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jimmi24 has been a member since March 8th 2011, and has created 131 posts from scratch.

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3 Tactics For Easing Stress-Induced Nerve Pain

stressed woman screamingEvery year, around October, I start seeing Christmas décor on store shelves and am reminded that the holiday season is slowly creeping up. To be clear, I love the holidays. I love the food, the time spent with family, the gifts, etc. – all good things. I am painfully aware, however, that with the holidays comes an increased level of stress and I suspect I am not alone in feeling increased levels of anxiety during the season.

There are a number of stress factors that are magnified during the holidays. Whether it’s finances, finding the perfect gift for a loved one (or many loved ones), or having to spend time with that uncle you just can’t stand – stress can build up quickly. For those already dealing with the pain from Neuropathy, this stress can unfortunately aggravate the pain and make our symptoms worse.

Knowing how stress affects your body and how to manage it effectively can help minimize its impact. Within our peripheral nervous system is the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). When stress occurs, the SNS triggers our body’s fight or flight response. Through a release of stress hormones, the body experiences various changes including increased heart rate, dilation of blood vessels, digestive changes and a spike in blood glucose levels. The more stress we experience, the more wear and tear we put on our body through this stress response – weakening many functions and potentially resulting in illness, depression and pain.

To minimize the impact of stress on your neuropathy (and health, in general), create a plan for coping with and managing it in constructive ways. Here are three simple tactics you can use to relieve stress before it builds up to a tipping point:

Identify Positive Stress Relievers

Whether we recognize it or not, we all have methods for relieving stress that we’re already doing. Unfortunately, not all of our methods are positive. For example, stress eating might help us to feel better but ultimately can negatively impact our health. Identify stress relievers that can alleviate stress without negatively impacting you in other ways. It may be exercise, a hobby, reading a book, etc. Find something that allows your mind to relax and unwind and make it a daily habit, if possible.

Eliminate the Excess

In today’s world we’ve managed to make ourselves busier than ever before. For many, being “busy” is a badge of honor. Unfortunately, our packed schedules and daily doings often lead to unneeded stress. Simplify your daily schedule as much as possible. Pay attention to which things elevate your stress and if it’s within your ability to limit or eliminate them from your life, do it.

Breathe The Stress Away

Deep breathing can help restore calm to the nervous system and relieve anxiety. More often than not, when we’re under stress our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow – thereby reducing the amount of oxygen being pulled into the lungs. The body needs oxygen in the blood and if we ignore poor breathing it can have an adverse effect on our health.

Focus on taking slow, deep breaths in through the nose and then exhaling slowly through the mouth. For optimal calming effect, exhale for a count or two longer than your inhale. For example, inhale to the count of three and then exhale to the count of four. If you want to take it one step further, try yoga, which combines both breathing and stretching and can have immensely positive results on both body and mind.

Whatever the source of your stress, managing it and turning it into a positive will not only minimize its impact on your Neuropathy but will also reduce your risk of developing many of the other health risks associated with stress. How do you manage stress in your life? Share your experience below or leave a comment on our Facebook Page.

How Winter Aggravates Nerve Pain (And What You Can Do About It)

woman alone in the snowIf you live in North America, chances are the massive arctic cold front sweeping the continent has brought its bone-chilling temperatures to your doorstep. Like it or not, winter is here early and there are many more cold days to come. Unfortunately for many suffering from nerve damage, the drop in temperature also ushers in an unwelcome increase in nerve pain.

Cold weather can affect the symptoms of nerve damage in various ways. Exposure to cold slows the flow of blood to the hands and feet as it tries to preserve the body’s core temperature. This reduction in blood flow to the extremities can lead to both increased pain and damage to the peripheral nerves. Exposure to cold can also cause the muscles to tighten and spasm – pulling on the nerves as they do and resulting in intensified pain in the affected areas.

So what can you do to limit cold weather’s affect on your nerves? Here are five simple steps you can take to minimize nerve pain and reduce cold weather’s affect on your quality of life this winter:

Avoid Caffeine

We already know caffeine is bad for neuropathy, but when the temperatures drop and the winter blues start to set in – that warm cup of coffee becomes very tempting. If possible, limit or eliminate caffeine from your diet. Caffeine constrict the blood vessels – thereby disrupting circulation and putting a strain on blood flow as it tries to reach your extremities. With your blood flow already under attack from the cold, caffeine merely exacerbates the problem.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

The holidays are a time to enjoy good company and good spirits – and like coffee in the example above – a little alcoholic drink to warm the soul becomes all the more tempting. Though a drink or two is probably ok, avoid drinking too much. Excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to vitamin deficiencies, which can result in aggravated neuropathic pain.

Do Simple Stretches & Exercises

You don’t have to go to a gym to do simple stretches and exercises that can increase blood flow. In fact, there a number of easy exercises that you can incorporate into your daily routine without even having to get off the couch or leave your desk. These exercises are especially important during the winter months because they promote good circulation as well as keep our muscles loose and relaxed. Here are a few resources with ideas for low-impact stretches or exercises you can do this winter:

Three Simple Exercises For Improving Circulation in Your Feet

Simple Exercise For Your Hands

Three Tips For Improving Circulation & Reducing Nerve Pain

Protect Your Hands & Feet

Hands and feet are the two most common areas affected by nerve pain and are the most susceptible to poor circulation in the winter. Protecting them from the cold is important for peripheral neuropathy sufferers. For those experiencing numbness it is especially important as the lack of feeling could result in accidental prolonged exposure. Wear warm – but loose fitting – gloves, socks and shoes. Avoid tight fitting clothing as much as possible as it can further restrict circulation.

Turn Up The Heat

Keeping your home warm can go a long way in keeping you comfortable and reducing the risk of further aggravation. For most, a comfortable temperature is between 65 and 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, your ideal temperature may vary so do what works for you. A warm house not only helps promote good circulation, but it can also have a calming effect and boost mood during the cold winter months.

Cold weather can and will play tricks on our bodies and inevitably aggravate our nerve pain, so making simple adjustments like the ones mentioned above can go a long way in improving our comfort. What do you do to keep your nerve pain under control during the winter? Share your advice below or post on our Facebook Page.

4 Foods To Avoid If You Have Nerve Pain

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If you’re anything like me, you love food. Whether it’s seasoned steak or Caesar salad – if it’s on my plate I’m eating it. Unfortunately, if you’re living with nerve damage you’ve got to be a bit more particular with what you allow into your body. There are certain foods and ingredients that, if consumed regularly, can actually aggravate the pain and worsen the symptoms of neuropathy.

It’s important to know what foods and ingredients are common culprits of aggravation as well as to keep a food journal to help determine which foods help or hurt you. To get you started, here’s a list of ___ foods or ingredients that everyone with nerve pain should limit or eliminate from their diet.

MSG

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a flavor additive commonly found in frozen dinners. It contains a compound, known as glutamate, which further damages the nerves and intensifies the pain. Avoid any foods that contain MSG. Also check food labels for variations of its name. Other names for MSG include sodium caseinate, glutamic acid and yeast extract.

Aspartame

Think that diet soda is good for you? Think again. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener often found in diet sodas, artificially sweetened yogurt and in the little artificial sweetener packages at restaurants. It interacts with different neurons in the body and actually heightens our sensitivity to pain. Doctors have found that eliminating diet sodas can help reduce and even eliminate symptoms of chronic pain.

Alcohol

Though I always enjoy a fine drink with my meals, I have to be careful how much alcohol I drink. Excessive alcohol intake is a known cause of neuropathy. Alcohol contains toxins that can negatively affect your nerves. These toxins damage your nerve tissue as well as reduce the levels of certain nutrients that are critical to nerve health.

Added Sugars

Sugar can be a trigger for pain and anyone with chronic pain should limit his or her sugar intake, especially avoiding foods that provide a quick boost in sugar (i.e. soda, candy, etc.). Increases in the levels of sugar in the blood can result in inflammation and increased nerve pain. For those suffering from diabetic neuropathy, managing blood sugar is the single most important approach to stopping and even reversing nerve damage.

Though being particular about the foods you eat isn’t always easy – and is almost never fun, it’s certainly worth it. Eliminating any potential sources of increased pain and aggravation of symptoms can provide one with a foundation to start making other improvements to combat their nerve pain.

What foods or ingredients have aggravated your symptoms? Share your experiences below or post a comment on our Facebook Page.

5 Ways To Fight Neuropathy without Prescriptions

Assorted pills

 

Anyone suffering from the effects of nerve damage can attest to severity of the pain and discomfort. Most would do or take just about anything to reverse the effects and find relief from the pain. For those looking to take their treatment beyond the mere masking of pain through prescription medications – there are a variety of natural approaches to help address some of the underlying causes and provide relief without the harmful side effects.

Here are five natural approaches to both treating underlying causes and relieving the pain and discomfort:

Nutritional Supplementation

Dr. Linus Pauling, winner of two Nobel Peace prizes, once said “You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral [a nutrient] deficiency.” While we know there are various other causes of Peripheral Neuropathy, nutrition can play a role in both the cause and treatment of the disease. Some of the most common deficiencies linked to neuropathy are deficiencies of vitamin B1, B6, B12, vitamin D and Magnesium.

Find ways to incorporate these vitamins and nutrients into your diet through food sources, if possible. In addition, take a daily supplement such as our Neuropathy Support Formula to make up for any lack of these nutrients in your diet.

Herbs

Herbs can be an effective alternative to alleviating the pain associated with nerve damage. Herbs such as turmeric, oat straw, feverfew, passionflower and skullcap can provide relief from pain and inflammation as well as improve blood flow, calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety.   Experiment with different herbs to determine which ones work for you.

Stabilized R-Alpha-Lipoic Acid

R-ALA is a powerful antioxidant that has the unique ability to regenerate itself and other other antioxidants, including b vitamins. This antioxidant promotes better blood flow and increased oxygen supply to the nerves and also relieves symptoms such as pain, numbness and burning. When looking for alpha-lipoic acid, we recommend looking for Stabilized R-ALA. It has been shown to be up to 12 times more effective than the cheaper, synthetic version known as S-ALA.

Massage

Good circulation is critical to the health of our nerves. Proper blood flow allows the blood to carry vital nutrients and oxygen to cells and nerves throughout the body. Massage not only promotes better circulation but it also releases pain blocking endorphins to help alleviate pain in afflicted areas. Regular visits to a massage therapist can help bring much needed relief to problem spots and promote a higher sense of well-being.

Yoga

We love yoga because it is a very low impact exercise with both physical and mental benefits. Physically, yoga works various muscles groups and can help prevent the muscle degeneration that results from a lack of physical activity or exercise. According to Dr. Natalie Nevins, an osteopathic family physician and yoga instructor in Hollywood, California, “The relaxation techniques in yoga can lessen chronic pain.” Additionally, yoga provides a mental boost that can help our mind and body to cope with pain and various other difficulties we may encounter.

These are just a few of the various natural approaches to treating neuropathic pain. Though no one shoe fits all, you may find some of these approaches beneficial to your treatment plan. Experiment with different approaches until you find the ones that work for you.

What natural approaches have you tried? Share your experiences with us below or post them on our Facebook Page.

5 Vitamins & Nutrients for Easing Nerve Pain

man silhouetteHippocrates, the father of western medicine, said it quite well when he stated “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” He seems to have understood very clearly that the foods we put into our bodies can have a profound impact on our health. For those suffering from chronic illnesses such as peripheral neuropathy, diet and nutrition can play an important role in slowing the damage.

Our bodies have a long list of vitamins and nutrients they need in order to perform their various functions. Usually, we’re able to get all of these nutrients through our diet. Occasionally, however, our diet can leave us deficient of the nutrients our bodies need. It is important that we know which vitamins and nutrients are most beneficial to combating the symptoms of Neuropathy so that we can make a concerted effort to include them in our diets.

Here are 5 vitamins and nutrients everyone afflicted with nerve pain should be getting:

B Vitamins

The B vitamins are an important class of vitamins. They convert carbohydrates into glucose, thus fueling our body with the energy it needs. They are rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals and can slow the aging process. Most importantly for those with Peripheral Neuropathy, the B vitamins play a critical role in maintaining the health and normal functioning of the nervous system. Among the most important B vitamins for nerve health are B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12.

Vitamin D

13% of Americans are vitamin D deficient and as many as 30% more are on the brink of deficiency. For those with this deficiency, symptoms can include pain, muscle weakness, depression and cognitive difficulties. These benefits include reducing the risk of insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, regulating the immune system, and improving or maintaining mental clarity.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is critical for nerve health. According to the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, “vitamin E is an essential nutrient for maintaining the structural and functional integrity of the developing human nervous system.” A deficiency of vitamin E may cause peripheral neuropathy. This powerful antioxidant protects cells from damage and destruction cause by free radicals in the body. It is also important for reducing cholesterol and lowering the risk of cancer.

Zinc

Approximately two billion people across the world suffer from zinc deficiency, which has been linked to neuropathic pain. Low levels of Zinc can also affect our body’s ability to fight inflammation. Zinc helps regulate the inflammatory process by obstructing some of the proteins within the body that cause inflammation. One study by the University of Sydney showed that supplementation of at least 45 mg/day of zinc consistently reduced levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine.

Zinc is also well known for boosting the immune system. Zinc supports various cells that fight and destroy infection in the body. Maintaining sufficient levels of Zinc is essential to a healthy and strong immune system.

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is rampant across the United States, with some estimates as high as 80% of Americans being deficient. Magnesium is an important nutrient for calming the nervous system and relaxing the muscles. This calming & relaxing effect helps reduce sensations of pain by the nerves and eases muscle discomfort and pain. Magnesium is also effective for reducing anxiety and promoting better sleep.

Regardless of the degree or cause of your neuropathic pain, these five vitamins and nutrients are critical for restoring and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Combined with other treatment approaches, diet and nutrition can help improve your outlook and quality of life. How do you incorporate these vitamins and nutrients into your diet? Share you comments with us below or post them to our Facebook Page.

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The statements made on our websites have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). Our products are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Neuropathy Treatment Group is not affiliated with any of the studies mentioned on the website. The testimonials on this website are individual cases and do not guarantee that you will get the same results.