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Why Is Neuropathy Worse at Night?

January 3, 2020 / Brain & Spine
Why Is Neuropathy Worse at Night?
Reasons why nerve pain is more painful at night
Peripheral neuropathy is when a nerve or group of nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord is injured or dysfunctions. It could be because of an injury to a single nerve, like carpal tunnel syndrome, or because a group of nerves have become defective, like with peripheral neuropathy of the feet.
“Across the board we know that neuropathy can cause pain depending on what type of nerves are involved,” says neurologist Benjamin Claytor, MD. “When people describe worsening symptoms at night they’re describing discomfort – pins and needles, tingling and burning pain.”
Here Dr. Claytor discusses what might be causing this nightly pain and how to find relief.
Distraction
Our attention level can influence how we perceive pain. So during the day when we’re at work or taking care of the kids – we’re distracted and busy. Although there hasn’t been much research around it, the idea is that we aren’t focusing on the pain during the day because we’re busy, we pay less attention to it and perceive less pain.
“Many patients will tell me that after they get home from work, have dinner and sit down to watch TV for the night that their pain flares up,” says Dr. Claytor. “This could be because the daytime distractions are now gone and you’re starting to unwind for the night.”
Temperature and sleep
Another thought behind nightly neuropathy has to do with temperature. At night our body temperature fluctuates and goes down a bit. Most people tend to sleep in a cooler room as well. The thought is that damaged nerves might interpret the temperature change as pain or tingling, which can heighten the sense of neuropathy.
Also consider poor sleep quality. If you’re not sleeping very well to begin with, either due to poor sleep habits or sleep related disorders, this could lead to increased pain perception.
Emotions and stress
Our emotional state can also influence how we perceive pain. Stress and anxiety can feed in to and amplify pain signaling. Living in a chronic state of stress wreaks havoc on your physical and mental health.
Medication
Sometimes medication dosing and timing might need to be adjusted, which could be particularly true for some short acting medications used for neuropathy pain.
How to stop neuropathy pain at night
“There are options we can explore if your neuropathy pain seems to be worsening at night,” explains Dr. Claytor. “There might be oral or topical medications we can prescribe, or maybe it’s getting your stress under control and being more mindful.”
Cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy and meditation may be complementary tools to reduce pain as well.
Dr. Claytor stresses the importance of talking to your doctor sooner rather than later. Often time’s people will wait so long to see their physician that there’s permanent nerve damage that might have been avoided.
“I think one of the most important things I can discuss with a patient who comes in with neuropathy pain at night is getting to the root cause of what is actually driving it,” says Dr. Claytor. “Depending on what the underlying cause is, treating that first and foremost can usually help reduce the pain overall – especially at night.”

 

Article Provided By: health.clevelandclinic
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Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic Pain

What is neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain can result after damage or dysfunction of the nervous system. Pain can rise from any level of the nervous system. These levels are the peripheral nerves, spinal cord, and brain. Pain centers receive the wrong signals from the damaged nerve fibers. Nerve function may change at the site of the nerve damage, as well as areas in the central nervous system (central sensitization).
Neuropathy is a disturbance of function or a change in one or several nerves. About 30% of neuropathy cases is caused by diabetes. It is not always easy to tell the source of the neuropathic pain. There are hundreds of diseases that are linked to this kind of pain.
What are some of the sources of neuropathic pain?
Alcoholism
Amputation (results in phantom pain)
Chemotherapy drugs (Cisplatin®, Paclitaxel®, Vincristine®, etc.)
Radiation therapy
Complex regional pain syndrome
Diabetes
Facial nerve problems
HIV infection or AIDS
Shingles
Spinal nerve compression or inflammation
Trauma or surgeries with resulting nerve damage
Nerve compression or infiltration by tumors
Central nervous system disorders (stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.)
What are the symptoms of neuropathic pain?
Many symptoms may be present in the case of neuropathic pain. These symptoms include:
Spontaneous pain (pain that comes without stimulation): Shooting, burning, stabbing, or electric shock-like pain; tingling, numbness, or a “pins and needles” feeling
Evoked pain: Pain brought on by normally non-painful stimuli such as cold, gentle brushing against the skin, pressure, etc. This is called allodynia. Evoked pain also may mean the increase of pain by normally painful stimuli such as pinpricks and heat. This type of pain is called hyperalgesia.
An unpleasant, abnormal sensation whether spontaneous or evoked (dysesthesia)
Trouble sleeping
Emotional problems due to disturbed sleep and pain
Pain that may be lessened in response to a normally painful stimulus (hypoalgesia)
Diagnosis and Tests
How is neuropathic pain diagnosed?
Your doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam. Neuropathic pain is suggested by its typical symptoms when nerve injury is known or suspected. Your doctor will then try to find the underlying cause of the neuropathy and then trace the symptoms.
Management and Treatment
How is neuropathic pain treated?
The goals of treatment are to:
Treat the underlying disease (for example, radiation or surgery to shrink a tumor that is pressing on a nerve)
Provide pain relief
Maintain functionality
Improve quality of life
Multimodal therapy (including medicines, physical therapy, psychological treatment, and sometimes surgery) is usually required to treat neuropathic pain.
Medicines commonly prescribed for neuropathic pain include anti-seizure drugs such as Neurontin®, Lyrica®, Topamax®, Tegretol®, and Lamictal®. Doctors also prescribe antidepressants such as Elavil®, Pamelor®, Effexor®, and Cymbalta®. A doctor’s prescription for anti-seizure drugs or antidepressants does not mean you have seizures or are depressed.
A topical patch (Lidocaine® or Capsaicin®) or a cream or ointment can be used on the painful area. Opioid analgesics can provide some relief. However, they generally are less effective in treating neuropathic pain. Negative effects may prevent their long-term use.
The pain can also be treated with nerve blocks given by pain specialists, including injections of steroids, local anesthetics, or other medicines into the affected nerves.
Neuropathic pain that has not responded to the therapies mentioned above can be treated with spinal cord stimulation, peripheral nerve stimulation, and brain stimulation.
Outlook / Prognosis
What is the outlook for people with neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is difficult to get rid of, but is not life-threatening. Without rehabilitation and sometimes psychosocial support, treatment has a limited chance of success. With help from a pain specialist using the multimodal approaches listed above, your neuropathic pain can be managed to a level that improves your quality of life.
© Copyright 1995-2020 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

Article Provided By: clevelandclinic
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Peripheral Neuropathy Diet Guide

Peripheral Neuropathy Diet: Best Foods That Heal Nerve Damage (And 4 Foods to Avoid With Neuropathy)
October 23, 2018 by Kelly

If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, your first line of defense should be diet and lifestyle. (1) Good nutrition can help to slow nerve damage and even reverse nerve pain.
Peripheral neuropathy is a painful and disruptive condition that many with diabetes experience. Symptoms tend to start small, with numbness or tingling in the extremities, however this discomfort increases over time if no steps are taken to fight it. Eventually, the pain from peripheral neuropathy can be so severe that normal activities, like walking or putting on gloves, can become unbearable.
Fortunately, with the correct diet, you can calm nerves and help relieve nerve pain. There are foods that have been shown to help alleviate neuropathic pain and help to heal nerves, avoiding future complications.
Neuropathy is not an inevitable consequence of diabetes. If you want to stop this disease in its tracks and begin to feel relief, you must take steps to optimize your nutrition.
Nerve Regeneration Foods That Stimulate Nerve Growth, Heal Nerve Damage, and Help Pain Relief
The pain and other symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are due to damage to neurons, which are the cells that make up your nervous system. By improving the health of your nervous system and providing your body with the nutrients that it needs to regenerate nerves, you can protect yourself from further pain.
The regeneration of nerves has been tied to improved quality of life and reduced symptoms for those with neuropathy. (1,2) There are numerous foods that have been found to encourage the growth of new neurons.
Spinach
Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, dandelion greens, cilantro, and parsley, are packed full of phytonutrients that are known to boost human health. Two of these nutrients that have been shown to help neuropathy are folate and magnesium.
Folate
Folate, also known as folic acid, is another name for vitamin B9. Folate is commonly found in plant foods, and is important for cell growth.
Metformin is a prescription drug often used to treat those with type 2 diabetes. (3) With long-term use, it helps to lower blood sugar levels. While metformin is effective at lowering blood sugar levels, it does not do so without side effects.
One of the side effects is a reduction in serum levels of folic acid and cobalamin, with an increase in Hcy. This alteration of serum makeup has been implicated in the pathogenesis of peripheral neuropathy, suggesting that metformin may lead to this complication.
In order to counteract these effects and protect your peripheral neurons, it may be helpful to increase your intake of folic acid to counteract these effects. (4) In an animal study it was found that folic acid supplementation resulted in higher expression of nerve growth factor (NGF) in rats with a condition similar to diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This research suggests that folic acid may play a protective role for nerve health and function in those with diabetes.
Spinach is one of the foods richest in folate, leading to benefits in nerve regeneration and a possible role in protecting against the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy.
Magnesium
Human studies on those with type 2 diabetes have found that lower blood levels of magnesium are associated with dampened peripheral nerve function. (6) Other studies have found that supplementing with magnesium may help to improve blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in those with type 2 diabetes. (7)
Studies suggest that higher magnesium levels are tied to improved functioning of the peripheral nerves, helping to reduce the likelihood of peripheral diabetic neuropathy progression.
As spinach is second only to almonds as a dietary source of magnesium, adding spinach to your daily diet can help to protect peripheral nerve function. (8)
Almonds, Cashews, and Peanuts
When it comes to quality sources of dietary magnesium, only almonds have higher quantities than spinach. (8) In one ounce of dry roasted almonds, you can acquire 20% of the recommended daily allotment of magnesium.
Cashews and peanuts are two other sources high in magnesium. As outlined above, type 2 diabetes patients who have higher blood levels of magnesium tend to have better peripheral nerve function, as well as other parameters associated with diabetes and diabetic neuropathy progression, such as blood glucose levels. (6,7)
By consuming more magnesium-rich foods, you may be able to protect the health and function of your peripheral nerves.
Black Beans, Edamame, and Kidney Beans
Three other healthful foods that are high in magnesium are black beans, edamame, and kidney beans. Thanks to rich levels of this mineral, these foods may help to protect against damage to peripheral nerves.
Broccoli
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is rich in a wide array of nutrients, including chromium, an essential element that has been found to protect nerves from damage and improve insulin sensitivity.
Chromium
Chromium deficiency has been tied to impaired glucose tolerance and nerve dysfunction. Animal studies suggest that chromium supplementation can help in managing glucose levels in diabetes, which may also help to protect nerve function. (9)
In one case study, a 40 year old female who suddenly developed neuropathy was found to have a chromium deficiency. Supplementing with chromium reversed this neuropathy and the associated symptoms. (10)
While chromium deficiency is rare, adding in broccoli, the richest dietary source of chromium, may help those who are unknowingly deficient in this trace mineral. (11)
Foods That Calm Nerves and Relieve Pain
There are some foods that are known to help with the pain caused by peripheral neuropathy, calming nerves and thereby helping those with neuropathy find relief.
Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, and Walnuts
Flax seeds, chia seed, and walnuts are three of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The type of omega-3 fatty acid that they are rich in is ALA, or alpha-lipoic acid. It is this fatty acid in particular that has been shown in studies to help those suffering from neuropathy.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid
ALA, which is an antioxidant with potential for lowering blood glucose levels, has been shown in studies to offer an additional benefit of reducing diabetic neuropathic pain. (12)
In a human study on peripheral neuropathy, 600 mg of ALA supplemented for 90 days was found to decrease neuropathy symptoms in some, and fully resolve them in others. Pain, pressure, and sensation were improved.
It is easy to obtain 600 mg/day ALA with dietary sources only. You can get far more than 600 mg/day through 1 tablespoon of either flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts or flaxseeds.
Seafood: Wild Caught Salmon and Other Fatty Fish
Wild-caught, cold-water fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna, and sardines, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Research suggests that these two nutrients may help to encourage nerve growth, protect nerves from damage, and reduce the feelings of pain associated with neuropathy.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: EPA and DHA
While nuts and seeds are high in the omega-3 fatty acid APA, coldwater fish are high in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Research examining the effect of fish oil and these fatty acids on neuropathy are limited, but this limited research suggests that these fatty acids may help to encourage nerve growth and act as neuroprotectants. (14)
Vitamin B12
Earlier in this article, we discussed how the diabetes medication metformin has been shown to lead to deficiencies in folate. The same study showed that those who take metformin also often suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency. (3) These changes in serum makeup are thought to be the reason why it often leads to diabetic neuropathy in patients.
Vitamin B12 is critical for proper neurological function, with deficient levels implicated in nerve damage. (15) Some studies have found that supplementation with vitamin B12 may help to relieve the pain caused by neuropathy.
Seafood and fish are the primary sources of vitamin B12 in the human diet. It is primarily coldwater fish that are the highest in vitamin B12. In order to increase your intake of this vitamin and omega-3 fatty acids, it is recommended to consume 2-3 servings of coldwater fish each week.
Two of your best options for both are wild-caught salmon and trout. Other contenders are sardines, anchovies, and herring.
Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice most well-known for its role in the Indian dish curry, where it is the primary spice. Its health benefits have been touted for thousands of years in an ancient form of holistic medicine in India known as Ayurveda.
Research has found that the primary compound in turmeric that provides its powerful health benefits is curcumin. Studies have found that curcumin may be beneficial for those with diabetes and diabetic neuropathy.
Curcumin
The health benefits of curcumin are largely thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity. (16) It has demonstrated benefits in lowering blood glucose levels and protecting against diabetic neuropathy. Animal studies found reduced pain behavior and increased pain threshold in those treated with curcumin.
Foods To Avoid That Make Neuropathy Worse
Additionally, it is important not to eat foods that exacerbate your underlying diabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels are implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy, meaning that elevated blood sugar levels are likely to lead to disease progression and increased pain.There are numerous foods that have been implicated in the progression of diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. These foods are often to thank for oxidative damage and inflammation that contribute to nerve pain.
With these things in mind, you should avoid the following foods: (17)
Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbs are those that have had the healthful portions of the grains removed. Examples include white flour and white rice. Common foods that include refined carbs are white bread, bagels, baked goods, pancakes, crackers, and more.
Not only do these foods lack fiber and nutrients, but they are known to cause a spike in blood glucose levels. This glucose is involved in damaging nerves and thus the progression of diabetic neuropathy.
Foods with Added Sugars
Another common example of foods that have had any beneficial nutrients removed are white sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, nearly every fast food item and the vast majority of processed and packaged food at the supermarket include these ingredients.
Common examples of some of the worst offenders are sodas, candy, ice cream, baked goods, and fast food. These foods cause the biggest spike in blood sugar of any food out there, so it is important to avoid these as much as possible.
Saturated and Trans Fats
Fats are a complicated and often confusing category of food for those with diabetes and other health concerns. There are some fats that are good for your health, some that are bad, and some that are alright in moderation.
Generally, you want to stay away from saturated fats, which are those that tend to be solid at room temperature, and trans fats. Examples of foods high in saturated fats include lard, cream, butter, processed meats, and red meats. Those high in trans fats include margarine, shortening, and fast food.
Click here for a complete guide on “good” and “bad” fats.
Alcohol
When consumed in moderation, alcohol may not cause much damage when it comes to neuropathy, but when consumed in excess, alcohol can cause damage to nerves. In fact, there is such thing as alcoholic neuropathy, where excess alcohol consumption causes nerve damage similar to that of diabetic neuropathy.
Additionally, alcoholism is associated with difficulties absorbing important nutrients whose deficiencies have been found to correlate with diabetic neuropathy. These include folate and vitamin B12.
Neuropathy Diet Tips
When it comes to what type of diet to follow, a low-fat, vegetarian diet appears to have benefits for those with diabetic neuropathy. (17,18) This type of diet is associated with improvements in blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and blood lipid concentration, all three factors which are thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of both diabetes and diabetic neuropathy.
Even if you are unable to fully make the switch to a low-fat, vegetarian diet, you can use this diet as a kind of template for best practices. By cutting down on meat and dairy, particularly high-fat meat and dairy, and increasing your consumption of nutrient-rich plant foods, you can improve your health and your symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Additionally, you may want to work with a doctor if you suspect that you may have trouble digesting gluten. Celiac disease and neuropathy are related. It has been found that 2.5% of those with neuropathy have celiac disease, in comparison to only 1% of the normal population. (19) Because of this, you want to be sure that you do not have an underlying allergy to gluten that could be making your symptoms worse.

Article Provided By: Neuropathyreliefguide

 

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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Sciatica

Sciatica

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.

Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with non-operative treatments in a few weeks. People who have severe sciatica that’s associated with significant leg weakness or bowel or bladder changes might be candidates for surgery.

Symptoms
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.
The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.
Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.
When to see a doctor
Mild sciatica usually goes away over time. Call your doctor if self-care measures fail to ease your symptoms or if your pain lasts longer than a week, is severe or becomes progressively worse. Get immediate medical care if:
You have sudden, severe pain in your low back or leg and numbness or muscle weakness in your leg
The pain follows a violent injury, such as a traffic accident
You have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder

Causes
Herniated disk
Bone spurs on spine
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, usually by a herniated disk in your spine or by an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) on your vertebrae. More rarely, the nerve can be compressed by a tumor or damaged by a disease such as diabetes.

Risk factors
Risk factors for sciatica include:
Age. Age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disks and bone spurs, are the most common causes of sciatica.
Obesity. By increasing the stress on your spine, excess body weight can contribute to the spinal changes that trigger sciatica.
Occupation. A job that requires you to twist your back, carry heavy loads or drive a motor vehicle for long periods might play a role in sciatica, but there’s no conclusive evidence of this link.
Prolonged sitting. People who sit for prolonged periods or have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica than active people are.
Diabetes. This condition, which affects the way your body uses blood sugar, increases your risk of nerve damage.

Complications
Although most people recover fully from sciatica, often without treatment, sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage. Seek immediate medical attention if you have:
Loss of feeling in the affected leg
Weakness in the affected leg
Loss of bowel or bladder function

Prevention
It’s not always possible to prevent sciatica, and the condition may recur. The following can play a key role in protecting your back:
Exercise regularly. To keep your back strong, pay special attention to your core muscles — the muscles in your abdomen and lower back that are essential for proper posture and alignment. Ask your doctor to recommend specific activities.
Maintain proper posture when you sit. Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Consider placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back to maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level.
Use good body mechanics. If you stand for long periods, rest one foot on a stool or small box from time to time. When you lift something heavy, let your lower extremities do the work. Move straight up and down. Keep your back straight and bend only at the knees. Hold the load close to your body. Avoid lifting and twisting simultaneously. Find a lifting partner if the object is heavy or awkward.

Diagnosis
During the physical exam, your doctor may check your muscle strength and reflexes. For example, you may be asked to walk on your toes or heels, rise from a squatting position and, while lying on your back, lift your legs one at a time. Pain that results from sciatica will usually worsen during these activities.

Imaging tests
Many people have herniated disks or bone spurs that will show up on X-rays and other imaging tests but have no symptoms. So doctors don’t typically order these tests unless your pain is severe, or it doesn’t improve within a few weeks.
X-ray. An X-ray of your spine may reveal an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) that may be pressing on a nerve.
MRI. This procedure uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of your back. An MRI produces detailed images of bone and soft tissues such as herniated disks. During the test, you lie on a table that moves into the MRI machine.
CT scan. When a CT is used to image the spine, you may have a contrast dye injected into your spinal canal before the X-rays are taken — a procedure called a CT myelogram. The dye then circulates around your spinal cord and spinal nerves, which appear white on the scan.
Electromyography (EMG). This test measures the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of your muscles. This test can confirm nerve compression caused by herniated disks or narrowing of your spinal canal (spinal stenosis).
More Information
CT scan
MRI
X-ray

Treatment
If your pain doesn’t improve with self-care measures, your doctor might suggest some of the following treatments.
Medications
The types of drugs that might be prescribed for sciatica pain include:
Anti-inflammatories
Muscle relaxants
Narcotics
Tricyclic antidepressants
Anti-seizure medications
Physical therapy
Once your acute pain improves, your doctor or a physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to help you prevent future injuries. This typically includes exercises to correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility.
Steroid injections
In some cases, your doctor might recommend injection of a corticosteroid medication into the area around the involved nerve root. Corticosteroids help reduce pain by suppressing inflammation around the irritated nerve. The effects usually wear off in a few months. The number of steroid injections you can receive is limited because the risk of serious side effects increases when the injections occur too frequently.
Surgery
This option is usually reserved for when the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or when you have pain that progressively worsens or doesn’t improve with other therapies. Surgeons can remove the bone spur or the portion of the herniated disk that’s pressing on the pinched nerve.

Lifestyle and home remedies
For most people, sciatica responds to self-care measures. Although resting for a day or so may provide some relief, prolonged inactivity will make your signs and symptoms worse.
Other self-care treatments that might help include:
Cold packs. Initially, you might get relief from a cold pack placed on the painful area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. Use an ice pack or a package of frozen peas wrapped in a clean towel.
Hot packs. After two to three days, apply heat to the areas that hurt. Use hot packs, a heat lamp or a heating pad on the lowest setting. If you continue to have pain, try alternating warm and cold packs.
Stretching. Stretching exercises for your low back can help you feel better and might help relieve nerve root compression. Avoid jerking, bouncing or twisting during the stretch, and try to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
Over-the-counter medications. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are sometimes helpful for sciatica.
Alternative medicine
Alternative therapies commonly used for low back pain include:
Acupuncture. In acupuncture, the practitioner inserts hair-thin needles into your skin at specific points on your body. Some studies have suggested that acupuncture can help back pain, while others have found no benefit. If you decide to try acupuncture, choose a licensed practitioner to ensure that he or she has had extensive training.
Chiropractic. Spinal adjustment (manipulation) is one form of therapy chiropractors use to treat restricted spinal mobility. The goal is to restore spinal movement and, as a result, improve function and decrease pain. Spinal manipulation appears to be as effective and safe as standard treatments for low back pain, but might not be appropriate for radiating pain.

Preparing for your appointment
Not everyone who has sciatica needs medical care. If your symptoms are severe or persist for more than a month, though, make an appointment with your primary care doctor.
What you can do
Write down your symptoms and when they began.
List key medical information, including other conditions you have and the names of medications, vitamins or supplements you take.
Note recent accidents or injuries that might have damaged your back.
Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you can help you remember what your doctor tells you.
Write down questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your appointment time.
For radiating low back pain, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
What’s the most likely cause of my back pain?
Are there other possible causes?
Do I need diagnostic tests?
What treatment do you recommend?
If you’re recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
For how long will I need to take medication?
Am I a candidate for surgery? Why or why not?
Are there restrictions I need to follow?
What self-care measures should I take?
What can I do to prevent my symptoms from recurring?
Don’t hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Do you have numbness or weakness in your legs?
Do certain body positions or activities make your pain better or worse?
How limiting is your pain?
Do you do heavy physical work?
Do you exercise regularly? If yes, with what types of activities?
What treatments or self-care measures have you tried? Has anything helped?

Article Provided By: Mayoclinic
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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Exercises for Peripheral Neuropathy

Exercises for Peripheral Neuropathy

Alternative treatments for peripheral neuropathy
About 20 million people across the country live with a form of peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage disorder that typically causes pain in your hands and feet. Other common symptoms of this disorder include:
muscle weakness
numbness
tingling
poor balance
inability to feel pain or temperature
Treatment options typically focus on pain relief and treating the underlying cause. However, studies show that exercise can effectively preserve nerve function and promote nerve regeneration.
Exercise techniques for peripheral neuropathy
There are three main types of exercises ideal for people with peripheral neuropathy: aerobic, balance, and stretching.
Before you start exercises, warm up your muscles with dynamic stretching like arm circles. This promotes flexibility and increases blood flow. It will boost your energy, too, and activate your nerve signals.
Aerobic exercises
Aerobic exercises move large muscles and cause you to breathe deeply. This increases blood flow and releases endorphins that act as the body’s natural painkillers.
Best practices for aerobic exercising include routine activity for about 30 minutes a day, at least three days a week. If you’re just starting out, try exercising for 10 minutes a day to start.
Some examples of aerobic exercises are:
brisk walking
swimming
bicycling
Balance training
Peripheral neuropathy can leave your muscles and joints feeling stiff and sometimes weak. Balance training can build your strength and reduce feelings of tightness. Improved balance also prevents falls.
Beginning balance training exercises include leg and calf raises.
Side leg raise
Using a chair or counter, steady your balance with one hand.
Stand straight with feet slightly apart.
Slowly lift one leg to the side and hold for 5–10 seconds.
Lower your leg at the same pace.
Repeat with the other leg.
As you improve balance, try this exercise without holding onto the counter.
Calf raise
Using a chair or counter, steady your balance.
Lift the heels of both feet off the ground so you’re standing on your toes.
Slowly lower yourself down.
Repeat for 10–15 reps.
Stretching exercises
Stretching increases your flexibility and warms up your body for other physical activity. Routine stretching can also reduce your risk of developing an injury while exercising. Common techniques are calf stretches and seated hamstring stretches.
Calf stretch
Place one leg behind you with your toe pointing forward.
Take a step forward with the opposite foot and slightly bend the knee.
Lean forward with the front leg while keeping the heel on your back leg planted on the floor.
Hold this stretch for 15 seconds.
Repeat three times per leg.
Seated hamstring stretch
Sit on the edge of a chair.
Extend one leg in front of you with your toe pointed upward.
Bend the opposite knee with your foot flat on the floor.
Position your chest over your straight leg, and straighten your back until you feel a muscle stretch.
Hold this position for 15 – 20 seconds.
Repeat three times per leg.

Outlook
Exercise can reduce pain symptoms from peripheral neuropathy. Be sure to stretch after any workout to increase your flexibility and reduce pain from muscle tightness.
Mild pain is normal after stretching and regular activity. However, if your pain worsens or if you develop joint swelling, visit your doctor.

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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Hyperalgesia

Hyperalgesia: It Hurts Everywhere!!

Christina Lasich, MD
Health Professional
March 2, 2013

Imagine if a paper cut felt like a red, hot poker stabbed you. Imagine if a small bruise felt like a sledge hammer hit you. If you are able to imagine these examples or maybe have even felt this way, then you know what it is like to have hyperalgesia. This term means that the tissue involved has an increased sensitivity to painful stimuli. The small hurts hurt even worse. The minor injuries feel ten times worse. And it seems to hurt everywhere.

Where does hyperalgesia come from? And why does it happen? Increased sensitivity to pain can occur in damaged or undamaged tissue. Remember, pain does not necessarily mean that something is damaged. But pain does mean that the brain is interpreting signals from the body that seem threatening. Sometimes those signals are amplified because of the superactivation of the pain pathways. And sometimes those signals are amplified because of the suppression natural pain-relieving pathways in the body. Whether you have over-activity of pain pathways or suppression of pain-relieving pathways or both, all these roads can lead to an increased sensitivity to pain.

A classic example of hyperalgesia is felt when someone is experiencing opioid withdrawals. The sudden discontinuation of pain medications leaves a person with a non-functioning natural-pain relieving system while at the same time, the pain pathways deep within the nervous system become extremely active. This perfect storm of hyperalgesia causes a person to feel achy and sensitive everywhere. (1)

 

Another example of an increased sensitivity to pain is getting more and more notoriety because of the overuse of short-acting opioid medications for the treatment of chronic pain. This condition is called opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Pain medication can cause more pain if the user is experiencing a frequent cycle of withdrawals. As already mentioned, opioid withdrawals are well known to cause hyperalgesia. Furthermore, the frequent cycle of withdrawals sensitizes the nervous system. (2)

Nervous system sensitization is probably the most common reason for someone to experience an increased sensitivity to pain. Common conditions like fibromyalgia, headaches and sciatica are all conditions that typically have a component of hyperalgesia associated with that experience. Furthermore, each of those conditions is also related to a nervous system that has been altered in some way to be overactive and wound-up. The nervous system is your alarm system. When your alarm system overreacts to painful stimuli, all the little hurts feel HUGE.

And that might be the reason why you hurt everywhere. Hyperalgesia is not only an increased sensitivity to pain; it is also an indicator that someone’s alarm system might be dysfunctional because of the sudden withdrawal of medications, the overuse of medications or the sensitization of the nervous system. The hyperalgesia process can be reversed. It’s a matter of resetting the alarm. Allowing the body’s natural pain-relieving system to turn back on, eliminating the frequent cycles of withdrawals and desensitizing the nervous system are all ways to treat the increased sensitivity to pain. Unfortunately, resetting your alarm system is easier said than done.

Pain. 2013 Jan 11. pii: S0304-3959(13)00011-0

Cephalalgia. 2013 Jan;33(1):52-64

 

Article Provided By: Healthcentral

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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Neuopathy Flares

What Makes Neuropathy Flare up? Here Are 4 Common Causes and The Top 3 Solutions
Last Updated on April 16, 2019

Neuropathy can make life far more difficult than it has to be. Of course, there will always be some struggle when it comes managing the pain and the uncomfortable feelings that come with the condition.

For the most part, treatment is straightforward: manage the symptoms that are able to be managed and find ways to cope with the ones that aren’t.
Sadly, there are times when neuropathy can flare up, making management significantly more troublesome.
Being able to understand why neuropathy is flaring up is one of the first steps to preparing, coping, and managing with the condition.
Sometimes, they are even caused by things that are relatively easy to change and fix, meaning that there are some ways that a person can make it easier to deal with neuropathy.
What Causes Neuropathy To Get Worse?
Because neuropathy is a disease that focuses on the nerves of the body, nearly anything can make it flare up. Flare ups are generally classified as an intensifying of the chronic pain that a person is used to, although it often goes back down to its typical level given time.
As neuropathy is a disease concerned with the nerves, anything that affects the nerves can cause a flare up. This can range from the food that a person eats in a day, to the temperature outside, to the way that person lives his or her life. There are many things that can cause a flare up but many of these things are somewhat preventable.
The things that a person physically cannot change, such as the temperature outside, are things that the person can remedy in other ways. This means that once a person knows what common triggers are, it will be easier to avoid them in the future, leading to an easier and more comfortable life.

The Wrong Foods
The food that a person intakes plays a significant role in neuropathy symptoms. As many people have come to learn, the kinds of foods that can affect it are generally grains, sugars, gluten, and fat. In particular, refined grains have a high glycemic content in them.
This will greatly affect a person’s blood sugar. Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common forms of neuropathy, meaning that it is crucial that a person keeps his or her blood sugar at an appropriate level whether or not he or she is diabetic.
If a person eats a lot of refined grains, it is best to replace them with whole grains to prevent this issue with blood sugar.

Likewise, sugar directly correlates to a person’s blood sugar levels. Added sugars are even worse as they are only there for flavor and nothing more.
Especially if a person is diabetic, it is best to avoid foods with added sugar. Too much sugar can cause a flare up as it will cause the blood sugar to fluctuate.
This is one of the most common triggers, especially in people who have diabetic neuropathy. Nutritional deficiencies caused by relying too much on the flavor that added sugars provide can not only worsen neuropathy but they can also cause symptoms in someone who does not have it.
If a person has a gluten allergy, it is common sense that he or she stays away from food with gluten. Managing neuropathy symptoms is all the more reason to stay away from gluten. If a person’s body cannot process gluten, then it can severely worsen the symptoms of neuropathy, causing a flare up. This means that these people should search for gluten-free products to avoid these symptoms.
Lastly, saturated fats can cause inflammation, which is definitely a trigger for a neuropathy flare up. If a person does not already have type 2 diabetes, too much saturated fat can put this person on the road to developing diabetes.
To prevent this, the best thing that a person can do is find foods that don’t have a lot of saturated fats in them. Ultimately, the best thing that a person can do to alter any food-related triggers for neuropathy is to avoid sugars, refined grains, gluten, and saturated fat. This will take care of some of the triggers for flare ups.
Poor Physical Health
Since neuropathy is focused on the nerves in the body, the physical health of a person’s body will of course play a big role in how often neuropathy flare ups happen. Some major triggers for a flare up could be smoking, injuries, and illnesses. For instance, it is a well-known fact that smoking is very bad for the human body.

Smoking is one of the many triggers, because smoking constricts the blood vessels in the body, which constricts the blood that goes to the extremities.
This can quickly and easily worsen the symptoms of neuropathy, ultimately resulting in a flare up that nobody wants to deal with.
In addition to this, it should be relatively obvious that injuries to the body can cause a flare up as they can open many nerve endings to more pain that a person typically experiences.
On the chance that a person’s extremities have become so numb that the person is not aware of an injury, it is imperative that this person regularly checks to ensure that there are no injuries on the feet or hands. An injury can put a lot of physical stress on the body, which can lead to a neuropathic nightmare.
As the health of a person’s body plays a large role in whether or not the person is nearing a flare up, another thing that is important to pay attention to is health. Being sick puts quite a bit of stress on the body and thus the nerves. The stress on the nerves can translate into a neuropathic flare up, which can only make dealing with the sickness even worse.
In some cases, underlying issues can even be the cause of the neuropathy in the first place. If a person has any reason to suspect being sick, it would be a good idea to visit the doctor. Besides visiting the doctor, a person should take the appropriate measures to stay as healthy as possible both physically and mentally, to avoid worsening conditions.
Poor Mental and Emotional Health
Just as physical stress plays an enormous role in whether or not a person’s body is at risk for a flare up, mental stress and temperature also play a role. Emotional stress, while people might not think about it much, can be extremely hard on the nerves. This can make emotional stress a trigger for a neuropathic flare up.

One of the ways that a person could alleviate and remove this trigger is to make sure that there isn’t really anything stressful going on.
If there is something stressful, measures should be taken to remove that stressor, whether that means taking care of a particular task or ignoring some people for a period of time.

The temperature of a room or location also plays into the idea of triggers both emotional and physical.
After all, temperature is signaled to the brain through the nerves. Depending on the type of neuropathy a person has, temperature can quickly become a trigger for a flare up.
Typically, cooler temperatures are better, although the change should be gradual so as not to jolt the nerves too much. Cooler temperatures are best as they cause a slower heart rate and slow blood flow a little bit, slightly numbing any pain that a person might be feeling.

Contradicting Medications

Anything that is ingested into the body is going to affect the health of nerves and this especially goes for medication.
Medication can bring about worse side effects that can trigger a neuropathic flare up that nobody wants to deal with.
This can be difficult to deal with as finding the medication that is causing the flare up can be tough. Sometimes, that medication is something that a person needs.
When this happens, it might be worth talking to a doctor about alternatives to reduce the chances that a person’s own medication is causing symptoms to get worse.
How Can They Be Prevented?
Out of the many things that cause flare ups, there are several that can easily be changed. With time, diet and nutrition can change to a more suitable situation for a person’s needs. Stress will come and go with time and managing that stress will be important in regulating flare ups.
Know Your Triggers
Making sure that a person knows what his or her triggers are is essential in preventing flare ups from happening. This means that one of the best things a person can do is keep track of what came before a flare up so that he or she can get a good idea of what triggers neuropathic flare ups. Once the person understands what causes the flare ups, the hard work is halfway done.
Optimize Your Lifestyle
All that needs to be done now is changes in lifestyle to create a life where a person doesn’t have to worry nearly as much about triggering a neuropathic flare up. By having a journal that logs what triggers are and what can be done to avoid them, a person can begin taking the steps needed to live a life without neuropathic flare ups.
Take Supplements
Nutritional supplementation is a safe, low cost way to provide your nerves with the right herbs, vitamins, and nutrition they need for proper functioning. Many people are deficient in key vitamins like thiamine and methyl b12 due to lower nutrient density in today’s foods. People can either take multiple nerve health supplements individually or use a pre-formulated solution like Nerve Renew, which consists of proven ingredients in the optimal dosages according to clinical studies.

Article Provided By: Nerve Pain Guide

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

 

 

 

Chemotherapy, Chronic Pain, Pain Therapy, Chronic Pain Therapy, Neuropathic Pain Therapy, Greenville SC

Peripheral Neuropathy and Diabetes

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage caused by chronically high blood sugar and diabetes. It leads to numbness, loss of sensation, and sometimes pain in your feet, legs, or hands. It is the most common complication of diabetes.

About 60% to 70% of all people with diabetes will eventually develop peripheral neuropathy, although not all suffer pain. Yet this nerve damage is not inevitable. Studies have shown that people with diabetes can reduce their risk of developing nerve damage by keeping their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.

What causes peripheral neuropathy? Chronically high blood sugar levels damage nerves not only in your extremities but also in other parts of your body. These damaged nerves cannot effectively carry messages between the brain and other parts of the body.

This means you may not feel heat, cold, or pain in your feet, legs, or hands. If you get a cut or sore on your foot, you may not know it, which is why it’s so important to inspect your feet daily. If a shoe doesn’t fit properly, you could even develop a foot ulcer and not know it.

The consequences can be life-threatening. An infection that won’t heal because of poor blood flow causes risk for developing ulcers and can lead to amputation, even death.

This nerve damage shows itself differently in each person. Some people feel tingling, then later feel pain. Other people lose the feeling in fingers and toes; they have numbness. These changes happen slowly over a period of years, so you might not even notice it.

Because the changes are subtle and happen as people get older, people tend to ignore the signs of nerve damage, thinking it’s just part of getting older.

But there are treatments that can help slow the progression of this condition and limit the damage. Talk to your doctors about what your options are, and don’t ignore the signs because with time, it can get worse.

Symptoms of Nerve Damage From Diabetes

Numbness is the most common, troubling symptom of nerve damage due to diabetes. The loss of sensation is a special concern. People who lose sensation are the ones most likely to get ulcers on their feet and to end up needing amputations.

People describe the early symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in many ways:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Pins and needles
  • Prickling
  • Burning
  • Cold
  • Pinching
  • Buzzing
  • Sharp
  • Deep stabs

Others describe sharp pain, cramps, tingling, prickling, a burning sensation. Still others have exaggerated sensitivity to touch.

The symptoms are often worse at night. Be on the look out for these changes in how you feel:

  • Touch sensitivity. You may experience heightened sensitivity to touch, or a tingling or numbness in your toes, feet, legs, or hands.
  • Muscle weakness. Chronically elevated blood sugars can also damage nerves that tell muscles how to move. This can lead to muscle weakness. You may have difficulty walking or getting up from a chair. You may have difficulty grabbing things or carrying things with your hands.
  • Balance problems. You may feel more unsteady than usual and uncoordinated when you walk. This occurs when the body adapts to changes brought on by muscle damage.

Because people with type 2 diabetes may have multiple health problems, doctors don’t always diagnose peripheral neuropathy when symptoms first appear. You need to be aware that your pain may be confused with other problems.

Make sure your pain is taken seriously.

Article Provided By: WebMD

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
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
Chronic Pain, Neuropathy Treatment, Pain Relief, Pain Therapy, Pheripheral Neuropathy

When It Hurts to Be Touched

Our sense of touch is a fundamental part of the human experience. Being touched by others a powerful tool of communication, whether it is through a handshake, a hug, or a pat on the back, and it can also boost a sense of general well-being.Unfortunately, living with chronic pain can interfere with your ability to touch, feel, hold, or be held by others. One of the most challenging examples of this occurs when we develop extreme sensitivities to touch from things that aren’t usually painful. The medical term for this is allodynia, and it means that something is painful from a non-painful stimulus. Imagine lightly brushing the back of your hand with a cotton ball. That should not hurt in the least, but now suppose doing so is all of a sudden associated with the feeling of intense pain in the hand.This type of extreme sensitivity to touch can have a dramatic effect on a person’s life. They may completely avoid using an affected body part, like a hand in our example, or they may avoid even leaving the house out of fear that being around others may risk contact with the sensitive body part.One of the most common types of pain that can lead to something like allodynia is nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain. One nerve pain syndrome, in particular, that is often associated with cantankerous forms of allodynia is complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS. CRPS can be a debilitating pain problem that usually involves an extremity, like an arm or leg, after some type of tissue injury has taken place.Allodynia can be associated with other types of chronic pain problems, as well, including fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, TMJ, painful surgical scars, and skin damage from ultraviolet radiation. In fact, migraine sufferers have been reported to have pain with hair combing, shaving, and putting in contact lenses.Researchers believe that allodynia is a result of the amplification of pain signals going on in the brain – a problem called “central sensitization” – though it is still unclear what causes it.

Fortunately, allodynia can be successfully treated under the right circumstances, so it is important to find health care providers who understand this problem and can help. Desensitization techniques are one way of reducing the hypersensitivity of the skin or tissues, and you can even learn how to do some of this at home on your own. For example, placing a sensitive hand or foot into a bowl of uncooked rice or lentils is one tool we use with some of our patients. Other topical treatments include things like contrast baths, paraffin wax, and clay. Because desensitization can be a painful process to start, it helps to have as much support and guidance from your treatment team as you can get.So, if you are struggling with hypersensitivities and it is interfering with your quality of life, ask your health care team for help.
Article Provided By: WebMD
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SC
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