Top 5 Neuropathy Myths

Have You Fallen For These Neuropathy Myths? Find the Real Facts Here.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there concerning neuropathy—what it is, what causes it, and most of all, what you can do about it.

In some cases, these neuropathy myths arise from confusion due to outdated information, misleading claims, and rumors perpetuated by neuropathy sufferers looking for a cure.

Take a look at the following neuropathy myths and the real facts known by current medical science, and decide for yourself.

Myth #1: Neuropathy pain happens naturally with age.

Neuropathy can happen to people of any age; it’s just a little more common in the senior population. And neuropathic pain is not inevitable with advanced age. Instead, it’s correlated with certain problems that can happen to older people, such as drug complications and metabolic issues. In fact, there’s plenty you can do to help prevent neuropathic pain from negatively impacting your quality of life as you get older.

Myth #2: My friend with neuropathic pain says that my symptoms can’t be neuropathy, because my pain is nothing like my friend’s pain.

Neuropathy can present with a variety of specific symptoms. These can include sharp pain, lack of normal sensation, unpleasant tingling, or inability to retain control over motor functions. Some individuals will have only one symptom, while others have multiple indicators of nerve damage. In the most severe cases, there can even be organ damage that impairs normal function. One person’s neuropathy may not look anything like another person’s neuropathic pain. That’s why it’s so important to get a diagnosis from a trained clinician with a background in treating neuropathy.

Myth #3: Only people with diabetes develop neuropathy symptoms.

It’s true that neuropathy is one of the symptoms commonly associated with diabetes. However, there are many other patients who are affected by neuropathy—including people in chemotherapy cancer treatment, people with minor physical problems like carpel tunnel syndrome, and those who have undergone an illness or injury.

Myth #4: There is a simple cure for neuropathy.

Unfortunately, although there are many websites and books out there claiming that they alone can provide a “cure” for neuropathic pain, the truth is that there’s no real cure. It’s also important to keep in mind that neuropathy looks different for every individual sufferer, so how could a website or book possibly offer a miracle cure for YOU and your individual pain? Any cookie cutter solution is likely to be a scam or just plain ineffective. Always talk with your physician before beginning any type of neuropathy treatment program.

Myth #5: If there’s no cure for neuropathy, then there’s no point in trying to treat my symptoms.

Actually, many neuropathy sufferers have been able to significantly improve their quality of life and even reduce the severity of their symptoms. There’s no “cure,” but there is a proven effective treatment regimen that blends home care and lifestyle changes with clinical treatment protocols to ease neuropathy pain.

You’ve already taken the first step by reading this article. An informed patient is a powerful patient! For more concrete, practical information about neuropathy and how you can turn your symptoms around, take a look at the neuropathy owner’s manual: I Beat Neuropathy!

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Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms After Surgery

If You Are Experiencing Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms Following a Major Surgery, You Are Not Alone. Keep Reading to Learn Why This Happens and What You Can Do About It.

Recovering from surgery is always a bit of an ordeal. It can feel like a huge triumph just to avoid infection, wean off those post-surgery medications, and start feeling somewhat normal again.

Unfortunately, surgery can sometimes cause brand-new neuropathy problems, including:

  • Nerve pain
  • Extreme sensations of warmth or cold in the skin of extremities
  • Inability to sense vibration or touch
  • Burning or tingling in feet and hands

There are a lot of reasons why you could be experience neuropathy pain after surgery. Let’s take a look at three of the most common reasons.

First of all, the use of general anesthetic, especially prolonged use in lengthy surgeries, can cause hypoxia. This is a condition in which the anesthetic prevents certain types of nerves in your body from getting the right amount of oxygen, leading to damage.

In addition, nerve compression, leading to neuropathic pain, can be caused by conditions like carpel tunnel syndrome and sciatica. Experiencing neuropathy symptoms after a surgery that intended to alleviate these conditions could simply be a new awareness of existing symptoms that were not adequately addressed by the surgery.

The question is, now that you know you have neuropathy—a real condition, not something that’s “all in your head”—what can you do about it?

There are several steps you can take right now to alleviate your neuropathy pain.

First, make an appointment for a consultation with a trained neuropathy doctor who can accurately diagnose your nerve damage issues along with any global health problems (such as diabetes) that can exacerbate your symptoms. Trained NeuropathyDR® clinicians are knowledgeable in customizing available treatments to address your unique neuropathy symptoms and health needs.

Next, begin to educate yourself so that you can be your own most effective healthcare advocate. Learn all you can about neuropathy treatment, including home treatment options and beneficial lifestyle changes that can keep your symptoms at bay.

Be sure to check out our Self-Guided Care page to learn more about at-home peripheral neuropathy treatment options, including the FDA-approved NDGen Home Care Kit.

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Self-Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain is a Dangerous Game

Attempting to Diagnosis and Treat Neuropathic Pain On Your Own Just Delays Effective Treatment (and Could Worsen Your Symptoms)

In some ways, the Internet has been a blessing in terms of the availability of medical information. This can be so helpful if you suspect that you have the flu, or a mild skin rash, or poison ivy.

Where it’s not helpful, and may be very harmful indeed, is when you rely entirely on the Internet for self-diagnosis of serious health concerns related to neuropathic pain—including diabetic neuropathy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, shingles, peripheral neuropathy, or chemotherapy neuropathy.

When you attempt to self-diagnose and self-treat these conditions, you are impeding a truly helpful evaluation by a trained neuropathy doctor that can prevent additional nerve damage and substantially improve your quality of life.

In short, by attempting to treat your own neuropathic pain, you are wasting your health and valuable time—in short, making your condition worse. Early treatment is crucial for the success of eliminating neuropathic pain.

We’ve talked to so many patients with neuropathic pain who delayed seeing a NeuropathyDR® clinician because they wanted to save money. They inevitably tell us that they regret the wasted time and the long-term expense caused by increased nerve damage and all that it entails.

When you are dealing with neuropathy related to diabetes, chemotherapy treatment, and other serious conditions, it’s so important to think long-term. Neuropathy isn’t just an annoying side effect. It is a degenerative condition that will get worse over time and complicate other health concerns.

You may have learned that self-reliance and “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is a good thing. In the case of neuropathic pain symptoms, however, the worst thing you can do is spend time trying to diagnosis and treat yourself.

When we say that self-treatment and home care is important, we’re referring to lifestyle elements implemented over time that complement the medical therapies recommended for you by your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Self-treatment is an important component of your neuropathy treatment, AFTER a clinical diagnosis. Anything else is just a delaying tactic—one that could severely impact your health, not just today but years from now.

To read more about the diagnosis process and where to go from here with neuropathic pain, take a look at our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy Pain Is Serious Business! The Hidden Dangers of Autonomic Neuropathy

Neuropathy Pain Can Lead to Serious and Life-Threatening Nerve Damage. Here’s What You Need to Know for Your Long-Term Health.

You already know that neuropathy pain can significantly impair your quality of life on a daily basis, and in a long-term way. But did you realize that ignoring neuropathy pain can actually contribute to the development of life-threatening illness?

When there is nerve damage to your autonomic systems (the parts of your body that function automatically, like digestion and blood pressure), these systems are likely to stop behaving like they should. This is called autonomic neuropathy, and it can actually threaten your life. Any impairment of autonomic systems is an immediate danger to your health.

When are you at risk for autonomic neuropathy? You should consult a qualified neuropathy physician if you have any of these conditions that are frequently associated with neuropathic pain and damage from autonomic neuropathy:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer that is being treated with chemotherapy
  • AIDS or HIV
  • Lupus

It is also extremely important for you to seek the support of a NeuropathyDR® clinician if you are experiencing any of these nerve damage symptoms:

  • Unusual sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling or numbness in extremities
  • Change in the way you feel sense hot and cold temperatures
  • Sexual problems
  • Loss of ability to control your limbs or fingers and toes

You might also be in a high-risk category for developing autonomic neuropathy related to neuropathic pain if you have had a severe injury or amputation. In these cases, be sure to see a NeuropathyDR® clinician for a consultation now, instead of waiting for symptoms to develop.

There are times when a trained physician can detect nerve damage before any symptoms arise, and early intervention in treatment is key—not just to quality of life over time in terms of neuropathy pain, but also avoiding life-threatening scenarios related to autonomic neuropathy.

For a list of NeuropathyDR® clinicians near you, see Find A Neuropathy Treatment Center.

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The First Steps You Should Take After You Learn That You Have Neuropathy

Unsure What To Do Next After a Neuropathy Diagnosis? The First Steps Are Simple But Effective in Managing This Condition.

Finally, after a lot of confusion and misdiagnosis, your doctor has said that your symptoms are caused by neuropathy. It may be a relief to have a diagnosis and a name for the pain, tingling, or numbness you’ve been experiencing. Then again, you may simply feel discouraged and have no idea what to do next.

By far, the number one question I get from patients is, “Now what?” After a neuropathy diagnosis, what should a patient do next?

In particular, the doctor who diagnosed you may not have been able to offer much guidance. Most doctors just don’t have the training or knowledge in this area.

But there are specialists out there who can collaborate with you on a customized neuropathy treatment plan, one that is tailored to your specific needs—because neuropathy is not a cookie-cutter condition.

My advice to you as a newly diagnosed neuropathy patient is to follow these steps:

  1. Immediately put in place an effective management plan for any urgent or underlying medical conditions that you may have, including cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
  2. Locate a neuropathy treatment specialist who can aid you in forming a treatment plan specific to your needs. If there is not a trained neuropathy doctor local to you—one who is willing to advise real corrective action rather than simply masking symptoms with medication—then there may be a NeuropathyDR® specialist who can consult from a distance with your medical team.
  3. Look closely at the everyday habits that are impacting your health. Do you smoke? Are you physically inactive? These are things that you can, and should, change so that your overall health will improve both short-term and long-term. Willingness to shift your eating habits toward a supportive neuropathy diet will also have a huge impact on your symptoms and well-being.

There is much that you can do on your own to benefit your health and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Working hand in hand with your NeuropathyDR® clinician, your health WILL improve.

Take a look at our patient’s guide to neuropathy and how to navigate your neuropathy treatment: I Beat Neuropathy! Getting Your Life Back on Track.

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Peripheral Neuropathy Can Be Managed with More Frequent Meals

Contrary to Popular Thinking About Metabolism and Weight Management, Eating More Often Can Benefit Those with Peripheral Neuropathy.

We all like to blame obesity and excessive/unhealthy eating habits for the development of metabolic problems. In a way, it really is that simple: when you consume more calories at one meal than your body needs, and when what you’re eating is also laden with fats and carbohydrates, then you probably will gain too much weight—which can affect your body systems negatively.

On the other hand, changing HOW OFTEN you eat can have a positive impact and can even assist you in managing your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

By eating more frequent meals, you will be training your metabolism to operate differently, teaching your body to burn fat rather than store it. Your blood sugar with also even out, and you’ll stay warmer overall—two bonuses for those dealing with neuropathy related to diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

However, there’s a catch. You’ll need to eat smaller and more frequent meals and/or snacks that contain fewer carbohydrates and some type of protein. Ideally, you’ll be eating something every three hours.

An example of the kinds of meals I’m talking about would be a breakfast of steel-cut oats with berries, or perhaps a protein shake. For a substantial snack, you could have a small handful of almonds (which contain healthy fats).

Of course, if you suffer from diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy, you’ll need to be very careful about sugar intake. This just underscores the importance of working with a neuropathy treatment clinician such as one of our NeuropathyDR® professionals, who can create a customized dietary and treatment plan based on your peripheral neuropathy symptoms and individual health needs.

Looking for a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area? To work with one of our specially trained peripheral neuropathy professionals, click here.

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Neuropathy Diet Essentials: What You Need to Know About Inositol

Don’t Overlook This Key Nutrient’s Impact on Your Neuropathy Diet!

Would you believe that 20 years ago, I was treating diabetic neuropathy with a specialized neuropathy diet? Then and now, one of the components of a therapeutic diet for neuropathy includes inositol.

Unlike vitamins (which have to be absorbed from dietary sources), inositol is one of a few substances that our own bodies can produce. We naturally synthesize inositol, a type of carbohydrate, from glucose.

The thing is, we don’t really make high enough amounts to be considered a therapeutic dose, so we have to supplement through dietary intake.

Why is inositol so important? In particular, why is it vital for people with neuropathic pain who need a healing neuropathy diet?

In short, this substance helps your body to lower cholesterol and break down fats. Inositol also has a positive effect on the way that insulin interacts with certain types of cells—which is why diabetic neuropathy sufferers need to know about this important supplement. If you’re dealing with diabetes and its side effects, you already know that insulin is a pancreatic hormone that has several vital roles in the body, including fat storage and control of blood sugar.

Other patients who have been helped by inositol include women with polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), as well as those with non-standard lipid profiles like those found in metabolic syndrome. In addition, mental health challenges like bipolar disorder and depression have sometimes been treated with inositol due to its known capacity to positively support brain function and nerve health.

For your neuropathy diet, some of the best sources of inositol include fruits, nuts, and several types of vegetables. Naturally, if you are struggling with neuropathy related to diabetes, you will need to limit fruit intake because of its sugar content.

Looking for more information about the effectiveness and format of the ideal neuropathy diet? Click here for I Beat Neuropathy, a comprehensive guide to self-treatment through diet and lifestyle changes.

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Are You Incorporating LED As Part of Your Neuropathy Treatment?

LED Use is Growing as a Neuropathy Treatment—Here’s Why.

LED stands for “light emitting diodes,” and it’s a modality that has been around for many years now. We have evolved from treating wounds and diseases with simple exposure to sunlight beginning centuries ago, to providing targeted light energy to heal specific types of pain and illness by penetrating the body’s tissues with light particles.

In terms of neuropathy treatment, LED technology is capable of stimulating greater efficiency of the body’s processes at a cellular level. In short, this means improving metabolism.

Our main focus from 2008 has been treating peripheral neuropathy through metabolic stimulation. We’ve used electrotherapy and LED therapy to accomplish this.

The NeuropathyDR approach combines many different neuropathy treatment modalities that have been shown to be effective in reducing or eliminating neuropathic pain and discomfort, particularly for those who suffer from complications of wound healing due to diabetes.

Your NeuropathyDR clinician will tailor your neuropathy treatment for your specific health challenges, due to the unique nature of neuropathic pain for each individual. Some of the key components of NeuropathyDR treatment often include:

  • Nutrition and supplementation
  • Exercise and physical therapy
  • LED therapy
  • Hands-on, injection-free therapy modalities
  • Neurostimulation techniques
  • Relaxation and stress management

Your NeuropathyDR clinician will create a custom treatment plan just for you, based on your medical history and symptoms as well as a thorough physical examination to provide additional data about your health condition.

It’s so important in neuropathy treatment to follow a strategic, detailed wellness plan based on your individual needs. With trained NeuropathyDR clinicians throughout the U.S. and beyond, you are likely to find a clinician near you who can provide this hands-on, injection-free care. You can also take a look at our NDGen kit for at-home neuropathy treatment.

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What Are the Key Elements of a Beneficial Neuropathy Diet?

Nutrition Plays a Big Role in Healing Neuropathy—and Poor Nutrition Can Make Your Symptoms Worse.

Neuropathy symptoms resulting from conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, lupus, diabetes, or shingles can make life pretty miserable. Unfortunately, a medical treatment program focused on managing neuropathy only through injections or other medication may ultimately provide you with little relief.
That’s because so many symptoms of neuropathy are caused or made worse by nutritional deficiencies. Only by addressing those key elements missing in your diet can you see substantial and long-term improvement in neuropathy pain.

A beneficial neuropathy diet is especially important for you if you’re also dealing with gastritis, Crohn’s disease, or similar types of digestive issues. In that case, your body is simply not able to absorb the needed nutrients from the foods you eat, leading to chronic vitamin deficiency that over time can encourage neuropathy symptoms. As you can see, your body’s ability to process nutrients properly can have systemic effects that go beyond your digestive system to alter your quality of life.

Fortunately, what this means is that you can take charge of your neuropathy symptoms by making dietary changes. Following a neuropathy diet, along with other supportive treatments recommended by your NeuropathyDR® clinician, is likely to manifest noticeable differences in your symptoms.

Key Elements of a Neuropathy Diet

A nutritional plan for neuropathy needs to include the following:

  • Legumes and whole grains, which are a great source of B vitamins to support nerve health.
  • Eggs and fish, which contain additional B vitamins including B1 and B12.
  • Fruits and vegetables with a yellow or orange color, including yellow bell peppers, squash, oranges, and carrots, which contain vitamin C and vitamin A for an immune system boost.
  • Kale, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables that offer magnesium and calcium for your immune system and nerve health.
  • Foods rich in vitamin E (avocado, almonds, unsalted peanuts, tomatoes, unsalted sunflower seeds, fish).

If there are any nutrient gaps in your neuropathy diet due to an inability to eat some of the foods listed above, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to provide an appropriate supplement.

Remember, one key way that you can take charge of your health starting today is to implement beneficial dietary changes. Your neuropathy diet can make all the difference in the world.

For more information about neuropathy diet components and other ways to take control of your neuropathy symptoms, take a look at these resources for Self-Guided Care.

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Neuropathy and the Holidays: Ways to Reduce Damaging Holiday Stress

Holiday stress can contribute to worsening of neuropathy symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about how to effectively cope at this time of year.

Hands down, the holidays are one of the most stressful events we encounter in our lives… and they come every year, just like clockwork!

That’s true for anyone, but it’s also true that people with neuropathy related to diabetes or chemotherapy cancer treatment may have higher stress levels than most. In this situation, without a strategic self-care in place, you may be feeling far from thankful or joyful. Holiday stress can add a physical burden to your already overburdened body.

But there’s good news. Holiday stress can be significantly reduced with just a little advance planning. Here’s how you can reduce the impact of the holidays on your neuropathy symptoms.

First, begin by understanding the physical toll that stress takes on your body’s systems. Whether it’s mentally or physically based, stress activates the release of hormones that tell your liver to create glucose, which can wreck your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic. What’s more, people who are stressed and tired are more likely to ignore their glucose levels or stick to a diabetes-friendly diet.

The second strategy for reducing neuropathy aggravating stress during the holidays is to know yourself and what is most stressful for you. Do what you can to control and minimize your exposure to stressful situations. For example, if driving during rush hour frays your nerves, try to vary your route to work to avoid some of that traffic or leave home at a different time than usual. Or consider alternatives, such as public transportation or carpooling. If you hate to cook but feel obligated to provide a lavish Thanksgiving meal, think of a different way to accomplish the same goal, such as ordering an already prepared turkey or asking a family member to share the cooking responsibilities this year.

Third, it’s a great idea from a neuropathy treatment standpoint to teach yourself a couple of simple relaxation exercises now so that they are easily accessed in your memory when you really need them. Start by reconnecting with your breathing—not by trying to change the pattern of your breath, but simple noticing how it feels to breathe. Spend at least twenty seconds relaxing into your breathing pattern. Progressive relaxation, in which you tense the muscles of each part of your body and then relax them, can also be an effective way to deal with holiday stress.

Be sure to talk with your NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways for you personally to minimize holiday stress. He or she will be able to prescribe specific types of exercise, supplements, and healthy eating that can support you best during the stress of the holiday season.

If you need help connecting with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area who can effectively monitor and treat your neuropathy, click here.

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