Tips On Better Managing Neuropathy During The Holidays

If you have diabetes…

Or you’ve had shingles…

Even if you’ve completed a successful course of chemotherapy…

And you suffer from pain or burning in your feet, legs or hands, you could have peripheral neuropathy.

You’re not alone…

You don’t have to just live with it…

You don’t necessarily have to swallow more pills and pay for more expensive prescriptions…

There are things you can do to help manage your pain.

The NeuropathyDR Protocol is Based Upon Combination Therapies

More than half the people suffering from neuropathy report that they’ve tried some complementary treatments in addition to traditional medicine to relieve their pain.

There are many things you can do daily at home to help you improve your pain.  Here are few to think about:

If You Have Diabetic Neuropathy, Control Your Blood Sugar

This may sound like a no-brainer but many people with diabetes don’t realize how toxic high blood sugar is.  High blood sugar is what causes nerve pain and damage.  Keeping blood sugar levels close to normal can not only stop ongoing damage; some damage may even be reversible.  That provides even more promise for fighting neuropathy pain.

Take Care of Your Feet

Nerve pain is usually what brings people in to see their doctors.  But the numbness in their feet and inability to feel even the smallest injury can lead to infections and ulceration and ultimately end in amputation.   If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy you need to take special care of your feet and be very aware of any sign of problems.  Some things you can do are:

•        Clean and inspect your feet every day.  If you have an injury that’s not healing properly, call your doctor immediately.

•       Wear comfortable shoes.  Don’t wear shoes that pinch your toes or rub blisters on your heels.

•       Wear padded socks to cushion the ball of your feet and the heel.

•       Either cut your toenails straight across or have a doctor do it for you.

Walk, or Better Yet Cycle As Much As Possible

You don’t have to run a marathon or even walk one.  You don’t have to race a titanium frame bicycle. Just move the big muscles in your legs as often and as much as you possibly can.  Exercise, even very gently at first improves circulation and improved blood flow to the legs and feet will help nourish damaged nerves.

A Warm Bath Can Do Wonders

Warm baths increase blood flow; reduce stress and aid in relaxation.  All three of these benefits will make the pain a little easier to tolerate.  But a word to the wise, check the water temperature with your elbow or your wrist before you get in the bathtub. The nerve damage in your feet makes them an unreliable source for judging temperature. Use a thermometer. We like 100 degrees Fahrenheit with some added minerals and antioxidants.

Take Targeted Supplements

Vitamins B-1, B-12, B-6 and folic acid are all vital to healthy nerves. We have found certain combinations in professionally tailored packages for each case often works best.  If you eat a healthy diet, you may still not be getting the recommended daily amount of some vitamins and other nutrients. Talk to your doctor first, though, before you take any supplements to make sure they won’t interact badly with the medications you’re taking.
You can easily check for drug-nutrient interactions. Special caution is advised in thyroid disease and cancer therapies during neuropathy care.

Better Self Care Means Better Quality of life...

Control Your Alcohol Intake

High intake of alcohol is a toxin to your nerves.  And if the nerves are already damaged, it’s even worse.  Some people think that a drink a day is good for your health. I respectfully disagree. If you have nerve damage, that’s a chance you don’t need to take.  Don’t drink more than four alcoholic beverages a week if you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, and none would be even better

That’s Why NeuropathyDR™ Doctors and Physical Therapists are trained

Before you begin any self-care regimen or add supplements, herbs or vitamins to your healthcare regimen, always talk to your professional first.  Virtually everything has some side effects so make sure that what you’re planning to take won’t cause you more harm than good.

And Above All Else…

Don’t give up.  Self-care is vital to managing your neuropathy.  While you may need a combination of these self-care tips and medication, sorting out yourself is not always wise.

Contact a local NeuropathyDR doctor or physical therapist to explore treatment options in addition to taking care of yourself.

 

 

Holidays can be incredibly stressful…they don’t have to be!


Even for the healthy, the holidays can be incredibly stressful…

Some surveys have even found that people are more stressed by the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas than by asking the boss for a raise…

But when you have

•       Diabetes

•       Diabetic neuropathy

•       Peripheral neuropathy

•       Post Chemotherapy neuropathy

And now you have the stress of the holidays to deal with as well, your health could take a serious beating that will take you months to recover from.

Here are some steps you can take to make the holidays (and the months following them) a little easier to deal with:

 

1.    Understand How Stress Affects Your Body

You Can Make Healthier Choices This Holiday Season...

 

Stress (both mental and physical) causes the body to release hormones that prompt the liver to secrete glucose.  That can wreak havoc on your blood glucose levels if you suffer from diabetes.  In Type 2 diabetics, stress can also block the release of insulin from the pancreas and leave that extra insulin floating around in the blood stream.  In Type 1 diabetes, the effects are a little different.  Some Type 1 diabetics say that stress drives their glucose up, others maintain that stress drives their glucose down.  Either way, your energy levels are wrecked.  On a good day, that can be difficult to deal with.  At the holidays, it can be pure misery.

 

If you are feeling stressed and your energy is especially low, you are less likely to pay attention to your glucose levels or eat as you know you should. Pay particular attention to your body during the holidays and take the extra time you need to take care of yourself.

 

2.    Do What You Can To Reduce Mental Stress

Many of the things that stress us at the holidays are easy to manage or control.  Make your life as easy as possible during this trying time.

If traffic really works your nerves, leave home a little earlier or try getting to work by a different route and avoid the areas that are particularly congested.

If your boss is a nightmare, plan to take vacation around the holidays if at all possible and give yourself a mental break.

Volunteer to help with the holiday activities of a local charity.  Doing something good for someone else is a wonderful way to make someone else’s life better and make yourself feel good at the same time.

Resolve to start a new exercise program or learn a new skill or start a hobby as soon as the holidays are over.  Enlist a friend to do it with you so you can encourage each other.  Giving yourself a goal and something to look forward to after the grind of the holidays is over will do wonders for your state of mind.

3.    How Do You Cope?

Everyone has a coping style.  Some people are the take charge type and takes steps immediately to solve their problems.  Other people just accept the problem, recognize that they can’t fix it, acknowledge that it’s probably not as bad as it could be, and go their merry way.  Still others are hand wringers and feel perpetually out of control.

The take-chargers and accepters have less problems with stress both at the holidays and on a daily basis and, as a result, their blood glucose levels don’t become elevated.

4.    Relax…

One of the most useful things you will ever learn (diabetic or not) is to relax.  For many, the ability to relax is not natural but it can be learned.  Some ways to help yourself relax are:

o      Breathing Exercises

Sit down or lie down without your arms or legs crossed.  Inhale deeply.  Push as much of the air as possible out of your lungs.  Repeat the process but this time, relax your muscles while you exhale.  Start with this exercise for 5 minutes at a time and increase your time until you’re practicing breathing at least 20 minutes at a time, once a day.

o      Progressive Relaxation Therapy

Tense your muscles then relax them.  Lie still and repeat the process for 5 minutes at a time, at least once a day.

o      Exercise

We can’t say enough about the benefits of exercise.  As we’ve said before, you don’t have to run a marathon to get the stress reducing benefits of exercise.  You can walk or stretch and get the stress reducing benefit of exercise.

o      Watch Your Mindset

 

When it comes to reducing stress, a lot can be said for the power of positive thinking.  It’s really easy to let your mind overwhelm you this time of year…

 

“I’ll never get it all done…”

 

“What if they don’t like what I give them?”

 

“Oh man, I have to spend time with my brother again this year…”

 

Just watch your mindset and you can eliminate much of the stress of the holiday season.  Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  Say a prayer or recite a poem or a quote that makes you feel good.  Think of something that makes you happy.  It may sound trite, but go to your happy place.

 

Choose one or more of these methods to relax and do it daily.  Relaxing doesn’t come naturally to us but we can definitely learn to do it with practice and the health benefits are beyond measure.

 

Face the fact that many holiday stressors are not going away.  The relative you don’t get along with, the traffic, the never ending list of things to do will always be there.

 

But you can learn to manage the holiday stress.  And if you can learn to manage holiday stress, just think of what you can do the rest of the year.

Talk to your Contact a local NeuropathyDR™ doctor or physical therapist to explore ways to handle the holiday stress-a-thon and make it a healthier and more enjoyable experience this and every year.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Stretching

 

You can stretch while lying in bed.  This is a good stretching program that will give you a good total body stretch without ever getting on your feet. Do each of these small stretches 6 or 8 times:

 

•       Start with your fingers and toes and gently stretch and contract them

•       Next, move to your wrists and ankles and make circles with the joints

•       Bend your elbows, bring your hands in to your shoulders

•       Bend your knees, one at a time, toward your chest

•       Bring your arms up to your ears and down, gently stretching your shoulder muscles

•       Raise each leg, keep it straight, and raise it as far as you can.

None of these stretches requires a broad range of motion but will increase the circulation in your arms and legs and work your joints.

Remember, you don’t have to over exert yourself to stretch your muscles and improve your circulation.  When you deal with debilitating pain, just doing those two things can lead to great improvement in your overall health condition.

Start small, take it easy and do the exercise you choose at your own pace.  Be gentle with yourself.  The more you do even the smallest exercise, the better you are going to feel.  And that’s the best way to ensure a good outcome from any medical treatment.

There is lots more information for you in aour local treatment centers and at http://neuropathydr.com

Taking Chemotherapy? You Need A Healthy Diet

If you’re taking chemotherapy to fight cancer and you’re suffering from

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ clinician or other medical professional about diet planning.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Post chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy
  • Dry mouth

You can help yourself heal without resorting to even more medication.

By giving your body the nutrients and vitamins that it needs for repair and recovery.

If you’re suffering from loss of appetite, telling you to eat may sound crazy but you have options.  You can eat a healthy diet, with foods that are appetizing, and give yourself a head start on healing.

Nutrition and Cancer

Chemotherapy wreaks havoc on your immune system[1].  You need to give yourself every ounce of immune support possible.  A diet of whole foods that are easy on your sensitive digestive tract is your best option.

Get plenty of anti-oxidants and protein.  Your chemotherapy nutrition plan must include foods rich in vitamins, especially vitamins C, D and E and nutrients like soy isoflavones, amino acids, folic acid, l-glutamine, calcium and carotenoids.  Make sure you stay well hydrated (especially if you are nauseated) and forget about counting calories.  Eat every calorie you can get your hands on – this is not time to worry about weight issues.

If you’re having problems with digesting food, invest in a good juicer.  A juicer will make it easy for your digestive system to break down the food you take in and still get the nutrition your body desperately needs to build itself back up.

The Best Foods For The Chemotherapy Patient

To make it easy for you to remember which foods you need[2], here is a simple cheat sheet of foods that will ensure that your body is being well nourished while undergoing chemotherapy:

Vitamin C

  • Red cabbage
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Oranges
  • Red and Green Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries and tangerines

Vitamin D

  • Salmon and tuna

Vitamin E

  • Nuts, including almonds and peanuts
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Mangoes
  • Sunflower seeds

Carotenoids

  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Greens, especially collard greens and spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Acorn squash

Soy Isoflavones

  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk – might be easier to digest than regular milk because it’s lactose-free

Folic Acid

  • Asparagus
  • Dried beans
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Turkey

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ clinician or other medical professional about diet planning to make sure that you’re getting everything from your food that you need to rebuild your immune system.

The Beauty of Herbs and Spices

Adding herbs and spices to your food will not only make them taste better (which is vital if you have no appetite), many herbs and spices have medicinal properties.  Some really good options are:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Ginger (natural anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Garlic (natural anti-biotic properties)
  • Mint (great for fighting nausea as well)
  • Fennel
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley

Again, talk to your NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist about cancer recovery nutrition and diet planning. Sit down and formulate what you need to eat and gather recipe ideas that sound appealing to you.  By working with your medical professionals and doing what you can on your own to rebuild your immune system, you will have a much better chance of recovery, both from your cancer and your chemotherapy treatment.  By giving your body what it needs, you can also give yourself a better chance of fewer long term effects from post chemotherapy neuropathy.

Have this article handy for your next doctor appointment and take it with you when you go to the grocery store. It’s a great reference for planning your weekly diet and making sure you’re eating the right foods for chemotherapy recovery.

For more information on nutrition to help you fight cancer and post chemotherapy neuropathyget your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.