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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
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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Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet. It can also affect other areas of your body.
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, heart rate, digestion and bladder
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
Changes 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.

Not a single disease, peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage caused by a number of 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. More than half the people with diabetes 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 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.
Trauma or pressure on the nerve. Traumas, 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).
More Information
Peripheral neuropathy care at Mayo Clinic
Hypothyroidism: Can it cause peripheral neuropathy?
Risk factors
Peripheral neuropathy risk factors include:
Diabetes, especially if your sugar levels are poorly controlled
Alcohol abuse
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 trauma. 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: 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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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
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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Managing and 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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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

 

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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
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Is Walking Good for Neuropathy?

Is Walking Good for Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is one of the most common chronic medical conditions in society. This is a serious medical condition that impacts countless people across the country, making it hard for them to go about their daily routines.
If you suffer from neuropathy, one of your most common questions is probably is whether or not walking can help you. The good news is that walking can be an effective part of your comprehensive neuropathy treatment program.
In this article, we’ll talk about the health effects of neuropathy on your walking and how to exercise without pain or discomfort.
Let’s get to it…

Is Walking Good for Neuropathy?
Yes! Walking is definitely good for the treatment of neuropathy. If you have neuropathy, you should make sure they work with a medical team to address all aspects of your specific form of neuropathy; however, there is a good chance that walking will be recommended to you.

All that said, when it comes to walking with neuropathy, there are a few additional points you should keep in mind.
If you suffer from neuropathy, there is a problem with the nerves in the body. Specifically, peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common forms. There are nerves that innervate your arms, legs, fingers, and toes. These nerves carry motor signals from your brain to your limbs. Then, different nerves carry information regarding temperature, pain, and pressure back to your brain for interpretation.
If there is a problem with your nerves, you could feel numbness, tingling, or even pain in certain parts of your body. Exercise, such as walking, can help you manage neuropathy.
First, regular physical activity, such as walking, can help you improve the circulation of blood throughout your body. This will strengthen your tissues, including those at the site of your neuropathy. When your ligaments, tendons, and nerves have access to more oxygen and nutrients, this can improve their function. As a result, exercise can improve the function of your nerves, helping you control many of the symptoms of neuropathy.
In addition, walking is effective for neuropathy because it can prevent the development of further complications. One of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes. Elevated levels of blood glucose can damage the nerves throughout your body, making peripheral neuropathy worse. In order to prevent this, you need to take steps to control your blood glucose. Exercise, such as walking, will help you do exactly that. When you take steps to keep your blood glucose levels under control, you can prevent the development of many of the complications of neuropathy.
If you have neuropathy, you are probably used to feeling some form of discomfort, particularly in your legs. Exercise might be the furthest thing from your mind. This is understandable and that is okay; however, you also need to take steps to overcome this hurdle. Walking regularly is a great first step. It is important for you to know how to walk safely if you summer from neuropathy.
How to Walk Safely with Neuropathy
Walking is a great way to control the symptoms of neuropathy while also preventing some serious complications. If you are trying to come up with a walking routine for neuropathy, there are a few important steps you need to follow.
1. Talk with Your Doctor First
If you have neuropathy, you probably go to the doctor on a regular basis. During your next visit, you need to speak with your doctor about an exercise routine. People with most forms of neuropathy will be able to walk effectively; however, every form of neuropathy is different.

For example, if you suffer from numbness in your ankle, you might not realize that you have sprained your ankle while walking. You need to speak with your doctor to figure out if you need to make any adjustments in how you walk to exercise safely with neuropathy.

2. Invest in the Right Equipment
If you have neuropathy, you need to invest in the right shoes to help you walk safely. You might have numbness or tingling in certain parts of your body, so you need to ensure that your shoes will protect you against injuring these specific locations.
For example, Orthofeet’s Stretchable for women provide anatomic orthotic insoles along with ergonomic soles that provide added protection for your feet, guarding against sprains, strains, and pressure injuries.

3. Start Slowly
It is important for everyone with neuropathy to start the exercise routine slowly. Being by walking at a slow tempo. Make sure that you preserve your sensation throughout all parts of your foot.
If you feel like you cannot feet certain parts of your foot (more than usual), then check to see if your shoes have been tied too tightly. This could be cutting off circulation to certain parts of your foot. In this case, loosen them and continue walking. Be sure to monitor your feet for the development of blisters as well. If you suffer from numbness or tingling, this might go unnoticed.
4. Increase Your Walking Gradually
Of course, you want to get to the point where your walking routine qualifies as exercise. In order for this to happen, you need to reach the point of cardio walking. In cardio walking, your heart rate must be sustained at between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
You can calculate your maximum heart rate by taking 220 and subtracting your age in years. If you are 60 years old, your maximum heart rate is 220 – 60 which is 160. Then, 50 to 70 percent of this number is 80 to 112. If you are 60 years old, keeping your heart rate between these two numbers will provide you with the cardiovascular benefits of walking that you need.
Finally, there are a few other strategies that you can follow to remain comfortable while walking with neuropathy. First, always stretch before you start walking. This will get your blood flowing, making it less likely that you might experience numbness or tingling while exercising.

Next, try to walk on flat ground as much as possible. This will prevent your calf muscles from getting tight, which might constrict the blood flow to your ankles and feet. Finally, remember to use ice and heat after walking to help your body recover appropriately. The goal is to come up with a regular walking routine. Therefore, the recovery process is important for those who suffer from neuropathy.
Final Thoughts on Walking with Neuropathy
These are a few of the most important points that you need to keep in mind if you would like to come up with a walking routine for neuropathy. Walking is a great way to not only treat neuropathy but also prevent other complications from developing down the road. Therefore, follow the steps above to come up with your own walking routine for neuropathy. This can drastically improve your quality of life, helping you preserve the function of the nerves throughout your body.

 

Article Provided By: Developgoodhabits
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Burning Feet

Burning feet

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Burning feet — the sensation that your feet are painfully hot — can be mild or severe. In some cases, your burning feet may be so painful that the pain interferes with your sleep. With certain conditions, burning feet may also be accompanied by a pins and needles sensation (paresthesia) or numbness, or both.

Burning feet may also be referred to as tingling feet or paresthesia.

Causes

While fatigue or a skin infection can cause temporarily burning or inflamed feet, burning feet are most often a sign of nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy). Nerve damage has many different causes, including diabetes, chronic alcohol use, exposure to certain toxins, certain B vitamin deficiencies or HIV infection.

Possible causes of burning feet:
Alcohol use disorder
Athlete’s foot
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (a group of hereditary disorders that affects the nerves in your arms and legs)
Chemotherapy
Chronic kidney disease
Complex regional pain syndrome (chronic pain due to a dysfunctional nervous system)
Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage caused by diabetes)
HIV/AIDS
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) (underactive thyroid)
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
Vitamin deficiency anemia

When to see a doctor

Seek emergency medical care if:
The burning sensation in your feet came on suddenly, particularly if you may have been exposed to some type of toxin
An open wound on your foot appears to be infected, especially if you have diabetes
Schedule an office visit if you:
Continue to experience burning feet, despite several weeks of self-care
Notice that the symptom is becoming more intense and painful
Feel the burning sensation has started to spread up into your legs
Start losing the feeling in your toes or feet

If your burning feet persist or if there is no apparent cause, then your doctor will need to do tests to determine if any of the various conditions that cause peripheral neuropathy are to blame.

Article Provided By: Mayoclinic
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Cold Feet

By Shawn Bishop

Cold Feet That Aren’t Cold to the Touch May Indicate Neurologic Problem
April 1, 2011
Dear Mayo Clinic:
Lately my feet always seem cold but are not cold to the touch. Could this be an early symptom of something to come?
Answer:
Pinpointing the exact source of this symptom requires a physical exam and diagnostic tests. But when feet feel cold but are not cold to the touch, a possible cause is a neurologic problem, such as peripheral neuropathy.
Of course, feet can get cold for many reasons. The most obvious is a cold environment, along with a lack of proper shoes or socks. Frequent or constant sweating (hyperhidrosis) can also make feet feel cold, especially when evaporation cools the feet quickly. This can often be caused by nervousness, literally “getting cold feet.” Lack of adequate blood flow to the feet through the arteries can also make the feet cold. But in all these situations, the feet feel cold to the touch.
Often the sensation of cold feet is benign and there is no serious underlying cause. However, experiencing the sensation of cold feet that don’t feel cold to the touch may be a sign of a nerve problem. For example, peripheral neuropathy can cause this symptom. Peripheral neuropathy occurs as a result of nerve damage caused by injury or an underlying medical disorder. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, but the condition may also result from vitamin deficiencies, metabolic problems, liver or kidney diseases, infections, or exposure to toxins. The condition can also be inherited. Sometimes the cause of peripheral neuropathy is never found.
The peripheral nerves are all of the nerves in the body that are outside of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). Peripheral neuropathy frequently begins in the body’s longest nerves, which reach to the toes. So symptoms often appear in the feet first and then the lower legs. Other potential symptoms caused by peripheral neuropathy include numbness; a tingling, burning or prickling feeling in the feet and legs that may spread to the hands and arms; sharp or burning pain; and sensitivity to touch. As peripheral neuropathy progresses, loss of feeling, lack of coordination, and muscle weakness may develop.
You should see your doctor to have your situation evaluated. If your doctor suspects peripheral neuropathy or other nerve damage, a variety of tests may be used to uncover the underlying source of the problem. To help in the diagnosis, your doctor will likely talk with you about your medical history and perform a physical and neurological exam that may include checking your reflexes, muscle strength and tone, ability to feel certain sensations, and posture and coordination.
In addition, blood tests may be used to check vitamin levels, thyroid function, blood sugar levels, liver function and kidney function, as all these can affect your nerves. Your doctor also may suggest electrophysiologic testing known as electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS). These tests measure the electrical signals in the peripheral nerves and how well the nerves transfer signals to your muscles.
In some cases, a nerve biopsy — a procedure in which a small portion of a sensory nerve near the ankle is removed and examined for abnormalities — and imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, may also be needed to help determine the cause of nerve damage.
It’s important to have your situation assessed by your doctor soon. If peripheral neuropathy is the source of the problem, and the cold sensation in your feet is the only symptom, you may be in the early stages of the disorder. In that case, finding and treating the underlying cause of the nerve damage may be all that’s necessary. Nerve damage that progresses can lead to pain and other symptoms which can be more difficult to successfully treat.
— John Jones, M.D., Vascular Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

Article Provided By: Mayoclinic
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