Neuropathy, Pain and Foot Care

Maybe you are overweight, have diabetes or maybe you’ve completed a course of chemotherapy. Or if you suffer from pain or burning in your feet, legs or hands, you’re not alone. More than half the people suffering from neuropathy and foot pain report that they’ve tried complementary treatments in addition to traditional medicine to help relieve their pain and especially improve overall health and well being.

We all need to take special care of our feet and be very aware of any sign of problems. The older we get the more important this becomes.This week let’s talk more about neuropathy, pain and foot care. There are many things you can do daily at home to help you. Here are few to really focus on.

If you are Overweight or have Diabetes tightly control your blood sugar.

This may sound like a no-brainer but many people with diabetes don’t realize how toxic high blood sugar is. High blood sugar is what causes nerve pain and damage. Keeping blood sugar levels close to normal can not only stop ongoing damage; some damage may even be reversible. That provides even more promise for fighting neuropathy pain.

Take Exceptional Care of Your Feet

Nerve pain is usually what brings people in to see their doctors. But the numbness in their feet and inability to feel even the smallest injury can lead to infections and ulceration and ultimately end in amputation. If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy you need pain and foot care. Carefully inspect your feet every time you shower and be very aware of any sign of problems. Some things you can do are:

  • Clean and inspect your feet every day. If you have any irritation or wound that’s not healing properly, get medical care immediately.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Don’t wear shoes that pinch your toes or rub blisters on your heels.
  • Wear padded socks to cushion the ball of your feet and the heel.
  • Either cut your toenails straight across or have a professional do it for you.

All of these things can go a long way to making your quality of life with neuropathy pain and foot care as good as it can be!

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What About Turmeric?

Turmeric  is a spice derived from the roots of the plant Curcurma longa. Curcurma is a flowering plant related to Ginger. It is used in cooking in some cultures and has been used for it’s medicinal properties as well. We have used a combination of Turmeric as a supplement with enzymes both to aid digestion but also as an anti-inflammatory aid in pain and neuropathy patients for some time.

In practice, our usage is empirical meaning if it seems to help and does not cause significant side effects it’s something else that may enhance pain and neuropathy care. And as you’ll read, we also use it as a digestive aid with enzymes.

Turmeric is a major component in curry powder. As you may know, some incredibly fun and healthy foods are made using curry. Just like too much curry can cause belly issues so can too much turmeric.

What Are The Possible Health Effects of Turmeric?
Here is some data from NCCIH

  • Claims that curcuminoids found in turmeric help to reduce inflammation aren’t supported by strong studies.
  • Preliminary studies found that curcuminoids may
    • Reduce the number of heart attacks bypass patients had after surgery
    • Control knee pain from osteoarthritis as well as ibuprofen did
    • Reduce the skin irritation that often occurs after radiation treatments for breast cancer.
  • Other preliminary studies in people have looked at curcumin, a type of curcuminoid, for different cancers, colitis, diabetes, surgical pain, and as an ingredient in mouthwash for reducing plaque.
  • The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has studied curcumin for Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate and colon cancer.Cognitune.com is another great resource we really like for more information on turmeric curcurmin benefits too.  Check it out and I’m sure you’ll agree.One final caution. Don’t mix supplements of any kind with drugs as so little is known about potential interactions. As always, be sure your physicians know what for, and why you may be using turmeric, cucurmin or any supplement or diets.Here is the Phyto-Curcurmin we have used for years in pain and neuropathy patients, and also as a digestive aid  with great results.Let us know your experience in Reception Room or here on Facebook!

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Calcium and Your Health

Calcium is an element which is essential to life and health. Like potassium and chloride, too much or too little of this key element can literally kill us! Your body has some aging mechanisms built in to keep calcium levels in our blood nearly constant. So much so that, if we consume too little, our parathyroid glands send hormone messengers that break down bone to release more usable calcium.

Calcium is necessary for proper heartbeat and normal nerve function. A disturbance in blood calcium can cause fatal arrhythmia of our heart, and “tetany”, which is a severe disabling contraction of our muscles!

Now you probably have been lead to believe that dairy consumption is the only way to get adequate calcium. You might even have been told that calcium consumption alone can prevent or treat osteoporosis.

Neither of these assumptions, by themselves, are true.

For example, John Robbins was one of the first to point out in the ’90s that in cultures where daily physical activity and plant-based diets are the norm, osteoporosis was virtually non-existent. These cultures do NOT consume any dairy at all.

Instead, they eat lots of vegetables, nuts, and lean protein like fish, using animal products sparingly. This diet, which we recommend to our clients, is far healthier than the typical sugar, fat, and soda consumption of the average modern diet!

These cultures also have higher levels of active Vitamin D, secondary to sunlight exposure. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium in our gut, and among many other things, helps us build stronger bones, ward off infections, and a whole host of diseases.

Calcium is a key player in your health! Unless you have a disease which requires careful monitoring, eating healthy and getting enough vitamin D and exercise are probably all we need.

Most of the time, large amounts of calcium supplementation may actually be dangerous, and could actually contribute to other disease risks.

In nature, calcium often occurs with magnesium. Effective supplementation delivers calcium and magnesium in near-equal concentrations.

Magnesium is another crucial nutrient—in fact, the most commonly deficient in the so-called modern diet. We’ll discuss more about that, and other supplements, in upcoming blogs.

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

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Your Neuropathy Treatment Plan

Make your Neuropathy Treatment Plan Today!

Those who use written neuropathy treatment plans have a far better chance at not only feeling better, but regaining significant quality of life.

If you or someone you love suffers from peripheral neuropathy, you know how devastating this condition can be. You probably are also aware of the immense life changes a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy can bring.

But the good news is, as you read on these pages repeatedly there is a whole lot you can learn to better deal with your peripheral neuropathy.

This is where having a written neuropathy treatment plan goes along way. In fact you could apply this to almost any illness.

Here’s what to do next:

First of all take out a large piece of paper, or even on mobile phone. Actually, in this stage I am a huge fan of mobile notes sync across all devices.

On your neuropathy treatment plan should first be all your known risk factors. This would include things like cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption, inactivity, and perhaps diabetes. Maybe there are other known factors, such as consumption of medications known to produce peripheral neuropathy.

Once you have your list, then you need to divide it into things that you can change. The very next thing you need to do is to prioritize your neuropathy treatment plan. For example what is having the biggest impact on your health?

This is the very first thing, although perhaps the most difficult that you need to do first.

By first developing a neuropathy treatment plan and then using your own willpower and discipline, along with the help from your family and healthcare professionals, you can do a whole lot to help yourself feel better and function better!

What we do know is those who use written neuropathy treatment plans and not only work off them but share them with their neuropathy treatment specialists have a far better chance at not only feeling better, but regaining significant quality of life.

To that end, we are here to support you!

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

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Eating More Often Can Manage Neuropathy and Weight

Eating more frequently will stimulate your metabolism—or, how efficiently you burn versus store fat, keep your blood sugar even, and help keep you warmer. Eating more frequently can also help patients who are dealing with neuropathy and weight issues that can arise from their medical condition(s).

On the surface, a statement like that might seem wrong. After all, isn’t eating at the root of weight gain, obesity, and its complications? To a point, yes. This is especially true when we consume far more calories in one sitting then we need, and load our meals with carbohydrates and poor-quality fats.

But a little-known fact is that when we eat less frequently, we become much more efficient at storing fat rather than burning it.

So what does this have to do with managing peripheral neuropathy?

Neuropathy and Weight

The bottom line is, eating more frequently will stimulate your metabolism—or, how efficiently you burn fat versus store fat, keep your blood sugar more even, and actually help keep you warmer. For patients who suffer from peripheral neuropathy, all of these improvements are crucial.

But this does not mean you can eat anything you want. What we do know is that by consuming relatively low amounts of carbohydrates in our meals, along with periodic snacks, we become much more efficient metabolically.

What I tell all my neuropathy patients—and, indeed, every patient—is to try to eat something not more than three hours apart. For example, you will start your breakfast with something like a protein shake, or a small serving of steel-cut oatmeal with a little added fat, perhaps some berries. Approximately two hours later, you’ll have six to 10 almonds, or perhaps another lean, low-carbohydrate snack if allergies are a problem.

Now, if you are insulin-dependent diabetic, some of what I say here will not apply, so please be careful here.

Again, this points out the need to work with well-trained neuropathy treatment professionals to truly manage your peripheral neuropathy and weight issues, indeed, your health in general.

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 Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless Leg Syndrome can occur alongside peripheral neuropathy, or in patients who suffer from spinal stenosis. Patients with degenerative disc disease may also have RLS-like symptoms.

Very commonly, peripheral neuropathy is associated with profound sleep disturbance. In fact, sometimes this is what alerts the patient and the physicians that something is seriously wrong.

Perhaps, you may have heard of RLS, or Restless Leg Syndrome. RLS is a condition that is very common, and just like peripheral neuropathy, is often associated with other disorders.

Most commonly, patients will feel the sensation of crampiness, or an urgent need to move their legs about. This occurs during or at the hour of sleep.

We do know that RLS can occur alongside peripheral neuropathy. Another place where RLS like symptoms occur in the clinic, is in patients who suffer from a condition called spinal stenosis. Likewise, patients with degenerative disc disease may also have RLS-like symptoms.

We do know that just like neuropathy, patients that suffer from kidney disease, diabetes, may be predisposed towards developing RLS. Patients who consume caffeine, or take calcium-channel blockers may also suffer from RLS.

Just like in peripheral neuropathy, RLS is not always confined to the feet.

People can experience RLS-like symptoms in the upper thighs, or even the arms. Often, it is only movement, such as walking around, that stops the symptoms.

Although medication provides relief for some, it is important to pay attention to the factors that cause or worsen RLS and peripheral neuropathy.

And one of the biggest things that aggravate both of these conditions is emotional stress and upset.

Here’s the kicker, sleep disturbance is the major negative health impact of RLS. You may also be aware that sleep disturbance is one of the surest ways to aggravate almost any underlying health condition.

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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Best Treatments for Common Neuropathy Forms

There is good potential for improvement, and even recovery, in common neuropathy forms in many patients. You need to make sure you are doing your part, but also that your treating clinician is doing everything they can for you as well!

If you are reading this, you already know something about peripheral neuropathy. You probably know millions are afflicted.

But you may not know there are many types: the most common ones are due to chemotherapy drugs, diabetes, and pre-diabetes, or metabolic syndrome.

In fact, metabolic syndrome may very well be responsible for the majority of cases that are now labeled “Idiopathic”. The Idiopathic means we just aren’t sure what the cause is.

Nevertheless, there is good potential for improvement, and even recovery, in these common neuropathy forms in many patients.

But recovery depends upon stimulating your healing capacity.

And there are several good tools which can help do just that. For example, we know a low-carb diet (I also prefer gluten and dairy-free), stopping smoking, and losing weight is key. Exercise and rehab under supervision often make a big difference too.

Research tells us our body produces substances that help nerves heal. These are called neurotropins.

So, what are the best ways to help your body along?

Well, in addition to the things we just mentioned, maintaining good mental health is key. In fact, one study showed significantly higher levels of neurotropins in people who “were in love”!

The same study also looked at electric stimulation. The results were somewhat surprising. Indications are: less is often more!

In this study, neuropathy treatment electrotherapies that are too powerful, administered for too long, or too high a frequency produced less than favorable results.

We also know that accommodation to treatment is a factor. This occurs when our bodies “get used to” any one therapy, or even a drug. It also helps explain why patient progress can seemingly plateau.

All of this highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to neuropathy treatment.

You need to make sure you are doing your part, but also that your treating clinician is doing everything they can for you as well!

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 Benefits of a Carbohydrate-Controlled Diet

Many forms of peripheral neuropathy respond to carbohydrate-controlled diets.

We recently spoke about the impact of diet selection, especially carbohydrate consumption, on diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In our clinic, we’ve found that most neuropathy patients benefit greatly when they follow a carbohydrate-controlled diet plan.

Now the reality is, because many forms of peripheral neuropathy respond to carbohydrate-controlled diets, that maintaining body weight and overall body composition is critically important to beating neuropathy.

But sometimes simple dietary changes are not enough, and a more radical approach is necessary. This is where professionally supervised weight loss programs and dietary retraining can be incredibly powerful.

A healthy diet should include[1]:

• 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.
• Plant based proteins or lean meats,fish and eggs.
• 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 us 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.
• Restrict intake of starchy vegetables, as they are high in carbohydrates: potatoes, peas, corn, yucca, parsnips, beans, and yams.
• Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse.

If you’re suffering from neuropathy, it is vital that you gain control of your diet, understand carbohydrate and calorie restriction, opt for healthier food selections, and plan mealtimes so you don’t eat too late at night.

If you continue to struggle with your weight, or body composition, you should explore a carbohydrate-controlled diet plan as a viable treatment option.

A carbohydrate-controlled diet has proven extraordinarily beneficial for our neuropathy patients.

Keep in mind, getting your metabolism, that is your weight and body composition, under control is a key step forward.

It goes without saying that you will look better, and feel and function better mentally, physically, and usually spiritually as well.

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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[1] http://www.nutritionmd.org/health_care_providers/endocrinology/diabetes_complications_neuro.html

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My Neuropathy Symptoms Aren’t That Bad!

One thing that we see fairly frequently in our clinics is when patients present with the early onset of neuropathy symptoms.

If you’re experiencing neuropathy symptoms, such as pain, tingling, numbness, or burning, this could be due to things such as chemotherapy, statin medications, or perhaps even “pre-diabetes” now called metabolic syndrome.

Now there are cases of course where neuropathy is not long-term.

This usually occurs in younger patients, who have been exposed to poisons or medications that eventually are stopped.

Unfortunately, for many adults neuropathy it is a very different situation. For most of us, saying “I have a little neuropathy” is just like saying “I’m a little bit pregnant”.

In order to have effective neuropathy treatment it is critical to identify correctable factors causing your neuropathy symptoms early on. This would include things such as obesity, certain medications, and lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking. Likewise, it is also very important to begin the most appropriate neuropathy treatment as soon as possible.

You see one of the things we know beyond the shadow of a doubt is that when patients begin neuropathy treatment early and seriously the long-term results are far better.

In our clinic we find that patients who treat their neuropathy early are less debilitated, and return to better function much more easily.

So what can you do?

First of all, do not be a “minimizer”. When you experience neuropathy symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, or burning, have them thoroughly checked out as soon as possible by a licensed healthcare professional.

Next, help your clinicians help you by fully revealing your family history, medication usage, and other factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, et cetera.

Lastly, learn the importance of good homecare programs. Our NeuropathyDR homecare programs can speed your progress as well as improve your neuropathy treatment results, often times dramatically.

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 Footwear Affects Neuropathy

The shape of your feet changes with age, swelling, as well as peripheral neuropathy.

One of the issues we see very frequently in the neuropathy patient is whether their footwear fits comfortably.

It is very easy to take for granted the role that proper footwear has on your level of comfort. That is of course unless you suffer from peripheral neuropathy.

There are all a whole host of other conditions that occur with neuropathy that can slow down or complicate recovery. This includes common things such as flatfoot or having conditions like plantar fasciitis.

There are however some very simple things you can do. Number one, visit a traditional foot and shoe store and have your feet properly measured.

The reason for this is the shape of your feet changes with age, swelling, as well as peripheral neuropathy. Muscle changes, which accompany neuropathy, are responsible for this.

The neuropathy patient should take advantage of the expertise of their clinician too. Ask questions about the most appropriate footwear for you. Learn some basics about proper shoe construction such as the shape of the last and the strength of the heel counter.

Sometimes, “diabetic” shoes better holds inserts, which your clinician may prescribe. These may also allow for better circulation and less neuropathy pain.

We find that many neuropathy patients have excellent relief by wearing running shoes most of the time. The reason for this is the combination of shock absorption and breathability is helpful for many patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy.

This is one area where consulting the properly trained neuropathy treatment specialist can be of huge benefit!

Do not ignore your shoes!

These are in fact the foundation of your daily recovery homecare programs and are very important in getting you active again, back on your feet!

Recover faster with your neuropathy treatment by wearing the very best shoes you can find!

Let us know how your feet are affected by your neuropathy in the comment section below.

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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