experience of many physicians, patients have symptoms for years, which gradually build to a crescendo before they present to our offices.

These symptoms initially may include such things as mild loss of sensation of the hands and the feet, progressive  worsening of tingling and numbness that will oftentimes wake the patient at night, or completely disturbed sleep.

We also find that many patients with peripheral neuropathy have a combination of these most annoying symptoms. This could include not only the presence of tingling and numbness but shooting pains. I have had many patients tell me that one of the most annoying symptoms, especially in colder climates, is the coolness of the feet as well as the (trophic) changes that occur in the skin.  Sometimes, that is extreme dryness, cracking, fragility etc.

The diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy really is a diagnosis of exclusion. I tell my doctors this all the time. It is very important to have a doctor working with you, who is able to perform the most thorough evaluation possible,  evaluate all most your records to make sure that all correctible causes of peripheral neuropathy have been addressed. If a root cause can be identified it should be addressed as completely as is medically and humanly possible.

A diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy is more about making sure of everything it’s not. Therefore, our client doctors who take care of peripheral neuropathy patients commonly work with many physicians of other disciplines. The reasons for this should be quite obvious. It is very important that all the things we spoke about earlier, such as family history, genetics, medication usage, etc are all accounted for.

We also have to be on the lookout for iatrogenically caused neuropathy from medical care such as chemotherapy for cancer or other illnesses.

Another area which concerns me greatly is when patients self-medicate with over-the-counter medications or maybe even herbal preparations that possibly could be contaminated with heavy metals or plant toxins. I strongly advise you to seek professional counseling before creating irreversible damage to your liver or kidneys.

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