If you want to successfully overcome any challenge in life—sports, career, or even medical conditions—you need a game plan. And you need to stick to it.
That’s especially true when it comes to peripheral neuropathy, a progressive condition that afflicts millions of Americans—particularly those with diabetes.
You see, if you let your neuropathy get out of control, it will start to control you. As time goes on, the tingling pain in your feet will get worse and worse. Eventually, that constant pain will be replaced by complete numbness, which will drastically increase your risk of bad falls, accidental foot injuries, and chronic wounds. It’s possible that one of these wounds will become infected to the point where the only treatment option left is amputation.
And even if you don’t reach that point, severe neuropathy can still put you in a wheelchair, or take away your ability to drive, or keep you from enjoying your favorite activities (hiking, shopping, playing with the kids, etc.). Ultimately it can take away your mobility, your independence, and your happiness.
But you don’t have to let your neuropathy gain the upper hand.
With the right game plan—and disciplined execution of that game plan—you can contain and reduce your symptoms and slow the progression of neuropathy to a crawl. Thanks to cutting-edge treatments from our office, you may even be able to reverse a significant part of the nerve damage that has already occurred.
Let’s look at the playbook, shall we?
Control Your Blood Sugar
Diabetes is in the picture in about 80 percent of peripheral neuropathy cases—if not more. That’s because elevated glucose levels in the bloodstream are absolutely toxic for healthy nerve function.
Sugar brings with it inflammation and reduction in blood flow. The nerves become constricted and can’t get the nutrients or the oxygen they need to stay healthy. Deprive them of these things regularly, for a long enough period of time, and the damage becomes more and more permanent.
On the other hand, if your diabetes is well maintained and you keep your sugar at healthy levels, your nerves won’t be harmed. So if you have diabetes, make sure you’re testing your sugar regularly and working closely with your medical team to keep your condition in check.
Whether you have diabetes or not, eating a healthy diet is important if you want to prevent, manage, and contain your neuropathy successfully. Nerves are, after all, a part of your body just like any other. They need appropriate nutrition from the food that you eat in order to function their best.
So what should you eat?
We probably don’t have to tell you the healthy diet basics that you already know—eat lots of veggies, some fruits and healthy proteins, and cut out the sugar, saturated fats and junk food. That’s pretty basic.
Beyond that, though, you should make sure your diet has a sufficient amount of these nutrients and foods, which are especially valuable for healthy nerve function:
- B vitamins, especially thiamine, folate, B1, B6, and B12
- Lipoic acid
- Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils are a great source)
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Junk food isn’t the only kind of poisonous substance you can put in your body.
Most importantly, if you are currently a smoker and you have neuropathy, quitting as soon as possible is almost certainly the best thing you can do for your nerve health. Smoking further restricts circulation to the legs and feet, in addition to any other dietary or medical circulatory issues you may have.
Alcohol should also be limited. Drinking even in moderation depresses your neurotransmitters temporarily, which is why you feel slow and uncoordinated. Drinking heavily over an extended period of time can cause permanent damage to the peripheral nervous system.
Exercise Regularly … and Safely
Again, nothing too shocking here, we hope. Exercise is good for your whole body, your nerves very much included.
In addition to helping you control your blood sugar, exercise helps kick start lagging circulation and keeps blood from pooling in the legs—and that means more oxygen and nutrients for the nerves that are most affected by peripheral neuropathy.
In the short term, exercise may help relieve your neuropathy symptoms during a painful episode. Over the long term, regular exercise will help prevent your neuropathy from getting worse.
There is, however, a caveat here. You see, if your neuropathy symptoms are severe, physical exercise may be at best painful, and at worst dangerous. If you can’t feel your feet at all, it’s hard to maintain steady balance, and you may not even be able to tell if you’ve suffered an injury severe enough to warrant getting off your feet immediately.
Fortunately, some of the best exercises for neuropathy tend to be among the safest. Going for a brisk walk of at least 30 minutes, several times per week, is one of the very best things you can do for your neuropathy—and also is relatively low-impact compared to running, or other sports and exercises that involve running and/or jumping.
(Other great low-impact workouts include swimming, cycling, strength training, and yoga.)
If you have neuropathy, we recommend consulting with either us or your general practitioner before starting an exercise plan to make sure it’s safe and that it will be effective for you. But do it sooner rather than later!
Make Canyon Foot + Ankle Part of Your Medical Team
Now, if you’ve had neuropathy for a while, you’re probably used to trying treatments that haven’t worked or to being told by doctors that there isn’t much that they can do. You may even be on a cocktail of medications each day to control your pain. So you may be a little skeptical when a doctor tells you a new treatment that can actually reverse your neuropathy (potentially) is available. We get it.
But this is different.
At Canyon Foot + Ankle, we are using a new breakthrough treatment that combines cutting-edge technology and innovation to drive spectacular results.
In fact, clinical studies (and our own firsthand experience) is showing that about 90% of patients experience a significant and lasting improvement in their nerve health after undergoing these treatments. They include:
- Neurogenx, an electromedical tool that is able to send electronic signals through your damaged nerves. This depolarizes them and helps them absorb energy more efficiently, reduce inflammation, cycle out waste products and excess fluids, and more.
- MLS laser therapy, which harnesses the energy of light to relieve pain and accelerate your body’s natural tissue repair and regeneration functions.
Each of these procedures on their own can have a powerful, regenerative benefit for peripheral neuropathy sufferers. Using them in combination only enhances their effectiveness. And both are available right here at our office in Twin Falls.
Of course, even with these revolutionary treatments, it will still be important for you to follow all the other steps in the game plan! Over the long term, there’s no substitute for developing healthy lifestyle habits.
But with them, it means this is a game you can actually win—and not just keep yourself from losing as long as possible.
The best thing you can do for yourself right now? Give us a call. We will perform a thorough evaluation, help you draw up your playbook, and give you the support and treatment you need to fight back successfully against your peripheral neuropathy.
To request an appointment, you can fill out our “contact us” form online, or give one of our offices a call:
- Twin Falls: (208) 733-0436
- Burley: (208) 678-2727