By Dr. Jason Peisly, DC., John Mark Rankins, CHC
Neuropathic paincan be caused by a number of conditions. Sometimes it results from diabetes and vitamin deficiencies. While neuropathic pain isn’t always caused by lifestyle factors, some behaviors increase your risk. Here are some things you can do to prevent this type of pain.
Eat right. A healthy diet prevents many health problems. Include whole grains, healthy protein like fish, chicken and eggs, and a wide variety of high-fiber fruits and vegetables. Get your fats from healthy sources like nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado. Avoid processed flours, gluten, soy, milk and refined sugar. Keep a food diary to monitor what you’re eating and how it relates to the way you feel afterwards —both energy levels and amount of inflammation.
Avoid alcohol. Excessive alcohol impacts the whole body, including your nervous system. Alcohol makes you dehydrated, taxes your liver, and has a toxic effect on nerve tissue. Limit your intake or avoid drinking altogether.
Manage your diabetes carefully. Diabetes is often a major factor in the development of neuropathy. When your blood sugar stays elevated over time, your nerves deteriorate. Controlling your blood sugar will reduce neuropathic pain. Opt for “slow” carbs. These are high fiber carbohydrates that slow your system down which helps stabilize blood glucose levels.
Take extra care of your feet. Check your feet and legs every day for small sores or blisters. Make sure your shoes are comfortable, don’t rub, and protect your feet from injury. If your skin gets dry, moisturize regularly to prevent cracking and to increase elasticity. Clinical grade essential oils, cannabis oil, and hot foot bathes can provide natural, temporary relief.
Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking is bad for your whole body and will make your neuropathy worse. Cigarette smoke decreases circulation, especially to your extremities. Smoking also affects blood sugar levels, which is especially bad if you’re already struggling with diabetes.
Exercise regularly. Pain makes it difficult to move. People who struggle with neuropathy experience weakness and often intense pain. It’s hard to make yourself exercise regularly. But regular physical activity increases circulation, metabolism and improves muscular strength and coordination. Exercise can reduce the neuropathic pain you’re experiencing so you can be more active.
Start the conversation. There are different types of neuropathy and different treatments for each. Your doctor can help you evaluate your symptoms and identify the protocol that’s right for you. Fairwood Health and Body Transition can help you make changes that lead to a healthier body and a reduction in neuropathic pain.