Shingles & Postherpetic Neuropathy

When you were diagnosed with shingles, you thought that as soon as the rash disappeared you would be free and clear… You didn’t count on the nerve damage and pain you’re still dealing with. The pain of postherpetic neuropathy. You’re frustrated…depressed…irritable. Yes, you know you can take pain medications to help ease some of the discomfort but you don’t want to do that forever. The good news is that there are other things you can do to help your body heal. With a little patience, perseverance and the help of medical professionals well versed in dealing with postherpetic neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR specialist, you can live a normal life again. It Starts With Good Nutrition The human body is a very well designed machine. If you put junk into it, you get junk out of it. But if you give it what it needs to function properly and to repair itself, the results can be awe inspiring. The very first thing you need to do is make sure you’re giving your body the right tools to fight back against postherpetic neuropathy. And that means a healthy diet. Your diet should include[1]: - Vegetables and legumes to provide B vitamins to promote nerve health. - Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and other greens) for calcium and magnesium. Both of these nutrients are vital to healthy nerve endings and health nerve impulse transmission and, as an added bonus, they give your immune system a boost. - Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as squash, carrots, yellow and orange bell peppers, apricots, oranges, etc.) for vitamins A and C to help repair your skin and boost your immune system. - Sunflower seeds (unsalted), avocados, broccoli, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts (unsalted), tomatoes and tomato products, sweet potatoes andr vitamin E to promote skin health and ease the pain of postherpetic neuropathy. - Consider letting us help with personalized supplement to fill in any gaps in your nutrition plan. Foods you should avoid[2]: - Excess coffee and other caffeinated drinks. - Fried foods and all other fatty foods. Fatty foods could suppress the immune system and that’s the last thing you need when you’re fighting postherpetic neuropathy. - Cut back or better yet eliminate most animal protein. High-protein foods elevate the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine which are both tied to high levels of anxiety and stress. - Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse. - Avoid sugar. You don’t have to eliminate sweets completely, just control them. Sugar contains no essential nutrients. Keeping your blood sugar level constant will help control your irritability. - Control your salt intake. Opt for a salt substitute with potassium instead of sodium and stay away from preserved foods like bacon, ham, pickles, etc. Reducing the amount of salt you eat will help ease inflammation and that alone will work wonders in the healing process. Consider working with us for a personalized diet plan to help you to help your body to heal with the right nutritional support for postherpetic neuropathy. Give Your Body A Break by Managing Stress We all know that stress is a killer. But few of us really take steps to manage the stress in our lives. By keeping your stress level under control, you give your body a chance to use the resources it was using to deal with stress to actually heal itself. Some tips for managing your stress level: - Exercise regularly. You don’t have to get out and run a marathon. Just walk briskly for about 15 minutes a day, or better yet 3-4 times/day every day, to start. You can build from there. - Employ relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, tai chi, yoga or meditation. Any of these will calm the mind and, in turn, calm the body and nerves. - Find a hobby that will take your mind off your pain. Ask your clinician for suggestions and make stress management a part of your treatment plan to overcome postherpetic neuropathy. But remember, healing is a process not an event. Be patient with yourself and start the healing process today. In addition to implementing these steps for great self-care, consider a visit with us (virtual or in clinic) to investigate if one of our treatment programs such as neurostim, infrared, targeted laser treatments (pictured below) and/or one of our home care systems could be right for you. There have been big advances in this regard so please strongly consider being evaluated. We hope this gives you some tips to get started on the road to putting shingles and postherpetic neuropathy behind you. Working with your medical team, including a NeuropathyDR specialist, to design a nutrition and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs is a great place to start.

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[1] http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/default.htm [2] http://www.healingwithnutrition.com/sdisease/shingles/shingles.html

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