Handling The Holiday Stress

Handling The Holiday Stress

Pay particular attention to your body during the holidays, especially if you have neuropathy or chronic pain!

Healthy eating woman

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

Since you now have the stress of the holidays to deal with too, 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

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 bloodstream. In Type 1 diabetes, the effects are a little different. Some Type 1 diabetics say that stress drives their glucose up, while 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 Handling The Holiday “Stress-a-Thon”

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 you feel good at the same time.

Resolve to start a new exercise program, 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 take 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—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 you relax are:

Breathing Exercises
Sit down or lie down without your arms or legs crossed. Inhale deeply. Push as much 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.

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.

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, too.

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 local NeuropathyDR™ doctor or physical therapist to explore ways to handle the holiday stress and make it a healthier and more enjoyable experience this—and every—year, even with neuropathy or chronic pain!

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Neuropathy and Fatigue

Neuropathy and Fatigue

In neuropathy, fatigue can be the result of pain, and emotional stress.

One of the things many neuropathy patients tell us is how tired they can feel form day to day. Now, fatigue is common in many health conditions and should never be taken lightly.

For example, profound fatigue with weight loss can be a sign of several diseases, including cancer.

Diabetics often report fatigue, as do those patients with anemia and simple over work and inadequate sleep.

In neuropathy, fatigue can be the result of pain, and emotional stress.

Sometimes it’s from the diseases that may have caused your neuropathy.

But one of the things we observed a few years back on is that when treating neuropathy patients who suffer from the most common types we see (sensory, due to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and chemotherapy) is that when good neuropathy treatment begins, fatigue starts to vanish too!

And we even find patients with more serious forms of neuropathy improved as well, though more slowly and not as completely.

You see, we know that in the most common forms of neuropathy, energy production by the body in general, and the nerve cells in particular is poor. I theorized early on that therapies that can boost metabolism or how our bodies efficiently “burn” fuel will very often help neuropathy patients regain function.

These therapies include some food compounds, supplements and exercise, as well as therapies like laser and microcurrent which help individual cells produce ATP, which is the energy powerhouse behind every living cell!

And as a side benefit, we see our diabetic and obese patients losing significant weight, and some dropping their blood sugars significantly and thus need for medications.

So here is the best news of all: When patients engage in neuropathy treatment programs that handle all the key pieces they can, fatigue fades away and energy and a profound sense of wellbeing return to many neuropathy patients!

For more information visit us at NeuropathyDR.com

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“Failed Back Surgery Syndrome”

“Failed Back Surgery Syndrome”

 

Surgeon at work in operating room.The minute you injured you back, your life changed forever…

The constant pain…

The loss of mobility…

The inability to live a normal life.

You wanted so desperately to feel normal again you agreed to back surgery.

And your pain is worse than ever.

If you’ve undergone back surgery and you’re still suffering from

Dull, aching pain in your back and/or legs

Abnormal sensitivity including sharp, pricking, and stabbing pain in your arms or legs

Peripheral neuropathy and the symptoms that go with it – numbness, tingling, loss of sensation or even burning in your arms and legs

You could have “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome” or “FBSS”.

You’re not alone.  Back surgeries fail so often now they actually have a name for the condition patients develop when it happens.  As back pain experts, NeuropathyDR® clinicians see patients like you almost every day.

What Exactly Is “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome”?

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome[1] is what the medical community calls the chronic pain in the back and/or legs that happens after a patient undergoes back surgery.

Several things can contribute to the development of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.  It can be caused by a herniated disc not corrected by the surgery, swelling or a “mechanical” neuropathy that causes pressure on the spinal nerves, a change in the way your joints move, even depression or anxiety.

If you smoke, have diabetes or any autoimmune or vascular disease, you have a much higher chance of developing Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.

If you do have any of these conditions, think long and hard before you agree to back surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

You know you don’t want another surgery and who could blame you? You’ve already been through the pain of surgery and recovery only to be in worse shape than you were before the surgery.

The good news is that there are some excellent alternatives to surgery.  One of the best places to start is with your local NeuropathyDr® specialist.

NeuropathyDR® clinicians have a treatment protocol is often perfect for treating Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.

Hallmarks of for the chronic back pain associated with Failed Back Surgery Syndrome are:

Therapeutic massage to manipulate the soft tissues of the body to relax the muscles and eliminate “knots” in the muscles that can cause or contribute to your back pain and other symptoms.

Manual therapy to restore motion to the vertebrae, alleviate pressure and get your spine and muscular system back into proper alignment.

Yoga and other low impact exercises to aid in relaxation, pain management and alleviating stress and depression.

Proper nutrition to help your body heal itself.  This is especially important if you have diabetes or some other underlying illness that could be contributing to your peripheral neuropathy.

All of these are components of the NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol.

The right combination of these treatment approaches in the hands of a knowledgeable health care provider, well versed in the treating Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, can be an excellent alternative to yet another surgery.

If you’re tired of living with the pain and don’t want to go under the knife again, contact your local NeuropathyDR® specialist to see if their exclusive protocol for treating chronic back pain, peripheral neuropathy and Failed Back Surgery Syndrome will work for you.

You’ll leave us wishing you had made the call sooner.

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Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is  SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

Don’t go it alone. Here’s why accepting support from family and friends is so important in treating chronic pain.Fotolia 5256891 XS 300x200 Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is  SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

Although it may be a shocking idea, your personal support network may be equally as important to your health as your medical treatment team—or any kind of supplemental therapies.

Why? Because the bottom line is that a positive outlook is the best medicine for good health outcomes. If you are feeling contented and supported in your personal relationships, you’ll be much better equipped to cope with pain when it arises.

Unfortunately, many people find it hard to ask for help from their family and friends. We may have heard the message that it was weak or shameful to be dependent on others.

The truth is that when we are able to accept love and support, we’re better equipped to be as independent as possible in our daily lives.

Make a list of people in your life who have helped you in big and small ways in the past, as well as people that would probably be willing to help now if you were to ask.

Now, think about the things that are making your life the most difficult or stressful right now. This list could be anything from a leaky faucet in your kitchen to a pile of medical bills. Just get it all down on paper.

Finally, begin matching the list of stress points with the list of helpers in your life. Who could come over and fix that leaky faucet for you? Who could help you make phone calls to arrange a payment plan for those bills?

You will find that most of the people on your list are grateful for a chance to help you—they just didn’t know what to do that would be truly helpful. And when your stress level decreases (now that the leaky faucet or pile of bills is a thing of the past), your overall health will be optimized. That means chronic pain becomes less of a burden because you’re better able to cope with it.

Building your support network is just one way that you can take control of your own health and overcome chronic pain. Learn more by visiting our Facebook page.

Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need) is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Neuropathy Diet and Nutrition: How to Get Started

You Know That A Healthy Neuropathy Diet Can Make All the Difference in Your Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy. But Do You Know How to Implement This Change in the Best Way?

If you’re been reading for a while, you know that we discuss a healthy neuropathy diet as one of the primary ways to improve your health immediately and over time.

Unfortunately, many neuropathy patients struggle with this lifestyle change. When you are accustomed to processed foods, which typically contain lots of salt and sugar, learning to enjoy leafy green vegetables and other staples of the neuropathy diet can be a challenge.

But it’s well worth it. You’ll begin feeling better overall within a matter of days, and a neuropathy diet offers control over your symptoms which can have both physical and emotional impacts.

So many of the neuropathy patients we see in our clinics are suffering from chronic GI problems—irritable bowel, ulcers, and so on. Those things complicate neuropathic pain and certainly detract from quality of life. They can be precipitated by stress, but often a very poor diet is also to blame.

Here’s why we advocate whole foods for a neuropathy diet. Whole foods simply contain more things that your body needs to heal from neuropathy: vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water.

Ideally, your neuropathy diet will contain local fresh farmer’s market produce whenever possible. You’ll also want to learn how to flavor and season your food primarily with spices rather than salt.

As with any significant change in your health regimen, talk with your neuropathy specialist about how to begin incorporating a healthy neuropathy diet into your lifestyle in a gradual way.

Looking for a neuropathy specialist who is highly trained in all aspects of treating and managing neuropathy, including a healthy neuropathy diet? Click here to find a neuropathy expert near you.

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Neuropathy and Sleep Problems

Sleep Problems are Common among Neuropathy Patients. Here’s What You Can Do to Make It Better.

Sleep disturbances aren’t unusual for most people during times of stress or illness. But people with neuropathy tend to experience sleep problems more often, and in a more severe way, than the general population.

You may have already experienced how a lack of sufficient restful sleep can negatively impact your daily function. It can also be detrimental to your long-term health and quality of life.

If you’re not getting enough restful sleep, your body’s major systems just aren’t able to recharge like they need to in order to combat neuropathy symptoms. You’ll be noticing more and more weight gain, fatigue, depression, and chronic pain over time as you continue losing sleep.

It’s so important to share information about your sleep problems with your neuropathy specialist, who can build sleep adjustment into your overall treatment plan.

You can also make lifestyle changes starting right away to help improve your sleep quality and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Daily movement or exercise, preferably outdoors for the addition of vitamin D from sunlight, is very important for neuropathy sufferers with insomnia. Stress reduction is another key to healthy sleep to supplement your neuropathy treatment. Make sure to also get enough water and eat foods from a healthy neuropathy diet. Some patients (those without kidney disease) may want to ask their doctors about magnesium supplements.

Another option is the daily use of our home care kit featuring an FDA-approved electrotherapy neurostimulator. By reducing tingling and other symptoms that can distract you from sleep, this daily care program can get help you get more Z’s on a regular basis. The NDGen Home Care Kit also offers automatic shut-off and a timer so that you can safely use it while drifting off to sleep. Take a look at our NDGen neuropathy home care kit.

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