Infectious Disease & Nerve Pain

If you have had nerve pain, Lyme Disease, Varicella Zoster (aka Shingles), HIV/AIDS, or even Legionnaire’s Disease, you’re probably dealing with some combination of

•     Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)

•     Headaches

•     Painful, swollen joints

•     Anemia

•     Fever and chills

•     Swelling in your feet, legs or hands

•     Pleurisy

•     Rashes

•     Hair loss

These are all symptoms we’re familiar with when we hear about infectious disease and nerve pain.

But what you may not realize is that any of these diseases can cause nerve pain (or neuropathy).

The pain, swelling or even loss of sensation usually won’t go away on its own.  And more than just causing pain, it can be deadly if the wrong nerves are affected.

How Can An Infectious Disease Cause Nerve Pain?

Infectious diseases are caused by viruses or bacteria.  Viruses and bacteria can attack nerve tissue and severely damage sensory nerves. If those nerves are damaged, you’re going to feel the pain, quickly.

The virus that causes HIV, in particular, can cause extensive damage to the peripheral nerves.  Often, the progression of the disease can actually be tracked according to the specific type of neuropathy the patient develops.  Painful polyneuropathy affecting the feet and hands can be one of first clinical signs of HIV infection.

Any of these viral or bacterial disorders can cause indirect nerve damage and bring on conditions that we refer to as autoimmune disorders.  Autoimmune disorders cause the body’s immune system to go on the offensive and attack its own tissues.  These assaults by the body on the body damage the nerve’s protective covering.  Think of it as “internal friendly fire” – misdirected but potentially serious.

Aside From Nerve Pain, What Other Problems Could I Have?

 

You could have serious problems.

If your peripheral neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, you could develop

•     Blood pressure problems

•     Heart rate issues

•     Bladder or bowel control issues

•     Difficulty swallowing because your esophagus doesn’t function properly

•     Bloating

•     Heart burn

•     Inability to feel sensation in your hands and feet

 

Beyond being uncomfortable, any of these conditions can cause serious health issues; some can even be fatal.

 

How Can You Protect Yourself?

 

If you suspect you have infectious disease and nerve pain, call us immediately.  The earlier you start appropriate courses of treatment, the less likely you’ll be to develop peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage.

One of the smartest things you can do for yourself to head off potential problems is to consult a specialist who treats neuropathy and will recognize problems quickly and act to resolve them.

In addition to excellent treatment protocols and specific drug therapies designed for your particular condition, there are a few things you can do to help yourself[2]:

•     Get plenty of rest

•     Pace yourself and limit your activities

•     Exercise regularly – walking and swimming are good exercises for neuropathy patients

•     Take care of your skin and limit your exposure to the sun

•     If you smoke, stop

•     Eat a healthy, well balanced diet

•     If you’re a woman, pay particular attention to birth control issues.  Any of these infectious diseases can cause serious problems during pregnancy.

Be sure also to let our clinicians work with you on a diet and exercise plan that will help you fight back against these infectious diseases and the long term problems they can cause.

Contact us today for more information on the best course of treatment to make sure that once your infectious disease is cured or under control, you won’t carry the burden of nerve pain from peripheral neuropathy.


Need Comprehensive Help With Your Health? Give Our Practice A Call 24/7   781-659-7989

Gastric Bypass Complications

So…

You or someone you love finally bit the bullet and had gastric bypass surgery…

Or maybe you opted for the lap band…

Everything went really well with the surgery and now you’re back home and on your way to your new life and brand new you.

You started to lose weight almost immediately and you couldn’t be happier with the results.

You knew you’d have some side effects[1] but you really didn’t expect anything you couldn’t handle.

But you never expected these Gastric Bypass Complications:

•      Heartburn

•      Bloating

•      Nausea and/or vomiting

•      Difficulty in swallowing because your esophagus no longer functions properly

•      Inability to empty your stomach

•      Diarrhea

•      Constipation

None of these symptoms is pleasant.  And what’s even worse is that they can last from days to weeks on end.

You knew you needed to take off the weight but it’s beginning to feel like it might not have been worth it.

They warned you about possible side effects but one they may not have mentioned could be causing one or several of your symptoms.

Your problems could be a result of Gastrointestinal or G.I. Autonomic Neuropathy.

Exactly What Does That Mean?

It means that your body is suffering from nutritional deficiencies caused by the lack of certain nutrients and vitamins.  The bypass surgery or lap band procedure may have stopped your body from taking in too much food, but it also substantially reduced the amount of nutrients and vitamins you’re getting from your food.

You no longer take in enough food with the nutrition your body needs[2].  When that happens, the body begins to break down.  One of the many issues you can develop due to what is basically malnutrition is G.I. Autonomic Neuropathy.  The nerves, specifically the Vagus Nerve is damaged by the lack of nutrition and it begins to malfunction.  That means difficulty in digesting food, difficulty in swallowing, an inability to eliminate waste properly…

Basically an inability of the digestive system to do anything it was designed to do.

Before the advent of gastric bypass surgery and lap band procedures, most people who developed G.I. Autonomic Neuropathy or other types of neuropathy were diabetics, alcoholics or they live in countries where malnutrition was common.

Now gastric bypass surgery has brought on a whole new subset of patients who suffer from Gastric Bypass Complications.

 

The Nutrients You Probably Lack

 

G.I. Autonomic Neuropathy is usually caused by deficiencies in:

•           Vitamin B1 or Thiamine

•          Vitamin B3

•          Vitamin B6

•          Vitamin B12

•          Vitamin E

 

Many of the symptoms caused by your G.I. Autonomic Neuropathy can be lessened by comprehensive supplementation after testing and helped by a healthy diet and management of whatever underlying condition you have that could be contributing to your neuropathy.

 

What If You’re Not a Gastric Bypass Patient But You Have These Symptoms

 

What if you haven’t had gastric bypass or lap band surgery but you still have the symptoms we talked about above?  If you have

•     A history of alcohol abuse

•     Hepatitis C

•     Crohn’s Disease

•     Celiac Disease

And you’re having the problems we discussed above contact your doctor immediately.  Ask him to test to make sure that you are indeed suffering from nerve damage that could be linked to any of these causes.  Once that diagnosis has been made, ask us to help with treatment options.

 

Treatment Components May Include

 

•      Treatment for any underlying problems

•      Nutrition diagnostic tests, education and diet planning

•      A step by step exercise regimen

•      Medications and supplements as needed or necessary

 

If you have a confirmed diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Autonomic Neuropathy or think you may have it, you don’t have to just live with it.  In fact, just living with it could be downright dangerous due to intestinal blockages, continued malnutrition, etc.  Contact us today for more information.


[1] www.mayoclinic.com/health/autonomic-neuropathy/DS00544/DSECTION=symptoms

 

Need Comprehensive Help With Your Health? Give Our Practice A Call 24/7   781-659-7989

 

 

Shingles and Postherpetic Neuralgia

 

What You Need to Know About Shingles and Postherpetic Neuralgia

 

You wake up one morning to a red painful rash…

A band of blisters wrapped around your body from the middle of your back around your side to your breastbone.  As if that weren’t bad enough, you may also have

–            Pain, burning, numbness or tingling

–            Fluid-filled blisters

–            Itching

–            Headache

–            Fatigue

–            Body aches

–            Fever and chills

If not for the rash, you might think you were coming down with the flu.  Instead, your first thought is that you’re having an allergic reaction to food, or a new bath soap or even the perfume in your laundry detergent…

But if you are

–            Over 50 years of age

–            Had chicken pox at some point in your life

–            Have an autoimmune disease

–            Have any other health issue or significant stress that weakens your immune system

You probably have a virus called Varicella zoster virus (VZV), more commonly known as shingles. VZV is the same virus that causes chicken pox.  Once you’ve had chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in your system until it’s reactivated by various risk factors and you develop shingles.

And that’s a good news/bad news diagnosis.

Contrary to several old wives’ tales, shingles is usually by itself not life-threatening…that’s the good news.

The bad news is that shingles is extremely painful and you may experience severe and unrelenting nerve pain (Postherpetic Neuralgia) unless you get immediate medical care.

If you think you have shingles or that you might be at risk of developing them, here’s what you need to know about shingles and Postherpetic Neuralgia:

Is Shingles Contagious?

Yes, like chicken pox, shingles is contagious.  You can pass the shingles virus to anyone who hasn’t had chicken pox.  And how’s this for a twist?  The person you pass the virus can develop chicken pox, not usually shingles.

Fortunately, the shingles virus is not an airborne virus.  It’s passed through direct contact with the open sores caused by shingles.  Until your blisters are healed, you are contagious.  Avoid contact with

–            Newborns

–            Pregnant women

–            Anyone with a weakened immune system

How Is Shingles Treated?

Shingles is usually by itself not life-threatening.

However, getting anti-viral medication and supportive care such as laser therapy as soon as your shingles appear (within 72 hours) is the wise (and much less painful) course of action to speed up the healing process and lessen the likelihood of potentially serious complications.

Once a doctor confirms that you have shingles, usually through taking a complete history and physical and sometime cultures from your rash, the standard course of treatment is anti-viral medication to kill the virus and make you more comfortable.

To help the medication work, you need to get plenty of rest, avoid stress and either take a cool bath or use cold wet compresses to ease the itch and pain.

What Are Some of the Complications from Shingles?

While shingles is not a serious illness, some of the complications arising from shingles can be.

Postherpetic Neuropathy

Your blisters go away but the pain remains. Postherpetic Neuropathy is caused by damaged nerve fibers sending exaggerated pain messages to your brain.  Pain medication, antidepressants or even anticonvulsant medications are often prescribed to bring relief from Postherpetic Neuropathy; however, repairing the damaged nerves is more desirable for long term relief.  Contact us to ask about their unique treatment protocol for treating Postherpetic Neuropathy and repairing the damaged nerves.

Loss of Vision

If your shingles erupt around or in your eyes, you can develop serious eye infections that could damage your eyes and result in loss of vision. If you have shingles anywhere on your face, get immediate treatment.

Neurological Problems

Depending upon where your shingles erupt and which nerves they affect, you can develop

–            Hearing or balance problems

–            Facial paralysis

–            Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)

Skin Infections

If your shingles blisters are not properly treated, you can develop skin infections cause by bacteria.  If the skin around your shingles becomes reddened, warm, firm, or possibly has red streaks spreading out from the affected area, contact your doctor.  You will need antibiotics to stop the infection.

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

This complication is rare but it does happen.  If cranial nerves are affected by shingles you can develop Ramsay Hunt Syndrome resulting in facial nerve weakness and deafness.  If you have shingles around or inside your ear, seek medical treatment immediately.

How Can I Protect Myself From Shingles?

The best way to protect yourself from shingles is to stay healthy, control stress and exercise on a regular basis.

The shingles vaccine is often recommended for people who are 60 years of age or older and have actually had chicken pox.  Again, this vaccine won’t guarantee that you won’t develop shingles but it could lessen the severity of symptoms. It might reduce your chances of developing Postherpetic Neuralgia.

 

And by all means, if you know someone has shingles, exercise precautions!

We hope this information helps you deal with this very uncomfortable illness and the possible lasting effects of Postherpetic Neuropathy.  Having a bit more background information on your illness will help you participate in your care and give you a better chance of a positive outcome.

Don’t just live in pain. Call us today for information on treating shingles and postherpetic neuropathy with our laser and related therapy.