Peripheral Neuropathy Common Symptoms: Loss of Balance

Gait Change or Loss of Balance is One of the Most Common Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy—Yet Many Doctors Miss This Connection.

Peripheral neuropathy can have a variety of symptoms—and some of them can be confusing or misleading. That’s why doctors who don’t have specialized training in neuropathy symptoms may not know peripheral neuropathy when they see it!

Commonly, a leading indicator of peripheral neuropathy is a significant change in gait (the way you walk) or your overall sense of balance. But this is also a feature of several neurological disorders.

Peripheral neuropathy causes changes in balance and gait because of the way that your feet begin to lose sensation.

If you are experiencing this problem, I urge you to seek the opinion of a qualified neuropathy clinician right away. The longer your peripheral neuropathy in feet is left untreated, the more severe the consequences. In time, you’ll be forced not only to treat the peripheral neuropathy at its source but also to undergo rehabilitation in order to regain some of your original sense of coordination and balance.

Worst of all, your peripheral neuropathy symptoms are putting you in danger of being a fall risk. An unexpected fall can have long-lasting repercussions and could even be fatal.

Fortunately, there are things you can do right away to help prevent serious accidents related to your peripheral neuropathy.

First, get fitted for good quality shoes and wear them whenever you are not in bed. (Be sure to also check your feet regularly for sores that could get infected and cause serious problems if not detected quickly.)

Next, reduce the slip and fall hazards in your home. Put non-slip backings on all area rugs. Don’t leave any object on your stairs or near a doorway. Bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas without carpeting are an area of special concern.

To learn more about how to improve your quality of life with peripheral neuropathy, check out our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Is it Fibromyalgia or Neuropathy?

Knowing Whether You Have Fibromyalgia or Neuropathy Can Be Tricky, But These Distinctions Are Important.

Every neuropathy doctor has heard these words many times: “Is it fibromyalgia, or neuropathy?”

Unfortunately, the symptoms overlap a great deal.

That’s why it’s essential to seek a diagnosis from a trained neuropathy expert who can differentiate between the two and tell you for sure whether it’s fibromyalgia or neuropathy in your case.

Both conditions can involve tingling or numbness and elements of chronic pain.

The good news is that both conditions can be helped with lifestyle changes that support the in-office treatment you are getting from your doctor. Like many other serious health conditions, whether it’s fibromyalgia or neuropathy, your day to day experience can be improved with diet and exercise.

Eating non-processed foods that are rich in key nutrients is one way to improve your health when dealing with fibromyalgia or neuropathy.

We also know that gentle daily movement protocols can greatly aid your recovery from fibromyalgia or neuropathy. Your doctor can help you identify which types of exercise are most appropriate for your specific health condition and fitness level.

But the most important piece of the puzzle is your relationship with your doctor. Does he or she spend considerable time with you in evaluating your unique health needs? Has your doctor been able to effectively distinguish whether you are suffering from fibromyalgia or neuropathy?

Ideally, you will want to work with a trained neuropathy clinician who can tailor a treatment plan to YOUR needs. Whether you’re dealing with fibromyalgia or neuropathy, a cookie-cutter approach will not improve your health!

The most important first step is in connecting with an expert who can provide an in-depth assessment to correctly diagnose your fibromyalgia or neuropathy.

To find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area, click here.

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Does Your Neuropathy Treatment Include Exercise and Movement?

No Neuropathy Treatment Plan is Complete Without a Strategy for Physical Activity to Enhance Health.

You already know that physical exercise is good for everyone.

It’s easy to think that this general advice about movement for good health just doesn’t apply to someone like you who is struggling with neuropathy pain or numbness.

After all, many people undergoing neuropathy treatment have a hard time with mobility. It might seem absurd to think of yourself “exercising” when it’s hard to even reliably walk without falling, or when neuropathy pain makes it uncomfortable to be very active.

However, the fact is that your health is on a downhill decline as long as you are living a sedentary lifestyle. Inactivity contributes to problems with metabolism, which can lead in turn to diabetes and other global health problems. It can also make your neuropathy symptoms worse.

And there ARE safe and effective ways for people in neuropathy treatment to become more active on a day to day basis.

For example, people who struggle with walking because of neuropathic pain in the legs or feet can have good success with low-impact exercise equipment, such as a stationary bike. You might also consider exercises done in a heated pool. Chair yoga and stretching are also appropriate ways to incorporate gentle movement into your day.

The best part of incorporating more movement into your daily routine is that it’s simple to add just a little exercise here and there. Even making sure that five minutes out of every hour contains some kind of physical activity will make an impact on your long-term health.

Be sure to talk with your neuropathy treatment clinician about the best kind, frequency, and duration of exercise for you and your unique health situation. Remember, in neuropathy treatment, there is no “one size fits all” prescription.

For more information about ways to enhance your neuropathy treatment through diet and exercise, take a look at our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy Treatment Includes Treating Anxiety and Depression

Does Your Neuropathy Treatment Plan Address Underlying Anxiety and Depression?

Most patients in neuropathy treatment are dealing with more than just physical symptoms. Depression and anxiety are extremely common among those struggling with the various forms of neuropathy. That’s because neuropathy is a global condition that affects your nervous system in addition to the emotional stress brought on by any major medical condition.

Whether you are newly diagnosed and not sure where to turn, or already in the care of a highly trained neuropathy treatment clinician, it’s not unusual for anxiety or depression to be a daily part of your life.

But there is help. In addition to talking honestly with your doctor about these difficulties, you can take action right away to help yourself heal from the anxiety and depression that comes with neuropathy treatment.

The first step is to identify what you can’t control in the course of your neuropathy treatment, as well as what you CAN control. Make an effort to let go of those things that are out of your reach and trust your neuropathy doctor to competently follow the neuropathy treatment plan you have outlined together.

Make a list of the things you do have control over. Most likely this includes all the things you can do at home:

  • Nutrition
  • Movement and appropriate exercise
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Reducing stress in your environment
  • Spiritual practices such as meditation or prayer
  • Bringing joy into your life through family and friend relationships, pets, new hobbies, etc.
  • Prioritizing your physical and emotional needs first, especially if you are in a caregiver role

Although self care at home for anxiety and depression is a vital part of neuropathy treatment, make sure you aren’t trying to go it alone. Talk with your doctor today about getting the support you need for depression or anxiety symptoms.

If your current doctor is not trained in current approaches to neuropathy treatment including complementary therapies, click here to locate a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you.

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Peripheral Neuropathy is Best Managed Through Frequent Meals

Did You Know That Eating More Often Can Actually Help Heal Your Peripheral Neuropathy?

We know that obesity can contribute to medical conditions like diabetes that cause peripheral neuropathy. So it may not seem logical that eating more often, not less often, could be a primary way to address peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Why would frequent meals be a GOOD idea for peripheral neuropathy sufferers? Here’s an explanation.

When you eat few meals per day, you are essentially training your body to store fat. That’s a primal survival mechanism to keep calories available to you as needed for fuel. It works against you when you are eating more calories in one meal than you really need—and especially if your meals are loaded with “bad” fats and simple carbohydrates.

On the other hand, when you eat more frequent meals, you’ll be training your body to burn fat more efficiently through stimulating metabolism. Frequent meals can also help to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Of course, there’s a catch. It isn’t enough to just eat more often. You’ve got to make sure that WHAT you are eating is nutritious and supportive so that you’re slowly healing your peripheral neuropathy, not making it worse.

The diet we recommend for those with peripheral neuropathy is based on fewer (and complex) carbs and plenty of good protein and healthy fats. It’s best to avoid going more than three hours without eating a meal or snack.

Obviously, for diabetics who need insulin to regulate blood sugar, follow the advice of your doctor.

Everything we know about healing peripheral neuropathy is based on a close working relationship with a specially trained neuropathy treatment specialist who can customize YOUR treatment to address YOUR neuropathy symptoms and overall medical condition.

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

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Neuropathy Treatments and Too Many Choices

Choosing Your Neuropathy Treatments Specialist is the Most Important Step Back to Wellness.

The first step to choosing effective neuropathy treatments is the hardest. That’s because it may feel that the path of treatment is entirely up to you.

Unfortunately, many general practitioners, oncologists, and other doctors are just not trained with a specialty background in neuropathy—leaving patients to research on their own to try to understand their treatment options.

This is a confusing process that is made worse by the fact that neuropathy isn’t just a single disease. It’s a condition with many individual factors. Your experience of neuropathy is unique in the context of your entire medical history and specific symptoms.

And that is why there are so-called neuropathy treatments or “cures” out there that just will not work for most people…. because they are a blanket approach to a very individual problem.

When it comes to neuropathy treatments, the most effective path is one that uses multiple effective treatment components in a way that is uniquely tailored to your needs.

For that reason, the first step and the very most important step, before looking at any specific neuropathy treatments for your symptoms, is to find a highly trained neuropathy specialist who will do a thorough assessment in order to create YOUR unique treatment plan.

This plan will probably involve addressing any underlying conditions that aggravate neuropathy, such as diabetes, as well as components of lifestyle and diet changes, appropriate medications, and state of the art therapies like laser light therapy.

Note that medication was not the first item on that neuropathy treatments list. That’s because neuropathy specialists understand that medication is not a cure-all for neuropathy symptoms, and sometimes can actually impair your quality of life due to side effects.

The most important thing you can do for your health today is to talk with a NeuropathyDR® clinician. Click here to find a neuropathy specialist in your area.

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Everyday Toxins That Aggravate Neuropathy Symptoms

Take These Steps Today to Minimize Your Exposure to Harmful Toxins That Make Neuropathy Symptoms Worse.

Most people picture toxins on a huge, catastrophic level, like nuclear waste. Unfortunately, our everyday lives are full of potential toxins that exist in our food, air, and water, some of which can live for days or longer in the fatty tissues of our bodies. This is a significant issue for those who are living with neuropathy symptoms, which can be made worse by exposure to toxins.

It’s also important to understand that these toxins tend to accumulate over time, so small amounts of toxin exposure can lead to significant negative health effects.

Some of the toxins we’re talking about here include antibiotic residues in water, chemical residues on your food from the use of pesticides, and hidden household pollutants like radon gas.

The good news is that you can take steps right away to begin reducing your exposure to harmful toxins that can make neuropathy symptoms worse.

Start by using a filter for your drinking water. Depending on your needs and preferences, you could choose to use a pitcher with a built-in filter that you change frequently, or a whole-house filtering system that will provide filtered water from every tap.

We also recommend filtering your food, so to speak, by avoiding processed foods and selecting organic produce whenever possible. Growing vegetables for your own use is a wonderful alternative to buying them, although you’ll need to avoid using commercial pesticides in your garden. Chemicals that kill insects tend to be very bad for your body, too! Consider using non-toxic spray soap to deter insects instead.

Speaking of growing things, no matter how much you enjoy having a perfectly green and manicured lawn, we urge our patients not to use commercial chemicals to enhance lawn growth or color.
You can also choose to use “green” cleaners around your home. But don’t assume that anything with the word “green” on the label is a good idea—you’ll need to read the label. Better yet, do an Internet search to learn about using very basic materials like vinegar and baking soda to clean your home. You’ll save money in addition to knowing that harsh chemicals in your home aren’t aggravating your neuropathy symptoms.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reducing toxins in order to reduce neuropathy symptoms. For more information about a healthy lifestyle to support treatment of your neuropathy symptoms, take a look at our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Chemotherapy Neuropathy and What You Can Do About It

Chemotherapy Neuropathy is One of the Least Well-Known Side Effects of Cancer Treatment, But You Can Take Action to Minimize Its Effects.

We’ve all heard about the classic side effects of chemotherapy for cancer treatment: hair loss, nausea, disrupted digestion. But did you know that a common side effect, which is rarely discussed, is tingling or numbness in the extremities?

This condition, known as peripheral neuropathy or Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN), can be unpredictable, and it can severely impact your quality of life. What’s more, sometimes chemotherapy neuropathy will subside and eventually disappear months or years after your treatment is over, but sometimes the nerve damage lingers well after you are believed to be cancer free.

Some of the typical symptoms of chemotherapy neuropathy in the hands or feet include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Burning sensation
  • Shooting or “electric” pains

For many patients, chemotherapy neuropathy is so bad that it keeps them from functioning normally during the day or even sleeping at night.

So, what can you do to combat chemotherapy neuropathy?

Your oncologist or other physician may have prescribed medications to help manage the symptoms of your CIPN. But there’s so much more that you can do beyond simply taking drugs and hoping for the best.

Complementary and integrative therapies have been shown to be effective in reducing or eliminating chemotherapy neuropathy for many people. You might have heard of these as a broad category called CAM, for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

If chemotherapy neuropathy is an issue for you, some of the complementary therapies you might consider are:

  • Supplements like alpha lipoic acid (B12) that can ease symptoms
  • Acupuncture and Chinese medicine
  • Specific herbal supplements to strengthen nerve health
  • Massage therapy aimed at cancer patients
  • Gentle exercise, as recommended by your physician

Be sure that you talk with your oncologist before beginning to use any kind of supplement or alternative treatment, to make sure that it will not interfere with your primary cancer treatment.
For more information about nerve health and chemotherapy neuropathy, we recommend the “neuropathy owners manual,” I Beat Neuropathy!

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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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