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Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet. It can also affect other areas and body functions including digestion, urination and circulation.

Your peripheral nervous system sends information from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the rest of your body. The peripheral nerves also send sensory information to the central nervous system.

Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes is diabetes.

People with peripheral neuropathy generally describe the pain as stabbing, burning or tingling. In many cases, symptoms improve, especially if caused by a treatable condition. Medications can reduce the pain of peripheral neuropathy.

Symptoms

Every nerve in your peripheral system has a specific function, so symptoms depend on the type of nerves affected. Nerves are classified into:

  • Sensory nerves that receive sensation, such as temperature, pain, vibration or touch, from the skin
  • Motor nerves that control muscle movement
  • Autonomic nerves that control functions such as blood pressure, perspiration, heart rate, digestion and bladder function

Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy might include:

  • Gradual onset of numbness, prickling or tingling in your feet or hands, which can spread upward into your legs and arms
  • Sharp, jabbing, throbbing or burning pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Pain during activities that shouldn’t cause pain, such as pain in your feet when putting weight on them or when they’re under a blanket
  • Lack of coordination and falling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling as if you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not
  • Paralysis if motor nerves are affected

If autonomic nerves are affected, signs and symptoms might include:

  • Heat intolerance
  • Excessive sweating or not being able to sweat
  • Bowel, bladder or digestive problems
  • Drops in blood pressure, causing dizziness or lightheadedness

Peripheral neuropathy can affect one nerve (mononeuropathy), two or more nerves in different areas (multiple mononeuropathy), or many nerves (polyneuropathy). Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of mononeuropathy. Most people with peripheral neuropathy have polyneuropathy.

When to see a doctor

Seek medical care right away if you notice unusual tingling, weakness or pain in your hands or feet. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further damage to your peripheral nerves.

Causes

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage caused by a number of different conditions. Health conditions that can cause peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Autoimmune diseases. These include Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and vasculitis.
  • Diabetes. This is the most common cause. Among people with diabetes, more than halfwill develop some type of neuropathy.
  • Infections. These include certain viral or bacterial infections, including Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C, leprosy, diphtheria, and HIV.
  • Inherited disorders. Disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease are hereditary types of neuropathy.
  • Tumors. Growths, cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous (benign), can develop on the nerves or press on nerves. Also, polyneuropathy can arise as a result of some cancers related to the body’s immune response. These are a form of a degenerative disorder called paraneoplastic syndrome.
  • Bone marrow disorders. These include an abnormal protein in the blood (monoclonal gammopathies), a form of bone cancer (myeloma), lymphoma and the rare disease amyloidosis.
  • Other diseases. These include kidney disease, liver disease, connective tissue disorders and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Other causes of neuropathies include:

  • Alcoholism. Poor dietary choices made by people with alcoholism can lead to vitamin deficiencies.
  • Exposure to poisons. Toxic substances include industrial chemicals and heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
  • Medications. Certain medications, especially those used to treat cancer (chemotherapy), can cause peripheral neuropathy.
  • Injury or pressure on the nerve. Injuries, such as from motor vehicle accidents, falls or sports injuries, can sever or damage peripheral nerves. Nerve pressure can result from having a cast or using crutches or repeating a motion such as typing many times.
  • Vitamin deficiencies. B vitamins — including B-1, B-6 and B-12 — vitamin E and niacin are crucial to nerve health.

In a number of cases, no cause can be identified (idiopathic).

Risk factors

Peripheral neuropathy risk factors include:

  • Diabetes, especially if your sugar levels are poorly controlled
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Vitamin deficiencies, particularly B vitamins
  • Infections, such as Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C, and HIV
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, in which your immune system attacks your own tissues
  • Kidney, liver or thyroid disorders
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Repetitive motion, such as those performed for certain jobs
  • Family history of neuropathy

Complications

Complications of peripheral neuropathy can include:

  • Burns and skin injuries. You might not feel temperature changes or pain on parts of your body that are numb.
  • Infection. Your feet and other areas lacking sensation can become injured without your knowing. Check these areas regularly and treat minor injuries before they become infected, especially if you have diabetes.
  • Falls. Weakness and loss of sensation may be associated with lack of balance and falling.

Prevention

Manage underlying conditions

The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to manage medical conditions that put you at risk, such as diabetes, alcoholism or rheumatoid arthritis.

Make healthy lifestyle choices

These habits support your nerve health:

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein to keep nerves healthy. Protect against vitamin B-12 deficiency by eating meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy foods and fortified cereals. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, fortified cereals are a good source of vitamin B-12, but talk to your doctor about B-12 supplements.
  • Exercise regularly. With your doctor’s OK, try to get at least 30 minutes to one hour of exercise at least three times a week.
  • Avoid factors that may cause nerve damage, including repetitive motions, cramped positions that put pressure on nerves, exposure to toxic chemicals, smoking and overindulging in alcohol.
By Mayo Clinic Staff

Article Provided By: mayo clinic

Photo by Sangga Rima Roman Selia on Unsplash

 

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The Lowdown on Living with Neuropathy

The Lowdown on Living with Neuropathy


May 7 to 13 is National Neuropathy Awareness Week. The week highlights the national effort to educate the public on neuropathy’s causes, treatments, and prevention strategies. If you or someone you care for is living with neuropathy, the week presents an excellent opportunity to learn more about this condition and help others.

What Is Neuropathy?

Approximately 20 million Americans are living with peripheral neuropathy. While the term “neuropathy” simply means “nerve damage,” peripheral neuropathy is the impairment of the nerves in the body’s outer extremities — such as the hands and feet. While the explanation for an individual’s neuropathy is sometimes unknown, a wide range of factors can cause it. Here are some causes of this chronic neurological disease.

  • Trauma from injury and repetitive stress is the most common cause, and medical treatments, like certain types of chemotherapy and surgeries, can damage nerves.
  • Nearly 70 percent of people with diabetes live with some level of neuropathy.
  • Inflammation from autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can destroy nerve fibers.
  • The majority of people on dialysis for kidney disease develop neuropathy because excess toxic chemicals accumulate and damage nerves.
  • Infections, both bacterial and viral, are a major cause of neuropathy.
  • Heavy drinking can cause irreversible nerve damage.

Diagnosing Neuropathy

Symptoms of neuropathy depend on the type of nerve damaged. Associated with muscle weakness, motor nerve damage symptoms include decreased reflexes, twitching, and cramping. Sensory nerve damage leads to loss of sensation and is a leading cause of falls among older adults. It also causes difficult-to-treat neuropathic pain. Common symptoms of neuropathy include:

  • Tingling, burning, or numb sensations
  • Hypersensitive to touch
  • Stabbing or shooting pains
  • Muscle cramps and loss of muscle mass
  • Dizziness and balance issues
  • Weakness

To diagnose neuropathy, health care professionals begin with a physical and neurological exam, and gather your medical history. They may order any number of tests and screenings to expand their search or confirm suspicions. Tests might include skin and nerve biopsies and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Nerve conduction velocity tests — used to determine damage to large nerve fibers — and those that measure muscles’ electrical activity help pinpoint neuropathy’s physical effects.

Treating Neuropathy

The good news for those living with neuropathy is that it is sometimes reversible. Peripheral nerves do regenerate. Simply by addressing contributing causes such as underlying infections, exposure to toxins, or vitamin and hormonal deficiencies, neuropathy symptoms frequently resolve themselves.

In most cases, however, neuropathy is not curable, and the focus for treatment is managing symptoms. Assistive devices, pain management, and physical therapy make a tremendous difference for those living with neuropathy. Technologies — from specialized footwear to electrical nerve stimulation devices — offer hope for the future.

Preventing Neuropathy

Whether you have to quit smoking, control blood sugar levels, avoid alcohol, or implement aggressive self-care, you can likely manage symptoms and stall neuropathy’s progression. Some people even make changes to their routine to greatly reduce their risk of ever acquiring it. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding bad habits are major steps in that direction.

Help make National Neuropathy Awareness Week a success by becoming a part of the effort. Learn what you can and share your experiences. If you’re living with neuropathy or caring for someone who is, know that your voice matters.

 

Article Provided By: dignityhealth

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Neuropathy and COVID-19, What You Should Know

 

COVID-19 has been dominating the news and has been a constant worry for people with preexisting conditions. If you’re one of these people and are living with neuropathy, the best thing you can do is to arm yourself with the best information available.

At US Neuropathy Centers, our team of experienced doctors is dedicated not only to treating your neuropathy but helping you safely manage and navigate your way through the COVID-19 crisis.

Neuropathy basics

To understand COVID-19’s effect on neuropathy, you need to understand the condition itself. Here’s some information we put together on the basics of neuropathy.

Your body is made up of many complex systems including your central nervous system. The nervous system consists of your brain, your spine, and a network of nerves called peripheral nerves.

These nerves extend into the other areas of your body, controlling movement and carrying information between your brain and muscles.

Neuropathy, often known as peripheral neuropathy because it affects the peripheral nerves outside your spine and brain, refers to weakened or damaged nerves. There are many reasons you may be experiencing peripheral neuropathy.

For example, chemotherapy treatment, diseases like HIV and shingles, some autoimmune diseases, and exposure to certain toxins can result in loss of sensation. But the most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes.

The nerve damage leaves you with numbness or tingling in your affected extremities. You may even completely lose sensation and reflexes. Managing these symptoms and monitoring your condition is especially important in the middle of the pandemic.

Neuropathy and COVID-19

While there’s no direct link between neuropathy and COVID-19, there are certain circumstances that put you at risk for contracting the virus and experiencing worsened symptoms. Here are a few things you should know about living with neuropathy during this pandemic:

Be aware of your condition

Neuropathy typically indicates the presence of an underlying condition. Diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and other infections are all causes of neuropathy and all reasons to be extra vigilant with COVID-19 spreading.

Because your immune system is compromised, you’re at a much higher risk of contracting the virus. We recommend that you observe social distancing guidelines and possibly quarantine yourself to prevent the risk of infection.

Know the risk

Because your extremities have lost most or all of their sensation, you might not be aware that you’ve injured yourself and developed an infection.

For example, if you have diabetic neuropathy, it’s now even more important that you control your blood sugar and constantly monitor your feet for signs of ulcers and infections.

If you suffer from neuropathy caused by an autoimmune disease and need regular blood infusions, be aware that most blood donors have not been tested for COVID-19 antibodies. If you’re aware of the risks related to your neuropathy, you can adjust and protect yourself.

Contracting COVID-19

If you do become infected with the virus, you’re not likely to experience any new damage to your cells, but you may have flare-ups of your neuropathic symptoms.

The flu-like effects of COVID-19 may exacerbate the tingling and numbness you normally feel. While this may be uncomfortable, it’s no need to panic. Follow your doctor’s care orders closely until the infection runs its course.

 

Article Provided By: usneuropathycenters
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How do I Exercise with Neuropathy?

How do I Exercise with Neuropathy?

Water aerobics is an exercise performed in a pool.
Water aerobics is an exercise performed in a pool.

To exercise with neuropathy, or nerve damage, you should aim for a moderate workout schedule rather than overdoing it. It’s important to have regular exercise sessions though, because it may lessen the extent or intensity of neuropathy over time. In general, exercises that don’t put a lot of pressure on the skeleton, especially the feet, are good for people with neuropathy.

Exercising in the water puts little stress on the joints and bones, and may be recommended for those with neuropathy.
Exercising in the water puts little stress on the joints and bones, and may be recommended for those with neuropathy.

Running, jogging, hiking, walking and step aerobics may be too much when exercising with nerve damage. If you have moderate to severe neuropathy in the feet or legs, overdoing or even moderately doing these activities may cause foot ulcers or joint damage. If the feet or legs aren’t swollen, sore or have a “pins and needles” feeling, then a limited amount of these types of exercises may be able to be done.

Running, jogging, hiking, and walking may be too much when exercising with nerve damage.
Running, jogging, hiking, and walking may be too much when exercising with nerve damage.

Aqua aerobics in the shallow end of a swimming pool may be fine in moderation, as the water helps cushion the feet and joints. However, as there is still contact with the feet on the pool floor, deep water aerobics can offer even more cushioning exercises. Swimming is often an excellent physical activity for those who exercise with neuropathy. Since it involves whole body movement, swimming can provide overall toning as well as cardiovascular benefits when done at a brisk pace.

While regular exercise is especially important for diabetics with neuropathy, as it can help lower blood sugar, proper fitting shoes and checks of the feet after workouts is important. Yoga can be an extremely beneficial exercise with neuropathy, as it’s gentle on the body, but if it’s done in bare feet, diabetics must be sure to take caution in not getting any scrapes or even a tiny pebble on either foot. Something as minor as a scratch on the foot may go unnoticed by those with neuropathy, as their feet are typically numb. If untreated, a foot infection may become so severe that amputation is necessary.

Individuals suffering from neuropathy may not notice scratches on their feet.
Individuals suffering from neuropathy may not notice scratches on their feet.

If you begin the type of exercise that best suits your degree of neuropathy, you should aim for about 30 minutes three to five times a week, depending on your fitness level and physician’s recommendations. In addition to water exercises, cycling may be another activity that you find you can do with neuropathy. It’s important to begin any type of exercise with neuropathy slowly and build up your time spent on it gradually.

 

Article Provided By: thehealthboard

Olympic Photo by Alex Smith on Unsplash

 

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What Is Nerve Pain (and How Does It Differ From Other Kinds of Pain?)

What Is Nerve Pain (and How Does It Differ From Other Kinds of Pain?)

“Can you describe your pain?” This will likely be one of the first questions your doctor asks if you complain of chronic pain. Unless there’s an obvious reason for pain, your doctor needs a lot of information to identify the underlying cause. This includes the location, type, intensity and frequency of pain. The doctor is partly trying to determine whether the pain is nociceptive or neuropathic (also called nerve pain), or possibly both.

“This can be tricky because all pain is experienced through the nerves,” says sports medicine specialist Dominic King, DO. Damage to bodily tissues, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments or the capsules around joints, causes nociceptive pain. Nerve receptors adjacent to the damaged tissue, called nociceptors, transmit a pain signal to the brain. This type of pain tends to feel sharp, achy, dull or throbbing.

Understanding ‘electric pain’

If you’re experiencing something that feels more like burning, stabbing, or shooting pain ― especially if there also is numbness or tingling ― it’s likely to be neuropathic pain. This means there is direct damage or irritation to a nerve. “It can cause a lightning strike type of electric pain,” says Dr. King.

Nerve pain can arise from a variety of causes, including diabetes, infections (such as shingles), multiple sclerosis, the effects of chemotherapy or trauma. When it comes to orthopeadic issues, nerve pain often stems from a nerve being pinched by nearby bones, ligaments and other structures.

For example, a herniated disk in the spine or a narrowing of the spinal canal (stenosis) can press on a nerve as it leaves the spinal canal. This can cause pain along the path of the nerve. When nerves that originate in the lower spine are affected, symptoms might be felt in the buttocks or down a leg. If the compressed nerve is in the upper spine, the pain and other symptoms can shoot down the arm. Numbness or tingling may also occur because the brain is not receiving a consistent signal due to the compression.

Another common cause of nerve pain is carpal tunnel syndrome. A nerve and several tendons travel through a passageway in the wrist (the carpal tunnel) to the hand. Inflammation in the tunnel can press on the nerve, causing numbness and tingling in the thumb and fingers.

How is the cause of nerve pain found?

“There are so many orthopaedic conditions that overlap between pain stemming from problems with tendons, muscles, joints and nerves that you need a very discerning physician to do a good physical exam to figure out the cause,” says Dr. King. “I make my determination based on when the patient experiences pain, where the pain is located and what the pain feels like.”

Pain related to joints, such as from arthritis, will feel more like stiffness when going from sitting to standing. With tendon pain, it will feel sore when you push on the affected area. “Nerve pain is more of a burning, fiery pain,” says Dr. King. And it tends to come and go.

“Nerve pain typically gets worse with more and more use and can be associated with numbness,” says Dr. King.

Ultimately, getting the right treatment depends on getting the right diagnosis. For many bone and joint conditions, nondrug treatment will be tried first. Sometimes pain medication is needed. However, neuropathic pain does not respond to drugs commonly used for nociceptive pain, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Arthritis Advisor.

 

Article Provided By: clevelandclinic

 

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If you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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Managing & Coping with Neuropathy

Managing & Coping with Neuropathy

What predicts depression and anxiety among people with PN? Not necessarily the severity of the PN symptoms! The predictors are the psychological variables (i.e.: How do you feel? Hopeless, optimistic, anxious, etc.); social variables (i.e.: Are you active? Do you have support?) All of these variables can be changed!

Dwelling on what might have been if you were not diagnosed, self-pitying, ruminating about better times, and think of yourself primarily as a “PN patient” does not provide the escape from stress of the illness. These coping strategies are ineffective and can make your neuropathy symptoms worse.

Below are effective Self-Care and Coping Skills:

Managing Peripheral Neuropathy

The following suggestions can help you manage peripheral neuropathy:

Take care of your feet, especially if you have diabetes. Check your feet daily for signs of blisters, cuts or calluses. Tight shoes and socks can worsen pain and tingling and may lead to sores that won’t heal. Wear soft, loose cotton socks and padded shoes. You can use a semicircular hoop, which is available in medical supply stores, to keep bed covers off hot or sensitive feet.

Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking can affect circulation, increasing the risk of foot problems and possibly amputation.

Eat healthy meals. If you’re at high risk of neuropathy or have a chronic medical condition, healthy eating is especially important. Emphasize low-fat meats and dairy products and include lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Drink alcohol in moderation.

Massage. Massage your hands and feet, or have someone massage them for you. Massage helps improve circulation, stimulates nerves and may temporarily relieve pain.

Avoid prolonged pressure. Don’t keep your knees crossed or lean on your elbows for long periods of time. Doing so may cause new nerve damage.

Skills for Coping With Peripheral Neuropathy

Living with chronic pain or disability presents daily challenges. Some of these suggestions may make it easier for you to cope:

Set priorities. Decide which tasks you need to do on a given day, such as paying bills or shopping for groceries, and which can wait until another time. Stay active, but don’t overdo.

Acceptance & Acknowledgement. Accept and acknowledge the negative aspects of the illness, but then move forward to become more positive to find what works best for you.

Find the positive aspects of the disorder. Of course you are thinking there is nothing positive about PN. Perhaps your outlook can help increase empathy, encourage you to maintain a balanced schedule or maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

Get out of the house. When you have severe pain, it’s natural to want to be alone. But this only makes it easier to focus on your pain. Instead, visit a friend, go to a movie or take a walk.

Get moving.  Develop an exercise program that works for you to maintain your optimum fitness.   It gives you something you can control, and provides so many benefits to your physical and emotional well-being

Seek and accept support. It isn’t a sign of weakness to ask for or accept help when you need it. In addition to support from family and friends, consider joining a chronic pain support group. Although support groups aren’t for everyone, they can be good places to hear about coping techniques or treatments that have worked for others. You’ll also meet people who understand what you’re going through. To find a support group in your community, check with your doctor, a nurse or the county health department.

Prepare for challenging situations. If something especially stressful is coming up in your life, such as a move or a new job, knowing what you have to do ahead of time can help you cope.

Talk to a counselor or therapist. Insomnia, depression and impotence are possible complications of peripheral neuropathy. If you experience any of these, you may find it helpful to talk to a counselor or therapist in addition to your primary care doctor. There are treatments that can help.

How to Sleep With Neuropathy

Sleep is an essential part of living—sleep helps us avoid major health problems and it is essential to our mental and physical performance.  It affects our mood and stress and anxiety levels. Unfortunately, sleep disturbance or insomnia is often a side effect of neuropathy pain. It is a common complaint among people with living with chronic pain.

It’s no surprise that about 70 percent of pain patients, including those suffering from PN, back pain, headaches, arthritis and fibromyalgia, report they have trouble sleeping according to the Journal of Pain Medicine.

Pain can interfere with sleep due to a combination of issues. The list includes discomfort, reduced activity levels, anxiety, worry, depression and use of medications such as codeine that relieve pain but disturb sleep.

Most experts recommend a range of seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults, regardless of age or gender. This may seem impossible to people with chronic pain, but there are steps you can take to improve your sleep, which may lead to less pain and lower levels of depression and anxiety. First, talk with your doctor to see if there are medications that may lessen your sleep disturbance. You should also check with your doctor to make sure your current medications aren’t causing some of your sleep disturbance.

Beyond medication, there are several things you can do yourself to improve your sleep. Here are some methods to try and help you fall asleep more quickly, help you sleep more deeply, help you stay asleep, and ultimately help keep you healthy.

Following are tips for improving your sleep:

  • Reduce your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoons
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit and/or omit alcohol consumption
  • Limit naps to less than one hour, preferably less
  • Don’t stay in bed too long—spending time in bed without sleeping leads to more shallow sleep
  • Adhere to a regular daily schedule including going to bed and getting up at the same time
  • Maintain a regular exercise program. Be sure to complete exercise several hours before bedtime
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable. You should have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably. Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam or egg crate toppers, and pillows that provide more support
  • Keep your room cool. The temperature of your bedroom also affects sleep. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room (around 65° F or 18° C) with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.
  • Turn off your TV and Computer, many people use the television to fall asleep or relax at the end of the day. Not only does the light suppress melatonin production, but television can actually stimulate the mind, rather than relaxing it.
  • Don’t watch the clock – turn your alarm clock around so that it is not facing you
  • Keep a note pad and pencil by your bed to write down any thoughts that may wake you up at night so you can put them to rest
  • Refrain from taking a hot bath or shower right before bed; the body needs to cool a degree before getting into deep sleep
  • Try listening to relaxing soft music or audio books instead, or practicing relaxation exercises.

Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed this place or activity makes you feel.

Some patients find comfort from a pillow between their legs that keeps their knees from touching.  And there’s an added benefit:  A pillow between your legs at night will prevent your upper leg from pulling your spine out of alignment and reduces stress on your hips and lower back.

It may take three to four weeks of trying these techniques before you begin to see an improvement in your sleep. During the first two weeks, your sleep may actually worsen before it improves, but improved sleep may lead to less pain intensity and improved mood.

Article Provided By: foundationforPN

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

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Hyperalgesia: What you need to know

Hyperalgesia: What you need to know

Hyperalgesia is a condition where a person develops an increased sensitivity to pain. What may not hurt most people can cause significant pain in an individual with hyperalgesia.

Although there are many potential causes associated with hyperalgesia, the condition is thought to be the result of changes to nerve pathways, which cause a person’s nerves to have an overactive response to pain.

Medications are available to prevent a person’s symptoms from worsening.

Fast facts on hyperalgesia:

  • Hyperalgesia can be very difficult for a doctor to diagnose.
  • Different types of hyperalgesia exist, and doctors have a variety of theories regarding why people experience hyperalgesia.
  • Researchers are also studying a potential genetic link to hyperalgesia
  • The condition closely resembles both drug tolerance and drug withdrawals.
Causes
Hyperalgesia is an extreme reaction to painful stimuli.

There are several nerve or “pain” pathways in the body where signals can start to miscommunicate with each other, resulting in hyperalgesia.

Some scientists think that hyperalgesia occurs when chemicals known to reduce pain are disrupted.

Others propose that hyperalgesia happens when “crossed wires” in the nervous system prevent pain signals from transmitting accurately.

Nociceptive and neuropathic pain

Nociceptive and neuropathic are two different types of pain. Nociceptive pain is acute and it usually has a specific cause, such as an injury.

Neuropathic pain results from damage to the nervous system. It can happen even when there is no injury or outside stimulus.

Hyperalgesia is considered a form of neuropathic pain.

Types

Doctors usually divide hyperalgesia into primary and secondary categories. Both of these conditions are due to initial tissue trauma and inflammation.

Primary hyperalgesia

This type of hyperalgesia is when the increased pain occurs in the tissue where the injury took place. An example would be when a person has surgery on their elbow, and the pain starts to worsen over time instead of improving.

Secondary hyperalgesia

This type occurs when the pain seems to spread to non-injured tissue or tissues.

Other types of hyperalgesia

Another kind of hyperalgesia is opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH). OIH occurs when a person experiences worsening or new pain as a result of taking opioids, such as morphine, hydrocodone, or fentanyl for pain relief.

Symptoms

The chief symptom of hyperalgesia is an increasingly extreme reaction to painful stimuli without any new injuries or worsening of a medical condition. An example would be a surgical incision that becomes more painful over time, yet the wound is not infected, and a person has not experienced any further injury.

Hyperalgesia is different from tolerance to medications although the two processes are similar.

If a person develops a tolerance to a particular drug, it usually means that their body has become accustomed to the presence of the drug at the current dosage, and the drug is no longer working properly. When a person has developed a tolerance to a drug, increasing the dosage will usually decrease a person’s pain.

Drug tolerance is different from hyperalgesia, where increasing pain medication will not reduce the amount of pain a person feels. Sometimes, increasing the pain medication makes the person’s pain worse.

Another similar medical condition is allodynia. This condition is where a person develops a significant pain response to non-painful stimuli. Even brushing against a person’s skin can cause pain.

In hyperalgesia, a person has experienced a painful stimulus, such as cancer pain or pain following surgery, but their response to the pain is greater than the expected level of pain.

How do doctors diagnose hyperalgesia?

doctor checking notes on a tablet
Diagnosing hyperalgesia may be difficult for a doctor.

Hyperalgesia can present difficulties for a doctor to treat because a person may have developed OIH.

To make a diagnosis, a doctor will take a medical history and review a person’s medication.

They may also ask them questions about the nature of their pain.

Some of the signs that could indicate hyperalgesia include:

  • Pain extends beyond the area where a person experienced an initial injury or previously felt pain. Examples could include headaches, neck pain, leg pain, or back pain.
  • Some people describe the pain as “diffuse” or spreading. Some may report all-over body pain and aches.
  • The quality or experience of the pain is different than it used to be. The pain may become sharp, aching, or stabbing where previously the person felt the pain differently.

Currently, there are no definitive diagnostic tests for hyperalgesia.

Article Provided By: medicalnewstoday

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

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Does Neuropathy from Chemo Go Away?

Does Neuropathy from Chemo Go Away?

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a blanket term for pain and discomfort and other symptoms that result from damage to peripheral nerves, which are the nerves that extend away from the brain and spinal cord.

The peripheral nervous system carries signals from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body, and then returns nerve signals from the periphery to be received by the spinal cord and brain. Any problems along the way can affect the skin, muscles, and joints of your hands, feet, and other parts of the body.

Many things can cause neuropathy, including certain chemotherapy drugs. Damage to peripheral nerves by these drugs is called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, abbreviated as CIPN.

CIPN isn’t uncommon. Of people with cancer who are treated with chemotherapy, about 30 to 40 percent develop CIPN. It’s one of the reasons that some stop cancer treatment early.

What are the symptoms of CIPN?

CIPN generally affects both sides of your body the same way. Symptoms are likely to begin in your toes but can move to your feet, legs, hands, and arms. Symptoms range from mild to severe. Some of the more common symptoms are:

  • tingling or pins-and-needles sensation
  • sharp, stabbing pain
  • burning or shock-like sensations
  • loss of sensation or complete numbness
  • trouble with small motor skills such as writing, texting, and buttoning
  • gripping problems (dropping things)
  • clumsiness
  • weakness

You might also experience:

  • oversensitivity to touch
  • balance and coordination problems, which can lead to stumbling or falling when walking
  • differences in your sensitivity to temperature, making it harder to gauge heat and cold
  • reduced reflexes
  • swallowing difficulties
  • jaw pain
  • hearing loss
  • constipation
  • trouble urinating

Severe peripheral neuropathy can lead to serious health problems such as:

  • changes to blood pressure
  • changes to heart rate
  • breathing difficulties
  • injury due to falling
  • paralysis
  • organ failure
What causes CIPN?

Chemotherapy drugs are systemic treatments — that is, they affect your entire body. These powerful medications can take a toll, and some can damage your peripheral nervous system.

It’s hard to say exactly what causes CIPN since each chemotherapy drug is different, as is each person who receives treatment.

Some of the chemotherapy drugs associated with CIPN are:

  • nanoparticle albumin bound-paclitaxel (Abraxane)
  • bortezomib (Velcade)
  • cabazitaxel (Jevtana)
  • carboplatin (Paraplatin)
  • carfilzomib (Kyprolis)
  • cisplatin (Platinol)
  • docetaxel (Taxotere)
  • eribulin (Halaven)
  • etoposide (VP-16)
  • ixabepilone (Ixempra)
  • lenalidomide (Revlimid)
  • oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)
  • paclitaxel (Taxol)
  • pomalidomide (Pomalyst)
  • thalidomide (Thalomid)
  • vinblastine (Velban)
  • vincristine (Oncovin, Vincasar PFS)
  • vinorelbine (Navelbine)

Besides chemotherapy, peripheral neuropathy can be due to the cancer itself, such as when a tumor presses on a peripheral nerve.

Other cancer treatments such as surgery and radiation therapy can also lead to peripheral neuropathy. Even if you’re receiving chemotherapy, the neuropathy can be caused or aggravated by other conditions such as:

  • alcohol use disorder
  • autoimmune disorders
  • diabetes mellitus
  • HIV
  • infections that lead to nerve damage
  • poor peripheral blood circulation
  • shingles
  • spinal cord injury
  • vitamin B deficiency
How long does it last?

Symptoms can appear as soon as chemotherapy begins. Symptoms tend to get worse as the chemotherapy regimen progresses.

It’s a temporary problem for some, lasting only a few days or weeks.

For others, it can last for months or years and can even become a lifelong problem. This may be more likely if you have other medical conditions that cause neuropathy or take other prescription drugs that cause it.

How is CIPN treated?

Once your oncologist (a doctor who specializes in cancer treatment) determines that your peripheral neuropathy is caused by chemotherapy, they will monitor your treatment to see if symptoms are worsening. In the meantime, symptoms can be treated with:

  • steroids to reduce inflammation
  • topical numbing medicines
  • antiseizure medications, which can help relieve nerve pain
  • prescription-strength pain relievers such as narcotics (opioids)
  • antidepressants
  • electrical nerve stimulation
  • occupational and physical therapy

If symptoms continue, your doctor may decide to:

  • lower the dose of your chemotherapy drug
  • switch to a different chemotherapy drug
  • delay chemotherapy until symptoms improve
  • stop chemotherapy
Managing symptoms

It’s very important to work with your doctor to prevent neuropathy from getting worse. In addition, there are a few other things you can do, such as:

  • relaxation therapy, guided imagery, or breathing exercises
  • massage therapy
  • acupuncture
  • biofeedback

Pain, numbness, or strange sensations can make it difficult to work with your hands, so you should be extra careful with sharp objects. Wear gloves for yardwork or when working with tools.

If symptoms involve your feet or legs, walk slowly and carefully. Use handrails and grab bars when available and put no-slip mats in your shower or tub. Remove loose area rugs, electrical cords, and other tripping hazards in your home.

Wear shoes indoors and out to protect your feet. And if you have severe numbness in your feet, be sure to inspect them every day for cuts, injuries, and infection that you can’t feel.

Temperature sensitivity can also be a problem.

Make sure your water heater is set to a safe level, and check the temperature of the water before getting in the shower or bath.

Check the air temperature before going outside in winter. Even though you might not feel the cold, gloves and warm socks can help protect your feet and hands from frostbite.

If you find it helps to relieve your peripheral neuropathy symptoms, you can apply an ice pack on your hands or feet, but only for less than 10 minutes at a time with at least 10 minutes of breaktime between each repeat application.

Here are a few additional tips:

  • Don’t wear tight clothes or shoes that interfere with circulation.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Take all your medications as directed.
  • Get plenty of rest while in treatment.
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations for diet and exercise.
  • Keep your oncologist informed about new or worsening symptoms.

Currently, there’s no scientifically proven way to prevent neuropathy caused by chemotherapy. And there’s no way to know in advance who’ll develop it and who won’t.

Some research, such as this 2015 studyTrusted Source and this 2017 studyTrusted Source, suggests that taking glutathione, calcium, magnesium, or certain antidepressant or antiseizure drugs might help mitigate the risk for certain people. However, the research is limited, weak, or shows mixed results at best.

Before starting chemotherapy, tell your oncologist about other health conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, that could lead to peripheral neuropathy. This can help them choose the best chemotherapy drug for you.

Your oncologist may try to lessen the risk by prescribing lower doses of chemotherapy drugs over a longer period of time. If symptoms start, it may be appropriate to stop chemotherapy and restart when symptoms improve. It’s something that must be decided on a case-by-case basis.

While mild symptoms may resolve within a short time frame, more severe cases can linger for months or years. It can even become permanent. That’s why it’s so important to keep your oncologist informed about all your symptoms and side effects.

Addressing CIPN early may help ease symptoms and prevent it from getting worse.

Last medically reviewed on January 24, 2019

 

Article Provided By: healthline
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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The Common Symptoms of Neuralgia

The Common Symptoms of Neuralgia

Neuralgia is nerve pain that may be caused by many different things, including nerve damage, nerve irritation, infection, or other diseases. It is caused by irritation or damage to a nerve and is a sharp and very intense pain that follows the path of the nerve.

Neuralgia is also sometimes called neuropathyneuropathic pain, or neurogenic pain. It is most common in older adults but can affect people of all ages.

The nerves of the lower body
MedicalRF.com / Getty Images

 

Symptoms

How can you tell if the pain you are experiencing is neuralgia or some other type of pain? Neuralgia is typically more severe and has some distinct symptoms:

  • Increased sensitivity: The skin along the path of the damaged nerve will be very sensitive, and any touch or pressure, even gentle, is painful.
  • Sharp or stabbing pain: Pain will occur along the path or the damaged nerve and will be felt in the same location each time. It often comes and goes but can also be constant and burning and may feel more intense when you move that area of your body.
  • Weakness: Muscles supplied by the damaged nerve may feel very weak or become completely paralyzed.

 

Types

Certain painful conditions are classified as neuralgia because they are caused by nerve damage and lead to nerve pain. You can also experience neuralgia as a side effect of surgery. The pain can range in severity based on the extent of nerve damage and what nerves are affected.

Some common types of neuralgia include:

 

Treatment

Unfortunately, treating neuralgia is not an easy task and treatment will vary depending on the cause, location, and severity of your pain. The first step your doctor will likely take will be to identify the cause of the nerve problem and work to reverse or control it. He or she will also likely recommend pain medications to control your symptoms, including:1

  • Antidepressant medications
  • Antiseizure medications
  • Over-the-counter pain medications, such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Narcotic analgesics for short-term pain
  • Lidocaine patch
  • Capsaicin or lidocaine medicated skin creams

Other treatment options may include anesthetic shots, nerve blocks, physical therapy, surgery, nerve ablation, or complementary and alternative therapies. Talk to your doctor to discover the source of your pain and find out what treatments may work for you.

 

Article Provided By:verywellhealth
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

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Neuralgia

Neuralgia

Neuralgia is a stabbing, burning, and often severe pain due to an irritated or damaged nerve. The nerve may be anywhere in the body, and the damage may be caused by several things, including:

  • aging
  • diseases such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis
  • an infection, such as shingles

Treatment for the pain of neuralgia depends on the cause.

Types of neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia

This type of neuralgia occurs as a complication of shingles and may be anywhere on the body. Shingles is a viral infection characterized by a painful rash and blisters. Neuralgia can occur wherever the outbreak of shingles was. The pain can be mild or severe and persistent or intermittent. It can also last for months or years. In some cases, the pain may occur before the rash. It will always occur along the path of a nerve, so it’s usually isolated to one side of the body.

Trigeminal neuralgia

This type of neuralgia is associated with pain from the trigeminal nerve, which travels from the brain and branches to different parts of the face. The pain can be caused by a blood vessel pressing down on the nerve where it meets with the brainstem. It can also be caused by multiple sclerosis, injury to the nerve, or other causes.

Trigeminal neuralgia causes severe, recurrent pain in the face, usually on one side. It’s most common in people who are older than 50 years.

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia

Pain from the glossopharyngeal nerve, which is in the throat, is not very common. This type of neuralgia produces pain in the neck and throat.

Causes of neuralgia

The cause of some types of nerve pain is not completely understood. You may feel nerve pain from damage or injury to a nerve, pressure on a nerve, or changes in the way the nerves function. The cause may also be unknown.

Infection

An infection can affect your nerves. For example, the cause of postherpetic neuralgia is shingles, an infection caused by the chickenpox virus. The likelihood of having this infection increases with age. An infection in a specific part of the body may also affect a nearby nerve. For example, if you have an infection in a tooth, it may affect the nerve and cause pain.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease caused by the deterioration of myelin, the covering of nerves. Trigeminal neuralgia may occur in someone with MS.

Pressure on nerves

Pressure or compression of nerves may cause neuralgia. The pressure may come from a:

  • bone
  • ligament
  • blood vessel
  • tumor

The pressure of a swollen blood vessel is a common cause of trigeminal neuralgia.

Diabetes

Many people with diabetes have problems with their nerves, including neuralgia. The excess glucose in the bloodstream may damage nerves. This damage is most common in the hands, arms, feet, and legs.

Less common causes

If the cause of neuralgia isn’t infection, MS, diabetes, or pressure on the nerves, it may be from one of many less-common factors. These include:

  • chronic kidney disease
  • medications prescribed for cancer
  • fluoroquinolone antibiotics, used to treat some infections
  • trauma, such as from surgery
  • chemical irritation
When to seek medical help

The pain of neuralgia is usually severe and sometimes debilitating. If you have it, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

You should also see your doctor if you suspect you have shingles. Besides neuralgia, shingles also causes a red, blistering rash. It’s usually on the back or the abdomen, but it may also be on the neck and face. Shingles should be treated as soon as possible to prevent complications. These can include postherpetic neuralgia, which can cause debilitating and lifelong pain.

What to expect at a doctor’s appointment

When you see your doctor for neuralgia, you can expect to be asked a series of questions about your symptoms. Your doctor will want you to describe the pain and to tell them how long the pain has been a problem. You will also need to inform them of any medications you take and any other medical issues you have. This is because neuralgia may be a symptom of another disorder, such as diabetes, MS, or shingles.

Your doctor will also perform a physical exam to pinpoint the location of the pain and the nerve that’s causing it, if possible. You may also need to have a dental exam. For example, if the pain is in your face, your doctor may want to rule out other possible dental causes, such as an abscess.

To find an underlying cause of your pain, your doctor may order certain tests. You may need to have blood drawn to check your blood sugar levels and kidney function. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test can help your doctor determine if you have MS. A nerve conduction velocity test can determine nerve damage. It shows how fast signals are moving through your nerves.

Treatment of neuralgia

If your doctor can pinpoint the cause of your neuralgia, your treatment will focus on treating the underlying cause. If the cause is not found, treatment will focus on relieving your pain.

Potential treatments may include:

  • surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerve
  • better control of blood sugar levels in people with diabetes-caused neuralgia
  • physical therapy
  • nerve block, which is an injection directed at a particular nerve or nerve group and that is intended to “turn off” pain signals and reduce inflammation
  • medications to relieve the pain

Medications prescribed may include:

  • antidepressants such as amitriptyline or nortriptyline, which are effective in treating nerve pain
  • antiseizure medications such as carbamazepine, which is effective for trigeminal neuralgia
  • short-term narcotic pain medications, such as codeine
  • topical creams with capsaicin

There is no cure for neuralgia, but treatment can help improve your symptoms. Some types of neuralgia improve over time. More research is being done to develop better treatments for neuralgia.

 

Article Provided By: healthline
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

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