Peripheral Neuropathy and Your Quality of Life

If you’re suffering from peripheral neuropathy, you know how much it affects your life.

You may feel like your situation is hopeless, especially if you’ve become mired in depression. But it isn’t.

Every single day…

Even the simplest tasks can be difficult if not impossible…

To anyone unfamiliar with peripheral neuropathy and its symptoms, they might just think “your nerves hurt a little…”

But at a peripheral neuropathy sufferer, you know better…

Peripheral neuropathy not only affects your health, it can wreck your quality of life.

How Do You Define Quality of Life?

Generally speaking, Quality of Life is a term used to measure a person’s overall well-being. In medical terms, it usually means how well a patient has adapted to a medical condition.  It measures[1]:

  • Your physical and material well being
  • Your social relationships – how you interact with others
  • Your social activities
  • Your personal fulfillment – your career, any creative outlets you may have, how involved you are with other interests)
  • Your recreational activities – your hobbies, sports, etc.
  • Your actual health – what your health is really like and how healthy you believe you are

How do you feel about these aspects of your life?  Your attitude and approach to your illness, both your neuropathy and the underlying cause of your neuropathy (i.e., diabetes, HIV/AIDS, lupus, etc.) can make a huge difference in how well you adapt to your neuropathy symptoms.

Neuropathy Symptoms Aren’t Just Physical

The pain of peripheral neuropathy falls into the category of what is considered chronic pain.  It usually doesn’t just come and go.  You can’t just pop a couple of aspirin and forget about it.  It’s pain with its root cause in nerve damage.

The nerves that actually register pain are the actual cause of the pain.  When you’re in that kind of pain on a consistent basis, it affects you in many different ways[2]:

  • You become depressed and/or anxious
  • Your productivity and interest at work is disrupted
  • You can’t sleep
  • It’s difficult for you to get out and interact with other people so you feel isolated
  • You sometimes don’t understand why you’re not getting better

What You Can Do To Improve Your Quality of Life

You may feel like your situation is hopeless, especially if you’ve become mired in depression.

But it isn’t.

There are things you can do to lessen the physical (and emotional) effects of peripheral neuropathy and help you function as normally as possible:

  • Pay special attention to caring for your feet.  Inspect them daily for cuts, pressure spots, blisters or calluses (use a mirror to look at the bottom of your feet).   The minute you notice anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician for help.  Never go barefoot – anywhere.
  • Treat yourself to a good foot massage to improve your circulation and reduce pain.  Check with your insurance company – if massage is actually prescribed by your doctor, they may cover some of the cost.
  • Only wear shoes that are padded, supportive and comfortable and never wear tight socks.
  • If you smoke, quit.  Nicotine decreases circulation and if you’re a peripheral neuropathy patient, you can’t risk that.
  • Cut back on your caffeine intake.  Several studies have found that caffeine may actually make neuropathy pain worse.
  • If you sit at a desk, never cross your knees or lean on your elbows.  The pressure will only make your nerve damage worse.
  • Be really careful when using hot water.  Your peripheral neuropathy may affect the way you register changes in temperature and it’s really easy for you to burn yourself and not even realize it.
  • Use a “bed cradle” to keep your sheets away from your feet if you experience pain when trying to sleep.  That will help you rest.
  • Try to be as active as possible.  Moderate exercise is great for circulation and it can work wonders for your emotional and mental health.
  • Make your home as injury proof as possible – install bath assists and/or hand rails and never leave anything on the floor that you can trip over.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.  If you don’t know what you should and shouldn’t eat, talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about a personalized diet plan to maintain proper weight and give your body what it needs to heal.
  • Try to get out as often as possible to socialize with others.

We hope this information helps you to better manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  Take a look at the list above and see how many of these things you’re already doing to help yourself. Then talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician about help with adding the others to your daily life.

For more information on improving your quality of life when dealing with peripheral neuropathy, get our Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.


Could Your Diet Be Making Your Neuropathy Worse?

If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy as a result of[1]

Your local NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist can help you create a personalized diet plan for your digestive issues.

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Lupus
  • Shingles
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Lyme Disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Repetitive stress injury

We don’t need to tell you how miserable the symptoms can be…

If you

Take your medication…

Take precautions to account for muscles weakness or loss of strength in your arms and legs…

Do whatever your doctor tells you to do and your symptoms still aren’t improving.

In addition to the neuropathy caused by your illness, you could be suffering from nutritional neuropathy.

What Causes Nutritional Neuropathy?

One of the leading causes of nutritional neuropathy is vitamin deficiency, especially Vitamin B12.  If you don’t eat meat, dairy products or even fish, you might not be getting the vitamins you would normally get from those foods.

If, in addition to your underlying illness, you also suffer from

  • Anemia
  • Gastritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Other chronic digestive problem

Your body is probably not getting the nutrition it needs from what you’re eating.  That can lead to nutritional neuropathy.

Any condition you have that affects your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients and vitamins from your food can lead to nutritional neuropathy.  And that just makes a bad situation worse if you already have some other type of neuropathy caused by one of the illnesses we just mentioned.

How Nutritional Neuropathy Affects Your Body

Even though the name implies that nutritional neuropathy is linked to your digestive system, it can affect much more than that.

Your body runs on what you feed it.  If your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs, the malnutrition begins to affect every system in your body.  Eventually it affects the peripheral nervous system. The nerves are damaged and no longer function properly.

If your nutritional neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, it can lead to problems with blood pressure, an inability to control your bladder or bowels, or even sexual dysfunction.

If your nutritional neuropathy affects your sensory nerves, you can have problems with your sense of touch – not just possibly an inability to feel sensation but a heightened sense of sensation.  Imagine the sheets on your bed feeling like sand paper against your skin.

If your nutritional neuropathy affects your motor nerves, you can lose the ability to control your muscles, you could lose your balance and the muscle cramps you experience from your neuropathy can be even worse.

Even if your neuropathy is being treated with physical therapy or even drug therapies, you still need a healthy diet to give your body what it needs to heal.

If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding nutritional neuropathy, you need the right diet.

Good Nutrition Can Be Your Secret Weapon

The very first thing you need to do is make sure you’re giving your body the right tools to fight back against nutritional neuropathy.  That means a healthy diet and managing your digestive condition.

Talk to your doctor, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician, about all of your underlying medical conditions.  Your diet will not only need to include the vitamins and minerals, but you also need to take into account any digestive problems you may be experiencing that will prevent your body from absorbing the good stuff you put into it.

A healthy diet should include[2]:

  • Whole grains and legumes to provide B vitamins to promote nerve health.  Whole grains promote the production of serotonin in the brain and will increase your feeling of well-being.
  • Fish and eggs for additional vitamins B12 and B1.
  • Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and other greens) for calcium and magnesium. Both of these nutrients are vital to healthy nerve endings and health nerve impulse transmission and, as an added bonus, they give your immune system a boost.
  • Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as squash, carrots, yellow and orange bell peppers, apricots, oranges, etc.) for vitamins A and C to help repair your skin and boost your immune system.
  • Sunflower seeds (unsalted), avocados, broccoli, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts (unsalted), tomatoes and tomato products, sweet potatoes and fish for vitamin E to promote skin health and ease the pain of nutritional neuropathy.
  • Ask your neuropathy specialist for recommendations on a good multivitamin and mineral supplement to fill in any gaps in your nutrition plan.

Foods you should avoid:

  • Coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Fried foods and all other fatty foods.  Fatty foods suppress the immune system and that’s the last thing you need when you’re fighting nutritional neuropathy.
  • Control the amount of animal protein you eat.  High-protein foods elevate the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine which are both tied to high levels of anxiety and stress.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.  Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse.

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist for a personalized diet plan to help you to help your body to heal with the right nutritional support for nutritional neuropathy and your digestive issues.

We hope this gives you some tips to get started on the road to putting nutritional neuropathy behind you.  Working with your medical team, including your local NeuropathyDR™ specialist, to design a nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs is a great place to start.

For more information on recovering from nutritional neuropathy, get our Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

Even Healthy People Can Develop Neuropathy


Diabetes…

Lupus…

Cancer and chemotherapy…

Any of these conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy…

But what you might not realize is that you can develop peripheral neuropathy even if you’re perfectly healthy.

Athletes who take part in sports that require consistent overhead movement of the arms (like tennis, baseball, kayaking, volleyball) place a lot of strain on their shoulders.  That places them at a much higher risk of overuse injuries.

And that can lead to a very specific type of neuropathy – suprascapular neuropathy.

What is Suprascapular Neuropathy[1]?

Suprascapular neuropathy- that’s a real mouthful isn’t it?  It may sound complicated but it really isn’t.

Suprascalupar neuropathy is nerve damage to the suprascapular nerve – the nerve that runs from the brachial plexus (a group of nerves in the neck and shoulders) to nerves that help the body fully rotate the arms.  Suprascapular neuropathy causes shoulder pain and weakness and can lead to career ending pain for professional athletes or stop weekend warriors from doing what they love.

The most common symptoms of suprascapular neuropathy are[2]:

–   Deep, dull aching pain in the shoulder

–   Weakness or muscle pain

–   Frozen shoulder (inability to move the shoulder)

–  Numbness and tingling

If any of these symptoms are keeping you sidelined, talk to your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician today.

Exactly What Causes Suprascapular Neuropathy?

As the suprascapular nerve passes over the shoulder blade, it can be compressed and stretched.  When that happens repeatedly over a period of time, the nerve can become damaged and neuropathy develops. The first symptoms are usually pain and weakness when you try to rotate the shoulder.  More than just being uncomfortable, the pain can disrupt your life on a daily basis.

Imagine trying to put on a t-shirt or reach for a can on the top shelf of your pantry with a frozen or extremely painful shoulder…

If your experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately to determine if you have nerve damage.  You’ll need to start treatment immediately to prevent permanent damage.

What You Can Expect From Treatment

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will start with nerve conduction studies to find out exactly where the nerves are damaged.  Electromyography will show exactly how severe the damage is.

Once you know for sure you have suprascapular neuropathy, the first step will be stop participating in the sport that caused the injury (until the damage is repaired).

Next, you’ll start a course of physical therapy and prescribed exercise.  Therapy will concentrate on maintaining your full range of motion and strengthening your shoulder muscles.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will employ a very specific treatment protocol depending on

–          The location of your injury and how severe it is

–          Your age, general health and typical activities

–          How long you’ve had your symptoms and whether or not they was caused by overuse or a specific injury

If your shoulder pain is keeping you on the bench and stopping you from participating in the sports you love or even from living a normal life, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician today.   Early intervention is one of the best ways to minimize the damage caused by suprascapular neuropathy and repair any nerve damage you may have suffered.

For more information on coping with suprascapular neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.