Neuropathy and Fatigue

In neuropathy, fatigue can be the result of pain, and emotional stress.

One of the things many neuropathy patients tell us is how tired they can feel form day to day. Now, fatigue is common in many health conditions and should never be taken lightly.

For example, profound fatigue with weight loss can be a sign of several diseases, including cancer.

Diabetics often report fatigue, as do those patients with anemia and simple over work and inadequate sleep.

In neuropathy, fatigue can be the result of pain, and emotional stress.

Sometimes it’s from the diseases that may have caused your neuropathy.

But one of the things we observed a few years back on is that when treating neuropathy patients who suffer from the most common types we see (sensory, due to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and chemotherapy) is that when good neuropathy treatment begins, fatigue starts to vanish too!

And we even find patients with more serious forms of neuropathy improved as well, though more slowly and not as completely.

You see, we know that in the most common forms of neuropathy, energy production by the body in general, and the nerve cells in particular is poor. I theorized early on that therapies that can boost metabolism or how our bodies efficiently “burn” fuel will very often help neuropathy patients regain function.

These therapies include some food compounds, supplements and exercise, as well as therapies like laser and microcurrent which help individual cells produce ATP, which is the energy powerhouse behind every living cell!

And as a side benefit, we see our diabetic and obese patients losing significant weight, and some dropping their blood sugars significantly and thus need for medications.

So here is the best news of all: When patients engage in neuropathy treatment programs that handle all the key pieces they can, fatigue fades away and energy and a profound sense of wellbeing return to many neuropathy patients!

For more information visit us at NeuropathyDR.com

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Suprascapular Neuropathy

Even Healthy People Can Develop Neuropathy

Diabetes…

Lupus…

Cancer and chemotherapy…

Any of these conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy…

But what you might not realize is that you can develop peripheral neuropathy even if you’re perfectly healthy.

Athletes who take part in sports that require consistent overhead movement of the arms (like tennis, baseball, kayaking, volleyball) place a lot of strain on their shoulders.  That places them at a much higher risk of overuse injuries.

And that can lead to a very specific type of neuropathy – suprascapular neuropathy.

What is Suprascapular Neuropathy?

Suprascapular neuropathy- that’s a real mouthful isn’t it?  It may sound complicated but it really isn’t.

Suprascalupar neuropathy is nerve damage to the suprascapular nerve – the nerve that runs from the brachial plexus (a group of nerves in the neck and shoulders) to nerves that help the body fully rotate the arms.  Suprascapular neuropathy causes shoulder pain and weakness and can lead to career ending pain for professional athletes or stop weekend warriors from doing what they love.

The most common symptoms of suprascapular neuropathy are:

–   Deep, dull aching pain in the shoulder

–   Weakness or muscle pain

–   Frozen shoulder (inability to move the shoulder)

–  Numbness and tingling

If any of these symptoms are keeping you sidelined, talk to your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician today.

Exactly What Causes Suprascapular Neuropathy?

As the suprascapular nerve passes over the shoulder blade, it can be compressed and stretched.  When that happens repeatedly over a period of time, the nerve can become damaged and neuropathy develops. The first symptoms are usually pain and weakness when you try to rotate the shoulder.  More than just being uncomfortable, the pain can disrupt your life on a daily basis.

Imagine trying to put on a t-shirt or reach for a can on the top shelf of your pantry with a frozen or extremely painful shoulder…

If your experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately to determine if you have nerve damage.  You’ll need to start treatment immediately to prevent permanent damage.

What You Can Expect From Treatment

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will start with nerve conduction studies to find out exactly where the nerves are damaged.  Electromyography will show exactly how severe the damage is.

Once you know for sure you have suprascapular neuropathy, the first step will be stop participating in the sport that caused the injury (until the damage is repaired).

Next, you’ll start a course of physical therapy and prescribed exercise.  Therapy will concentrate on maintaining your full range of motion and strengthening your shoulder muscles.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will employ a very specific treatment protocol depending on

–          The location of your injury and how severe it is

–          Your age, general health and typical activities

–          How long you’ve had your symptoms and whether or not they was caused by overuse or a specific injury

If your shoulder pain is keeping you on the bench and stopping you from participating in the sports you love or even from living a normal life, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician today.   Early intervention is one of the best ways to minimize the damage caused by suprascapular neuropathy and repair any nerve damage you may have suffered.

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


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Is The Flu Vaccine Helpful?

It’s that time of year again…

Pre-flu season…

And everywhere you look are signs advertising “Flu Shots – Walk Ins Welcome” or “Get Your Flu Shot Today.”

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

After all, the flu accounts for 200,000 hospitalizations every year and up to 36,000 deaths.  If you can take a shot and avoid that, why wouldn’t you?

But if you have peripheral neuropathy caused by

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS or some other immune system disorder
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Gluten sensitivity (also known as celiac disease)
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Hereditary neuropathy

You may think that a flu shot isn’t for you.

HIV patients tend to be especially skeptical about receiving the vaccine.

If you have peripheral neuropathy caused by any of these underlying illnesses, you need to make an informed choice about whether or not to get a flu shot.

This is what you need to know.

The Flu Vaccine Will Not Actually Make You Sick

Contrary to urban myth, the flu vaccine will not make you sick.  It works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that actually fight the virus. It does not give you the flu.

You also need to know that there is no evidence that the flu shot will make your neuropathy symptoms worse if your neuropathy is caused by any of the underlying illnesses we listed above.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends that peripheral neuropathy patients with any of these illnesses receive a flu shot every year because they’re more prone to developing serious complications if they get the flu.

A Word of Caution for Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP Patients

If your peripheral neuropathy is caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you receive the flu vaccine.

Because the vaccine keeps you from getting the flu by tricking your immune system into producing antibodies to fight it off,  if you have neuropathy caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP,  this immune stimulation may actually cause a relapse in patients with a history of either of these illnesses.

If you have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the resultant peripheral neuropathy in the past, it might be a good idea to wait at least one year after your symptoms are gone before you receive the flu shot.

If you have CIDP and your symptoms are still present, you might want to avoid the flu vaccine.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional and consider the chances of complications from the vaccine as opposed to the health risks of actually getting the flu.  Take into account:

  • Advanced age
  • Other chronic medical conditions
  • Possible relapse triggered by getting the flu virus

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you receive the flu shot every year if you fall into any of these groups:

  • You’re six months to 19 years old
  • You’re 50 years of age or older
  • You have a chronic medical condition (lung, heart, liver or kidney disease, blood disorders, diabetes)
  • You live in a nursing home or other long term care facility
  • You live with or care for someone at high risk for complications from the flu (healthcare workers, people in your household (i.e., children too young to be vaccinated or people with chronic medical conditions)

In the end, the decision to get the flu shot or take a pass on it is up to you. Talk to your practitioners before you make your decision and do what’s best for you.

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

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HIV/AIDS and Peripheral Neuropathy

If you have HIV/AIDS, at some point in the progression of your disease you’ll probably develop peripheral nerve damage or peripheral neuropathy. HIV/AIDS peripheral neuropathy is common by most estimates, in roughly one-third of HIV/AIDS patients especially in advanced cases.

While that may not be surprising, what you should also know is that some forms of peripheral nerve damage like Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) may affect early onset patients.

Your doctor may even be able to tell how far your HIV/AIDS has progressed by diagnosing the type of peripheral neuropathy you’ve developed.  As your disease progresses, your peripheral neuropathy will as well.

Exactly What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that develops when the peripheral nervous system is damaged by a condition like diabetes, cancer or HIV/AIDS.  When these nerves are damaged, they no longer communicate properly and all the bodily functions they govern are disrupted.

Depending upon which nerves are damaged and the functions they serve, you can develop serious or even life threatening symptoms.

Why Do AIDS Patients Develop Peripheral Neuropathy?

HIV/AIDS patients develop peripheral neuropathy for a number of reasons[1]:

•      The virus can cause neuropathy.

Viruses can attack nerve tissue and severely damage sensory nerves. If those nerves are damaged, you’re going to feel the pain, quickly.

The virus that causes HIV, in particular, can cause extensive damage to the peripheral nerves.  Often, the progression of the disease can actually be tracked according to the specific type of neuropathy the patient develops.  Painful polyneuropathy affecting the feet and hands can be one of first clinical signs of HIV infection.

•      Certain medications can cause peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is a potential side effect of certain medications used to treat HIV/AIDS.  Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI’s) or, in layman’s terms, the “d-drugs” (i.e., Didanosine, Videx, Zalcitabine, Hivid, Stavudine and Zerit) most often cause peripheral neuropathy.

Other drugs, such as those used to treat pneumocystis pneumonia, amoebic dysentery, Kaposi’s sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, other cancers, wasting syndrome and severe mouth ulcers can all lead to peripheral neuropathy as well.

•      Opportunistic infections that HIV/AIDS patients are prone to develop are another cause of peripheral neuropathy.

The hepatitis C virus, Varicella zoster virus (shingles), syphilis and tuberculosis are all infections that can lead to problems with the peripheral nervous system.

How Do You Know If You Have Peripheral Neuropathy?

Most HIV/AIDS patients with peripheral neuropathy complain of[2]:

•     Burning

•     Stiffness

•     Prickly feeling in their extremities

•     Tingling

•     Numbness or loss of sensation in the toes and soles of the feet

•     Progressive weakness

•     Dizziness

•     Loss of bladder and bowel control

Why Should You Worry About Peripheral Neuropathy?

If your peripheral neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, you could develop

•     Blood pressure problems

•     Heart rate issues

•     Bladder or bowel control issues

•     Difficulty swallowing because your esophagus doesn’t function properly

•     Bloating

•     Heart burn

•     Inability to feel sensation in your hands and feet

Beyond being uncomfortable, any of these conditions can cause serious health issues; some can even be fatal.

Treatment Options for Peripheral Neuropathy

If you have HIV/AIDS and you think you’ve developed peripheral neuropathy, see a specialist immediately.  A good place to start is with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician for a treatment plan specifically designed for you.

You can help your neuropathy specialist treat you and help yourself, too, by:

•     Stop taking the drugs that cause peripheral neuropathy (but never discontinue drug therapy without supervision by your treating physician)

•     Start non-drug treatments to reduce pain like avoiding walking or standing for long periods, wearing looser shoes, and/or soaking your feet in ice water.

•     Make sure you’re eating properly.

•     Take safety precautions to compensate for any loss of sensation in your hands and feet, like testing your bath water with your elbow to make sure it’s not too hot or checking your shoes to make sure you don’t have a small rock or pebble in them before you put them on.

•     Ask about available pain medications if over the counter drugs aren’t helping.

Contact us today for information on the best course of treatment to deal with the pain of peripheral neuropathy caused by HIV/AIDS and taking steps to ensure that you don’t have permanent nerve damage.

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

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“Failed Back Surgery Syndrome”

The minute you injured you back, your life changed forever…

The constant pain…

The loss of mobility…

The inability to live a normal life.

You wanted so desperately to feel normal again you agreed to back surgery.

And your pain is worse than ever.

If you’ve undergone back surgery and you’re still suffering from

Dull, aching pain in your back and/or legs

Abnormal sensitivity including sharp, pricking, and stabbing pain in your arms or legs

Peripheral neuropathy and the symptoms that go with it – numbness, tingling, loss of sensation or even burning in your arms and legs

You could have “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome” or “FBSS”.

You’re not alone.  Back surgeries fail so often now they actually have a name for the condition patients develop when it happens.  As back pain experts, NeuropathyDR® clinicians see patients like you almost every day.

What Exactly Is “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome”?

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome[1] is what the medical community calls the chronic pain in the back and/or legs that happens after a patient undergoes back surgery.

Several things can contribute to the development of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.  It can be caused by a herniated disc not corrected by the surgery, swelling or a “mechanical” neuropathy that causes pressure on the spinal nerves, a change in the way your joints move, even depression or anxiety.

If you smoke, have diabetes or any autoimmune or vascular disease, you have a much higher chance of developing Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.

If you do have any of these conditions, think long and hard before you agree to back surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

You know you don’t want another surgery and who could blame you? You’ve already been through the pain of surgery and recovery only to be in worse shape than you were before the surgery.

The good news is that there are some excellent alternatives to surgery.  One of the best places to start is with your local NeuropathyDr® specialist.

NeuropathyDR® clinicians have a treatment protocol is often perfect for treating Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.

Hallmarks of for the chronic back pain associated with Failed Back Surgery Syndrome are:

Therapeutic massage to manipulate the soft tissues of the body to relax the muscles and eliminate “knots” in the muscles that can cause or contribute to your back pain and other symptoms.

Manual therapy to restore motion to the vertebrae, alleviate pressure and get your spine and muscular system back into proper alignment.

Yoga and other low impact exercises to aid in relaxation, pain management and alleviating stress and depression.

Proper nutrition to help your body heal itself.  This is especially important if you have diabetes or some other underlying illness that could be contributing to your peripheral neuropathy.

All of these are components of the NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol.

The right combination of these treatment approaches in the hands of a knowledgeable health care provider, well versed in the treating Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, can be an excellent alternative to yet another surgery.

If you’re tired of living with the pain and don’t want to go under the knife again, contact your local NeuropathyDR® specialist to see if their exclusive protocol for treating chronic back pain, peripheral neuropathy and Failed Back Surgery Syndrome will work for you.

You’ll leave us wishing you had made the call sooner.

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Getting Off The Weight Loss Merry Go Round

In today’s post, Dr John Hayes Jr talks to patients and professionals alike about the single most important modifiable risk factor for neuropathy, and yes, a myriad of diseases and health issues.

This is no laughing matter. Obesity, metabolic syndrome & related diseases are skyrocketing out of control.

We are seeing patients at younger and younger ages coming down with devastating illnesses. Our practitioners are seeing the incidence of killers like heart disease and diabetes rise and present earlier and earlier.

Weight loss myths, fads, books, videos abound, no wonder it is a billion dollar industry in our modern world. It is the weight loss merry-go-round!

There is an answer! Fitness is key but diet and healthy eating is crucial. Thats why our most popular post of all time is the NeuropathyDR Diet Plan. Thousands of downloads are distributed online around the world every week!

For in clinic patients, the NeuropathyDR Diet and fitness plans are personalized in our licensed treatment centers, often after extensive personal testing and laboratory evaluations.

Watch, listen carefully and let our Licensed Practitioners help you too! You can get help from any NeuropathyDR Practitioner live, or virtually through our telemedicine portals.

Though it may not seem easy, getting off the weight-loss merry-go-round is crucial.

There’s no other way to say it.  To get off the weight loss merry-go-round may just save your life, in addition to helping your neuropathy and a whole host of serious illnesses and diseases.

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What Do YOU Need To Know About Metabolic Syndrome

Increased blood pressure…

Higher than normal insulin or blood sugar levels…

Excess body fat, particularly around your waist…

Abnormal cholesterol levels – and that means both “good” and “bad” cholesterol…

If you have not just one but all of these conditions, you may have Metabolic Syndrome. And that increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes as well as peripheral neuropathy.

If you know you have one of these symptoms, you may have others and not know it.  Do any of these sound familiar?

1. Obesity – Are you carrying excess weight, particularly around your waist? Do you have an “apple shape”?

2. Elevated Blood Pressure – If your systolic (the top number) blood pressure is higher than 120 or your diastolic (the bottom number) is higher than 80, you have blood pressure issues that you need to talk to your doctor about.

3. Abnormal Cholesterol Levels – If you have high triglycerides (blood fat) and low “good” or HDL cholesterol, you need to ask your doctor about treatment.

4. Insulin Resistance – If your body doesn’t properly regulate the amount of sugar in your blood, you could be on your way to becoming diabetic.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about testing to make sure you don’t have others.  With the exception of obesity, any of these could be silent symptoms that remain undetected without proper medical testing.

Stay tuned…in our next edition, we’ll talk about the causes of metabolic syndrome and give you an idea of what your lifestyle may be doing to contribute to your metabolic syndrome.

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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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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.

Neuropathy Basics: Distinguishing Sensory Neuropathy from Motor Neuropathy is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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