Taking Charge of Your Health

Is Your Neuropathy Making You Feel Like You’ve Lost Control?

Neuropathy symptoms can make you feel like your health has spun out of control. But regardless of the particulars of your situation, there’s one thing for sure—anxiety and disappointment about the state of your personal healthcare are likely exacerbating your symptoms.

The number one reason to step in and take charge of your own wellness is that feeling in control will make you feel better. Anxiety can compound existing symptoms (such as trouble sleeping) and create new ones by putting the focus on what’s not working. But it’s important to remember that you DO have control over many of the factors that can positively influence your health in a big way.

Many people come to us looking for a “magic bullet,” one simple pill or procedure that will cure neuropathy overnight and permanently. They want a neuropathy treatment formula in a bottle like a one-a-day supplement.

Of course, there are many medically-based aspects to our treatment program, but there are also several significant components of the program that are completely in your control as beneficial lifestyle changes to impact neuropathy. Here are just two simple examples of things that YOU can control in your healthcare, starting today.

First, begin making small, gradual improvements in your diet. Start by weaning away from sodas and processed foods. Notice that you don’t have to go cold turkey or give them up “forever.” Just switch to thinking of them as occasional treats. Choose organic and local produce and other foods whenever you can. Seek out natural and healthy alternatives to your usual meal routine.

Second, get moving. Many people shudder at the thought of doing “exercise”. Forget all that and just start moving more than usual—a walk around the block twice a day, slow-dancing to the oldies in your living room, or even vigorous housework or gardening are all candidates for healthy and fun exercise. Make sure you check with your doctor first to find out what’s appropriate for you.

The key is to think of “diet and exercise” not as unreachable fitness goals but as things you already incorporate into your everyday life. Just introduce a small shift in the WAY you do these things, and let a tiny pebble of intention turn into an avalanche of increased health!

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscribe to our newsletters at http://neuropathydr.com.

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Be Your Own Best Neuropathy Advocate

“I’m not sure I have neuropathy, nor is my doctor…”

Unfortunately, this is something we hear all too often at our neuropathy and chronic pain clinic. This is why it is so important to get the knowledge out there in the hands of more competent and caring neuropathy treatment specialists. Being your own neuropathy advocate can also go a long way to ensuring you receive the treatment that you need to ease your symptoms and improve the quality of your life.

One of the worst things we can do for our symptoms is fail to try to treat the sleep disturbance and life disruption that oftentimes accompanies so many illnesses, including the various forms of peripheral neuropathy and chronic pain. This is where you can step in and become your own best neuropathy advocate.

Communicate with your providers. Some of our lifestyle choices, such as diet, exercise or lack thereof, alcohol consumption, can exacerbate our symptoms. Be honest with your providers about these issues. And ask them what treatment options are available to you.

At our clinic we strongly recommend drug therapy only as a second, not first, resort!

The good news is there are now effective treatments, including the usage of portable devices like the NDGen, packaged in all our home care kits, which can be used by you or a loved one even at bedtime, which can make a huge difference in the resolution of your neuropathy and pain symptoms.

It’s also important to note that treating early and aggressively like this during the process of neuropathy and pain diagnosis has no negative side effects!

In fact, improving quality of life immediately is one of the reasons for our great NeuropathyDR® treatment success.

But this will require two things:

First, shifting your own mindset. Second, becoming your own neuropathy advocate.

The good news is, when neuropathy and chronic pain treatments are not harmful, and likely to be helpful in the short-term, most physicians and therapists are open-minded, and will go out of their way to help their patients.

But sometimes, it’s not enough to do your own homework. This is where NeuropathyDR® comes in.

One of the things we do all day long is field questions from patients and health care providers regarding our neuropathy treatment program success.

Often times, simply getting the knowledge out there in the hands of more competent and caring neuropathy treatment specialists is all that is needed.

Always remember, we are ready to begin help when you are!

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

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It Can’t Be My Diet!

”Why do I feel so lousy all the time?”

Unfortunately we hear this often at our NeuropathyDR clinics. You see, there is a tendency now for people not to prepare or consume fresh foods, especially vegetables. Too often, fast food works its way into our diets.

As for people with peripheral neuropathy and chronic pain, this is like pouring gasoline on fire!

The reason for this is that poor food choices raise blood fats and blood sugars. When blood sugar is increased, some of the sugar molecules tend to attach to proteins; proteins like those that help make up our muscles and skin.

This then leads to aches, stiffness, and quite possibly inflammation. For the peripheral neuropathy sufferer, regardless of the cause, this typically poor diet seems to make it worse.

Increased sugar consumption in addition to aggravating your underlying neuropathy, will cause you to gain weight, lose energy and sleep more poorly.

The good news is however when you make deliberate changes to when and how you are eating, you often times will find yourself feeling better than ever!

So, how do we do this without becoming overwhelmed?

The simplest way to do this is to keep a food diary or record for a week. Keep track of everything you consume. You may be shocked at how much sugar is in things like soda, ice cream, and other things that may have become a staple for your diet.

Like most neuropathy patients, you probably know you should be eating better.

When neuropathy patients write all of this down, changes are much easier for us to help you with.

Always remember, neuropathy is oftentimes a manifestation, or made worse by poor metabolism, secondary to poor diet and lack of enough activity.

Improving both of these can often improve most forms of peripheral neuropathy!

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

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Common Sense Approach to Neuropathy Treatment

Would you hit a Fly with a Sledgehammer?

Of course not. It’s just common sense!

Then why are clinicians prescribing invasive methods of treatment for any condition before more simple and often times old fashioned common sense methods?

Why has so much about modern healthcare, for what were once relatively simple to manage conditions, become just like this?

One relatively recent example was highlighted by the deaths and serious infections due to contamination of steroids and drugs administered for back pain and spinal injections.

Of course I’m not saying these don’t have a place. They do.

What I have issue with is when invasive methods of treatment for any condition are prescribed before more simple and often times old fashioned common sense methods of management for spine pain including modified rest, exercise, traction, physical therapy, spinal manipulation, and noninvasive therapy modalities.

The same could also be said for many of the other conditions that we now treat with drugs instead of lifestyle and behaviors FIRST.  This includes GERD, minor depression, sleep disturbance, fibromyalgia, and other forms of chronic pain.

Furthermore, third-party payers and insurance companies do not help the situation because often reimbursement is provided for invasive and expensive procedures while these modalities are simply considered “not medically necessary”. There is no common sense in any of this!

I’m old enough to remember when this was never the case. Unfortunately, it’s also been very difficult to change. However there are some things you can do.

First of all, always inquire about inexpensive and noninvasive procedures when considering any healthcare choice. This is especially true in spine pain and peripheral neuropathy.

For example, too often patients with peripheral neuropathy are treated with expensive medications with significant side effects before exploring possible underlying causes that are easily correctable such as obesity and metabolic syndrome.

And very often patients tell us the side effects from the treatment with medications and invasive injections for pain are worse than the disorder itself!

But there are some things you can do, and one of them you’re doing right now.

And that is to learn everything you can to become your own health care advocate.

Now this is a situation that also has significant ties to politics and government, I’ll let you have those discussions on your own.

However if you like my input, I’m more than happy to contribute!

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

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How Behavior Affects Neuropathy

Does My Behavior Affect My Neuropathy?”

“Wow. You mean how I act around my family, and even my health care professionals has an impact on my peace of mind, my health and maybe even my neuropathy treatment?”

In a word, yes! This may be a very difficult discussion for some, but a very important one. In the clinic, we call this “illness behavior”.

Lets break it down. When you were a little kid, you likely got those scrapes from falling down, or maybe the assault from a bully, or even something worse. Just like me you learned that being “sick” certainly brings more attention to us. And in an emergency, rightly so!

But NOT letting the correct people know you need help in a crisis is just as bad!

Problems arise when we carry these inappropriate learned behaviors from childhood over into adulthood. Often it begins subconsciously. Being diagnosed with a new health problem, like peripheral neuropathy, having a genetic disease or major accident is life changing.

These all require a period of time to uncover real choices, treatment options, etc. And in neuropathy treatments especially this is true now more than ever as more and more neuropathy claims are being made.

Here’s my point. When we display illness behaviors, the biggest negative effect is on ourselves! If we tell our subconscious mind how sick we are, what do we get? More sickness!

This in no way demeans anyone suffering from a serious or life threatening disease. But plenty of studies even involving really sick patients tell us as neuropathy treatment specialists that when you have a healthier outlook, and a healthy set of behaviors to match, the greater the chance we have at doing really well with your treatment success!

We also know that our attitudes and behaviors affect our immune systems, our sleep, and yes even our aging process.

We also know that even in really severe illness, our behaviors have a huge impact.

If you’d like another perspective, watch at the link below as I talk for 3 minutes about the theory of learned helplessness…

Feeling Helpless?

And the most difficult but important behavior of all?

Asking for professional and spiritual guidance, or in a word: acceptance.

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

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The Second Step in Neuropathy Treatment

Recently we talked about the very first step in dealing with neuropathy, and really any major life challenge. Pain is something nobody welcomes into his or her life.

In last week’s discussion, you heard Mal Duane and I talk about a different approach to treating neuropathy patients than you may have expected. And I bet you don’t about hear it from your friends who do not suffer neuropathy, and maybe even your own doctors.

Simply put, we spoke about regaining a sense of control. Just taking some really very basic steps. You see, so much of modern health care is still about what can doctors do for us, when instead we should be asking ourselves daily “Am I doing my part and what else should I be doing?

Or not doing.

In the clip below, I spoke with Lara Amaral about chronic pain, inflammation and neuropathy, their causes, and what you can do to help yourself deal with many forms of chronic pain.

Dr John Hayes Jr Discusses Healthy Habits, Neuropathy and Pain

So if regaining control is the first step, then “action” is the second step. A game plan in any of life’s goals, backed up by great coaches and cheerleaders, is so important to all of us, whether we admit it or not.

Action is what allows us to actually maintain the control we start out with! And it could be the simplest step!  For example, today, it’s no more soda. Next week is cutting the poor foods out of our diet. Even if these steps have to be taken one by one.

Think about that. Don’t you feel better with each good thing you do just for you, just because it’s the right thing to do?

But we can’t have one without the other. Intention without action is wasted life energy. To do so is inviting failure.

And I know that’s not what you want from your neuropathy treatments.

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

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What In-Home Neuropathy Treatment Can Do for You

Sadly, many of the most common neuropathy treatments are only about hiding some of the miserable symptoms.

One of the things I like most about what I do as a neuropathy treatment professional and writer is hearing from all my wonderful friends and patients. This might be on the Facebook, Twitter, and of course Gmail.

It never fails, when I’m most looking for encouragement in the tough world of neuropathy treatment, friends like you always show up!

For that, I simply can’t thank you enough for having the courage to share your neuropathy treatment stories.

Neuropathy may be the most widespread and poorly understood health issue of our day, and this seems to get worse all the time!

And now, the Internet makes this a bigger problem. But don’t get me wrong, good information about neuropathy treatment is helpful for sure.

Sometimes, I hear about your neuropathy treatment successes. Often you tell me how much our talking together every couple days helps you get through your neuropathy pain, numbness, and burning.

But all too often, I hear only about neuropathy treatment failures!

This of course is why you are reading this today!

You see, most common neuropathy treatments are only about hiding some of the miserable symptoms. Or the pain, sleeplessness or tingling, as if that’s all that neuropathy is.

There is a common misconception that just following this diet, taking this supplement or that drug, is all you need to do to ease your neuropathy.

Almost nothing is ever said in most neuropathy treatment circles about making your nerves actually work as good as they can again!

Of course, this is different for each neuropathy patient, depending upon the cause of your neuropathy.

One of the most amazing things about our work in the neuropathy treatment clinic is the discovery that in many neuropathy patient’s, nerves are much more “plastic” than we ever thought possible.

This means, that nerves are not always “dead” as some doctors and therapists may believe. But not all neuropathy treatments work! And nothing works for everybody.

When proper treatment can be done, results can be life changing!

So what I am going in our upcoming series of articles is to talk about home care and professionally applied neuropathy treatments that really do work.

Most importantly, I’ll tell you why I think they do!

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

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Neuropathy & Weight: How to Gain 60 Pounds in 1 Year

For many, summertime can be a months-long social event. The warmer weather and freedom from hectic schedules ushers in barbecue season, fire pits with friends on the weekends, and trips to the beach… but often, social events can go hand in hand with overindulging in food and drink options that may not be our healthiest choice.

I once had the opportunity to interview Hank Cardello, a former food industry expert. Hank Cardello’s major role is to teach us all, consumers and industry experts alike, the benefits of reducing the calories we eat, while at the same time improving food quality.

During that discussion, Hank said something that really hit home because many neuropathy patients suffer from diabetes or metabolic syndrome. This type of neuropathy happens largely because of being overweight.

Hank explained that it is not at all uncommon, and VERY easy for us, to eat an extra 600 calories or more per day then we need. This was not true 40 to 50 years ago.

If we drink soda, or eat lots of refined and pre-packaged foods, that number can be much higher.

Here’s the problem for neuropathy patients. 600 extra calories per day is 4200 per week. 3500 calories extra per week can easily turn into 1 pound of fat. This can very easily turn into 60 pounds or more during a year!

So you can see, it’s very easy to eat way more than we should or need to for normal requirements. And this is devastating for some one with neuropathy.

So, what’s the neuropathy patient to do?

First, go back to my last post and review the neuropathy diet. In there, we even showed you how to walk and shop the supermarket for neuropathy diets.

Next, start to measure your food. Seriously, a set of measuring cups and a small scale work wonders. When my neuropathy patients first start to do this they are shocked at how much more we eat than we really need!

Don’t forget, winning the neuropathy battle is dependent upon your ability to function at your very best!

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

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Combatting Nutritional Neuropathy – A Healthy Diet Is Your Best Weapon

If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy as a result of[1]

• Diabetes
• Cancer
• Lupus
• Shingles
• Exposure to toxins
• Lyme Disease
• HIV/AIDS
• Repetitive stress injury

We don’t need to tell you how miserable the symptoms can be…

If you

• Take your medication…
• Take precautions to account for muscles weakness or loss of strength in your arms and legs…
• Do whatever your doctor tells you to do and your symptoms still aren’t improving.

In addition to the neuropathy caused by your illness, you could be suffering from nutritional neuropathy.

What Causes Nutritional Neuropathy?

One of the leading causes of nutritional neuropathy is vitamin deficiency, especially Vitamin B12.  If you don’t eat meat, dairy products or even fish, you might not be getting the vitamins you would normally get from those foods.

If, in addition to your underlying illness, you also suffer from

• Anemia
• Gastritis
• Crohn’s disease
• Other chronic digestive problem

Your body is probably not getting the nutrition it needs from what you’re eating.  That can lead to nutritional neuropathy.

Any condition you have that affects your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients and vitamins from your food can lead to nutritional neuropathy.  And that just makes a bad situation worse if you already have some other type of neuropathy caused by one of the illnesses we just mentioned.

How Nutritional Neuropathy Affects Your Body

Even though the name implies that nutritional neuropathy is linked to your digestive system, it can affect much more than that.

Your body runs on what you feed it.  If your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs, the malnutrition begins to affect every system in your body.  Eventually it affects the peripheral nervous system. The nerves are damaged and no longer function properly.

If your nutritional neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, it can lead to problems with blood pressure, an inability to control your bladder or bowels, or even sexual dysfunction.

If your nutritional neuropathy affects your sensory nerves, you can have problems with your sense of touch – not just possibly an inability to feel sensation but a heightened sense of sensation.  Imagine the sheets on your bed feeling like sand paper against your skin.

If your nutritional neuropathy affects your motor nerves, you can lose the ability to control your muscles, you could lose your balance and the muscle cramps you experience from your neuropathy can be even worse.

Even if your neuropathy is being treated with physical therapy or even drug therapies, you still need a healthy diet to give your body what it needs to heal.

If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding nutritional neuropathy, you need the right diet.

Good Nutrition Can Be Your Secret Weapon

The very first thing you need to do is make sure you’re giving your body the right tools to fight back against nutritional neuropathy.  That means a healthy diet and managing your digestive condition.

Talk to your doctor, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician, about all of your underlying medical conditions.  Your diet will not only need to include the vitamins and minerals, but you also need to take into account any digestive problems you may be experiencing that will prevent your body from absorbing the good stuff you put into it.

A healthy diet should include[2]:

• Whole grains and legumes to provide B vitamins to promote nerve health.  Whole grains promote the production of serotonin in the brain and will increase your feeling of well-being.
• Fish and eggs for additional vitamins B12 and B1.
• Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and other greens) for calcium and magnesium. Both of these nutrients are vital to healthy nerve endings and health nerve impulse transmission and, as an added bonus, they give your immune system a boost.
• Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as squash, carrots, yellow and orange bell peppers, apricots, oranges, etc.) for vitamins A and C to help repair your skin and boost your immune system.
• Sunflower seeds (unsalted), avocados, broccoli, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts (unsalted), tomatoes and tomato products, sweet potatoes and fish for vitamin E to promote skin health and ease the pain of nutritional neuropathy.
• Ask your neuropathy specialist for recommendations on a good multivitamin and mineral supplement to fill in any gaps in your nutrition plan.

Foods you should avoid:

• Coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
• Fried foods and all other fatty foods.  Fatty foods suppress the immune system and that’s the last thing you need when you’re fighting nutritional neuropathy.
• Control the amount of animal protein you eat.  High-protein foods elevate the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine which are both tied to high levels of anxiety and stress.
• Avoid drinking alcohol.  Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse.

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist for a personalized diet plan to help you to help your body to heal with the right nutritional support for nutritional neuropathy and your digestive issues.

We hope this gives you some tips to get started on the road to putting nutritional neuropathy behind you.  Working with your medical team, including your local NeuropathyDR™ specialist, to design a nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs is a great place to start.

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

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Diabetic Neuropathy – What You Must Know

If you have diabetes and you have any of these symptoms[1]:

  • Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Deep pain, especially in your legs and feet
  • Loss of sensation and ability to feel warmth or cold
  • Muscle cramps
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in your arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness, especially when you try to stand up
  • Drooping facial muscles
  • Loss of bladder control

You could have diabetic neuropathy.  Diabetic neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy specific to patients who have diabetes.  If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious and possibly permanent nerve damage.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek treatment with a medical professional with experience in diagnosing and treating diabetic neuropathy like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Why Does Diabetes Cause Neuropathy?

If your blood glucose levels aren’t controlled and have been high for significant period of time, the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your nerves can be damaged.  Elevated blood glucose can also damage the sheath that covers and protects the nerves. That leaves them vulnerable to damage.  Diabetic neuropathy is just the medical term for the nerve damage caused by elevated blood glucose levels.

What Happens to Your Body Once Those Nerves Are Damaged?

Diabetic neuropathy happens when the nervous system is damaged.

If your peripheral nervous system is damaged you can experience[2]

  • Numbness in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Inability to feel heat, cold or even pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Burning or tingling or even the “pins and needles” feeling you get when your legs or arms “go to sleep”
  • Changes in the shape of your feet caused by weakened muscles
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

If your neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, you can experience

  • Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Inability to regulate your blood pressure

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Diabetic Neuropathy?

The best defense against diabetic neuropathy is to get and keep your blood sugar under control.  Your best bet for doing that is proper diet, strictly monitoring your blood sugar levels and always taking your diabetes medication as prescribed by your doctor.

A good diet for controlling your blood sugar includes:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • High fiber
  • Whole grains
  • No sweets

Your NeuropathyDR® specialist has an exclusive treatment protocol with proven results for diabetic neuropathy patients.  An integral part of that treatment protocol is nutrition counseling and diet planning.  Your specialist will sit down with you and plan your meals to include the proper portions of each of these categories on a daily basis to make sure that your blood sugar remains as constant as possible.

Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described.  If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with diabetic neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies, including diabetic neuropathy.

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

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