Chiropractic Treatment: Chronic Back Pain

If you suffer from chronic back pain you’ve probably heard that saying “when your back hurts, your whole body hurts” more times than you can count.

And more than likely you know someone who has had or is thinking about having back surgery. If you’re reading this that someone might even be you. If so, you have a lot of company.

Back pain contributes $128 billion (yes, that’s billion with a B) to medical costs every year.  And it’s responsible for 100 million days off work.

If you’ve been suffering with back pain long enough, chances are really good that a doctor has recommended some kind of back surgery.  The surgery most commonly performed these days is spinal fusion surgery.

Of course, sometimes there is no alternative.

But, before you go under the knife, there are a few things you should know about spinal fusion.

What is Spinal Fusion?

Spinal fusion[1] is a type of surgery that joins or fuses two or more vertebrae in the back.  It’s a very serious surgery.  The vertebrae are fused using bone from the pelvic bone or from a cadaver.  Metal implants are used to hold the vertebrae in place until new bone grows between them to bridge the gap between them.

You will be in the hospital anywhere from 2 to 5 days and your recovery period is going to be about 12 weeks if you don’t experience any complications.

What’s Your Prognosis after Fusion?

Statistically, not the greatest.  In fact, you could be much worse off than you would be with a more conservative treatment.

In a study[2] conducted of 1450 people suffering from low back pain, 725 were treated with spinal fusion and 725 followed the more conservative route with physical therapy and exercise.

Check out these numbers for the people with spinal fusion:

  • 25% returned to work after 2 years (as compared to 67% of the non-surgical patients)
  • 11% were permanently disabled (compared to 2% of the non-surgical group)
  • Almost 85% of the spinal fusion patients continued using prescription painkillers (compared to 49% of the non-surgical patients) and the surgical patients increased their use of opioid painkillers by 41%.
  • 36 % of the spinal fusion patients suffered complications (meningitis, kidney failure and death)
  • 27% had to have another surgery
  • The spinal fusion group missed a total of 1140 days vs. 316 days in the non-surgical group

And The Alternative?

This same study found that the best treatment for back pain focused on physical therapy to increase flexibility and strength and an exercise program to improve the overall health of the patient. 

Our clinic and specialists adhere to a highly specialized protocol for the treatment of patients suffering from chronic pain. Our treatment protocol includes physical therapy, manual manipulation of the spine and skeletal structures combined with a unique NDGen spinal protocol developed in our clinics. Most often, we’ll instruct you in exercise, massage, diet, and nutrition counseling and other treatments combined specifically for each individual patient.

Most clinicians agree, barring a neurosurgical emergency that you should give your body a chance to heal itself slowly. Completely explore all your options before you let anyone do surgery on your back.  Given the right treatment in the hands of a trained specialist, you might be surprised at how much better your back and neuropathy symptoms feel without the risk of complications caused by an invasive back surgery.

And for a lot less than the $80,000 average cost for spinal fusion surgery.

Please call us at 781-659-7989 to schedule an evaluation!

________________________________________________________________

[1] www.webmd.com/back-pain/spinal-fusion-arthrodesis

[2] http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=650089

Chemotherapy Neuropathy “Cure?”

Cancer is one of the most persistent scourges of modern medicine.  Not only are the various types of cancer extremely dangerous, but the methods to combat them, including chemotherapy, can be aggressive to the point of heavily impacting a person’s health and quality of life. Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients in North America alone receive chemotherapy every year, and many of them experience damage to the peripheral nervous system—chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, or CIPN.

Like most neuropathy, chemotherapy-caused neuropathy shows up in the form of pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of temperature sensation, most commonly in the extremities.  Other symptoms, while less ubiquitous, are still common: loss of bladder control, constipation, loss of body awareness, and difficulty walking or standing.  Sometimes the condition is chronic, and will be a factor in the rest of a sufferer’s life.  In many cases, however, the pain and discomfort from chemotherapy-caused neuropathy can be effectively managed, allowing a cancer survivor to lead a normal, active life.

So what can you do to help protect yourself from chemotherapy-caused neuropathy?  First, report any unusual sensations, pain, or numbness to your doctor or a qualified NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Like any neuropathy, the sooner we identify a problem, the better we will be able to control your symptoms.  Let your chemotherapy provider know you might be experiencing a complication; in some cases, they may decide to postpone treatments to help your nerves recover.

Second, take steps to protect your peripheral nervous system, which is already under strain from the chemotherapy.  Wear gloves when performing manual labor.  Make sure your clothing and shoes do not rub against your skin and cause abrasions (loose clothing can aggravate neuropathy symptoms).  Work with a NeuropathyDR® clinician to develop a diet and exercise regimen that will contribute to overall nerve stimulation and health.  Perhaps most importantly, make sure to abide by your cancer doctor’s orders—managing the underlying condition is the most important factor in treating any kind of neuropathy.

Our patient, Joanne, knows firsthand how hard chemotherapy can be on the nervous system.  Joanne is a cancer survivor who, when she came to us, had been recovering from the effects of her chemotherapy for five years.  Along with most of the common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, Joanne complained of severe pain in her lumbar back, extreme stiffness in her neck and shoulders, and weakness in her legs.  Joanne’s pain, especially in her feet, was intense to the point of affecting her daily lifestyle.  She was taking medication for pain, but the medicine was marginally effective at best.

Our treatment plan for Joanne involved a combination of manual therapies to her spine, as well as  2 forms of electro-stimulation to her feet and hands.  We treated Joanne three times a week for five weeks; in only four weeks, Joanne was commenting that her symptoms had subsided dramatically. Immediately following each treatment, Joanne noticed a reduction in her pain level.  The pain and numbness in her feet subsided a whopping 65-70%!

In a thank-you note Joanne wrote us a long time after the completion of  the clinic portion of  her NeuropathyDR® treatment plan, Joanne told us she had been able to stop taking her pain medications and was feeling fine, almost entirely pain-free.  Her strength had begun to return, and her mobility improved as well.

Cold, burning and tingling, scaling skin and loss of sensation are unfortunate but treatable!

Joanne is a success story we are proud to have to our credit.   To be entirely honest, not many patients show the level of improvement we saw in Joanne in such a short time.  Even so, it goes to show that not only is there hope for cancer survivors who live with neuropathy pain, but in some cases the recovery can be swift and dramatic.  Everyone who experiences neuropathy can learn to manage their symptoms, and our treatment methods are highly effective.  If you suffer from CIPN or any other kind of neuropathy, contact us!  NeuropathyDR® can answer your questions and put you in touch with a specially-trained clinician who can help you get back to living at your best!

 

http://www.chemocare.com/managing/numbness__tingling.asp

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chemotherapy-neuropathy/MY01327

 

Your Quality of Life and Good Neuropathy Treatment

If you’re a NeuropathyDR® patient or follow our blog, you already know “no cure” is never the same as “no help!”  It’s an unfortunate truth: so far, peripheral neuropathy (sometimes referred to incorrectly as ‘neurophy’) has no actual cure, and most nerve damage is permanent.  That may sound discouraging, but the chronic nature of neuropathy only means that developing options for treatment is even more important, not less.

When you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician approach neuropathy treatment, you will really be talking about two things: managing your symptoms, and improving your overall quality of life.  We’ve made significant strides in both of these areas, and it’s important to realize how deeply they are interconnected.

NeuropathyDR Clinicians Use Several Methods to Assist Your Unique Neuropathy

In addition to the often-discussed pain, neuropathy has the potential to greatly impact your mobility.  Between motor neuropathy (which affects the strength in your limbs directly), difficulty walking due to foot pain and joint stiffness, and difficulty with manual dexterity and fine motor skills, it’s no wonder that many people who live with peripheral neuropathy have trouble doing simple tasks they once found easy; things the people around them still have no trouble doing!  The frustration that goes along with mobility loss can be almost as bad as the pain itself.  Anesthesia & Analgesia published a clinical study from Queens University which suggested that the impact of neuropathy on your mood alone is enough to be considered a serious symptom!

NeuropathyDR® clinicians use a neuropathy treatment method several known techniques and we are continuously testing newer technologies too! NeuropathyDR® Clinicians actually take new courses every single month, so they are never “stale”!

Your case is unique—no two cases of neuropathy are exactly alike—so it’s important that you and your clinician develop your treatment plan together.  Don’t forget feedback!  Be sure to let your clinician know what seems to be working, what eases pain, what helps your overall mobility, and what isn’t having any effect for you.

Our patient, Beverly, came to us about six months after major surgery.  Beverly had been undergoing radiation for breast cancer, and was experiencing severe pain in her hands and feet, as well as tightness and inflexibility in her spine and limb joints.  Over the course of 5 weeks, we treated Beverly with electro- stimulation, among other therapies to address her pain and range of movement.

Beverly’s pain lessened only incrementally over the time we treated her, but she let us know that the real improvement she experienced was in her range of movement!  Sure enough, our examination found that her range of movement had increased measurably (in some areas as much as fifty percent), and overall tightness in her back was reduced.  Needless to say, being able to move more freely will greatly impact Beverly’s quality of life—many of our patients stress to us that their mobility is what they miss most of all while living with peripheral neuropathy.

One of the factors that allowed us to help Beverly as much as she did was that she was very forthcoming about her symptoms, her improvement, and—also importantly—when a treatment wasn’t helping.  Neuropathy is complex, and different people will benefit in various ways from different neuropathy treatments.  In Beverly’s case, we were able to provide her with a home care kit which she was able to use to treat her flexibility and pain at home.  Even though she still lives with neuropathy, Beverly now knows how to make sure her condition won’t keep her from getting on with life!

Controlling your symptoms and improving your overall quality of life is what we’re all about at NeuropathyDR®.  If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, don’t wait to get in touch with us.  We can answer all your neuropathy-related questions and connect you with a NeuropathyDR®-trained clinician who will help you ease your pain, restore your flexibility, and live your life to its fullest!

http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.org/content/102/5/1473.full

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1262363609000408

http://www.neurology.org/content/68/15/1178.abstract

 

Motor Neuropathy Care- Long Term Strategies are Key

If you are a regular NeuropathyDR® blog reader, you know that we tend to focus on the latest developments and research in treating neuropathy pain.  With peripheral neuropathy, though, pain is only one component.  This week, we’re going to talk about how neuropathy can affect your muscles, also called motor neuropathy.

There are essentially three kinds of motor neuropathy.  The first is the overall weakening effect of the muscles, especially in the extremities, which often accompanies peripheral neuropathy.  This can occur because the nerves which control motor function in the muscles have become damaged, or—in the case of a compression neuropathy—constricted.  The second kind is called multifocal motor neuropathy, and takes place when the immune system itself begins to attack the nerves, as can happen after a series of infections or after an illness.  The third kind is Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, which, as the name suggests, is genetic in nature.  Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, or HMSN, occurs when there is a naturally-occurring deterioration in the nerves that control the muscles, causing the muscles to not be used, become weak, or even atrophy.

Motor neuropathy usually starts in the hands and feet, and can affect the full extension of fingers and toes.  In addition to the dexterity problems this obviously causes, it often also has a visual appearance of “clawlike” fingers.  The condition is degenerative, getting worse over a period of months and years.  Twitching and spasms can also happen in affected limbs.  While motor issues associated with peripheral neuropathy usually accompany pain, tingling, and numbness, multifocal motor neuropathy involves no pain (only the motor nerves are affected).  Generally, none of the varieties of motor neuropathy are life-threatening, although they can absolutely impact your comfort and quality of life if you suffer from them.

When we met our patient Robert, he complained of a steady and declining loss of strength in his feet, which he had experienced over the past 4 years.  Robert had had cancer during that time, culminating in having his prostate removed.  His motor neuropathy caused Robert to have trouble walking or standing for long periods, and he even had trouble feeling his feet on some occasions.  He also complained of shooting pain, tingling, and soreness in his feet, all typical calling cards of peripheral neuropathy.  Since in cases of multifocal motor neuropathy, the sensory nerves are usually unaffected, Robert’s pain and numbness ruled that out.  Sure enough, when we performed a battery of tests, we found that Robert’s sensation to vibration was all but gone in several places on his feet.

Motor Neuropathy is Characterized by Weakness of The Muscles

Robert did not respond with the typical level of relief we usually see after treating a patient with electro-stimulation.  Over the course of three treatment sessions, Robert’s level of strength and comfort in his feet did not change in any meaningful way.  While this is unusual, it highlights an important theme: neuropathy is a complex problem with many symptoms and manifestations, and NO single therapy technique or tool—even those with a very high rate of success—can stand on their own as a complete treatment.

We designed a treatment for Robert intended to produce more long-term benefit, as his short-term progress was not substantial.  Motor neuropathies require an extensive MULTI-MODAL level of treatment, sometimes pharmaceutical and sometimes homeopathic, and usually involving some level of regular exercise and controlled diet.  Robert is currently improving steadily, and is seeing his NeuropathyDR® clinician as prescribed to monitor his condition and progress.

If you suffer from weakness or pain in your limbs, you may have peripheral neuropathy.  If so, we are here to help!  Contact NeuropathyDR® right away and we will help you find the best course of treatment for your specific symptoms.  We can even put you in touch with a specially-trained NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you develop a therapy plan that will get results.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm

 

Entrapment Neuropathy: More Than Just Carpal Tunnel!

Entrapment Neuropathy:  More Than Just Carpal Tunnel!

Last week we talked about carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), one of the most common forms of neuropathy affecting a single nerve (mononeuropathy).  What you might not know is that carpal tunnel syndrome is only one of a family of ailments in the upper limbs known as entrapment neuropathies.  The other entrapment neuropathies are not as well-known in the mainstream as CTS, and so people who suffer from nerve symptoms in their forearms and hands frequently jump to conclusions.  NeuropathyDR® is here to help set the record straight!

An entrapment neuropathy, also called nerve compression syndrome, occurs when a nerve is wedged or “pinched” against a bone, inflamed muscle, or other internal mechanism in your arm.  Aside from the median nerve (the one associated with CTS) there are two main nerves that help to control your arm and hand: the radial nerve and the ulnar nerve.  Both are susceptible to compression, and the results can be painful!

Entrapment occurs under a number of conditions, most commonly:

  • When there is an injury originating at your neck or a disease of the cervical spine
  • When your elbow has been injured due to fractures or improper use
  • When your wrist has been injured due to fractures or Guyon canal alignment problems
  • An aneurysm or thrombosis in your arteries
  • Factors commonly associated with peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetes, rheumatism, alcoholism, or infection

Your radial nerve runs the length of your arm, and is responsible for both movement and sensation.  Radial neuropathy usually occurs at the back of the elbow, and can present itself with many of the common symptoms of neuropathy such as tingling, loss of sensation, weakness and reduced muscle control (in this case, often difficulty in turning your palm upwards with your elbow extended).

A number of palsies affect the radial nerve, such as:

  • Saturday night palsy (also called Honeymooner’s palsy), where your radial nerve is compressed in your upper arm by falling asleep in a position where pressure is exerted on it by either furniture or a bed partner
  • Crutch palsy, where your nerve is pinched by poorly-fitted axillary crutches
  • Handcuff neuropathy, wherein tight handcuffs compress your radial nerve at your wrists

    Peripheral neuropathy is not a condition forgiving of delayed treatment. The longer you wait, the more severe and long-lasting (potentially permanent) your nerve damage can be.

Two main conditions affect the ulnar nerve: Guyon’s canal syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome.  Guyon’s canal syndrome is almost exactly the same in symptoms as carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and tingling in the palm and first three fingers), but involves a completely different nerve.  Guyon’s canal syndrome is caused by pressure on your wrists, often by resting them at a desk or workstation, and is frequently experienced by cyclists due to pressure from the handlebars.

Nearly everyone has experienced cubital tunnel syndrome: it’s the “dead arm” sensation we’ve all felt when we wake up after sleeping on top of our arm!  Sleeping with your arm folded up compresses the ulnar nerve at your shoulder, causing it to effectively “cut off” feeling to your arm.  As you probably know from experience, this sensation is unsettling but temporary.

Diagnosis for all compression neuropathies is fairly consistent: your NeuropathyDR® clinician will examine your arms for signs of neuropathy, and will likely ask you to perform several demonstrations of dexterity.  If your clinician suspects you may have an underlying condition, nerve or blood tests may be recommended.  To pinpoint the specific location of a compression, your clinician may also suggest MRI or x-ray scans.

Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, most cases of compression neuropathy are mild. Treatment for these mild cases involves ice, rest, and a change in habits of motion or stress that are causing the symptoms.  For more severe cases, your clinician may prescribe painkillers or anti-inflammatories, and in extreme cases, a surgical solution is sometimes justified.

If you suffer from a compression neuropathy or have questions about this or any other kind of neuropathy, NeuropathyDR® can help!  Contact us, and we can answer your questions and put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area who has been specially trained to treat any symptoms you might have.  As with any neuropathy, don’t wait!  The sooner a condition is diagnosed, the more options for treatment your clinician will have.

 

http://www.mdguidelines.com/neuropathy-of-radial-nerve-entrapment

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1285531-overview

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1244885-overview

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2599973/?tool=pmcentrez

 

More About Diabetic Neuropathy

If you are living with diabetes, chances are you are no stranger to neuropathy.  While some (even those who do have nerve damage) might experience no symptoms at all, about 60 to 70 percent of diabetics experience pain, soreness, loss of sensation, tingling in the extremities, and even digestive problems—or other conditions related to organ complications—all symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.  Diabetes is, in turn, one of the most common causes of neuropathy overall. 

Risk of developing diabetes-related neuropathy actually increases with age and extenuating health considerations (such as being overweight), partially because people who have problems with glucose control for extended periods of time—25 years or more—are more susceptible.

So what causes people who have diabetes to develop neuropathic symptoms?  Research is occasionally unclear on the subject, but it is generally agreed that exposure to high blood glucose (high blood sugar) has a negative effect on nerve condition.  Of course, this is in addition to other conditions or lifestyle factors commonly associated with causing or exacerbating neuropathy, such as injury, metabolic inconsistencies, inherited traits, or substance abuse.

Sometimes Called Pre-Diabetes Metabolic Syndrome is rampant in our society...

There are a few kinds of neuropathy associated with diabetes, the most common being peripheral neuropathy (this is the type usually referred to when people simply say “neuropathy;” but we’ll get to the other types in a moment).  Peripheral neuropathy is characterized by pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of motor function, among other sensation-related symptoms.  This type is written about extensively, and can greatly impact quality of life for its sufferers.  The good news is, most treatment and therapy for neuropathy addresses this kind, and many are very effective!

Focal and proximal neuropathy result in muscle weakness and pain, and typically target a specific nerve grouping.  These types of neuropathy are commonly characterized by weakness in the legs, causing difficulty standing and walking.

Autonomic neuropathy, as the name implies, causes changes in autonomic bodily functions.  These include bowel and bladder functions, sexual responses, and digestion.  Autonomic neuropathy can be life-threatening in extreme cases, as it also affects nerves that serve the heart, lungs, and eyes.  Especially troubling to diabetics is the resulting condition of hypoglycemia unawareness, which can obliviate the symptoms most diabetics associate with low glucose.

A comprehensive foot exam is recommended at least once a year for diabetics, to check for peripheral neuropathy.  Once diagnosed, the need for more frequent exams becomes important.  Additional to diabetic amputation concerns, your doctor will want to test your protective sensation by pricking your foot with a pin, or running monofilament across your skin.  If you have lost protective sensation, you could be at risk to develop sores that might not heal properly, leading to infection.

For other types of neuropathy, a NeuropathyDR® clinician will perform a check of heart rate variability to detect how your heart rate changes in response to changes in blood pressure and posture, or even an ultrasound, which can detect whether other internal organs such as the kidneys and bladder are functioning properly.

Tight blood sugar control and a healthy diet is the best way to control diabetic neuropathy, as well as other diabetic conditions.  Even if you don’t have symptoms of neuropathy, checkups with a NeuropathyDR®-trained clinician can help spot warning signs of factors that could endanger your nerve function or even be life-threatening.  In addition to dietary considerations, your clinician can also help any symptoms by prescribing appropriate medication for pain you might experience.

If you have diabetes, you are at risk!  If you have symptoms, or think you might, don’t let it go unchecked.  Remember, the sooner neuropathy is diagnosed, the easier it will be to treat and to slow the progression of this degenerative condition.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician is trained to identify the various types of neuropathy and recommend the treatments that will help you retain your quality of life.  If you are not already in-touch with a NeuropathyDR® doctor, contact us to find one in your area!

http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetic_neuropathy/article.htm

http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/neuropathy/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetic-neuropathy/DS01045

 

 

Neuropathy and Exercise

If you suffer from neuropathy, you know that the pain, muscle control problems, and overall health complications can make even everyday activities harder to manage.  For some, the prospect of exercising while suffering from neuropathy will seem not only unrealistic but an almost ironic misplacement of priorities.  Exercise is important for everyone, though, and in sufferers of neuropathy, can help control blood sugar and actually slow down the progression and symptoms of the condition!

Exercising regularly greatly decreases anyone’s risk of diabetic neuropathy, and has been shown to control symptoms and deterioration in sufferers by elevating overall blood flow to the limbs and controlling cardiovascular atrophy.  Depending on your specific type of neuropathy, areas affected, and the extent of the damage, you will have to adjust conventional workout routines to accommodate the condition.  Ask your NeuropathyDR® clinician if you have questions, and be sure to consult them before beginning any workout program.  Your clinician will inspect your feet and legs for signs of potential problems, and will help you make sure your shoes are properly fitted so as to avoid neuropathy-related injuries.

Additionally:

  • Use silica gel or air midsoles
  • Use polyester or polyester/cotton blend socks to keep your feet dry
  • Avoid any workout clothes that rub against your skin in the same area.

Ann Albright of the Division of Diabetes Translation in Atlanta cautions that neuropathy patients will want to steer clear of most repetitive or weight-bearing exercise, such as running, walking, or extensive weight training (although some sources advocate weight training as beneficial, in moderation).  So which exercises are the most beneficial while reducing risk?

Don't Neglect Stretching and Core Activities...

Swimming is one of the best exercises, as it is an activity adaptable to any age, fitness level, or degree of neuropathy symptoms.  Swimming is also a full-body, “no-impact” workout, and so is less harmful to your joints, legs, and feet than most other forms of exercise, without sacrificing circulation (ask any lap swimmer and they’ll tell you—swimming has no problem getting your heart rate up!)  As such, it is highly recommended for almost anyone.

Bicycling, rowing, and use of a stationary bicycle are other excellent, low-impact activities that can be safely integrated into a neuropathy treatment program. Some organizations have even developed exercise programs for senior citizens suffering from neuropathy, incorporating a heavy emphasis on seated exercises.

If you don’t have regular access to facilities or equipment for more extensive exercise, there are some basic exercises you can do almost anywhere that can help your neuropathy!  Here are some to try:

  • For your hands, touch the pad of your thumb with your index finger, running the finger down to the base of your thumb. Then, repeat the movement with the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. Do this exercise several times.
  • For your legs and feet, straighten one knee and point your foot.  Flex your ankle five times, then circle your foot five times in each direction, clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • To increase balance, try this exercise: from a standing position, rise up slowly on your tiptoes, and then rock backward onto your heels. Keep your knees straight, but try not to lock them.

Additional precautions are vital for neuropathy patients to observe.  After every workout session, patients should remember to check their feet and any relevant extremities for blisters, irritation, or sores. These could be vulnerable to infections, which themselves could elevate risk for amputation.

It is important for neuropathy sufferers to be mindful of their heart rate and blood pressure.  Especially if you suffer from autonomic neuropathy, which can greatly increase risk of heart failure or cardiac arrest, be aware of your limitations when it comes to safe exercise.  Don’t worry—there’s a way for everyone to exercise safely.  If you have any doubts, consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician to review your workout plan.

Finally, be sure to monitor your body temperature.  Neuropathy sufferers are at high risk when it comes to overheating, since some types of neuropathy can reduce the body’s ability to temperature-control.  Consult your clinician if sweating seems overly profuse or the opposite, less than normal.

If you have any questions about exercising with neuropathy, contact us!  We can answer your questions and help put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you in person.  Have a great workout!

 

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5162775_exercise-peripheral-neuropathy.html

http://journal.diabetes.org/diabetesspectrum/98v11n4/pg231.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/99573-exercise-peripheral-neuropathy/

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20189334,00.html

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20188832,00.html

 

Neuropathy and Exercise

If you suffer from neuropathy, you know that the pain, muscle control problems, and overall health complications can make even everyday activities harder to manage.  For some, the prospect of exercising while suffering from neuropathy will seem not only unrealistic but an almost ironic misplacement of priorities.  Exercise is important for everyone, though, and in sufferers of neuropathy, can help control blood sugar and actually slow down the progression and symptoms of the condition!

Exercising regularly greatly decreases anyone’s risk of diabetic neuropathy, and has been shown to control symptoms and deterioration in sufferers by elevating overall blood flow to the limbs and controlling cardiovascular atrophy.  Depending on your specific type of neuropathy, areas affected, and the extent of the damage, you will have to adjust conventional workout routines to accommodate the condition.  Ask your NeuropathyDR® clinician if you have questions, and be sure to consult them before beginning any workout program.  Your clinician will inspect your feet and legs for signs of potential problems, and will help you make sure your shoes are properly fitted so as to avoid neuropathy-related injuries.

Additionally:

  • Use silica gel or air midsoles
  • Use polyester or polyester/cotton blend socks to keep your feet dry
  • Avoid any workout clothes that rub against your skin in the same area.

Ann Albright of the Division of Diabetes Translation in Atlanta cautions that neuropathy patients will want to steer clear of most repetitive or weight-bearing exercise, such as running, walking, or extensive weight training (although some sources advocate weight training as beneficial, in moderation).  So which exercises are the most beneficial while reducing risk?

Don't Neglect Stretching and Core Activities...

Swimming is one of the best exercises, as it is an activity adaptable to any age, fitness level, or degree of neuropathy symptoms.  Swimming is also a full-body, “no-impact” workout, and so is less harmful to your joints, legs, and feet than most other forms of exercise, without sacrificing circulation (ask any lap swimmer and they’ll tell you—swimming has no problem getting your heart rate up!)  As such, it is highly recommended for almost anyone.

Bicycling, rowing, and use of a stationary bicycle are other excellent, low-impact activities that can be safely integrated into a neuropathy treatment program. Some organizations have even developed exercise programs for senior citizens suffering from neuropathy, incorporating a heavy emphasis on seated exercises.

If you don’t have regular access to facilities or equipment for more extensive exercise, there are some basic exercises you can do almost anywhere that can help your neuropathy!  Here are some to try:

  • For your hands, touch the pad of your thumb with your index finger, running the finger down to the base of your thumb. Then, repeat the movement with the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. Do this exercise several times.
  • For your legs and feet, straighten one knee and point your foot.  Flex your ankle five times, then circle your foot five times in each direction, clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • To increase balance, try this exercise: from a standing position, rise up slowly on your tiptoes, and then rock backward onto your heels. Keep your knees straight, but try not to lock them.

    Gentle massage & manual stimulation in the clinic helps speed recovery...

Additional precautions are vital for neuropathy patients to observe.  After every workout session, patients should remember to check their feet and any relevant extremities for blisters, irritation, or sores. These could be vulnerable to infections, which themselves could elevate risk for amputation.

It is important for neuropathy sufferers to be mindful of their heart rate and blood pressure.  Especially if you suffer from autonomic neuropathy, which can greatly increase risk of heart failure or cardiac arrest, be aware of your limitations when it comes to safe exercise.  Don’t worry—there’s a way for everyone to exercise safely.  If you have any doubts, consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician to review your workout plan.

Finally, be sure to monitor your body temperature.  Neuropathy sufferers are at high risk when it comes to overheating, since some types of neuropathy can reduce the body’s ability to temperature-control.  Consult your clinician if sweating seems overly profuse or the opposite, less than normal.

If you have any questions about exercising with neuropathy, contact us!  We can answer your questions and help put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you in person.  Have a great workout!

 

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5162775_exercise-peripheral-neuropathy.html

http://journal.diabetes.org/diabetesspectrum/98v11n4/pg231.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/99573-exercise-peripheral-neuropathy/

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20189334,00.html

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20188832,00.html

 

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

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.