Neuropathy Care Essentials for Health Care Professionals

Neuropathy Care Essentials Video for Health Care Professionals

“But Doctor, It Hurts When I Exercise…” – Part 2

Here are more tips on low impact exercises that won’t make your neuropathy pain even worse…

Tai Chi

 

Tai Chi is a very slow moving martial art.  Each and every movement is done slowly and through a complete cycle, works every muscle group in the body.  Even though it is not a strenuous exercise program, the health benefits for your bones and muscles are undeniable.

Once again, Tai Chi uses the body’s own weight to strengthen the muscles. Your sore joints and swollen tissue aren’t subjected to increased weight.   And because the movements are slow and fluid, no added pain from sore muscles to complicate the symptoms of neuropathy that you already suffer from.

Swimming

 

If your joints are so painful that walking is not a good option for exercise, try swimming.  Your movements are easier in water and you will put little weight or pressure on your feet.  Make sure that the water is warm, not cold.  Prolonged exposure to cold water will have a detrimental effect on your circulation and make a bad situation worse.

Swimming is also a wonderful way to strengthen your cardiovascular system and do so without taxing your limited strength.  If you suffer from pain in your legs and feet, the buoyancy of the water takes some of the pressure off your extremities.  Just being in the water can provide some relief from the pain in your nerves.

Stay tuned for our final suggestions on exercises that give your life back…

“But, Doctor, It Hurts When I Exercise…” – Part 1

By now, everyone knows that exercise is good for you.

It helps to not only lose weight but keep your weight under control…

It strengthens your bones…

It improves your cardiovascular health…

It has even been shown to fight depression…

And if you happen to have diabetes, you know how important exercise is in managing your glucose levels.

But what do you do when your neuropathy or some other painful condition just makes it hurt to work out?

If you struggle with neuropathy, complications from diabetes, post-chemo nerve pain or any other painful medical condition, it can be really easy to just sit around and do nothing.

Because it just hurts too much to be active.

 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  There are exercises you can do that won’t tax your painful joints or cause you more pain than you already have.

Here are a few exercises to consider that are easy on the body and only require gentle movements:

Yoga

 

Yoga will keep you limber and stretches the muscles in slow, easy, fluid movements.  You can do it as slowly as you like.  You don’t have to qualify as a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat to get the benefits of a good yoga practice.  Just do the postures to the best of your ability.  If it has been awhile since you’ve exercised, don’t expect to be limber overnight.  Give yourself time.

Yoga stretches the muscles and increases muscle strength simply by using the body’s own weight.  No extra equipment, no extra weight on painful joints or swollen feet.  Just what you already carry.  That’s tailor made for people suffering from nerve pain.

Next time, we’ll talk a bit more about easy, low impact exercises to help you get in shape with as little pain as possible.

“But, Doctor, It Hurts When I Exercise…” – Part 1

By now, everyone knows that exercise is good for you.

It helps to not only lose weight but keep your weight under control…

It strengthens your bones…

It improves your cardiovascular health…

It has even been shown to fight depression…

And if you happen to have diabetes, you know how important exercise is in managing your glucose levels.

But what do you do when your neuropathy or some other painful condition just makes it hurt to work out?

If you struggle with neuropathy, complications from diabetes, post-chemo nerve pain or any other painful medical condition, it can be really easy to just sit around and do nothing.

Because it just hurts too much to be active.

 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  There are exercises you can do that won’t tax your painful joints or cause you more pain than you already have.

Here are a few exercises to consider that are easy on the body and only require gentle movements:

Yoga

 

Yoga will keep you limber and stretches the muscles in slow, easy, fluid movements.  You can do it as slowly as you like.  You don’t have to qualify as a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat to get the benefits of a good yoga practice.  Just do the postures to the best of your ability.  If it has been awhile since you’ve exercised, don’t expect to be limber overnight.  Give yourself time.

Yoga stretches the muscles and increases muscle strength simply by using the body’s own weight.  No extra equipment, no extra weight on painful joints or swollen feet.  Just what you already carry.  That’s tailor made for people suffering from nerve pain.

Next time, we’ll talk a bit more about easy, low impact exercises to help you get in shape with as little pain as possible.

Want a Better Outcome? Get Involved – Part 3

Educate Yourself to Get The Outcome You Want

Once you’ve had your visit with your health professional and you have a course of treatment in mind, learn as much as you can about your diagnosed condition.   Stay on top of new developments and treatments as they become available and always ask your health professional whether or not they would be appropriate for your condition.

Many of us read business publications or Consumer Reports religiously but don’t bother to educate ourselves about our healthcare options.  Be an educated consumer.  Know enough to know when you should walk away from a healthcare practitioner.

More and more patients are realizing that they have a great deal of influence on their medical outcomes.  Their treatment program is not just something their doctor is responsible for.  It’s a partnership that requires full participation on both sides.

Want a Better Outcome? Get Involved!

Managing Your Care And Your Expectations

 

Once you’ve made a list of the answers to the questions we talked about in our last post, you’re ready for your appointment.

Be prepared to make the most efficient use of your time with your health professional.  Most doctor’s offices schedule appointments in 15 minute increments so be ready to hit the ground running when you have face time with your physician.

To do that, you need to:

  • Take control of your time.  If your doctor doesn’t have time to fully answer the questions you have, ask for someone who can.  Many practices have physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners who can tell you what you need to know.
  • Make sure you understand exactly what your doctor is telling you.  If you don’t, say so.  If you want a good outcome, you have to know what you can and can’t do.
  • Write down whatever your doctor tells you about your condition, any medications he’s prescribing and any lifestyle changes you need to make.
  • Review what you write down with your doctor.  Make sure that what you understood him to say is really what he said.
  • Set realistic goals for your treatment. Make sure that your doctor understands exactly what you want to achieve.  Do you want to heal? Do you just want to manage your condition?  Do you only want to know how to deal with a new medical symptom?  Your goals will help your doctor determine how to treat you.

Taking these steps will help you manage your own care and your expectations for what you can realistically achieve through treatment.

Want a Better Outcome? Get Involved!

 

You live with your body every day…

Your health professional can have every medical degree known to man but he doesn’t live in your skin…

What’s normal for you may not be normal for someone else.

In order to properly treat you, the professional you trust with your medical care has to know what you’re feeling and the more detail you can provide, the better.

The bottom line is, you have to get involved in your own care if you want any chance of a good outcome.

Plan Now For Your Next Visit

 

Regardless of whether you’re seeing a health professional that you’ve seen before or if it’s a first time visit, the more information you can provide about your current symptoms, the better.  Don’t expect to just walk into the office and “wing it” and get the best possible outcome.

Be honest in the information you provide to your health professional.  If you don’t provide accurate information, there is no way he can accurately diagnose and treat whatever problems you’re having.

Plan to provide the following information:

  • The reason for your current visit – what are you worried about? What changes have you noticed in your body? What are your symptoms? When did they start?
  • Any allergies you have – that includes your allergies to medications, foods or anything else you’ve had an adverse reaction to.
  • Make a list of all medications you currently take – both prescribed and over the counter.  Be sure to include vitamins, supplements and herbs.
  • Be honest about your caffeine and/or alcohol consumption – think about how much coffee, alcohol or even energy drinks you consume in an average day.
  • Tell your health professional if you smoke, how much you smoke or if you use smokeless tobacco.  Any of these habits can have a significant impact on diagnosing conditions accurately.

Stay tuned for more suggestions on taking control of your medical care to get the results you want.

Recovered From Your Surgery But Having New Symptoms?

Great news! Your recent surgery was a success…

You came through recovery like a champ…

You managed to avoid any infections and you’re back home.

You never expected to be experiencing symptoms you never had before surgery:

  • Tingling and/or burning in hands and feet
  • Pain in your nerves
  • Loss of the sense of touch or an inability to feel vibration
  • Temperature changes in the flesh – do your extremities feel excessively warm or cold?
  • Side effects from pain medication that cause insomnia or difficulty staying asleep

Almost makes you wonder if the surgery was worth it sometimes, doesn’t it?

What Could Be Causing Your Problems?

"Why can't I fell my feet after surgery?"

 

One cause could be a condition called hypoxia.  Hypoxia can result from prolonged exposure to anesthesia used during major surgical procedures.  The anesthetic used can lead to certain nerves not receiving the amount of oxygen they need to function and that can cause nerve damage. When a surgical procedure is required, the possibility of nerve damage due to oxygen deprivation can be a necessary evil.

Another possibility could be free radical damage caused by toxins.  This sometimes happens in chemotherapy patients.  They make it through chemo and survive cancer only to be faced with the pain associated with nerve damage. Granted, when you’re facing down cancer, pain associated with nerve damage is the least of your problems but it can really make your post-chemo life miserable.

Yet another cause could be nerve compression from things like sciatica or carpal tunnel syndrome.  If your surgery was for either of those conditions or some other condition caused by nerves being pinched or squeezed, your symptoms could be left over damage from pre-surgical conditions.

Next time, we’ll talk about what you need to do next to treat these painful symptoms and get your life back.

What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

As the name implies, Metabolic Syndrome is linked to your body’s metabolism and could be caused by your body’s inability to properly regulate the amount of insulin in your bloodstream.  Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas and it helps control the amount of sugar in your blood.

If your body is operating normally, your digestive system breaks down the food you eat into sugar (what doctors normally refer to as glucose).  Your blood then carries the glucose to your tissues where the cells use it as fuel.  Insulin helps the glucose enter the cells.  If you’re insulin resistant, your cells don’t respond normally to insulin and glucose can’t enter the cells as it should.

The body reacts by producing more and more insulin thinking that will help the glucose get into the cells, sort of like pumping the gas pedal in your car to get more fuel to the carburetor.  Just as that can flood the engine in your car, the result is higher than normal levels of insulin in your blood.  And that can, and often does, lead to diabetes.

Even if you don’t develop diabetes, elevated glucose levels can raise your triglyceride levels or interfere with how your kidneys work.  All of which puts you at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and a host of other conditions.

If you have any of the conditions we talked about last week – obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels that are off the mark, talk to your doctor about additional testing.  Determining whether or not you have metabolic syndrome and starting treatment early on can save you from developing serious illnesses down the road.

What You Need To Know About Metabolic Syndrome

Increased blood pressure…

Higher than normal insulin or blood sugar levels…

Excess body fat, particularly around your waist…

Abnormal cholesterol levels – and that means both “good” and “bad” cholesterol…

If you have not just one but all of these conditions, you may have Metabolic Syndrome. And that increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes as well as peripheral neuropathy.

If you know you have one of these symptoms, you may have others and not know it.  Do any of these sound familiar?

1. Obesity – Are you carrying excess weight, particularly around your waist? Do you have an “apple shape”?

2. Elevated Blood Pressure – If your systolic (the top number) blood pressure is higher than 120 or your diastolic (the bottom number) is higher than 80, you have blood pressure issues that you need to talk to your doctor about.

3. Abnormal Cholesterol Levels – If you have high triglycerides (blood fat) and low “good” or HDL cholesterol, you need to ask your doctor about treatment.

4. Insulin Resistance – If your body doesn’t properly regulate the amount of sugar in your blood, you could be on your way to becoming diabetic.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about testing to make sure you don’t have others.  With the exception of obesity, any of these could be silent symptoms that remain undetected without proper medical testing.

Stay tuned…in our next edition, we’ll talk about the causes of metabolic syndrome and give you an idea of what your lifestyle may be doing to contribute to your metabolic syndrome.

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetic Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care