Neuropathy Diet and Key Supplements: Vitamin D

Don’t Overlook This Important Nutrient in Healing Through Neuropathy Diet and Supplementation.

Vitamin D is an absolutely essential nutrient that plays an important role in a healing neuropathy diet, not to mention multiple other types of disorders.

This vitamin has many key functions in your body. For one thing, it helps you maintain bone mass. Perhaps most importantly, Vitamin D allows you to build an immune system that can fight off invading diseases and restore order when your health has gone awry.

We may not even know everything there is to know about Vitamin D! New research continues to turn up additional ways that this vitamin is important for overall health as well as a vital part of a neuropathy diet.

Low levels of Vitamin D can really wreak havoc on your immune system. You’ll find that you get sick more easily with colds or the flu. You may also have global aches and pains that are hard to define or treat.
For your optimum health when battling neuropathic pain or discomfort, Vitamin D can be a significant part of a clinician-recommended neuropathy diet. That’s because Vitamin D helps your body manufacture certain substances, called neurotropins, that exist to repair and regenerate damaged nerves.

You may be wondering how to determine an effective dose of Vitamin D as a part of a neuropathy diet.
Unfortunately, experts don’t necessarily agree on this topic, especially in terms of world regions. Many European countries have a standard recommendation of several thousand international units (IUs) every day for adults. In the U.S., doctors tend to say that a good daily dose for adults is 600 IUs.

When I am helping a patient develop a customized neuropathy diet, I often recommend 2500 IUs or even more. That’s because the research shows that most people don’t get enough sunlight or enough natural food-based Vitamin D, so they need plenty of supplementation.

The best place to start is with a baseline check of your Vitamin D levels, so that you can work with your clinician to come up with the perfect dosage for your body’s needs. Most of all, be sure not to take TOO much Vitamin D without close monitoring—in very high doses, it can be toxic.

For at-home supplementation of a neuropathy diet, we recommend the NDGen Metabolic Support Formula, a safe and effective mix of key nutrients to support optimum healing. Click here to learn more.

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Nerve Health and Vitamin E: A Key Supplement for Neuropathic Pain

Did You Know That It’s Nearly Impossible to Get Enough Vitamin E from Food Sources? Read More About This Essential Supplement for Nerve Health.

Vitamin E plays such an important role in nerve health that a variety of serious health problems can be caused by a deficiency of this vitamin. What’s more, vitamin E is known to be very beneficial for people who are dealing with peripheral neuropathy and certain other types of neuropathic pain or dysfunction.

It’s true that you can get certain types of vitamin E, or tocopherols, from a small number of whole foods. For example, avocados and asparagus both contain reasonably significant levels of vitamin E. Corn and soybean oil also have some tocopherols in them. But you’d be hard-pressed to eat just the right combinations of tocopherol-containing foods in the right amounts—and on a nearly day by day basis, too!

For most people, and particularly those with neuropathic issues, it’s a good idea to supplement your vitamin E levels. Somewhere between 100 and 400 international units, or IUs, is a typical recommended dose of alpha tocopherol for bolstering nerve health. (We recommend doing this under the close care of a NeuropathyDR® clinician, however, as too much vitamin E—like certain other vitamins and minerals—can actually be dangerous.)

Here’s why vitamin E is so important. For optimum nerve health, your nerves need to create a certain amount of myelin—the insulation around nerves that acts as a conductor to pass their signals along. The tocopherols are a big help in supporting the manufacture of myelin. If you’re not getting enough vitamin E, your nerve health may be at risk. And for those experiencing neuropathy, vitamin E is an absolute must in rebuilding healthy nerve function.

The NDGen Metabolic Support Formula contains vitamin E in addition to other key vitamins and trace minerals that your body needs for nerve health and self-healing. Click here to learn more about Metabolic Support Formula.

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Lifestyle Change for Chronic Pain: How Do You Do It?

Knowing the Benefits Isn’t Enough to Elicit Lifestyle Change for Chronic Pain… So What Is?

By Carol Jeffrey

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined “health” as not merely the absence of disease but as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.” That’s a rather rigid utopian view, however; an increasing amount of research is showing that patients fare much better when a multifactorial treatment approach is used to combat disease. In sharing my experience, I will expound on the physical, mental and social factors associated with making a healthy lifestyle change for chronic pain in our mindset and diets.

REFRAMING

Whenever I heard the word “diet” my thoughts went directly to lack of comfort food, deprivation and fear of failure, but these were misguided thoughts. This reminded me of a study which showed that one’s mindset could alter a person’s visual acuity. “Because the letters get progressively smaller on successive lines, participants expected only to be able to read the first few lines on a traditional eye chart. When the participants viewed a shifted and reversed chart, they were able to see letters in which they previously couldn’t identify. This showed that mindset manipulation can counteract physiological limits imposed on vision.” (Believing Is Seeing…, Langer E, Dept. of Psych, Harvard.) Shifting my view allowed me to see not only the gains of feeling better from eating a well balanced diet, but the losses that I had incurred from making poor nutritional choices. I used this information to reframe the word “diet” into new thoughts of nutrition, health, and well-being. The success of healthy eating depends not only on our mindset, but understanding how the mind-body connection affects our eating habits.

MIND-BODY CONNECTION

Let me briefly explain what the mind-body connection is about. It’s important to “be present to one’s self” in a way that fosters self-awareness and acceptance…this allows us to change. I used to work in a physician’s office, and I usually scarfed down my lunch between patients and phone calls. This ended up being a mindless task of squelching my hunger pains with food devoid of nutritional value, leaving me lethargic by the end of the day. Often, after the long commute home I would be too tired to cook, so I’d stop for fast food, only to ingest more food devoid of nourishment. My mindlessness carried on into the late evening when I would find myself absentmindedly munching on snacks as I relaxed. My poor eating habitsextended Into my weekend, not due to lack of time but due to the social pressures of eating out with friends…where healthy food choices were limited. I was not psychologically present while eating nor mindful of my food choices.

BEING MINDFUL

Unfortunately, prolonged psychological stress, years of detrimental lifestyle, and poor eating habits had greatly contributed to my poor health. This eventually led to physical disability, unemployment, and the inability to do many of the things that I once loved. I was finally ready to break this cycle, and needed to become aware of the circumstances which led to my poor lifestyle choices and eating habits. I began paying attention to my internal dialogue (i.e., I don’t want to let them down, I’m expected to “…” I know I should choose the salad but I’ve had a difficult day so I deserve to eat what I want. I’m feeling anxious…Ice cream is always soothing. I’m not overweight so it isn’t like I’m pigging out). When I quit accepting my excuses, I became more mindful of my thoughts and choices, and discovered that I had much more control over my health than I had previously realized.

MISGUIDED DEPENDENCE

By this time I had reframed my thoughts about diet, understood the mind-body connection, was mindful of my choices, realized I had control over many aspects of my health. Yet, I was still depending upon my physician to heal me, or at least make me feel better with pharmaceuticals. Which leads me to the next issue I needed to address.

ENCULTURED

I had been encultured into believing that it was my physician’s job to heal, and the pharmaceutical company’s job to relieve my pain. If I failed to get better, it wasn’t my fault, or was it? “In 2012, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $24 billion on marketing to influence physicians, and over $3 billion in advertising to consumers.” (Cegedim Strategic Data) Traditionally, very few non-M.D. or non-D.O. practitioner appointments or treatments have been covered by insurance. These practices enculture and direct us into accepting the limitations that Western medicine on its own has to offer. It also moves us further away from more natural treatments and the means of self-healing. The strategies used by insurance and BigPharm are contrary to obtaining optimal health, since integrative medicine has shown to be most effective in managing disease. Now that I understood why I was so dependent on my physician, what could I do about it?

SELF-HEALING BEHAVIOR

Fabrega Horacio, Jr. wrote an interesting article (Sickness and Healing and the Evolutionary Foundations of Mind and Minding) which shows how non-human primates (i.e., chimpanzees) are reliant on self-healing behaviors that not only remedy illness but prevent many illnesses, through social functions and diet. I had been relying on my doctors to heal me and a pill to ease my pain, instead of taking personal responsibility, and using preventive and self-healing behaviors…like the chimps. I understood that eating a healthy diet along with living a well balanced life was essential for pain reduction, but I still wasn’t motivated to change.

MOTIVATION

Pain is fundamentally unpleasant, and is designed to protect by promoting motivation and learning. I was now enlightened to the fact that my lifestyle and poor diet were fueling the raging fire within my damaged nerves. However, like many others, I have an aversion to change and even though the reward of pain relief should have provided enough motivation to elicit change…it wasn’t. It is said that most people are motivated by one of two things, “inspiration” or (in my situation) “desperation.” My chronic pain was extremely difficult to handle, but it was the lack of being able to engage in life that made me desperate enough to make changes. My attitude and desire toward change had evolved from I wish, I want, to I must. My reason to change had now been clarified and my need for change had transformed from I should, I intend, to “I am” making a lifestyle change for chronic pain. However, what would keep me motivated? This is where goal setting came into play.

GOAL SETTING

“Remember the word ‘SMART.’ Successful goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.” This is based on research conducted by Dr. Edwin A. Lock of the University of Maryland.

  • Specific: I asked myself what my life was currently missing and what I wanted in my life. Connecting life goals to specific health-related goals clarified the reason I wished to be well and what I would do once my health improved. Thereby answering the questions what, where and why.
  • Measurable: I then determined how I would accomplish and measure my success. (i.e. Add three new organic, non processed foods to my grocery cart each week. Actively work with my doctor on natural pain relief techniques at each visit. Exercise as tolerated but do it two times a week. Do one thing each day to prepare me for a less stressful career.)
  • Achievable: I then asked myself if I had the skill, tools, and resources needed. (i.e. I researched YouTube, and I borrowed books from the library to learn about natural pain relief techniques, meditation, healthy diet, etc., and sought out physicians who practiced integrative medicine.)
  • Realistic: To avoid frustration, I focused on honest goals that I believed were obtainable. There was plenty of evidence to show that changing my lifestyle and eating a healthy diet would decrease my pain and improve my quality of life. It was realistic to train for a less stressful career. Total health and no pain was impossible; however, controlling diet, decreasing narcotic use and learning healthier ways of dealing with pain were within my control.
  • Timely: I gave myself one year to turn my health around and begin a new career. This goal challenged me but it was possible. I set daily, weekly and monthly goals which were frequently reviewed and revised as necessary.

There aren’t any shortcuts to change, including a lifestyle change for chronic pain. I had to reframe my negative thoughts, become more self-aware and mindful of my decisions, accept personal responsibility for my health, incorporate self-healing behavior, determine what would motivate me, set and commit to my goals.

The rewards of an improved quality of life came by default as I achieved my goals. I have not yet reached the utopia of health that the WHO refers to, but I have significantly decreased my pain level and again live an active and meaningful life. This article reflects my journey, but more importantly, I hope it encourages and guides you to make your own changes so that you too may live life to its fullest.

What is your experience with lifestyle change for chronic pain? Talk with us at our Facebook page.

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Neuropathy Treatments: What’s Just a Scam and What’s Effective?

Neuropathy is a growing problem worldwide. Inevitably, that means there are plenty of products out there being marketed as effective neuropathy treatments.

From pill-based supplements to creams, elixirs, and various types of gadgets, the marketplace is filled with things you can buy that are supposed to help reduce your neuropathy symptoms or even make them go away completely. This glut of products is directly related to the growing numbers of people suffering from systemic illnesses, like diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which tend to include neuropathy as a side effect.

The good news is that health conditions like these can be directly impacted through your own lifestyle choices, including reducing sugar and carbohydrates, reducing dairy, and being physically active. The best neuropathy treatments turn out to be the ones you have the most control over!

You’ve probably already experienced the fact that doctors today tend to offer medication as a first line of defense. Just take this pill, they seem to say, and your problem will be solved. Unfortunately, medications often come with their own set of side effects.

What are the lessons learned here?

One, use good common sense when you’re evaluating at-home neuropathy treatments. Is there information available about the science behind that supplement or device? Have others used it with good results? Talk with your clinician about the efficacy of the device or supplement you’re considering.

Two, there is plenty you can do to positively impact your health just through nutrition, exercise, and good self-care practices. These choices can be a great supplement to neuropathy treatments in your clinician’s office. When you combine a healthy lifestyle with scientifically based home care tools, you’ll be in great shape for beating your neuropathy.

Have you read about our NDGen Home Care Kit? This exclusive FDA-approved package bundles together everything you need for excellent home care, and we offer an unbeatable value in 24/7 support. Hands down, this kit is the best among self-care neuropathy treatments. Check out the NDGen Home Care Kit here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2 Essential Components in the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy

Does Your Treatment Plan Include Manual Therapy and Nutrition Therapy? Read More About This Non-Invasive and Cost-Effective Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy.

It’s our experience that the best results in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy are able to happen when we include two specific non-invasive components along with neurostim treatments and general lifestyle changes. These components appear simple, but they can be very powerful and have nearly immediate results, with improvements compounding over time as the therapies are continued long-term.

The first component is manual therapy. This modality can include many specific approaches, such as stretching, massage, mobilization, and spinal manipulation. These are time-tested methods that have been extremely well researched for many medical conditions, from diabetes to cancer-related neuropathy. Best of all, manual therapy utilizes cost-effective techniques that are minimally invasive, meaning that they are gentle and not intrusive to your body’s own internal healing processes. I believe, like any good doctor will tell you, that you should always try a simpler and less invasive treatment of peripheral neuropathy before resorting to more strenuous methods, such as medication and surgery, that can have serious long-term side effects and impact your quality of life.

The second component in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy is nutrition therapy, which ideally will be customized to address the needs of a specific patient. Our approach includes an extensive patient evaluation done in our office, taking into account your medical history and up-to-date lab work, so that you can be confident you are taking the supplements that are optimum in supporting the medical challenges you are facing. With clinical monitoring, we’ll work together on achieving and maintaining the nutrient levels you need to feel and perform your best in your day-to-day functioning.

Did you know that a nutritional supplement doesn’t even have to come in pill form? Sometimes we recommend that patients use a topical creme to administer certain nutrients through the skin as part of a comprehensive plan for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy. Take a look at our ND ReGen Soothing Topical Supplement Creme.

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Should People with Neuropathy Pain Get a Flu Shot?

If You Have Neuropathy Pain from Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP, There Are Special Considerations When Choosing Whether to Have a Flu Shot. Keep Reading for Details On How to Weigh the Risks and Benefits.

Flu season will be here before we know it. Most healthy adults will choose to get a flu shot to help stop the spread of this sometimes incapacitating illness, which can be responsible for thousands of deaths every year. And finding a place to get immunized is easy, with availability at nearly any drugstore, pharmacy, and walk-in clinic. Your insurance may even cover the cost.

But for some, deciding whether to get a flu shot isn’t an easy decision. People with neuropathy pain face a tough dilemma due to potential reactions to the vaccine. The list of folks who may be wary of the flu vaccine due to possible side effects includes people with peripheral neuropathy caused by cancer treatments, immune disorders such as AIDS and HIV, celiac disease, liver or kidney disease, shingles, and diabetes.

It’s important for people with neuropathy pain to realize that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) actually recommends getting a flu shot due to the serious complications that can arise from flu exposure with certain underlying illnesses.

However, if you have neuropathy pain caused by some illnesses, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome and CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy), you will need to discuss this issue in detail with their doctors. That’s because the immune system stimulation from a flu shot can sometimes trigger a relapse of these illnesses. Many doctors will recommend waiting a year after symptoms cease before receiving a flu shot.

Who is most at risk of catching and transmitting the flu virus? The CDC says you may want to consider getting a flu shot if any of these apply to you:

• You’re at least 50 years old. (Children under 19 are also at higher risk.)
• You are dealing with a chronic serious medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.
• You are a resident of a long-term care facility or nursing home.
• You are living with someone who is in a high-risk category, such as a child who is below the recommended age for vaccination.

Ultimately, whether to be vaccinated for the flu is your decision. People with neuropathy pain should speak with their doctors or NeuropathyDR clinicians about this issue before taking action.

Looking for more discussion about special topics on neuropathy pain? Come talk with us at our Facebook page.

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Neuropathy Treatments Can Be Supplemented with Creativity

Are You Surprised That Making Art Could Be a Supportive Addition to Your Neuropathy Treatments?

One of the most effective at-home neuropathy treatments can be done anytime, anywhere, and you don’t need special materials to do it. You don’t even have to have a special talent or training in art.

Making art can include everything from drawing or painting to collage, scrapbooking, or even flower arranging. The basic human drive to make art, going back to cave paintings many thousands of years ago, is simply about making things that are special and unique that have personal meaning or bring beauty into your world.

And as it turns out, making art is physically good for you! Creativity might even be the perfect way to supplement neuropathy treatments.

Even way back in 2008, the National Institutes of Health described in their newsletter that scientists had already begun studying how the process of making art can reduce stress, ease pain, and improve quality of life. Art therapy has been shown positive benefits with many medical and emotional issues, from trauma or depression to chemotherapy fatigue. In other words, creativity can be a great supplement to your other neuropathy treatments.

There are many options for making art besides drawing and painting, and anyone can do these relaxing creative activities without any special training or materials. Try one of these easy art options.

Magazine Collage Journal

Materials you’ll need:

  • Blank journal or spiral notebook
  • Magazine
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Flip through any magazine looking for images that speak to you. Perhaps they make you feel happy or excited, or they remind you of good memories. Choose three images to glue down to your journal page in any way that looks right to you. If you want, flip to a new page in your journal and write down your thoughts about the images you selected today.

Index Card Mandala

Materials you’ll need:

  • Index cards
  • Pencil
  • Small jar lid
  • Markers or colored pencils

“Mandala” is a Sanskrit word for “sacred circle.” Psychologist Carl Jung used to make a daily practice of creating mandala designs to help him process his ideas. Coloring mandalas has also been shown to be relaxing to your nervous system. All you need to do is find a small circular object, like a jar lid, and trace around it onto your index card. Now use markers, colored pencils, or crayons to fill in the circle with any shapes, colors, and lines that you want. If you prefer to color in larger and more elaborate mandala designs, you can find free printable mandalas online.

Blind Contour Drawing

Materials you’ll need:

  • A Sharpie marker
  • Blank paper
  • Willingness to try something new

Elizabeth Layton is famous for having become an artist at the age of 68, using a daily practice of making blind contour drawings to help her battle depression. “Blind contour” means that you will be drawing a continuous line without looking at the paper; instead, you focus your gaze on the object you’re drawing. The end result obviously won’t be a perfect drawing, but what’s important in this process is the experience of drawing. I recommend a Sharpie marker because there’s no temptation to erase or “fix” anything and you can concentrate on really seeing an object, rather than forcing your drawing to look a certain way. Try it for a few days and see how much fun it can be to create messy, process-oriented drawings!

Are you curious about how to add a creativity prescription to your neuropathy treatments? Talk with us about it at our Facebook page.

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Relieve Neuropathy Pain and Discomfort with These Simple Stretches

A Series of Simple Daily Stretches Could Help You to Reduce Neuropathy Pain and Discomfort

Neuropathy pain can lead you to feel immobilized. It’s easy to gradually become fearful of making the pain and discomfort worse by moving around too much, in the belief that too much exercise could increase your pain.

But in truth, mild exercise is likely to actually help you feel better on a daily basis. If moderate exercise causes more neuropathic pain for you, try some of these simple stretches, which you can even do lying down or in bed. You can repeat each stretch five or six times.

  1. First, gently spread your fingers wide apart, then loosely close them into a fist. Spread your toes wide, then curl them up.
  2. Next, begin making circles with your wrists and ankles. Be sure to rotate in both directions several times.
  3. Now pull your hands in toward your shoulders and bend your knees in gently toward your chest. Gently relax back into your original position.
  4. Slowly bring up your arms toward your ears, then back down to a resting position.
  5. Last, lift one leg as far as you comfortably can while keeping your knee straight. Gently lower the leg, then repeat on the other side.

These stretches are great for anyone with neuropathy pain that results in limited range of motion. They can help to improve circulation in your legs and arms in addition to giving your joints a gentle workout.

Remember, even mild and occasional exercise is helpful in keeping yourself as healthy and pain-free as possible. Start at a very slow pace, only going as far as you feel comfortable, and then build up your stretching stamina on a daily or weekly basis. Of course, be sure to speak with your NeuropathyDR® clinician before initiating any new exercise program.

Want to know more about stretching as a way to reduce neuropathy pain? Talk with us about it at our Facebook page.

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Exercise for Diabetic Neuropathy Can Be Helpful, Not Harmful

If it seems to you that exercise for diabetic neuropathy sounds like a path to pain and discomfort, read these tips for turning exercise into a beneficial factor for your health.

Exercise is always a beneficial element of a healthy lifestyle. Yes, even for people with diabetic neuropathy! In fact, diabetics need regular exercise to help control blood sugar and to slow down the onset of new diabetes symptoms by maintaining good circulation and heart health.

It’s true that neuropathy can make your daily activities seem much harder, and some physical movements such as walking can become more difficult. But there are ways to safely and effectively exercise for diabetic neuropathy.

Before beginning any exercise program, be sure to talk with your NeuropathyDR® clinician about workout adjustments to accommodate your specific health needs. You’ll also want to consider exercise clothes and shoes to help prevent injury, including silica gel midsoles.

Which exercises should you stay away from? For most individuals with diabetic neuropathy, weight-bearing or repetitive exercises like walking or running can be harmful and make symptoms worse. There’s some debate about weight training, which could be beneficial in small doses but potentially harmful in excess.

The best exercise for diabetic neuropathy may swimming, which is adaptable for any fitness level and can be easily modified to alleviate neuropathy symptoms. As a no-impact exercise, swimming is the least likely to cause harm to your feet, legs, or joints but also offers great benefits for circulation.

Another great exercise for diabetic neuropathy is biking, whether you’re riding an actual bicycle or a stationary bike. This low-impact activity can easily be built into your overall treatment program for neuropathy.

Keep in mind that even the most basic, minimal types of exercise can be beneficial! For example, a simple and effective stretch for your feet and legs involves flexing your ankle several times and then rotating the foot in each direction.

With any type of exercise, be sure to check your extremities (especially your feet) for any kind of sores, blisters, or irritation that can develop into an infection. Make sure you don’t get overheated, since many people with neuropathy have trouble regulating their body temperature. Also, keep an eye on your blood pressure and heart rate when exercising, particularly if you suffer from autonomic neuropathy.

What kind of exercise for diabetic neuropathy has helped you? Join the conversation at our Facebook page.

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