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What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

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

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

It’s no longer just diabetes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Diabetic Neuropathy Results!

Neuropathy Treatment Success!

I had the good fortune of seeing several diabetic neuropathy patients in our clinic recently.

As you probably know a very large number of patients who suffer from diabetes go on to develop neuropathy. Furthermore, just getting the diabetes under control does not treat the neuropathy. So more than 75% of the time patients develop diabetic neuropathy require specific neuropathy treatment.

That’s what makes these cases, and the patient care we now have available so exciting!

The first patient had completed her initial weeks of NeuropathyDR care a month ago, and still her diabetic neuropathy continues to improve, BUT not only that, her blood sugar levels are continuing to drop, and exercise tolerance is increasing. After years of total misery and worsening neuropathy.

The second gentleman, a new patient started on Monday, had been miserable for 5 years, and after just the third session, is already sleeping better, even his foot mobility has improved. He has had such bad foot cramps and burning foot pain that can not even sleep without socks.

Finally, successful neuropathy treatment and encouragement. Real Results. Our Doctors and Physical Therapists who really take the time to care for the entire patient.

If you or a loved one are suffering, these cases are showing steady, real progress in beating neuropathy!

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Quick Guide to the Best Neuropathy Diet

This Guide Describes What to Eat Throughout the Day for a Healthy Diet!

You have no doubt heard that changes to your diet and lifestyle can have a tremendous impact on your health as far as neuropathy and chronic pain is concerned.

But what is a neuropathy diet? Exactly what you should be eating, and what should you avoid?

Here is a breakdown of a typical day’s worth of snacks and meals on the neuropathy diet to give you an idea of what kind of adjustments you should be making on your own.

Of course, you may need to modify this general outline for your own symptoms or pain level under the supervision of your NeuropathyDR Clinician.

First, be sure to have breakfast every morning. Ideally, eat a small amount of protein within a few minutes of waking up, which helps to jump-start your mental state as well as your metabolism.

You could have a protein shake made with vegetable protein powder (dairy-free) and coconut milk or almond milk. Or if you prefer not to drink your breakfast, try granola (gluten-free) or steel cut oats.

Next, you’ll want to have a small low-carb snack about three hours after breakfast. Half an apple or banana would do the trick or a small amount of nuts, such as almonds. Be careful when consuming packaged snacks, such as protein bars, as many of them contain a great deal of sugar.

For lunch, you’ll want more protein and veggies. The easiest way to do this is make a salad featuring your favorite kinds of greens—spinach is great. Add a small amount of chicken, tuna, turkey, or salmon for a lean protein, or use tofu if you’re vegan. Throw in a few walnuts or almonds and a drizzle of olive oil.

Have another snack in mid-afternoon, something small and low-carb like your morning snack.

For dinner, emphasize vegetables like asparagus, beets, squash, sweet potatoes, or cooked spinach. Avoid starchy veggies like white potatoes or rice. For a protein, try locally sourced hormone-free beef or fresh fish.

In the evening, have one more small snack. This time it can be a treat, such as one square of dark chocolate or a SMALL serving of gluten-free low-carb cookies.

You’ll also want to have lots of water throughout the day, and limited amounts of tea or coffee are okay.

You’ll notice that this diet is dairy-free, very low in sugar, and contains no bread products or junk food.

Try making a gradual shift into the NeuropathyDR diet over a period of a few days. You won’t believe how much better it makes you feel!

For more information on the neuropathy diet and other neuropathy basics, see our guide I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy Symptoms and Vitamin D

With Neuropathy Symptoms, Vitamin D can Make a Big Difference in Quality of Life.

We’re still learning about the powers of vitamin D, but we do know for sure based on research that this vitamin has a significant effect on building a strong immune system. Vitamin D is also important for helping to maintain bone mass.

These are two aspects of vitamin D’s role in the body that makes it an important nutrient for people struggling with neuropathy symptoms.

But even more important is vitamin D’s role is manufacturing substances called neutropins that help repair damaged nerves and grow new ones.

If you have neuropathy symptoms, you can help to support your own body’s production of neutropins, first by following a diet that includes vitamin D along with other essential neuropathy nutrients, and secondly by using appropriate neuropathy therapies such as neurostimulation.

The research strongly supports that neurostimulator therapies are appropriate and effective for many, if not most, patients suffering from neuropathy symptoms.

When paired with the right diet including vitamin D, these therapies can be incredibly effective in reducing neuropathy symptoms and neuropathic pain.

You may be wondering about the right daily amount of vitamin D that neuropathy patients should take.

It definitely depends on who you ask!

The official United States stance on vitamin D dosage is that you should have up to 600 IU (international units) every day. But other countries recommend higher levels, up to even 10,000 IU a day. This is based on the idea that most people just do not get much vitamin D from diet or sun exposure and so will need supplementation.

It’s not really possible to get enough vitamin D from plant sources. Fish oil is the best available form of supplement containing vitamin D.

I highly recommend to all new patients in our clinics to get their vitamin D levels checked. Then they can work together with their NeuropathyDR® clinicians to decide on the best daily dosage for supplementation.

Looking for more advice on dietary supplements to reduce neuropathy symptoms? Take a look at our Neuropathy Owners Manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Compressive Neuropathy Symptoms and What to Do About Them

Got a herniated disc, slipped disc, or ruptured disc? Read this key information on compressive neuropathy.

If you suffer from compressive neuropathy (a herniated, ruptured, or slipped disc), you already know that chronic back pain is one of the worst kinds of pain in existence.

When your back hurts, you just can’t get comfortable in any position and it seems like the pain will never stop no matter what you do.

You may have been told that your back pain is due to misalignment of your spine. But it’s more complex than that. The back pain you are experiencing is most likely due to compressive neuropathy, a type of peripheral nerve damage that can result in a host of unpleasant symptoms. For example:

  • Cold or a burning sensation in the legs or feet, typically on only one side of your body
  • Leg or foot tingling or numbness that is persistent
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sudden shooting pain like an electric shock

These pain sensations, over time, can lead to psychological problems as well. Many people with compressive neuropathy experience anxiety, depression, insomnia, and difficulty functioning in their everyday lives. You may not be able to continue working at your job or to spend social time with friends and family due to your pain.

Nerve damage like this can often be relieved with appropriate treatment. On the other hand, if left untreated, compressive neuropathy can become permanent damage with severe quality of life implications.

What are the main goals of professional treatment for compressive neuropathy?

The first goal is always pain relief. After that, treatment should address numbness or weakness in the low back, legs, and feet due to the impact of these areas on general mobility. Another goal is to prevent any future injuries that can worsen the existing nerve damage.

A NeuropathyDR® clinician is the optimal treatment choice for anyone with herniated disc pain or compressive neuropathy. This highly trained neuropathy expert will accurately diagnose your pain and customize a treatment plan based on YOUR needs. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® clinician near you.

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Neuropathy Basics: Distinguishing Sensory Neuropathy from Motor Neuropathy

What You Need to Know about the Two Types of Neuropathy and How to Treat Them

Why is neuropathy so difficult sometimes to diagnose and treat?

Well, for starters, there is no one disorder known as neuropathy. Technically, it’s an entire group of issues ranging from basic to complex.

One helpful way of subdividing this class of disorders is to think about sensory vs. motor. Sensory neuropathy is about sensation or lack of sensation—in other words, tingling or pain on one end of the spectrum and numbness on the other end.

Losing sensation can also affect balance, which is a major quality of life issue.

Things like diabetic neuropathy (in its early stages), neuropathy related to metabolic syndrome, and chemotherapy induced neuropathy are examples of sensory neuropathies.

On the other hand, motor (or movement) neuropathy describes a loss of power and strength in the muscles. The major symptom of this type of neuropathy is muscle weakness.

Unfortunately, motor issues can be difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat. You can end up with motor neuropathy as a side effect of a Lyme disease infection, or it can be genetic.

What’s important to know about sensory vs. motor neuropathy is that even the most advanced cases with the worst symptoms can often show some amount of improvement through self care. That means good nutrition, physical therapy, and at-home neurostimulation techniques. Some types of supplements may also help, such as CoQ10.

Even though I’m urging self care, I want to make sure you truly understand that a good self care protocol and treatment plan is always developed in collaboration with a knowledgeable neuropathy clinician.

If you don’t know where to turn to find a trained neuropathy expert in your local area, click here for a list of NeuropathyDR® clinicians sorted by region.

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Neuropathy Treatment: The True First Step

In neuropathy treatment, the first step to getting good care is probably not what you think.

The real first step in obtaining effective neuropathy treatment may surprise you.

It isn’t finding a good clinician who is well trained in neuropathy treatment options, although that’s vital for your well being right now and over time.

It isn’t making lifestyle changes in exercise, diet, and self care, although these kinds of shifts can have significant positive impacts on your health after a neuropathy diagnosis.

Truly, the first step to neuropathy treatment that works is to adjust your mindset.

To thrive despite a neuropathy diagnosis, you must be willing to see yourself as the primary expert on your own health and the most important part of your medical team.

That’s because a passive approach, in which you simply do what doctors tell you and accept whatever teaching they may provide, is the worst possible attitude for a patient undergoing neuropathy treatment.

The most successful neuropathy patients are the ones who are able to:

  • Identify their own specific neuropathy issues and needs.
  • Implement changes at home that support neuropathy treatment in the doctor’s office.
  • Ask questions about the neuropathy treatment plan of care.
  • Advocate for themselves when doctors are not meeting their needs.

For your neuropathy treatment to be most effective, it is essential for you to take action. Sometimes the first action that is needed is to ask a question. Sometimes it’s doing research to find out about alternative and complementary medicine that can help you. Sometimes it’s making a needed change in your daily routine, whether that’s giving up smoking or transitioning to a healthy neuropathy diet with vital nutrients.

Your journey to effective neuropathy treatment begins with a single step: identifying the next thing that needs to be done.

What’s your essential next step? If you’re not sure, take a look at our Neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Peripheral Neuropathy from Chemotherapy: What Can You Do?

Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can severely impact your quality of life.

Living with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, also known as CIPN, can be a significant quality of life issue. Nerve damage from chemo drugs can lead to tingling, pain, numbness, and loss of agility or balance. You might be more sensitive to extreme differences of temperature. You might also be bothered by certain kinds of pressure on the affected area.

You might even be unable to do simple tasks like writing a grocery list or buttoning up a shirt.

What can you do about peripheral neuropathy that stems from chemotherapy? Your oncologist or other medical team members may be able to prescribe medications to aid with neuropathy or even adjust your chemo dose in an effort to reduce side effects. There are also many things you can do in your everyday routine to minimize these effects.

Get to know your symptoms. Identify what makes your neuropathy symptoms worse, and avoid those things whenever possible. For example, if ill-fitting shoes seem to trigger neuropathic pain in your feet, make comfortable shoes a priority.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can intensify peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

For foot neuropathy, stay off your feet as much as possible. Take good care of your feet and inspect them every day for blisters and other injuries that could turn into infection.

If neuropathy symptoms are in your hands, be sure to keep your hands protected with gloves when washing dishes or doing repair work.

But there is one more thing, perhaps the most important thing you can do to reduce pain and discomfort from chemo induced peripheral neuropathy: Do your own research and insist that your doctors be at least as well-read as you. Neuropathy treatment is a joint effort between you and your medical team.

For more information about dealing with chemo induced neuropathy, check out our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy Patients Must Be Powerful Self Advocates

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

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

The only real expert on YOUR neuropathy is you.

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

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

What does this mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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