Daily Self Care is a Vital Part of Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

In Treating Diabetic Neuropathy, Daily Self Care is an Essential Component of Getting Back on the Road to Wellness.

Diabetic neuropathy refers to a specific kind of peripheral neuropathy that is unique to diabetes patients. It happens when poor circulation prevents nerves from getting enough blood flow, and it’s exacerbated by lack of control over elevated blood sugar.

Long-term, diabetic neuropathy can cause severe nerve damage that can be debilitating and have a huge negative impact on quality of life.

If you have any of the following symptoms and have diabetes, it’s very important to get a thorough assessment from a trained diabetic neuropathy clinician:

  • Pain in feet or legs
  • Tingling or burning in legs, feet, hands or arms
  • Numbness or lack of sensation
  • Cramping or weakness in muscles
  • Inability to distinguish warm and cold

If a trained neuropathy specialist finds that you have diabetic neuropathy, the first step to better health will involve getting your diabetes under good management to avoid any additional nerve damage. This may involve medications and/or a diabetic neuropathy diet. Along with reducing sugar sources in your diet, you will want to make sure you’re getting lots of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, and enough fiber.

This diet will provide a basis for healing so that you can begin to chip away at diabetic neuropathy symptoms and improve your quality of life. Your diabetic neuropathy specialist may also recommend nutrient supplements, high-tech innovations such as laser therapy, or complementary medicine such as massage or acupuncture.

It’s important to understand that there is much you can do at home, aside from a healthy neuropathy diet, to provide self care to aid and hasten your healing. You will need to visually monitor your feet and hands every day for any inflammation, blisters, sores, or broken skin to avoid infection. You can also undertake a gentle exercise routine based on input from your diabetic neuropathy specialist.

For more information on the diabetic neuropathy diet and other self care you can do at home to improve quality of life, take a look at I Beat Neuropathy!

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Is Lipoic Acid a Miracle Drug for Neuropathy Treatment?

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True that Lipoic Acid Could Be the Only Neuropathy Treatment You Need… You Might Be Right. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Recent studies on the use of lipoic acid supplements for neuropathic pain have led to a frenzy of interest in using this nutrient for neuropathy treatment.

In fact, it’s been touted as some kind of magic bullet that can make your neuropathy just disappear.

While lipoic acid is found in many types of foods naturally, such as spinach and broccoli, it occurs in small amounts. Preliminary studies have shown that lipoic acid may potentially improve the way that your nerve cells function, which seems like good news for neuropathy treatment.

Let’s remember, though, that there is truly no known cure for neuropathy!

As with anything else in life, something that sounds too good to be true…. probably is.

So proceed with caution if you encounter these “miracle” lipoic acid supplements at your health food store, or even if your doctor suggests lipoic acid for you.

Our neuropathy treatment principles are built around the idea that nutritional supplements can be helpful in neuropathy treatment, IF they are custom prescribed for your specific medical condition and IF they are taken in conjunction with other beneficial nutrients. That means not relying on the idea that large doses of lipoic acid, or indeed mega doses of any single nutrient, could make your neuropathy treatment worries disappear.

It’s also important to note that lipoic acid appears to work best for patients whose blood sugar is under control via careful dietary choices and regular exercise.

So, the bottom line when it comes to lipoic acid?

It may be beneficial, for SOME patients, when taken in appropriate doses in conjunction with other nutrients and a comprehensive neuropathy treatment plan.

The real first step for your neuropathy treatment should never focus on one “miracle” approach. We always recommend a thorough assessment by a clinician who is highly trained in state of the art neuropathy treatment options. Find a NeuropathyDR® clinician near you.

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Neuropathy Treatment 101: Scheduling Time for Self Care

You Might Be Surprised at How Vital Self Care and At Home Changes Can Be for Successful Neuropathy Treatment.

With all the complexities of the typical neuropathy treatment plan, it is shocking how often a critical element of success is left off—and that’s self care.

Like many others, you might think of self care as indulgent or silly. Things like bubble baths or spa days might come to mind.

But when we talk about self care as a component of neuropathy treatment, what we mean is the very basic and vital aspects of taking control of your own health on a day to day basis.

The fact is, you’re not doing all you can do for your own neuropathy treatment success if you’re not scheduling time EVERY day for self care.

Some key aspects of self care for neuropathy treatment include:

  • Appropriate exercise that meets your health goals
  • Following a beneficial neuropathy diet that eliminates common neuropathy aggravators, such as caffeine and wheat
  • Meditation, prayer, or another meaningful spiritual practice
  • Relaxation, including guided visualization, yoga, massage, etc.
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) such as acupuncture
  • Neurostimulation using home care tools recommended by your NeuropathyDR® clinician

Naturally, these types of self care neuropathy treatments are not a cure for your neuropathy symptoms. In fact, there is no known cure for neuropathy. But what these self care remedies do is to reduce your symptoms as much as possible and enhance your quality of life overall.

While there is a place for medication and surgery in some cases, there are so many less intrusive ways to treat neuropathy, including basic home care and self care neuropathy treatment.

Your most effective neuropathy treatment plan begins with a thorough assessment and diagnosis by a qualified neuropathy treatment specialist, followed by regular in-office treatments with the high-tech options appropriate for your specific medical condition, as well as daily self care.

Click here to locate a highly trained neuropathy treatment clinician near you!

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Neuropathy Treatment Doesn’t Have to Be Invasive and Expensive

Do You Know Your Neuropathy Treatment Options? Keep Reading to Find Out What You Might Be Missing.

We recommend that patients think twice before agreeing to invasive neuropathy treatment options.

That’s because there are effective treatments for neuropathy that are simple, common sense, and noninvasive to support your healing rather than disrupt it.

Unfortunately, many doctors today are too quick to prescribe drugs or surgery for neuropathy treatment—before other neuropathy treatments that are equally (or more) effective have even been tried.

It doesn’t make sense to immediately jump to medications with serious side effects, or surgery that requires its own period of recovery afterward. Why not start with treatments for neuropathy that are gentle, supportive, and build your health over time? These can include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Appropriate exercise, modified to your needs
  • Dietary changes to supplement the nutrients that help you heal
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Laser therapy

In fact, this philosophy also could apply to many of the secondary conditions experienced by patients with neuropathy. Treatment for depression, insomnia, and chronic pain related to neuropathy can and should be supportive, not destructive.

The fact is, you will have to be your own best health care advocate in order to receive appropriate neuropathy treatment. That’s because your insurance company may not recognize some of the basic noninvasive modalities as “medically necessary.” However, you may be able to argue in favor of saving money, as medications and surgeries are certainly more expensive over time than the kind of neuropathy treatment options I’m suggesting.

Of course there is a place for medication and surgery. I’m simply suggesting that neuropathy treatment should first and foremost address your everyday lifestyle and overall health needs, and consider more radical interventions only when they are clearly needed—not as a default response. This is why it’s so important in your neuropathy treatment to rely on a highly trained neuropathy specialist who can customize your neuropathy treatment for your specific needs.

Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist in your area.

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Why You Need Folic Acid to Combat Peripheral Neuropathy

Vitamin B9, AKA Folic Acid, is a Key Supplement for Maintaining and Improving Nerve Health When Dealing with Peripheral Neuropathy.

You may know that folic acid helps to prevent birth defects, which is why it’s one of the key ingredients in prenatal vitamins.

What you may not know, however, is that folic acid is a vital nutrient for people with neuropathy and chronic pain. That’s because a folic acid deficiency can directly influence the development of peripheral neuropathy.

Why is folic acid so important for those with neuropathy?

It has to do with the role of folic acid in the body. This supplement, which is also known as vitamin B9, is essential for repairing damaged cells in the body. It feeds DNA synthesis, and it’s needed for preventing anemia (a condition involving a lower than normal quantity of red blood cells).

An abnormally low level of folic acid in the body can also cause fatigue, depression, and mouth sores.

For all of these reasons, folic acid is one of the essential nutrients that should be checked by your neuropathy specialist in a routine evaluation, along with vitamins D and B12, especially if you’re over 50 years old.

Also, don’t rely on self-diagnosis for folic acid deficiency. This is important to understand because if you took a folic acid supplement without first testing for B12 deficiency, you could be masking one problem while trying to provide self treatment for another. The other reason to avoid self-diagnosing is that some vitamin deficiencies can have serious consequences for your nervous system, and it’s best to begin your neuropathy treatment with a thorough examination by a trained neuropathy specialist.

Be aware that you’re unlikely to experience a folic acid deficiency if you are following our recommended neuropathy diet. That’s because the diet includes an abundance of foods that are natural sources of the B vitamins, such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, and fresh fruits. However, it’s vital to store and prepare your food appropriately in order to avoid breakdown of key vitamins before the food is even ingested.

You can find neuropathy nutritional supplements such as our Neuropathy DR Metabolic Support Formula at the Self-Guided Care Store.

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Massage Therapy Treatments for Chemotherapy Induced Neuropathy

Chemotherapy’s Side Effects are No Picnic, Including Chemo-Induced Neuropathy Pain. Massage Therapy is One of Several Treatment Modalities That Can Help.

Chances are, you were hoping that when your chemotherapy cancer treatment was over, you’d be done with medications entirely.

Unfortunately, neuropathy is a common side effect of some chemotherapy treatments. In some cases, the neuropathy symptoms end within weeks or months of the end of chemotherapy. In other cases, neuropathy induced by chemotherapy drugs may be permanent.

But it’s important to understand that even if your neuropathy symptoms aren’t curable, that doesn’t mean that the current level of pain and impairment is a permanent fixture in your life. That’s because there are ways to treat chemotherapy neuropathy that can significantly reduce pain and discomfort. For many patients, massage therapy is a key aspect of treatment.

Peripheral neuropathy induced by chemotherapy may have any of these qualities:

  • Numbness, burning, or tingling in your feet, toes, hands, or fingers
  • Shooting nerve pains
  • Insomnia because of pain and discomfort

Here’s how massage therapy can help to reduce those problems.

In short, massage therapy means manipulation of the body’s soft tissues. One of the key features of massage therapy is its ability to improve blood circulation, which can reduce nerve damage in addition to relieving pain.

Massage therapy also helps you to relax, not just while you’re on the massage table but for days afterward. Relaxation is so important for neuropathy patients, because tension tends to make pain seem even worse. Being able to relax will also significantly improve your ability to sleep at night—which affects your quality of life significantly.

Massage therapy is just one form of the “complementary or alternative therapies” that we recommend for many patients with peripheral neuropathy. The best neuropathy treatment plans will often complementary therapies like massage, in addition to lifestyle changes, high-tech treatments like laser therapy, and appropriate medications.

To understand more about custom neuropathy treatment plans, please take a look at the “neuropathy owner’s manual,” I Beat Neuropathy!

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What’s The Prognosis for Hereditary Neuropathy?

Diagnosed with a Hereditary Form of Neuropathy? Here’s How to Treat Longstanding and Progressive Nerve Symptoms.

If you have hereditary neuropathy, you may have received your diagnosis years ago in your 20s or 30s, or even in your teens. You’re probably already familiar with terms like these: HNPP (Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies), Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, DSD (Dejerine-Sottas Disease), or HMN (Hereditary Motor Neuropathy).

You probably also already know the kinds of symptoms that these hereditary neuropathies can cause:

  • Pain in the hands and feet
  • Tingling or numbness, especially in extremities
  • Weak and emaciated muscles in the legs and feet
  • Problems sweating
  • Deformities of the foot (such as hammer toes) or spine (such as scoliosis)

But what you may not know is the vast advancements in treating hereditary neuropathy that have been made over the past few years. Though your condition is not curable, it is in many cases highly treatable.

Here are the general types of hereditary neuropathy that we usually see in our clinics. People with sensory neuropathy have limited input from touch and the other “six senses” that we normally gather information about the world. People with motor neuropathies have limited mobility or range of motion. People with autonomic neuropathy have trouble with their bodies’ ability to efficiently regulate things like their heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and other body systems that normally take care of themselves without any input from us. And some folks have mixed neuropathies that affect more than one body system.

Genetic testing is the primary way to diagnose hereditary neuropathy, along with nerve biopsies and nerve conduction studies. All of these elements are needed for an accurate diagnosis. Your neuropathy specialist should also interview you for information about your family’s health going back two to three generations. It’s important to note that you might have a hereditary form of neuropathy even if you don’t know of anyone in your family with similar symptoms.

When it comes to formulating a treatment plan, keep in mind that hereditary neuropathy can’t be cured, but treatments are available to help you heal as much as possible and significantly improve your quality of life. Typically, your treatment plan should include several elements, including:

  • Addressing any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • Beneficial lifestyle changes, including nutrition and appropriate exercise
  • Medication (in some cases)
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Other high-tech treatment options, such as laser light therapy

It’s vital to seek a diagnosis and treatment planning from a highly trained neuropathy specialist who can customize your treatment for your specific needs. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you.

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Is Your Neuropathy Treatment Addressing These Vital Concerns?

Any Competent Neuropathy Treatment Specialist Knows That These Three Areas of Your Health Need To Be Examined Together For The Best Long-Term Prognosis.

Too often, physicians without specialty training in neuropathy treatment tend to look at neuropathy symptoms one by one, as if they are separate problems.

They might also have outdated ideas about neuropathy—such as the belief that when nerves stop functioning correctly, it’s because the nerves are dead and can’t be restored. (These days, we know so much more about how to nurture damaged nerves back to health! But not every doctor has this up-to-date training.)

In truth, neuropathy is truly a global health problem affecting many of your major systems. And in many cases, impaired nerve function CAN be restored to some degree.

The most effective neuropathy treatment will involve methodically examining your core health in three areas.

First of all, good neuropathy treatment will closely evaluate your metabolic function to make sure that your body is being as energy-efficient as possible. We do this through dietary changes and supplements, in addition to addressing any underlying issues with diabetes, thyroid problems, or other serious medical conditions. Without this baseline, attempting surface-level neuropathy treatment just won’t be very effective in the long-term.

Next, we will look at how the biomechanics of your body—essentially, how well your skeleton is functioning. That’s because things like disc problems, arthritis, or old injuries from your athletic youth can interfere with circulation to your nerves. For this reason, restoring joint and muscle function as much as possible is a priority in helping to reduce your neuropathy symptoms.

Finally, we’ll also use specific neuropathy treatment protocols that have been shown to positively impact symptoms. Components like LED light therapy, laser therapy, massage, and nerve stimulation can be done in the neuropathy treatment specialist’s office. There are also home kits available that you can use to continue gaining relief on your own.

Click here to read more about at-home neuropathy treatment using our FDA-approved home care kit.

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A Focus on Mobility in Your Neuropathy Treatment

Your Neuropathy Treatment Plan Should Include Appropriate Exercise to Help You Retain Your Ability to Walk and Move Normally.

No doubt, one of the most crippling side effects of chronic pain and neuropathy is losing normal mobility function—in other words, reduced ability to walk and move around as you used to do.

It’s such a common experience for neuropathy sufferers. Unfortunately, reduced mobility has dangerous side effects of its own, including an increased chance of becoming ill with other chronic conditions like heart disease, or making an existing condition (such as diabetes) significantly worse.

You might think that it would make sense for your doctor to prescribe rest when you have neuropathy symptoms, especially when walking seems to make your symptoms worse.

But light exercise (approved by your physician, of course) can actually help to reduce your symptoms and aid your overall health. That’s because even a small amount of activity can have good health effects like increasing your energy, raising your body temperature, and helping to maintain adequate muscle tone.

What’s more, if you are able to institute a regular program of doctor-approved light exercise, you may find that you don’t need as much pain medication!

This is a tricky area, though—striving for just the right amount of activity that isn’t too much (which can exacerbate neuropathy symptoms) or not enough (which causes problems of its own). It’s important for you to follow an appropriate exercise program that you’ve developed in collaboration with your neuropathy specialist.

When you are talking with your doctor about the appropriate type and duration of exercise, keep these key points in mind:

  • Staying well hydrated is so important. You’ve got to make sure to get an adequate amount of water every day—not just any old beverage, but specifically water, which your body’s systems must have in order to function as well as possible.
  • Try to avoid getting cold, which brings on stiffness. That means wearing light but warming layers of silk, microfiber, or wool, even in the warmer months. You’ll also need to stay out of drafts and wind, which may make certain neuropathy symptoms much worse.
  • Most of all, you’ll need to eat well in order to get the right nutrients and avoid neuropathy triggers. Our NeuropathyDR® diet is designed specifically with these goals in mind.

Are you ready to take charge of your neuropathy symptoms and get your mobility back? Just for you, we have created the neuropathy owner’s manual: I Beat Neuropathy!

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How to Improve Your Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy Can Severely Impair Your Everyday Functioning—Unless You Take These Important Steps Back to Good Nerve Health

You already know from experience that peripheral neuropathy can have severe and destructive effects on your everyday quality of life. With neuropathic pain, even the easiest tasks can begin to feel impossible. It’s hard to work, to move around, or even to sleep when you are affected by nerve pain, numbness, and tingling.

When we talk about “quality of life” in the medical setting, we are looking at the degree to which you have been able to adapt to your medical condition. We take a look at things like your interactions with family and friends, your physical well-being, the activities you enjoy in your life, and your own perception of the state of your health.

That last one is crucially important. We know that your beliefs and attitudes about your underlying medical condition (such as diabetes, lupus, or HIV/AIDS) make a huge difference in your quality of life and your ability to deal with peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Peripheral neuropathy is considered to be chronic pain. It’s not something that will come and go; people with peripheral neuropathy symptoms tend to experience them constantly. This kind of never-ending pain can be disruptive to your ability to work, your social life, your sleep routine, and your mental health. Many people with peripheral neuropathy become anxious or depressed due to their experience of chronic pain.

The Good News About Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy

Let me share the good news about neuropathic pain. Although most nerve damage is permanent and there is no true cure for peripheral neuropathy, there are many things that you are able to do to improve your quality of life and regain close-to-normal functioning.

First, take good care of your feet, wear comfortable shoes and socks, and avoid going barefoot. Get foot massages to help reduce pain and improve your circulation. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any sore spots, blisters, or other issues on the soles of your feet.

Next, cut back on caffeine and nicotine. If you’re able to quit, do so! Nicotine has been shown to decrease your circulation, and caffeine most likely is making your peripheral neuropathy pain even worse.

Try to maintain an active lifestyle to the extent that is possible for you. Of course, you’ll need to check with your doctor or peripheral neuropathy clinician before beginning any exercise program. Exercise will improve your circulation, your mood, and your overall quality of life.

Finally, one of the most important changes you can make is to follow the NeuropathyDR® diet that provides everything your body needs to begin healing peripheral neuropathy. This is best undertaken under the supervision of a NeuropathyDR® specialist who can prescribe a custom treatment plan for your individual needs. To find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you, click here.

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