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4 Habits You Need To Stop Now If You Have Nerve Pain

Neuropathic foot pain neuropathy.

According to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 20 million people in the United States suffer from some form of peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral Neuropathy consists of damage to nerves in the peripheral nervous system – resulting in pain, numbness, tingling or burning in the affected area (most commonly the hands or feet). Diabetes is the leading cause of neuropathy – though it isn’t the only cause. Other common causes include chemotherapy, medications, toxins, heavy alcohol consumption, damage to nerves during surgery, or traumatic injury.

Whether we realize it or not – we all have habits or things we do that can make our neuropathy worse. Being aware of these potential threats is an important step to making the necessary lifestyle changes to mitigate the danger they pose. We’ve put together a list of four bad habits and various other life factors that can make your neuropathy worse. Lets take a look…

 

Skipping Sleep

 

Lack of sleep is a major problem across the United States and the world. As the pace of modern life has picked up – the number of hours of sleep we get has been on the decline. In 2014 the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic in the United States.

causes-of-sleep-problems-cdc

So why is sleep important for those with neuropathy? For starters – adequate sleep allows for the body to recover. During our sleep state, the cells work to repair damage and rejuvenate our organisms. Important nutrients and oxygen are carried through the blood stream and delivered to our nerves – supplying them with the essentials they need to repair and recover.

A lack of sleep robs the body of this important recovery time. Additionally, insufficient sleep has been associated with various other negative health outcomes – such as an increase risk of type 2 diabetes – which can induce or exacerbate neuropathic pain.

 

> Does nerve pain keep you up at night? Try these 5 Tips for Better Sleep with Nerve Pain

 

Sitting to Much

 

Whether it’s for eight hours behind a desk at the office for four hours watching television in the evening – American’s are spending more time than ever before sitting down. According to a survey conducted by Ergotron, 86% of Americans spend the majority of their day sitting. When they do stand up, 56% of respondents indicated it was to get food.

So what effect can all of this sitting have on your nerves? Sitting for prolonged periods can have a number of damaging effects on the nerves and lead to increased nerve pain. Some of the biggest threats sitting poses to your nerves are:

1. Increase in Blood Sugar

An increase in blood sugar draws excess water into the nerves, causing them to swell while simultaneously making them less pliable. As the nerves swell, the less-pliable coating weakens and cracks, exposing the nerve cells to damage.

2. Pinched Nerves

Pinched nerves can occur after an extended period of pressure of the nerve. Sitting is one of the primary culprits of pinched nerves – especially for those with poor posture or who cross their legs while sitting.

3. Poor Circulation

Sitting cuts off circulation to certain parts of the body – primarily the legs and feet. Without proper circulation, blood can pool up in the legs and feet and the lack of fresh blood and oxygen being delivered weakens or damages the nerve cells. This can exacerbate your nerve pain if you already have neuropathy, or lead to neuropathic pain if you don’t.

Besides posing a threat to just the nerves, sitting has been linked to a number of other negative health problems:

sitting-too-much-infographic

http://mashable.com/2011/05/09/sitting-down-infographic/
 
 

> Learn more about How Sitting Is Killing Your Nerves & What To Do About It

 

Consuming Sweeteners & Added Sugars

 

There are a number of potential causes of peripheral neuropathy, but the most common cause is diabetes. Managing blood sugar levels is especially important for people with nerve pain – especially those with diabetic neuropathy. Added sugars are high glycemic, which complicates blood sugar management and can wreak havoc on your nerves.

Additionally, added sugars offer little nutritional value. A diet high in sugar may lead to nutritional deficiencies that can cause or aggravate the symptoms of neuropathy. Some common foods with added sugars included soda, candy, sweetened cereals, cookies and more.

While artificial sweeteners are a healthier alternative to sugar, they too can pose a threat to your nerves. Sweeteners like aspartame and MSG activate neurons that heighten our sensitivity to pain. In most cases, you are probably better off avoid sweeteners and sugars all together.
 

> Want to know more about the effects of sugar on your neuropathy? Check out our article Is Sugar Making My Neuropathy Worse?

 

Stress

Stress is a part of everyone’s life – and in fact is a biological tool that can help us survive. When we’re stressed, our awareness is heightened and our heart/breathing rates increase as we go into “fight or flight” mode. In situations where we are being threatened, this response increases our chances of responding quickly and appropriately to remove ourselves from the threat. These types of situations are usually temporary and our bodies should return to normal shortly afterwards. In today’s hectic world, however, chronic stress is on the rise.

Someone suffering from chronic stress is in a constant “heightened” state. In this heightened state of anxiety, the body and mind remain tense and unable to come back down to normal levels. Among other things, this leaves the body more vulnerable to pain. For those already dealing with debilitating nerve pain, stress often makes it worse.

Aside from aggravating the pain, one of the biggest problems stress can cause for those dealing with nerve pain is an increased risk of diabetes. As part of our stress response, the body produces more glucose. Excess glucose is then absorbed back into our system. Under constant, stress our bodies may fail to break down or use the excess glucose – which can eventually result in type 2 diabetes (one of the biggest causes of nerve damage).

 

> For tips on managing stress, try these 3 Tactics for Easing Stress-Induced Nerve Pain

 
While you won’t always be able to drastically alter our habits or lifestyle – knowing what habits or lifestyle factors are having a negative effect on your nerves affords you the opportunity to make minor, but meaningful, changes. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve made to help cope with your neuropathy? Share your experiences with us on our Facebook Page!

Is Sugar Making My Neuropathy Worse?

cubes of sugar

Ask anyone with nerve pain what the cause of his or her neuropathy is and there’s a good chance their answer will be “diabetes”. While there are various causes of neuropathy – including chemotherapy, vitamin B12 deficiency, physical trauma, surgery, alcohol, toxins and more – the leading cause is diabetes.

According to the most recent statistics, approximately 70% of diabetes patients develop symptoms of neuropathy. This is because the high blood sugar associated with diabetes wreaks havoc on the nerves – damaging the nerve cells and their protecting coating known as the myelin sheath. While consuming sugar in and of itself does not cause diabetes – it can contribute to the destruction of nerve cells as well as cause a number of other health problems.

If you’ve ever spent any time checking food labels in almost any grocery aisle – you’ve likely seen that sugar is everywhere. While there are plenty of foods without added sugars and sweeteners – many of the foods we eat are packed with them. According to Dr. Richard Jacoby, author of the new book Sugar Crush, about 80% of the food supply in America contains high fructose corn syrup and the average American consumes 150 lbs. of sugar every year.

Sugar consumption statistics in the United States

 

Sugar & Your Nerves

From sugary sodas to artificial sweetened foods – the threat these sugar-rich foods pose to our nerves and overall health is something we should all be aware of – especially those with diabetes. You may be wondering, “how does sugar hurt my nerves?” Dr. Jacoby explains the role sugar and artificial sweeteners play in nerve damage in the video below:

 

 

As Dr. Jacoby points out, there is a three-step process by which sugar harms the nerves:

 

1. Excessive sugar pulls water into the nerves – causing them to swell

 

swelling peripheral nerve

2. At the same time, sugar makes the nerve’s protective covering (Myelin Sheath) less pliable – making it less able to accommodate the swelling nerve

damaged peripheral nerve

3. The combination of swelling and a less pliable nerve result in damage to the nerve. Less blood and oxygen are able to get to the nerves and eventually symptoms of neuropathy such as pain, numbness or tingling set in

nerve-pain

While a single “overdose” of sugar isn’t enough to cause lasting harm, repeated consumption of excessive amounts of sugar over many years can. As we saw in an earlier graph, the average American consumes approximately 186 grams of sugar a day. That is 161 grams OVER the recommended daily allowance! With nearly 80% of the food supply in America containing high fructose corn syrup (which chemically resembles table sugar) – it takes a conscious effort to not exceed the recommended daily allowance of 25 grams of sugar per day.

 

Other Harmful Effects

Sugar poses a threat to more than just your nerves. In fact, a number of negative health outcomes have been linked to excessive sugar consumption. Here are a few of the health problems that sugar has been linked to:

  • Tooth decay
  • Asthma
  • Kidney problems
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Reproductive issues
  • Increased levels of bad cholesterol
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of focus or concentration
  • Mood problems
  • Stress

 

Sugar Culprits

So who are the biggest sugar culprits lurking in the aisles of your favorite grocery store? Here are a few potential culprits:

 

 

Are there healthy substitutes?

While there are a number of both artificial and natural substitutes for sugar – they not all of them are necessarily good for you. Artificial sweeteners in particular can be damaging to the nerves. Check out this video from EveryDayHealth.com for some recommendations on what to look for when considering healthier alternatives to sugar:

 

If you’re anything like me – those afternoon sugar cravings usually spell the end of any attempt to cut sugar out of your diet. Sugar cravings have been the Achilles heel of many determined and well-intentioned dieters. So what can you do to curb the cravings and eliminate sugar from your diet? Dr. Josh Axe from DrAxe.com offers three simple tips for overcoming a sugar addiction naturally:

 

 

Regardless of the cause of your neuropathy, one thing is clear: sugar will make it worse. Knowing the danger sugar presents to your nerves can help motivate you to make the necessary changes to help limit your intake or cut it out of your diet entirely. For those suffering from diabetic neuropathy, regulating your blood sugar levels is the most important thing you can do to help slow and potentially even reverse your neuropathic symptoms.

What tips or tricks have been most helpful for you as you’ve tried to limit or cut sugar out of your diet? Share your experiences with us on our Facebook Page!

What No One Tells You About Neuropathy & Muscle Control

Neuropathy can affect motor skills and muscle strength in the hands

Have you noticed your muscles acting a little strange since developing neuropathy? Perhaps they affect your ability to walk? Or maybe you find it difficult to use your fingers to pick something up? While we normally associated peripheral neuropathy with symptoms like pain, numbness and tingling – there are other symptoms as well.

The peripheral nervous system is made up of three different kinds of nerves: motor, sensory and autonomic. Each type of nerve controls different functions. Motor nerves send signals from the brain and spinal cord to your muscles – controlling motor functions like walking, dexterity and more. Sensory nerves do the opposite – relaying signals like temperature, pain, etc. from the muscles back to the brain and spinal cord. Finally, the autonomic nerves control involuntary or semi-voluntary functions like heart rate, digestion, blood pressure and more.

Peripheral neuropathy can affect some or all of these nerves. The symptoms you experience will depend entirely upon the type of nerve(s)that have been damaged as a result of your neuropathy. If your sensory nerves have been damaged you will experience symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling or burning. Damage to the autonomic nerves can lead to problems with dizziness, sweating (either too much or too little), nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, difficulty urinating and more.

If your motor nerves fall victim to nerve damage – various motor functions can be affected. Lets take a look at five possible symptoms you might experience if your neuropathy has damaged your motor nerves:

 

Loss of balance and difficulty walking

Damage to the motor nerves can make walking difficulty. Your legs may feel heavy and difficult to move or you may feel constantly off balance. Since damage to the motor nerves disrupts the signals from your brain and spinal cord to the muscles – telling them what to do – even something as simple as walking can become a difficult task.

Damage to the sensory nerves can exacerbate this problem. The pain or numbness usually associated with damage to these nerves often affect the feet – making walking even more problematic.

For those suffering from symptoms related to motor nerve damage – extra caution should be used when walking on stairs or other areas where a fall risk is greater. Allowing extra time and avoiding rushing to perform tasks can also help limit your risk of falling.

 

Loss of Dexterity

Do you find it difficult to pick things up or use your hands to perform certain tasks? If so, that’s a sign your neuropathy has affected your motor nerves. Damage to the motor nerves can affect the ability of your brain to send signals properly to the muscles in your hands. You may notice somewhat delayed reactions in your hands or the muscles in your hands may feel weak – inhibiting your ability to perform even normal tasks like picking something up or moving your fingers.

Some common difficulties associated with loss of dexterity are inability to grip objects, loss of hand strength, difficulty writing or typing, difficulty performing tasks that require small movements, decreased reflexes and more. While you may not be able to restore complete control or strength to the hands – doing regular hand exercises can help you rebuild and maintain muscle strength and improve dexterity control.

 

Muscle Weakness & Deterioration

As damage to your motor nerves inhibits the ability of your brain and spinal cord to transmit messages to your muscles – you may find yourself limiting the use of your arms, legs, hands and feet. For many, this decrease in physical activity results in muscle deterioration and weakness. As the muscles deteriorate, you lose muscle mass and tone (this is often referred to as muscle atrophy).

Muscle weakness further contributes to the loss of dexterity, balance and difficulty walking previously mentioned. While exercise is often difficult and pain for those with neuropathy – there are low-impact exercises that will help you retain muscle mass and prevent muscle deterioration.

Try these 5 Low Impact Exercises for Neuropathy if you’re experiencing muscle weakness or deterioration!

 

Cramps & Spasms

The deterioration of muscle mass and the disruption of signals from the brain to the muscles can also lead to painful cramps, muscles spasms and twitches. For many, the cramping strikes at night and can range in severity from mild to extremely painful. In addition to cramping, many experience uncontrollable spasms or muscle twitching – which is visible just below the skin. While not as painful as cramps, they can be quite bothersome.

 

Loss of Muscle Control

As we’ve already touched on with the sections on loss of balance and dexterity – damage to the motor nerves affects your ability to control your muscles properly. The motor nerves carry messages from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles – telling them what actions to perform. As this line of communication is disrupted – the ability to control muscles is diminished. This is made manifest in loss of reflexes, inability to move hands or feet quickly, difficulty with fine motor tasks (i.e. buttoning a shirt, writing, etc) and more.

While the most common symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy are pain, numbness, burning or tingling in the hands or feet – they are not the only symptoms. When the motor nerves fall victim to neuropathy the symptoms can go far beyond pain or numbness. They can affect your ability to control muscles and perform otherwise simple physical tasks. Though you may not be able to completely reverse these negative effects, alternative approaches like exercise can help you build and maintain muscle mass – thus helping to minimize the impact of motor nerve damage.

Have your motor nerves been affected by your neuropathy? What symptoms have been the biggest struggle for you and what, if anything, has helped you to cope with them? Share your comments on our Facebook Page!

Diabetes, Alcohol, Medications and 7 Other Things That Can Hurt Your Nerves

Ipad showing diagnosis of neuropathyFrom diabetes to vitamin deficiencies – there are a number of potential threats to your nerves. The peripheral nervous system is especially prone to threats as the nerves stretch long distances to your outermost extremities – leaving them more vulnerable to damage. The function of your peripheral nerves is to connect your brain to your extremities – allowing them to communicate with each other. Damage to your peripheral nerves can cause a breakdown in communication, resulting in symptoms such as numbness, tingling, burning and/or sharp pain in your hands or feet (otherwise known as peripheral neuropathy).

So what are the potential threats to your nerves? There are various causes of peripheral neuropathy. While some threats can’t always be avoided – other threats can be avoided or minimized if you know about them beforehand. Lets take a look at 10 potential threats to your nerve that could cause peripheral neuropathy:

 

1. Diabetes

Of all the threats to your nerves – diabetes is the biggest. Elevated blood sugar – if left unmanaged – damages nerve fibers and blood vessels, resulting in neuropathic pain or numbness. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of neuropathy in the United States with approximately 70% of all diabetic patients developing symptoms of neuropathy.

This graphic shows you just how big of a threat diabetes is to your nerves…

Infographic of diabetic neuropathy

 

2. Chemotherapy

For cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, the risk of peripheral neuropathy is greater. Chemotherapy and other drugs used in cancer treatment can damage the peripheral nerves – resulting in chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. An estimated 30-40% of patients undergoing chemotherapy will develop peripheral neuropathy.

For many – the symptoms of their peripheral neuropathy will subside once treatment is over. However, for some, the symptoms may persist even after treatment.

Source: Cancer Related Neuropathies InfoGraphic – An infographic by the team at The Neuropathy created this great InfoGraphic, Please share it!

 

3. Medications

In addition to medications used to treat cancer – other types of medications have been linked to the development of neuropathy. For example, some medications used to fight infections (including the antiretroviral agents used to treat HIV) can lead to complications of neuropathy. Other potential threats include anti-seizure medications and various heart and blood pressure medicines. Here is a list of medications that have the potential to cause neuropathy:

Medications than can cause Neuropathy

While doctors and pharmacists will do their best to keep you informed of potential side effects of medications, it is important that you do your own research. It is also important to be keenly aware of the effects medications are having on your body. If you begin to notice adverse side effects such as numbness, tingling or nerve-related pain – let your doctor know immediately. In many cases the symptoms of neuropathy will subside once you stop taking the medication – but it is important to address the problem sooner rather than later.

 

4. Vitamin & Nutrient Deficiencies

You wouldn’t think nutritional deficiencies would be much of an issue in countries such as the United States – but surprisingly – there are a number of common deficiencies in the U.S. and other developed countries. Poor dietary choices are usually the culprit, leaving us deprived of important vitamins and nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies can have a variety of effects on your health; including increased levels of fatigue or weakness, soreness, bruising, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, memory loss and much more.

In addition to the various negative health outcomes mentioned above, some nutritional deficiencies pose a threat to the health of your nerves. A few deficiencies commonly linked to neuropathy are deficiency of vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin D and Magnesium.

four vitamin deficiencies that can cause neuropathy

Of these – Vitamin B12 deficiency plays the biggest part in development of neuropathic pain. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for the health of the myelin sheath – a protective layer of fat around the nerves. A deficiency of B12 can lead to degeneration of this protective coating – leaving the nerves more vulnerable to damage.

For those suffering from diabetic neuropathy – vitamin D is an important vitamin for combating your diabetes and slowing the progress of your neuropathy. Studies have shown that individuals lacking in vitamin D are more likely to develop diabetes. Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes and suffer from low vitamin D levels are more likely to develop complications such as neuropathy. As such, getting enough vitamin D either through exposure to the sun or from food or dietary supplements is hugely important for those with diabetes or diabetic neuropathy.

 

5. Repeated Pressure On the Nerves

A more silent threat to your nerves is consistent, repeated pressure or compression of nerves or nerve tissue. A variety of activities can cause this to occur. These can include sitting for long periods of time, typing or other repetitive motions that put stress on the nerves, poor posture and more.

For example, sitting for long periods of time can put pressure on the nerves as well as cut of circulation to your feet – depriving the peripheral nerves of the life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients that blood delivers.
Sitting So Much Should Scare You

 

6. Alcohol

Heavy consumption of alcohol poses a significant threat to your nerves. Alcohol consumption inhibits the absorption of certain vitamins and nutrients into the blood stream. This – combined with the poor dietary choices associated with alcoholism – can lead to nerve damaging vitamin and nutritional deficiencies. For those already suffering from neuropathy, alcohol consumption should be limited to prevent an acceleration of your symptoms.

 

7. Surgery

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 51.4 million inpatient surgical procedures were performed in the United States last year. That’s more than 140k surgeries per day! With every surgery there is an inherent risk to the peripheral nerves. In fact, surgery is another common cause of peripheral neuropathy.

The risks to the peripheral nerves during surgery are many. Damage can be caused by inadvertent cutting of nerve tissue, inflammation on or around the nerves, extended contact between nerve tissue and surgical tools or equipment, stretching or compression of nerve tissue and more.

 

8. Physical Trauma

Another potential threat to your nerves is damage from physical trauma. According to the Mayo Clinic, trauma such as “motor vehicle accidents, falls or sports injuries can sever or damage peripheral nerves.” While you can’t always prevent accidents such as this – make sure to notify your doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms associated with nerve pain.

 

9. Toxins

Exposure to certain toxins can damage your nerves. As mentioned previously in this article – exposure to toxins from cancer treatment and other medications can cause neuropathy. In addition to medicinal toxins, other toxins can prove harmful to the nerves. These include environmental and industrial toxins like lead, mercury or arsenic. Toxins from heavy alcohol consumption can also lead to peripheral neuropathy.

 

10. Autoimmune Diseases

If you suffer from an autoimmune disease – you may be at greater risk of developing neuropathy. According to the Mayo Clinic, the autoimmune diseases most commonly associated with neuropathy include Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and necrotizing vasculitis.

While not all threats to your nerves can be prevented – knowing what the threats are can help you take steps to minimize your risk and be better prepared to recognize the cause or source of your neuropathy. Knowing the cause of your neuropathy can – in some cases – provide you with the knowledge you need to begin making changes to slow or even halt the spread of damage.

How has knowing the cause of your neuropathy helped you and your doctor develop an effective treatment plan? Share your comments with us on our Facebook Page.

Beyond the Prescription: Strategies for Fighting Neuropathy without Prescriptions

Doctor giving many medical tablets to patient

While medications provide some level of relief from neuropathic pain – its effects usually don’t last. Rather than cure the ailment – they merely mask the symptoms – helping to take the edge off. Although this relief is welcome, many neuropathy patients long for more lasting relief from the debilitating symptoms of nerve damage.

For those wanting to take control of their treatment, there are a number of lifestyle changes and alternative treatments that can help promote healthier nerves and repair damaged nerves. While you won’t see a difference overnight – these changes can help build the foundation for a long-lasting improvement in symptoms.

Lets look at some simple lifestyle changes and effective alternative treatments you can start trying today to help relief your nerve pain and improve your quality of life:

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Healthy Diet

Diet can have a significant impact on the symptoms of your neuropathy. To start – certain foods can contribute to nerve damage or aggravate your symptoms and as such, should be avoided. Some common culprits to avoid if you have nerve pain are casein-based products (commonly found in dairy), artificial sweeteners such as MSG or aspartame, gluten, added sugars and refined grains.

You should also alter your diet to get more of the vitamins and nutrients that are essential for nerve health. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for nerves. In fact, vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to neuropathy in some cases. Other important vitamins or nutrients for nerve health include vitamin B1, B2, B6, magnesium, vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Here’s a brief guide to some of the best food sources for these nerve-boosting nutrients:

Top food sources of vitamins and nutrients

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those suffering from diabetic neuropathy, switching to a plant-based diet may be effective at reversing the damage caused by their neuropathy. In a study by Anne Brunner, PhD, and Caroline Trapp, MSN, of the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine – patients who stuck to a vegetarian diet and to vitamin B12 supplements showed clinically significant improvements their neuropathy when compared to the group taking only the vitamin B12 supplements.

A similar study by Crane and Sample observed that 81% of type 2 diabetic patients with nerve pain who adhered to a plant-based diet for a period of one month reported a complete relief from their pain. While a change in diet requires discipline, it is an effective means of combatting your nerve pain and finding relief.

Manage Blood Sugar

Part of making healthy diet choices is managing your blood sugar levels. The leading cause of neuropathy today is diabetes. If diabetes was the cause of your neuropathy, managing your blood sugar is the single most important thing you can do to slow, stop or even reverse the damage caused by your neuropathy.

Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption

You don’t necessarily have to stop drinking completely – but if you suffer from nerve pain, you should avoid excessive alcohol consumption. That’s because alcohol can block your body’s absorption of important nerve-boosting vitamins and nutrients – putting your nerves in greater peril. Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to poor choices in diet and ultimately result in vitamin deficiencies such as a deficiency of B12 – which wreak havoc on your nerves.

Stop Smoking

Besides the seemingly endless list of health problems associated with smoking – another good reason to quit is that it’s bad for your nerves! Smoking affects circulation – which can have devastating results on your hands and feet. Your nerves rely on the oxygen and nutrients carried to them through the bloodstream to support their daily functions. Poor circulation inhibits the delivery of these essential vitamins and nutrients to the extremities.

 

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS

Yoga or Tai Chi

In a study on the benefits of exercise intervention in reducing neuropathic pain, researchers at Georgia Southern University noted that the “benefits of exercise training include improvements in nerve function, reductions in neuropathic pain, reductions in other types of sensory dysfunction (e.g., numbness) and improvements in both static and dynamic functional mobility in those with peripheral neuropathy. Therefore it may be conclude that exercise training can be an effective intervention for many of those symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy.”

While exercises like walking or the stationary bike can be extremely beneficial – they can also be difficult for those experiencing intense pain or burning in the hands or feet. If that’s the case, you may find alternative exercises such as yoga or tai chi to be beneficial. These exercises focus on stretching, breathing and building core muscles. They are gentle exercises that allow you to workout while limiting aggravation to sensitive areas.

Yoga and Tai chi are especially beneficial to neuropathy patients as they help improve balance and coordination – two things that can be affected by neuropathy in the feet. In addition to this, they also help build muscle strength, increase flexibility, improve circulation, reduce fatigue and combat depression.

Massage

Massage is another alternative treatment commonly used to help ease the pain of neuropathy. Regular massage helps:

  • Relax muscles
  • Boost circulation
  • Relieve tender spots
  • Reduce swelling, pain and stiffness
  • Relieve anxiety and stress
  • Increase flexibility and range of motion
  • Promote the release pain-relieving endorphins

For those with neuropathy in the feet, try these 3 Simple Foot Massage Techniques for Neuropathy

Supplements

Whereas traditional medicines simply mask the symptoms of neuropathy – the purpose of supplements is to help regenerate damaged nerves to provide lasting relief from the pain, burning or numbness. There are various vitamins, herbs and other natural compounds that can be beneficial to damaged nerves. These include B complex vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), amino acids like acetyl-l-carnitine, and antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid. Various herbs such as primrose oil, oat straw, feverfew, passionflower and skullcap have also shown to effective in alleviating neuropathic pain.

Like any treatment, it may take time to notice improvements. Ask your doctor what supplements might be right for you and be sure to stick with it for at least 3 months. For many people – supplements have made a lasting impact in reducing the severity of their symptoms and providing much needed relief.

Learn more about 5 Ways B Vitamins Fight Nerve Pain >

Whether you’re recently diagnosed or you’ve suffered for years – taking your treatment beyond just prescription medications can have a profound impact on the severity of your neuropathic pain and result in more lasting relief. While not all approaches may bear fruits – it is important to explore and try the different lifestyle changes and alternative treatments available in order to find those that do.

What lifestyle changes or alternative treatments are you considering for your neuropathy? Share your comments with us on our Facebook Page.

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