Finding A Way To Manage Your Neuropathy

Arthritis. Close-up of hands of unhappy senior lady is feeling arm ache and expressing suffering. Copy space in the right side representing an article by Life Renew and Neuropathy Treatment Group titled Finding A Way To Manage Your Neuropathy at home

How in the world do you manage neuropathy?

I am sure most doctors would not want you to think so but it is possible to do yourself.

There is no real motivation from the medical profession to help find cures as this would relinquish the dependency for office visit related therapies.

Fortunately for patients, there is plenty of information to allow people to take control of their bodies if they arm themselves with the right knowledge.

 

Defining Neuropathy

First, let’s look at the different types of neuropathy.

Neuropathy is often categorized by the location affected or by the disease that is causing it, for example, diabetic neuropathy or cranial neuropathy. The major classifications for neuropathy are:

  • Cranial Neuropathy- this involves nerves the stem from the brain.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy- this involves the nerves that branch to the extremities, but are not part of the brain. For example, the hands and feet would be considered peripheral areas.
  • Autonomic Neuropathy-this involves any areas that are internal and work involuntarily. Digestion system would be classified as an involuntary set of nerves.

These are the major forms of Neuropathy but as mentioned there are several other types associated with diseases as well. Neuropathy, in general, is a dysfunctioning or damage of the nerves creating a reaction in which the misfire.

Symptoms can include:

  • Pins and needles sensation
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Pain

In severe cases, neuropathy can cause disorientation involving movement.

For instance, if a person’s foot feels completely numb, they might misjudge their steps which can cause them to fall and further harm themselves.

This is why neuropathy can be quite dangerous and needs to be addressed while symptoms are in their beginning stages.

 

Neuropathy… Now What?

Together with your doctor, you can find out what is causing the neuropathy.

Once you know which type you have and what has caused it you can begin looking toward managing it.

There are plenty of at-home therapies you can use to treat and manage neuropathy. There are both internal and external methods.

Internally you can use herbal supplements along with dietary changes to help repair and rebuild your nerve structure.

Externally there are therapies like acupuncture, massage, and herbal creams that be used to stimulate the affected nerves.

 

Herbal Remedies

When considering management, you often must think outside the proverbial medical box.

Herbal supplements offer many of the healing herbs used by the ancients to cure disease. Some of the herbs to look for while searching out a cure for neuropathy should include the following:

  • Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin which gives the pepper its heat. Capsaicin aids digestion which is important for toxin removal. It helps blood circulation and is used for pain relief. For best results use longer than 6 weeks to see improvement in nerve function.
  • Evening Primrose Oil contains two very important fatty acids that the body must-have for proper nerve function. These essential acids are gamma-linolenic acid and linolenic acid. These fatty acids help repair nerve structure.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid helps the nerves transmit sensations properly, and help blood flow to the nerves properly through antioxidant action.

External herbal remedies can come in oil form or cream and can be applied directly to the affected area.

Creams or oils to apply directly to the skin that you will want to have on hand should include capsaicin, peppermint oil, arnica, frankincense, and myrrh.

These creams, oils or gels can come in blends and should be used in conjunction with supplements for synergistic healing properties.

 

Dietary Changes

Simple dietary changes can regenerate nerve function. The body has amazing abilities to heal when fed the proper foods.

Foods to add should rich in B 12 vitamins, high in antioxidants, and should be inflammation-reducing. These are the foods that will work best in curing nerve damage or neuropathy.

  • B-12 vitamin-rich foods include tofu, whole grains, milk, eggs, meat, chicken, turkey and seafood. B-12 is essential for its ability to repair the outer sheath of the nerve structure helping it recover to normal functioning ability.
  • Foods high in antioxidants include berries, grapes, coffee, teas, and tomatoes. Antioxidants battle the free radicals that occur in the body that attacks the nerve structure and cause damage. Think of them as soldiers that you send in for back up to your white blood cell army.
  • Foods that reduce inflammation include flaxseed, fish, soybeans, walnuts, chia seeds, fresh basil, and radish seeds. Omega 3’s are very important for healthy brain and nerve function, and have been proven through several research studies to improve nerve response.

Symptoms from neuropathy can be drastically reduced and managed with the help of herbal supplements and making healthy dietary choices.

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Inside You'll Discover:

  • The causes of Neuropathy and the little known tricks to reduce the symptoms. The top natural, but highly effective, ways to reduce the pain, numbness and burning
  • The RIGHT kind of vitamins to take that can help repair nerve endings.
  • Small lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your well-being...and much more

10 Questions Every Neuropathy Patient Should Ask Their Doctor

Mature woman asking her doctor questions representing an article by Life Renew and Neuropathy Treatment Group titled 10 Questions Every Neuropathy Patient Should Ask Their Doctor

If you’re meeting with your doctor or neurologist for the first time to discuss your neuropathy-like symptoms – such as pain, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet – your mind is likely swirling with questions, concerns, what-ifs and more. Taking the time beforehand to write down a list of questions or concerns you wish to discuss can have a significant impact not only on your peace of mind – but also on your chances of receiving the best advice and care possible for your own unique circumstances.

Asking the right questions can help both you and your doctor better understand your symptoms as well as foster an environment where you can get the answers you need to make informed decisions regarding your treatment. If you’re not sure where to start or what questions to ask, try using these 10 questions. They can help get the conversation going and may spark additional questions or concerns…

 

1. What are the potential causes of my peripheral neuropathy?

The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes – but it is far from the only cause. Other possible causes of nerve pain can include vitamin deficiencies, chemotherapy, trauma, surgery, etc. As treatments may vary depending on the cause of your nerve damage, determining the cause is critical to finding the right treatment plan.

Want to learn more about potential causes of neuropathy? Check out these 7 Potential Causes of Your Neuropathy >

 

2. What are the most common symptoms of neuropathy? Do my symptoms fit the bill?

Be prepared to describe all of your symptoms – even if you’re not sure that they’re related to neuropathy. Openness and communication is key to determining whether your symptoms fit the bill for neuropathy and identifying their potential cause.

 

3. What can I take for the pain?

For many, the pain from nerve damage can be intense – even debilitating. Ask your doctor what medications are available for the pain. Medications can range from over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription painkillers. Various other prescription medications are also used to treat neuropathy pain, including both anti-seizure and anti-depressant medications.

Though they may not completely eliminate the pain, they can take the edge off and help calm overactive nerves. Restoring the calm can help get you your life back and allow you to focus on something other than the pain.

Want to know more about common treatments for Neuropathy Pain? Check out these 7 Common Treatments for Nerve Pain >

 

4. What negative side effects should I worry about with prescription medications?

Many prescription medications have a long list of adverse side effects and those used to treat nerve pain are no exception. For example, anti-seizure medications – a popular treatment for neuropathy – have a long list of side effects including drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, confusion and more.

Knowing the potential risks upfront can help you make an informed decision about which medications to try and which to avoid. Your doctor can help explain any potential risks and help you weigh them against potential benefits.

 

5. What alternative treatments or therapies are there for the pain?

Prescription medications aren’t the only option available for treating neuropathic pain. There are various other treatments and therapies that can serve as complementary treatments – or, if you want to avoid prescriptions altogether, can serve as primary treatments.

Alternative treatments may include supplements, acupuncture, TENs therapy, nerve blocks, physical therapy and more. More often than not, your doctor will recommend a multi-pronged approach to repair nerve damage and easing nerve pain. This may include medications as well as some of the options mentioned above. Asking your doctor about all possible options available to you is a great way to show your interest in trying anything – conventional or not.

 

6. Should I be tested for a vitamin deficiency?

Doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patientOne of the potential causes of peripheral neuropathy is a deficiency of vitamin B12. This important vitamin helps build and maintain a protective coating around the nerves known as the myelin sheath. Additionally, vitamin B12 helps boost and repair damaged nerves. A deficiency in this important vitamin has been linked to nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy.

If there are no obvious causes of your symptoms (i.e. diabetes, chemotherapy, recent surgeries, etc) ask your doctor about whether or not he/she believes a vitamin deficiency could be contributing to the problem. If they deem it necessary, they can run a simple test to determine whether a deficiency of vitamin B12 is playing a role in your peripheral neuropathy or not.

 

7. What can I do about the tingling, numbness or burning?

For most suffering from neuropathy, the nerve damage first manifests itself in the feet – often in the form of burning, tingling or numbness. As mentioned previously, both prescription and over-the-counter medications can help counteract some of these symptoms. In addition to oral pain relievers, there are topical creams formulated to help bring relief from the symptoms of neuropathy.

Neuropathy creams contain capsaicin, a component found in chili peppers. The capsaicin acts as an analgesic to help relieve pain and irritation. It is commonly used to bring temporary relief to those suffering from peripheral neuropathy.

 

8. What, if any, lifestyle changes should I make?

There is an old Chinese proverb that states, “He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors.” We would take it a step further and say that he who neglects making certain lifestyle changes (including, but not limited to diet) wastes the skills of his doctors.

For those afflicted with nerve pain, making lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on their symptoms and improve their chances of finding relief. These lifestyle changes might include quitting smoking, limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption, changing your diet or making low impact exercises part of their daily routine. The changes will largely depend on your lifestyle, as well as the cause of your neuropathy. Ask your doctor what changes you need to make and then create a plan to do it.

 

9. Are there any local support groups or networks for people with Neuropathy?

There may be a neuropathy support group in your area. These groups can be a valuable resource and help you learn from others who have walked in your shoes. You can gain first-hand insight from others on different treatments, lifestyle changes and anything else related to living with neuropathy. Having the ability to talk to others experiencing the same difficulties as you let you know you’re not alone and can provide a valuable boost to your morale. To find a support group near you, search here.

If there aren’t any support groups in your local area, connect with a support group online. You can reap the same benefits from online support groups as local groups. Here are a few online support groups to get you going:

The Neuropathy Association

Neuropathy Support Network

 

 10. Is there anything I need to be more cautious about?

Since neuropathy often causes numbness, it is important that you take extra care of the afflicted areas. Avoid exposure to extreme cold or heat and be sure to check the area daily for any signs of concern.

If your symptoms are manifest in the feet, it is especially important that you check your feet daily for damage. Check for blisters or infections or other signs of problems. Wash your feet daily with warm water and be sure to dry them thoroughly. Make sure your shoes and socks fit comfortably and aren’t causing any rubbing or irritation on the feet – as this may go unnoticed with numbness.

Ask your doctor what other special precautions you should take. The last thing you want is to cause more problems when some simple preventative measures can protect you from them.

Remember – when you’re visiting your doctor or neurologist about your peripheral neuropathy – it should be a conversation. While they are experts and know what to do – going to your appointment prepared with your own questions can foster productive conversations that can help them gain greater insight into your problems and help you get the answers to the questions or concerns you have.

Use these ten questions as a starting point and add other questions to this list. Between each appointment, keep a running list of questions or concerns. Before you know it, you’ll possess a wealth of knowledge and information that will help you make informed decisions when coping with your neuropathy.

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Inside You'll Discover:

  • The causes of Neuropathy and the little known tricks to reduce the symptoms. The top natural, but highly effective, ways to reduce the pain, numbness and burning
  • The RIGHT kind of vitamins to take that can help repair nerve endings.
  • Small lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your well-being...and much more

Treatment For Neuropathy In Feet

Image of a mature adult male grasping foot in pain due to neuropathy representing an article by Life Renew titled Treatment for Neuropathy in Feet

Individuals rely on their feet to keep them upright when walking, as well as to get them from point A to point B. Proper functioning feet are crucial to an individual’s capability to participate in normal everyday activities. When an injury takes place in the foot, the injury can in turn limit the level of normalcy that an individual can have until the injury itself is healed.

Neuropathy in feet is a condition that is often times caused as a complication from Diabetes and the symptoms of neuropathy in feet can be overwhelming. Those individuals who have had the misfortune of being diagnosed with neuropathy in feet live in chronic pain and are forced to suffer through daily activities and tasks with the knowledge that there is no cure for neuropathy in feet that have been discovered at this point in time. While there is currently no cure for neuropathy (or neuropathy in feet) there are some simple steps that individuals who suffer from neuropathy in feet can take in order to attain a lessening in the amount of nerve pain that is felt on a daily basis.

 

Low Impact Exercises

It might seem a bit of an oxymoron to say that treatment for neuropathy in feet should include daily exercise, but in fact, daily exercise (when completely properly) can help to improve the amount of nerve pain felt. Maintaining a healthy blood circulation in the lower extremities helps to aid in blood traveling to the affected area taking with its powerful antioxidants that can have a positive result on reliving the painful neuropathy in feet symptoms that the individual may be experiencing. There are several low impact exercises when completed on a daily basis, could help to lessen the nerve pain while helping the individual function at a normal activity level.

Those low impact exercises are:

  • Range Of Motion – Range of motion is vital in keeping limbs from stiffening. The exercises should be done close to the joint and provide a circular motion.
  • Toe Tapping – This exercise can be done while sitting in a chair heels on the floor. Keeping heels on the floor gently raise toes up as high as possible, then lower the toes back to the floor and gently tap several times with the toes. This exercise can be done with several variants such as the heels can be touching and forming a V bring toes up rotate them in and then back to the floor.
  • Leg Pointers – Sit in a chair, knees together. Lift one foot off the floor while straightening the knees at the same time. Once the foot and leg have been extended, attempt to point the toes forward then back at your body. Repeat several times before moving on to the other foot.
  • Enjoyable – If an individual loves more active exercises, then walking or swimming might be the perfect fit. Both swimming and walking are considered to be two low impact exercises that can help maintain mobility and limit the amount of pain felt with neuropathy in feet while still being an enjoyable exercise to many individuals.

 

Lifestyle Remedies

  • Diet & Exercise. Healthy eating is important for a person looking for a foot neuropathy treatment. Emphasis must be placed on making sure that the patient acquires crucial vitamins and minerals in their daily nutritional intake. Keeping fit and healthy help to aid with circulation, oxygen flow, as well as helping to keep glucose levels under control (which is of vital importance for those suffering from foot neuropathy related to diabetes).
  • Cessation of Smoking. This can be very beneficial, especially for those suffering from foot neuropathy, because smoking causes poor blood flow which in turn makes it harder for the body to heal wounds or cuts properly.
  • Daily Foot Care. Foot care is very important, especially when it comes to dealing with foot neuropathy in regards to patients with diabetes. Daily evaluations should consist of checking for wounds, cuts, blisters, or sores. Keeping the feet clean and dry as well as the avoidance of tight shoes or socks can also help relieve symptoms.

 

Therapies                   

Therapies that are generally used for neuropathic pain treatment are massage, acupuncture, as well as biofeedback. Massage therapy is an effective neuropathic pain treatment because it can help by bringing oxygen to the tissues and improving peripheral circulation. Acupuncture is another form of alternative therapy for neuropathy, as well as nerve stimulation. Another successful neuropathic pain treatment is biofeedback which is a form of therapy that uses an electrical machine that helps patients learn ways to better control or reduce the physical reactions that can increase feelings of both stress and pain. Other therapy alternatives for neuropathic pain treatment include the use of Nerve Block Injections, as well as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulations (TENS).

 

Supplements

Supplements that are commonly used for neuropathic pain treatment are Alpha Lipoic Acid, Benfotiamine, as well as Methylcobalamine. Each of these supplements has been proven in research to provide successful relief to those searching for neuropathic pain treatment.

Get a FREE copy of this powerful book

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Inside You'll Discover:

  • The causes of Neuropathy and the little known tricks to reduce the symptoms. The top natural, but highly effective, ways to reduce the pain, numbness and burning
  • The RIGHT kind of vitamins to take that can help repair nerve endings.
  • Small lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your well-being...and much more

The Effects of Methyl B12 on Neuropathy

A 3D rendered image of a neural network of a neuropathy sufferer representing the effecs of methyl b12 on neuropathy by Life Renew and Nerve Renew

Neuropathy is an umbrella term for diseases of the peripheral nerves, which are those that exist outside your brain and spinal cord. Symptoms including pain, weakness, abnormal skin sensations and even erectile dysfunction vary depending on the cause.

Subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord, a type of neuropathy caused by vitamin B-12 deficiency, can lead to dysfunction in several areas of the nervous system, manifesting in symptoms including loss of balance.

Treatment of neuropathy associated with vitamin B-12 deficiency is supplementation with B-12, often by injection. This has proven to be a sufficient course of treatment for this very painful condition. However, as always, you should talk to your doctor before starting any new treatments for neuropathy.

 

Nerve Regeneration

Nerve damage induced by low tissue levels of B-12 can be irreversible or occur at a slow rate. However, ultra-high doses of methyl B-12 were found to promote nerve regeneration in a very recent study. It does this seemingly by increasing protein synthesis in nerves, the scientists believe. The dose used in the study to obtain nerve regeneration was 500 micrograms/kg of body weight. Healthy nerves are able to properly carry out their function, leading to a reduction in the terrible, painful symptoms of neuropathy.

 

Improved Balance

Among the neurological symptoms of B-12 deficiency that are first to appear include loss of balance.

This can manifest as an unsteady manner of walking. Others may experience a loss of position sense, including an inability to stand with the feet together and eyes closed.

Prompt vitamin replacement therapy through the use of B-12 injections can reverse this debilitating symptom and lead to improvement of balance.

 

Improved Leg Strength

In vitamin B-12 deficient neuropathy patients, numbness and tingling in the lower extremities often progress to the weakness of both legs.

Paraplegia, or complete paralysis of both legs, may occur in advanced stages of the disease. Treatment with B-12 is effective in improving leg strength, but if treatment is delayed and paraplegia results, recovery is poor. If you suffer from any of the above symptoms and feel you may be deficient in B-12, talk to your doctor.

 

Get a FREE copy of this powerful book

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Inside You'll Discover:

  • The causes of Neuropathy and the little known tricks to reduce the symptoms. The top natural, but highly effective, ways to reduce the pain, numbness and burning
  • The RIGHT kind of vitamins to take that can help repair nerve endings.
  • Small lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your well-being...and much more

The Four Big Myths About Neuropathy

Circled Myth text, with Reality text and red pencil representing the four big myths about neuropathy by life renew

Can you recall the first time you were told you might suffer from neuropathy?

Chances are unless you already knew someone who suffered from neuropathy – you didn’t know much about the condition. You’ve likely learned quite a bit about the condition since then – but you no doubt came across false or misleading information along the way.

The truth is, there are still a lot of misleading rumors and false information about neuropathy out there. In fact – you may be surprised to learn that some of the information you’ve picked up over the years may not be completely true.

I’ve encountered a number of half-truths and misleading facts over the years. While some are harmless, others can send you down the wrong path or prevent you from getting the best treatment for your nerve damage. To help dispel these myths, I’ve put together a list of four half-truths, misleading rumors, and other misconceptions about neuropathy that a lot of people still believe.

 

Myth #1 – Nerve Damage is Irreversible

You may have been told at some point that your nerve damage is irreversible. The truth is, it largely depends on the cause and severity of your nerve damage. No one case is the same – but for many people, their nerve damage can, in fact, be slowed and even reversed. This is especially true for those suffering from diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage resulting from a vitamin B12 deficiency.

 

For those with diabetic neuropathy, managing blood sugar is the single most effective step one can take to both slow and reverse nerve damage. For those whose neuropathy was a result of a vitamin B12 deficiency, replenishing the body’s B12 reserves can both repair and regenerate damaged nerves.

 

Of course, those with diabetic neuropathy or a B12 deficiency aren’t the only ones who can hold on to the hope of reversing their nerve damage. With the right treatment, I’ve seen individuals with various different causes of their neuropathy experience nerve regeneration and a reduction (and even elimination) of their symptoms.

 

Myth #2 – Only People With Diabetes Develop Neuropathy

While it’s true that around 70% of people with diabetes will also develop neuropathy, it isn’t the only cause of nerve damage. There are a number of other causes, affecting people from all walks of life. A list of known causes of neuropathy include:

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Chemotherapy
  • Medications (see list of 65 medications that can cause neuropathy)
  • Surgery
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Exposure to Toxins
  • Infections
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Trauma
  • Repeated Pressure on Nerves
  • Kidney Disorders
  • Inherited Disorders

 

MORE: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Neuropathy Causes & Treatments

 

 

Myth #3 – Prescription Medications Cure Neuropathy

There is no prescription medication on the market that “cures” neuropathy. In fact, many of the neuropathy drugs on the market today were originally intended for other medical conditions, such as epilepsy.

 

Rather than cure neuropathy, the prescription drugs on the market today are designed to mask the pain. They act as a volume knob, temporarily turning down the pain levels – but eventually wearing off. As such, the user never gets permanent, lasting relief.

 

Not only that, but some independent studies have shown most of the common neuropathy prescriptions on the market today to be “largely ineffective”. In one study published by the Cochrane Library in 2015, researchers found that only 1 in 10 patients taking anti-seizure medications for nerve pain experienced a reduction in pain. And of the 10% that did have a reduction in pain, the reduction was minimal.

 

More: Researchers: “Popular drugs for nerve pain are ineffective”

 

Myth #4 – Tingling, Numbness, and Shooting Pains Are the Only Symptoms of Neuropathy

While these are the most common symptoms associated with neuropathy, there are many other problems that can manifest themselves if you’re suffering from nerve damage. Depending on the type of nerves that have been damaged, your symptoms could range from tingling sensations in the hands or feet to heartburn or indigestion.

Three types of peripheral nerves

Your peripheral nervous system has three types of nerves: sensory, motor, and autonomic. Each has a different function and the symptoms of your nerve damage will vary depending on which of these nerve types was damaged. In some cases, only one type of nerve may be damaged, while in others multiple nerve types may have been compromised.

 

Common Symptoms of Nerve Damage (based on nerve type)

 

Sensory
  • Pins and needle-like pain (sharp, painful sensations)
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch

 

Motor
  • Loss of balance
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of muscle control (i.e. difficulty gripping things, difficulty walking)
  • Cramps or twitching

 

Autonomic
  • Dizziness when standing
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lack of sweat
  • Digestive problems
  • Bladder problems
  • Vision Problems

 

While there are many other myths and misleading facts floating around out there – these are four of the ones I’ve encountered most often in my years helping people suffering from neuropathy. Some of them can be more harmful than others – depriving the person that has fallen for them of the real information that could make a difference in their life.

 

What myths or misleading information have you been told over the years – only to discover the truth later on? Share your comments in the comment section below or leave a message on our Facebook Page!

Get a FREE copy of this powerful book

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Inside You'll Discover:

  • The causes of Neuropathy and the little known tricks to reduce the symptoms. The top natural, but highly effective, ways to reduce the pain, numbness and burning
  • The RIGHT kind of vitamins to take that can help repair nerve endings.
  • Small lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your well-being...and much more