Avoiding Self-Diagnosis Roulette

Avoiding Self-Diagnosis Roulette

The next time you have a headache…

Or indigestion…

Or even muscle cramps or twitching…

Go online and “Google” any of those terms and see what you come up with.

I’m willing to bet you’ll be terrified by the results.

For headache you’ll see anything from brain tumor to bleeding in the brain to meningitis and encephalitis.

Indigestion will lead you to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or even abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts.

And muscle cramps or twitching will run the gamut from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Your search will also give you the more common reasons for any of these symptoms.  Many people latch on to the more dramatic reasons and begin living like every day is their last.[1]

Others will downplay symptoms, assume that they have something simple to treat and go to the corner drug store and buy whatever over the counter remedy “seems” to treat their symptoms.

Either of these reactions could be courting disaster.  Especially if you have a condition that can lead to peripheral neuropathy.  Delaying treatment with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician can lead to severe lifelong nerve damage that will destroy your quality of life.

Expecting the Worst

If you fall into the “I know I’m dying” category, you will probably begin doctor shopping.  Going from specialist to specialist looking for someone to confirm the worst.  Even beyond the physical damage the stress of this process can do to your body, your emotional well-being is destroyed.

You live day to day expecting the worst with the specter of the Grim Reaper hanging over your shoulder.  That is no way to live.

The first thing you need to do is make appointment with your primary care provider, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Tell them your symptoms and let them do some diagnostic testing.  If the results warrant it, they will get you started on a treatment protocol to not only alleviate your symptoms but treat the root cause of your medical problem.  The NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol includes nutrition counseling, diet planning, stress management techniques, and hands on adjustment to properly align your nervous system.

If you actually do have a serious condition, the earlier you start this process, the better off you’ll be.  The earlier you receive treatment for any condition that can lead to peripheral neuropathy, the less your chances of permanent nerve damage.

Ignoring the Obvious

There Is No Substitute For Caring NeuropathyDR Professional To Guide You…

The other end of the spectrum is the patient who does their own research, opts for the condition easily treatable with over the counter meds, and puts off seeing a specialist until their symptoms are much worse.

Let’s take the muscle twitching or cramping symptom as an example.  Yes, this could be caused by overworking the muscle or even a vitamin deficiency.   Either of those are easy to fix.

But what if it’s something more serious?

If the condition lasts longer than a few days, you need to see your local NeuropathyDR® clinician. You could have a condition leading to peripheral neuropathy.  Failing to treat the underlying cause quickly can lead to lasting nerve damage, muscle degeneration, and ultimately, even amputation of the affected limb.[2]

Something as simple as seeing a specialist well versed in conditions affecting the bones, muscles and bones, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician, can make the difference between life in a wheelchair and getting back to normal quickly.

Cyberchondria vs. Informed Caution

Before you think we’re advocating running to the doctor every time you have a hang nail, that is definitely not the case.  We’re not advocating the spread of Cyberchondria[3] (i.e., the rising epidemic of online diagnosis and treatment), just asking that you approach any medical condition with informed caution.

An informed and educated patient is a gift for any physician.  Informed patients are much more likely to participate in their own care and keep their physician apprised of any changes in their condition.  That’s a win for both sides.

Instead of using the internet as a tool to diagnose (or, in many cases, misdiagnose) your own conditions, choose to use it as a means of educating yourself enough to provide your health care provider with all the information he needs to accurately and quickly diagnose your illness.

You’ll be making your life, and your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s life, much easier.

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


[1] http://health.usf.edu/NR/rdonlyres/08895641-BCCF-43C2-85DB-691FE2D159A7/25680/Cyberchondria2.pdf

[2] http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm

[3] http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/internet-makes-hypochondria-worse

Neuropathy Treatment Decisions: Should You Take Medications for Neuropathy?

Neuropathy Treatment Decisions: Should You Take Medications for Neuropathy?

The Most Comprehensive and Effective Neuropathy Treatment Approach Goes Beyond Medicating Symptoms and Treats the Root Cause.

Physical TherapyThere is so much more to effective neuropathy treatment than masking symptoms with medications.

Unfortunately, you would hardly know that’s the case, given how the majority of doctors still approach neuropathy treatment. The truth is that relying on the expertise of a doctor who isn’t specifically trained in neuropathy treatment could end up making your neuropathy symptoms worse, not better.

That’s because so many of the drugs that doctors tend to prescribe for neuropathy symptoms like tingling, numbness, and nerve pain have side effects, some of which will intensify over time.

This “one drug fits all” approach often stems from a lack of understanding about the root cause of neuropathy symptoms.

So-called idiopathic neuropathy, for which there is no known cause, may actually be developed over time due to metabolic syndrome—formerly known as pre-diabetes—a condition that will not be addressed at all by traditional symptom-focused drug therapies for neuropathy.

Or worse, if a doctor ignores the neuropathy and attempts to treat metabolic syndrome using medications for lowering cholesterol or blood pressure, your neuropathy symptoms are likely to get worse in reaction to these drugs.

The most effective approach to neuropathy treatment is a multi-modal approach that begins with substantial lifestyle changes and complementary therapies to support your body’s own natural healing process. Work with a trained neuropathy expert on a treatment plan that includes safe weight loss, a healthy neuropathy diet with no sugars or processed foods, and regular moderate exercise.

When you take the wheel of your own neuropathy treatment plan and consult with an expert trained in the best that neuropathy treatment has to offer, your quality of life will improve for the better.

There is a place for prescription medications. But I truly believe that a comprehensive neuropathy treatment approach that goes beyond drugs and puts YOU in the driver’s seat is the best way to begin healing from neuropathic pain.

Click here to find a neuropathy treatment expert near you.

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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.

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Neuropathy Supplements: What You Need to Know About Biotin

Many People Don’t Know About Vitamin B7, One of the Important Neuropathy Supplements.

If you’ve heard about the B vitamin known as biotin, you might have only seen references to it in terms of cosmetics. Recently there’s been a surge of beauty products that include biotin as an ingredient, supposedly to strengthen or enhance nails, skin, and hair.

The truth is, using personal products with added biotin probably will not have any impact on your hair or make your nails stronger. There’s very little hard evidence of this.

And in the general population, most people don’t have a biotin deficiency, because it’s generated by our normal gut bacteria. (The exception is when someone is taking long-term antibiotics, which can harm those intestinal bacteria and lead to low biotin levels.)

But in terms of neuropathy supplements, biotin or vitamin B7 can be a powerhouse. Here’s what neuropathy patients and especially those struggling with diabetes need to know about supplementing with biotin.
If you have a genuine deficiency in biotin, similar to the other B vitamins, you might be experiencing symptoms like fatigue, skin rashes, depression, and peripheral neuropathy.

Diabetics may have a higher than average need for supplementing with biotin. Neuropathy supplements like biotin can aid in regulating blood sugar and lipids for diabetics.

Biotin is naturally present in a broad range of foods, although the amount of biotin in a single serving tends to be very small. The key to getting enough biotin in your diet without supplementation is to stick with a regimen of plenty of leafy green veggies, eggs, and other healthy whole food sources.

For most people with neuropathic pain, biotin can help. Consult with your neuropathy specialist about whether neuropathy supplements like biotin are needed to bolster your symptom-busting neuropathy diet.

For more information about what to eat for a neuropathy diet, take a look at our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Self-Treatment for Neuropathy Symptoms: A Supplement, Not a Substitute

There’s A Lot Neuropathy Patients Can Do At Home to Supplement Their Doctor’s Treatment Plan, But Don’t Think You Can Handle It All On Your Own.

We talk a lot about self-treatment for neuropathy and chronic neuropathic pain. But I want you to understand the difference between effective home treatment and dangerous stalling that can make your neuropathy worse.

I’ll be straightforward: if you are experiencing neuropathy symptoms like tingling, numbness, chronic pain, fatigue, and balance or movement problems, you absolutely need to be under the care of a trained neuropathy clinician. Neuropathy is often a degenerative condition that will get worse over time when not treated adequately.

The worst thing you could do for your neuropathy symptoms is to try to handle it all on your own through self-care based on what you’ve read on the Internet.

I am all for complementary forms of treatment like yoga, massage, and so on—but be aware that “complementary” means that you should use them in conjunction with effective medical treatments, not instead of medical treatment. That goes for vitamin supplementation as well.

If there is only one thing I can convey about self-treatment, it is this message: When it comes to neuropathy, it is absolutely vital to get early treatment in order to reduce or minimize your neuropathic pain. Ignoring it, self-medicating, or attempting to handle it on your own is NOT a good long-term health strategy.

Remember, home care and self-treatment strategies (like a health neuropathy diet, moderate exercise, and supplements) are intended to work WITH your neuropathy clinician’s treatment plan. The idea is to build a holistic treatment plan for neuropathy so that everything you do, in the doctor’s office and at home, is supporting your long-term health goals and improving your quality of life right away.

Read more about how to treat neuropathic pain in our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

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