Monday, 27 March 2017

SARM1: The Lemmings Of The Nervous System That Cause So Much Pain

Today's interesting post from (see link below) explains the way that for some reason, axons go into self-destruct mode when there is evidence of neurodegeneration. This is basically what happens when you get neuropathy (nerve damage). As explained clearly here, axons are the electrical wiring of the nervous system and for that reason, comparing neuropathy to short circuiting in a household wiring system, is a pretty good way of illustrating what happens. Scientists have now discovered the molecule responsible for this self-destructive tendency of axons when threatened or disrupted. The problem is how to find a way of blocking this from happening. The molecular villain is called, SARM1 which doesn't tell us ordinary mortals much but gives it a label. Why the body does this is not clear - it seems illogical but at least they've identified the culprit; let's hope they can find a way of stopping it happening without any further consequences for the rest of the nervous system. Worth a read.

Findings suggest ways to block nerve cell damage in neurodegenerative diseases
March 23, 2017
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Nerve axons (left) serve as the electrical wiring of the nervous system. Scientists have implicated a specific molecule in triggering a self-destruct program in axons that leads to their degeneration (right). Since axonal degeneration is a …more

In many neurodegenerative conditions—Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and peripheral neuropathy among them—an early defect is the loss of axons, the wiring of the nervous system. When axons are lost, nerve cells can't communicate as they should, and nervous system function is impaired. In peripheral neuropathy in particular, and perhaps other diseases, sick axons trigger a self-destruct program.

In new research, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have implicated a specific molecule in the self-destruction of axons. Understanding just how that damage occurs may help researchers find a way to halt it.

The study is published March 22 in the journal Neuron.

"Axons break down in a lot of neurodegenerative diseases," said senior author Jeffrey D. Milbrandt, MD, PhD, the James S. McDonnell Professor and head of the Department of Genetics. "Despite the fact these diseases have different causes, they are all likely rooted in the same pathway that triggers axon degeneration. If we could find a way to block the pathway, it could be beneficial for many different kinds of patients."

Since the molecular pathway that leads to loss of axons appears to do more harm than good, it's not clear what role this self-destruct mechanism plays in normal life. But scientists suspect that if the pathway that destroys axons could be paused or halted, it would slow or prevent the gradual loss of nervous system function and the debilitating symptoms that result. One such condition, peripheral neuropathy, affects about 20 million people in the United States. It often develops following chemotherapy or from nerve damage associated with diabetes, and can cause persistent pain, burning, stinging, itching, numbness and muscle weakness.

"Peripheral neuropathy is by far the most common neurodegenerative disease," said co-author Aaron DiAntonio, MD, PhD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Professor of Developmental Biology. "Patients don't die from it, but it has a huge impact on quality of life."

In previous studies, Stefanie Geisler, MD, an assistant professor of neurology, working with DiAntonio and Milbrandt, showed that blocking this axon self-destruction pathway prevented the development of peripheral neuropathy in mice treated with the chemotherapy agent vincristine. The hope is that if methods are developed to block this pathway in people, then it might be possible to slow or prevent the development of neuropathy in patients.

Toward that end, the Milbrandt and DiAntonio labs showed that a molecule called SARM1 is a central player in the self-destruct pathway of axons. In healthy neurons, SARM1 is present but inactive. For reasons that are unclear, injury or disease activate SARM1, which sets off a series of events that drains a key cellular fuel—called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)—and leads to destruction of the axon. Though the researchers previously had shown SARM1 was required for this chain of events to play out, the details of the process were unknown.

SARM1 and similar molecules—those containing what are called TIR domains—most often are studied in the context of immunity, where these domains serve as scaffolds. Essentially, TIR domains provide a haven for the assembly of molecules or proteins to perform their work.

The researchers had assumed that SARM1 acted as a scaffold to provide support for the work of destroying axons, beginning with the rapid loss of cellular fuel that occurs minutes after SARM1 becomes active. The scientists set about searching for the demolition crew—the active molecule or molecules that use the SARM1 scaffold to carry out the demolition. The study's first author, Kow A. Essuman, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Fellow and an MD/PhD student in Milbrandt's lab, performed a litany of cellular and biochemical experiments searching for the demolition crew and came up empty.

"We performed multiple experiments but could not identify molecules that are traditionally known to consume NAD," Essuman said.

But as a last resort, the investigators tested SARM1 itself. To their great surprise, they found it was doing more than simply providing a passive platform. Specifically, the researchers showed SARM1's TIR domain acts as an enzyme, a molecule that carries out biochemical reactions, in this case destroying axons by first burning all their NAD cellular fuel.

"There are more than 1,000 papers describing the function of proteins containing TIR domains," DiAntonio said. "No one had ever shown that this type of molecule could be an enzyme. So we went into our experiments assuming SARM1 was only a scaffold and that there must be some other enzyme responsible for demolition of the axon. We essentially searched for a demolition crew, only to discover that the scaffold itself is destroying the structure. It's the last thing you would expect."

The findings suggest molecules similar to SARM1—those with TIR domains and known to serve as scaffolds in the immune system—may prove to have additional functions that go beyond their structural roles. The research also invites a search for drugs that block the SARM1 enzyme from triggering axonal destruction.

Explore further:
Major pathway identified in nerve cell death offers hope for therapies

More information: Kow Essuman et al. The SARM1 Toll/Interleukin-1 Receptor Domain Possesses Intrinsic NAD +Cleavage Activity that Promotes Pathological Axonal Degeneration, Neuron (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.02.022

Journal reference: Neuron

Provided by: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Read more at:

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Potential Of Essential Oils For Nerve Pain

Today's post from (see link below) is one of many articles about essential oils, herbs and other natural supplements, which claim to be of benefit to pain patients. However, this one is specifically aimed at people living with neuropathy and displays an extensive understanding of how nerve damage affects our daily lives. It's thorough and well-researched and offers a genuine alternative treatment option for people who are seeking non-chemical alternatives. Whether you believe in the healing and relieving powers of essential oils is maybe another question but there is no doubting the sincerity and seriousness of the author's approach to neuropathy. Essential oils are not cheap but if you can afford them, it may well be worth trying them out according to the guidelines shown below. Remember, even if you achieve a 10% reduction in your nerve pain symptoms that's a significant progress that many accepted medical treatments would love to achieve. Going in with an open mind is the key to better understanding here but as with everything neuropathy-based, be prepared for disappointment and pass on your experiences if the opposite proves to be true. Definitely worth a read.

Blends and FAQ! Best Essential Oils for Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)
Posted on March 24, 2017 Laura Sumner Posted in Natural Remedies

As time goes by, nerves begin to suffer some sort of damage. Depending on your lifestyle, this damage may be more or less severe. But what do you do to soothe it if you don’t want to intoxicate your body with medications? One of your best options is the use of essential oils for nerve pain.

Why essential oils? I intend to give you many details along the article about them and their use as a complementary therapy. Aromatherapy could be a therapy that adds more benefits and value to your lifestyle.

In this article, you’ll find:

Details about how to use essential oils for a pinched nerve or more serious nerve damage.
4 of the best oils for nerve pain, with pros and cons, and my own opinion about them.
A few essential oil blends that can help you manage your nerve pain easier.
A comprehensive list of frequently asked questions about neuropathy and neuralgia. They’re both nerve conditions.

Best Essential Oils for Nerve Pain, Benefits and Blends

Pain, no matter what its roots are, has various degrees of intensity. One ant bite for instance, may cause only a bit of discomfort, while nerve pain is quite a serious matter. Generally speaking, this condition may alter the life of a person on many levels.

The International Association for the Study of Pain describes pain as “an emotional and sensorial experience”. More than half of the medical consultations today are motivated by pain.

It is indeed a sign to be taken seriously, as the body sends this message to the brain when something is wrong.

Plants have been the main source of pain relief for humans from the beginning of time. Plants have also been the main source of inspiration for some very important medicines.

Their painkilling properties and their active molecules have inspired the creation of aspirin. Aspirin was created from willow. Morphine-based drugs have been created from poppies.

These two medicines are both used for pain relief. The first one is for milder pain, while the second is for more serious pain.

Today, we have the steam distillation method, which is used to extract plants’ most potent essences. Plant essences are also known as essential oils.

Essential oils are very powerful! They can be quite toxic if consumed without medical advice or prior research. However, if used moderately, they have very little side effects. If they do, they’re usually mild (skin rashes, itching, burning sensation, etc.).

These aromatic essences, as power, are somewhere between herbal teas and pharmaceuticals. They’re in no way a substitute for medications. They can however, enhance their effects and improve your mood considerably.

Essential Oils for Nerve Damage Can:

Prevent nerve pain.
Effectively control pain frequency and intensity.
Act on the source of pain, which is inflammation.
Sedate the painful area.
Inhibit the receptors responsible for amplifying the pain sensation in the body.

How to Use Essential Oils for Nerve Damage

The best method of using essential oils is through massage. Simply dilute them in some carrier oil and apply with massage movements on the aching area. Massage stimulates the blood circulation and warms the painful area. Warmth and heat are always good inhibitors for pain.

Add 6 – 12 drops of essential oil (EO) in 1 Oz (30 ml) carrier oil. Depending on the EO used and the pain level, you could add more or less. Some essences need to be used only in small quantities!

Other good methods of enjoying the benefits of essential oils for nerve pain are:

Hot compresses. Soak a towel in hot water and pour your chosen essential oils on. Keep the compress pressed to the aching area and change it when it cools off.

Hot baths. Add 12 – 20 drops of EO in some Pink or Epsom salt, shower gel or milk. Stir well and drop the mixture into your bath water. Relax and inhale deeply for a good while.

Heat soothes the pain and improves the blood flow. Thus, the oils you use will travel faster and deeper once they’re in contact with the skin.

Nerve pain is part of a bigger picture called neuropathy. I will tell you more about it and neuralgia in the FAQ section that follows after giving you some of the best essential oils for nerve damage and pain.

1) Frankincense Essential Oil

In Latin, the tree from which frankincense resin is collected is called Boswellia carterii. This oil has a very long history and tradition. It was and still is used in religious rituals all over the world. It is also used in perfumes. Luckily, there’s more to it.

It is a great anti-inflammatory. Any inflammation in the body can be soothed with this oil.
Frankincense acts on the mediators (cytokines and leukotrienes) that cause pain by inhibiting them.
The oil can act against tumor formation and relieve pain (analgesic).

The most significant warning for this oil would be that it can have psychotropic effects. This means that if the oil is consumed in high dosages, it can affect behavior and brain activity.
It should only be used for up to 4 continuous weeks.

What type of pain is it good for?

Arthritis, asthma, joint pain, rheumatism, back pain.

Why I like it?

First of all, I like the smell of Frankincense. I also like to add it as a base note in some of my warmest perfumes. Plus, it is such a great beauty ingredient! It acts as an antioxidant, being suited for mature skin types. For pain relief it can be used 3 times a day, which makes it very adaptable in various combinations.

Buy from Amazon

2) Juniper Essential Oil

The fruits of juniper have been used since the Middle Age. They were a great relief to all sorts of pain-associated problems. They were mostly infused and drank like medicine. Thankfully, today we have a better extract, which we can use locally anytime.

The monoterpenes in this oil’s composition give it anti-rheumatism effects.
Juniper is a great essential oil for nerve pain relief. Among others, it can stimulate the elimination of toxins and uric acid from the body, through the skin.
This oil is also a great antalgic. It means it can calm down the pain. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory on the nerve damage.

You should not use this oil for more than 2 or 3 times a day, to avoid the skin getting used to it.
If you have kidney problems, you should totally avoid the oil of Juniper.
There are many types of Juniper oils. For the effects I just described, you should look for Juniper berry essential oil.

What type of pain is it good for?
Arthrosis (osteoarthritis), gout, rheumatism, headaches.

Why I like it?

I think Juniper is a good essential oil for neuropathy because it can also help with extreme fatigue and depression. It also has a fresh, alpine fragrance which makes it very interesting in blends.

Buy from Amazon

3) Wintergreen Essential Oil

This aromatic essence is almost a classic in the world on natural remedies. Its Latin name is Gaultheria procumbens. It’s important to know it to differentiate among other types of plants that belong to the same family.


Wintergreen essential oil is especially good for fever and joint pain.
It contains almost 99% methyl salicylate. This substance acts just like aspirin.
Wintergreen is a great pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.

The oil of Wintergreen should not be used on wide areas.
People that are allergic to aspirin should avoid using this essential oil for nerve pain.
Without medical guidance, its consumption is totally prohibited.

What type of pain is it good for?
Neuralgia, inflammations of the nerve tissue, and muscle pain. It is also good for joint pain, strains, back pain, and spondylosis.

Why I like it?

It’s quite easy to like this aromatic essence when you’re looking for a quick pain relief. Wintergreen can really enhance the effects of all other essential oils used for nerve damage and pain. It is also a great beauty ingredient! I say that because it can soothe acne inflammations quite efficiently.

Buy from Amazon

4) Ginger Essential Oil

This aromatic essence is one of the warmest oils. It can heat up the area where it is applied. Oftentimes, if used undiluted (for a quicker pain relief), it can also sensitize the skin.

You will feel heat and a burning sensation on the skin. That is what makes the body exhaust its reserves of neurotransmitters that trigger the pain sensation.

Ginger is an oil good for almost anything. But it is especially good at relieving all sorts of pain.
It has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties.
Ginger essential oil acts very gently on the nervous system, enhancing a good mood also.


There are other types of Ginger oils, but the best one bears the name of Zingiber officinale.
The oil of Ginger is also much more expensive than other oils.
There is the risk of other medications to react with this essential oil.

What type of pain is it good for?
Neuralgia, neuropathy, arthritis, arthrosis, muscle pain, joint or muscular stiffness, rheumatism.

Why I like it?

I like to use Ginger oil for nerve damage, vertigo and general fatigue. It can also deal with car sickness, which I sometimes suffer from. Ginger is one good anti-inflammatory to have around.

You can also combine Ginger essential oil with cayenne pepper. This one could be macerated in some vegetable oil, for instance. This way the nerve pain relief can be even greater.

Buy from Amazon

Other Great Essential Oils to Use for Nerve Pain:

Peppermint essential oil (Neuralgia and Neuropathy)
Roman and German Chamomile essential oils (Neuralgia)
Lavender essential oil (Neuralgia and Neuropathy)
Nutmeg essential oil (Neuralgia)
Geranium essential oil (Neuralgia and Neuropathy)
Rosemary ct. camphor essential oil (Neuralgia)
Sandalwood essential oil (Neuralgia)
Clove essential oil (Neuralgia)
Tarragon essential oil (Neuralgia)
Clary sage essential oil (Neuralgia)
Basil essential oil (Neuralgia)
Helichrysum/Immortelle essential oil (Neuropathy)
Cypress essential oil (Neuropathy)
Tangerine essential oil (Neuropathy)
Lemongrass (Neuropathy)
Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil (Neuropathy)
Patchouli essential oil (Neuropathy)
Blue Tansy essential oil (Neuropathy)
Ylang-Ylang essential oil (Neuropathy)

When there’s a chronic inflammatory pain, the body taps into its cortisol reserves. Cortisol, often known as the stress hormone, is the one dealing with inflammation. Nerve damage and pain takes a lot of cortisol. It is therefore important to boost its production.

Essential oils that have cortisol-like properties and functions can help producing more of this hormone.

Black Spruce and Pine essential oils are good oils for nerve pain. They have that “cortisol-like” effect on the body. Mix equal parts of essential oils with carrier oil and massage your kidney area 2 times a day. You can do so 5 days a week.

Combine this stimulation with your nerve pain relief treatment, or when you’re recovering from surgery. It is also useful for periods when you feel down and very tired.

On a more personal note, when it comes to using essential oils for nerve pain in feet, I like to use Peppermint or Lemon Eucalyptus. I prefer these two essential oils for whenever I feel my feet aching because:

They are very cooling. That cold sensation on my feet, after walking or standing a long time, is very welcome.
They also improve the circulation, which takes away the tension.
These oils (and many others) can strengthen the blood vessels.
They can make the pain slowly dissipate and offer the relief you need.

If you want to use essential oils for the nerve pain in your feet, I would recommend using cooling ones.

Essential Oil Blends for Nerve Pain Relief

When deciding what blend would be most suited for your condition, take into consideration the following:

The trigger factor of the pain you feel.
How intense that pain is.
The way it affects you. Is it bearable or not? Could you sleep on it, etc.?
Your other health problems.
The other medications you’re using.
Your medical history (allergies, etc.)
Your age as well. It plays an important role in this process too.

Each type of oil used in neuropathy has its own characteristics, pros and cons. Considering the above factors will help you make good and safe blends to relieve nerve pain.

Because they are so different, almost all are good oils for nerve damage. You can use them in various blends, to your liking.

That way you can soothe pain on all levels, including the psychological/emotional plan as well. It’s always a pleasant experience to inhale the scents you like.

We all cope with pain differently. Because of that, and because we have over a hundred essential oils to choose from, we can make ourselves the blends we really need. Blends that deal with the pain and make us feel better each day. Here are a couple recipes to help you get rid of that nerve pain.

Essential Oils Blend for Nerve Pain (Nerve Damage and Neuropathy)

You’ll need:
Wintergreen essential oil: 1 ml (~20 drops)
Peppermint essential oil: 1 ml
Roman Chamomile essential oil: 15 drops
Ginger essential oil: 15 drops
Tamanu oil: 2 Oz (60ml)

Mix all these oils together and shake well before each use. This is a more concentrated blend and you could start lower at first. Apply every time it hurts directly on the aching area. Use gentle stimulating movements and maintain the area warm.

Milder Nerve Pain Relief Blend

You’ll need:
Frankincense essential oil: 10 drops
Juniper berry essential oil: 10 drops
Helichrysum essential oil: 10 drops
Black seed oil: 1 Oz (30ml)

Shake this blend well before each use. Massage the painful area as many times as necessary and maintain it warm for at least 30 minutes.

FAQ about Nerve Damage, Neuralgia and Naturopathy

I’ve told you what essential oils for nerve pain to use. I’ve given you some natural remedies as well. Now it’s time to find out a little bit about the causes of nerve damage and what to do to prevent or improve this condition, among other things. I’ve put all this information in a questions and answers section so it is easier for you all to find what you need.

a) What is nerve pain?

Nerve pain is a sensation you feel after a nerve has been damaged.

b) What is Neuralgia?

Neuralgia is the pain resulted from damage done to the peripheral nervous system. Professionals have divided our nerves into 2 main categories (or groups):

1) The CNS (Central Nervous System), with the brain and spinal cord.

2) The PN (Peripheral Nerves), with all the remaining nerves.

Neuralgia is pain coming from the second group of nerves, which can be located anywhere. It is also a pain that can come back. Essential oils for nerve pain or nerve damage can help you soothe this condition.

c) What is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy usually includes damage to the peripheral nerves, but it’s not a rule. Nervous system problems can enter this category too.

It may feel like a lot of tingling, numbness and even weakness in the limbs or muscles. These symptoms may vary depending on which nerves were affected.

d) What causes nerve pain, neuralgia or neuropathy?

There are many causes for this type of pain, and among them we have:
Too much glucose in the blood (added sugar).
Drugs and medications.
Alcohol abuse.
Diseases like HIV (autoimmune) and tumors.
Surgeries or physical injuries.
Deficiency of vitamins and nutrients.

e) What vitamins to take to prevent nerve damage and neuropathy?

The lack of certain vitamins can actually kill your nerves. To prevent it from happening and improve the health of the other damaged nerves, you should make sure you have enough:

Vitamins B2, B12.
And Vitamin D.

f) What about the use of essential oils for nerve damage?

The oils I mentioned in this article are chosen specifically for their benefits in case of nerve damage. They can strengthen the blood vessels and improve circulation. More blood and oxygen to the nerves means less pain and a slow tissue regeneration.

Essential oils for nerve pain are also anti-inflammatory and pain killers. They make good natural remedies to use with other prescribed medications. Using blends with essential oils for neuropathy can help on an emotional plan as well.

You can choose uplifting, energizing and relaxing oils to help you cope with the pain and the general discomfort. Aromatic oils have been proven effective in stimulating the nervous system and improving the mood.


Whether it is a pinched nerve or more serious nerve damage, nerve pain can occur anywhere in the body. Its symptoms may also vary depending on the affected nerves. To find out what nerves were affected, you should first consult a doctor.

You can use essential oils for nerve pain to relieve some of the pain and strengthen the blood vessels. A better circulation will supply the nerves with more blood and oxygen. That usually takes away the pain faster. Don’t forget to add relaxing scents that you like in your blends. They will help you cope better with the pain and the treatment period.

How do you deal with your nerve damage? What essential oils do you prefer?

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Neurofeedback: Nerve Pain Relief, Or Nonsense?

Today's post and story from (see link below) is all over the neuropathy internet like a rash at the moment and actually, it's a little hard to understand why. It talks about a study where chemotherapy-induced, neuropathy patients learned to improve their pain responses by using neurofeedback. Now neurofeedback is not new and involves measuring responses on a computer interface over a period of time, via small electrode discs attached to the scalp. The theory is that the brain can be trained to interpret pain signals differently (suggestion being -  accept them as being less impactful), thus lessening the pain and discomfort. If you read the article and others like it carefully, we're talking about a small study, on a small group of neuropathy patients, with no placebo study group to measure against. If this works and its a big 'if', then there's no reason at all why this should be confined to cancer patients who suffer nerve damage from their treatment. Theoretically, if neurofeedback works, then it will work for all patients with neuropathy. It's a tad 'Star Trek' if you ask me. Not because the theory is unsound but because the studies are so small and inconclusive, that the treatment can't be proved or disproved either way. Neurofeedback used to belong to the 'alternative' treatment for pain relief classification but now it seems to be entering the mainstream. However, there need to be far more expansive studies carried out, with more emphasis on studying the placebo effect in relation to symptom reduction before it deserves the coverage it seems to be currently getting. You need to come to your own conclusions here; my opinion is of little consequence but in the desperate race to find opioid alternatives and holistic treatment solutions, we still need to keep our feet on the ground and sort out the wheat from the chaff. What do you think? Is neurofeedback a viable option?  

Functional brain training alleviates chemotherapy-induced peripheral nerve damage in cancer survivor 
Date: March 3, 2017 Source: University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Neurofeedback also results in measureable changes in targeted brain activity

A type of functional brain training known as neurofeedback shows promise in reducing symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nerve damage, or neuropathy, in cancer survivors, according to a study by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The pilot study, published in the journal Cancer, is the largest, to date, to determine the benefits of neurofeedback in cancer survivors.

Chronic chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is caused by damage to the nerves that control sensation and movement in arms and legs. CIPN is estimated to affect between 71 and 96 percent of patients one month after chemotherapy treatment, with symptoms including pain, burning, tingling and loss of feeling, explained Sarah Prinsloo, Ph.D., assistant professor of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine.

"There is currently only one approved medication to treat CIPN and it has associated muscle aches and nausea," said Prinsloo, lead investigator of the study. "Neurofeedback has no known negative side effects, can be used in combinations with other treatments and is reasonably cost effective."

In previous research, Prinsloo identified the location of brain activity that contributes to the physical and emotional aspects of chronic pain. By targeting brain areas that are active during pain episodes, neurofeedback teaches participants to understand pain signals differently.

The researchers developed training protocols which allow patients to retrain their own brain activity through electroencephalogram (EEG) neurofeedback. The EEG interface tracks and records brain wave patterns by attaching small metal discs with thin wires to the scalp. Brain wave signals are sent to a computer and displayed for participants, who receive visual and auditory rewards when making targeted adjustments to brain wave patterns.

The randomized, controlled study enrolled 71 MD Anderson patients of all cancer types; all were at least three months post-chemotherapy treatment and reported more than a three on the National Cancer Institute's neuropathy rating scale. The Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) assessment was used to measure the severity of pain and impact on daily functioning. The BPI worst-pain item was the primary outcome.

Patients in the neurofeedback group attended 20 sessions in which they played a computer game that trained them to modify brain wave activity in the targeted area. Over time, participants learned to manipulate brain activity without an immediate reward from the game. The control group was offered the neurofeedback intervention at the conclusion of the study.

After completing treatment, participants repeated EEG measurements and pain assessments to determine changes in pain perception, cancer related symptoms, quality of life and brain wave activity in targeted areas.

At the beginning of the study, groups reported no significant differences in neuropathy symptoms. At the completion of the study, patients in the neurofeedback group reported significantly reduced BPI scores for worst pain, activity interference, numbness, tingling, and unpleasantness, compared to the control group.

Patients with CIPN also exhibited specific and predictable EEG signatures in the targeted brain regions that changed with neurofeedback.

"We observed clinically and statistically significant reductions in peripheral neuropathy following neurofeedback techniques," said Prinsloo. "This research suggests that neurofeedback may be a valuable approach to reduce neuropathy symptoms and their impact on daily activities."

One limitation of the study was the lack of a placebo group. Researchers studied areas of the brain that are active during placebo pain relief and determined that, although the placebo effect could be a factor, it was not the only factor leading to symptom improvement, said Prinsloo. Additionally, most study participants were female and breast cancer survivors. Future research will need to include a broader participant base to determine if the findings apply across the general population.

Current approved drugs for CIPN have known of side effects. The lack of adverse effects using neurofeedback is particularly important to emphasize for cancer patients with existing comorbidities.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Sarah Prinsloo, Diane Novy, Larry Driver, Randall Lyle, Lois Ramondetta, Cathy Eng, Jennifer McQuade, Gabriel Lopez, Lorenzo Cohen. Randomized controlled trial of neurofeedback on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: A pilot study. Cancer, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/cncr.30649

Friday, 24 March 2017

Can Cannabis Pain Patches Solve Nerve Pain Problems?

Today's post from (see link below)takes another look at medicinal cannabis patches, which are of course, theoretically the ideal treatment for neuropathy sufferers and others who don't want to smoke cannabis, or find the oils too messy when the bottle's nearly empty. It's important to highlight the difference between cannabis patches containing THC and those with CBD as their primary constituent. Many people just don't want to get high or lose control, especially when they're dealing with chronic pain. These people need to look for a high CBD content and a low THC element - you won't get a 'high' feeling from that but you will get optimal analgesic effect. Research has suggested though, that the most effective CBD oil for instance, is that which includes some THC as well as CBD. That may also be the case with trans-dermal patches. The article explains the current state of affairs regarding cannabis patches and their availability and that remains (in 2017) fairly limited. It does leave you wondering why the market for cannabis patches hasn't exploded though. They seem to be the ideal medicinal cannabis vehicle, especially for pain sufferers, who need a long-release system to work best and yet, they aren't being manufactured world-wide as yet. Is this because they are not so effective as first thought, or is it just a question of the right companies finding the right investment to go ahead and market on a wide scale? We have to remember that apart from a few enlightened regions, medicinal cannabis remains somewhat 'off the grid' as far as official approval goes. Time will tell what develops regarding these patches but an interesting read nevertheless.

Next Hype: Cannabis Pain Patches
Seshata Posted 3 weeks ago

One of the hottest new medicinal cannabis products available today is the transdermal pain patch – so what are they, do they work, HOW do they work, and where can I buy one?

 Let’s take a look at the facts!

Right now various media outlets are heavily publicising the cannabis pain patch designed and produced by Cannabis Science, Inc. – a bioscience company based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

But they’re not the first company to produce cannabis pain patches – in fact, another Colorado based company, Mary’s Medicinals, developed a transdermal cannabis patch back in 2013, which is now being distributed to patients in at least six US states!

So What Are Cannabis Transdermal Patches?

Cannabis pain patches are simple adhesive squares of medical gauze infused with cannabinoids. They have a porous layer between the skin and the cannabinoids that allows for controlled, sustained release of the cannabinoids into the skin. It’s not exactly clear how Cannabis Science, Inc. or Mary’s Medicinals make their patches – but online research gives us a few clues.

In order for a patch to deliver medicines effectively through the dermis (skin), the medicine is usually dissolved in an alcohol such as isopropyl. Isopropyl alcohol is commonly known as “rubbing alcohol” as it’s often used to help deliver medicines into the bloodstream.

For centuries, doctors and herbalists have made remedies by infusing active ingredients into alcohol to make a tincture, then rubbing it on the skin. Cannabis is one of hundreds of plants that humans have used in this way throughout history!

Makers of cannabis transdermal patches take it a couple of steps further, and put that dissolved cannabinoid tincture onto a square of adhesive medical gauze. But it’s not quite that simple – as well as dissolving the active ingredient in alcohol, it seems that to make a transdermal patch really effective, you have to add a compound that helps get through the barrier of the skin.

A compound that is very commonly used in making transdermal patches is Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Forums suggest that to make a transdermal patch, all that’s needed is a few drops of DMSO, added to the tincture and thoroughly mixed.

If you’re hoping to buy cannabis transdermal patches infused with THC, you’ll need to be a registered medical cannabis patient in a legal US state. But if it’s CBD you need, you’re in luck – you can buy Mary’s Medicinals CBD transdermal patches online!

Transdermal patches are reported to be very effective, and any past safety issues have mostly arisen because the medicines inside the patch are dangerous or even deadly if taken at the wrong dosage.

For example, Johnson and Johnson had to recall their Fentanyl patches in 2009 as the porous layer broke down and released the contents too quickly, causing overdose and even death. But cannabinoids are remarkably safe and non-toxic (especially compared to opioids!), so this is not likely to be an issue!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Don't Worry If Your Pain Is Also Emotionally Based. It's A Chicken And Egg Situation

Today's post from (see link below) doesn't seem to be directly related to neuropathy as such but if any group of pain patients understands the correlation between emotional states and their physical pain, it's nerve damage patients. They are also frequent victims of pain stigma; where outsiders accuse them of having a psychosomatic problem and in effect...faking it. You don't need telling that this makes the problem so much worse. However, if psychosomatic pain is pain that is 'created' and not 'real', then nerve pain is exactly that because nerve pain stems from faulty nerve cell signals moving to and from the brain cells. People living with neuropathy can also have other forms of pain that are nociceptive (stemming from injury and physical damage) and not neuropathic and this can cause all sorts of confusion, both for the patient and the concerned onlooker. This article takes a look at forms of pain that are influenced by and influence, emotions. If nothing else, it may help you sort out what you're feeling en help you better deal with it.

10 Types Of Pain That Are Directly Linked To Your Emotions

“Psychosomatic means mind (psyche) and body (soma). A psychosomatic disorder is a disease which involves both mind and body. Some physical diseases are thought to be particularly prone to be made worse by mental factors such as stress and anxiety.”

(A quick note before we begin: it is extremely important that any severe physical symptoms must be attended to by a licensed medical professional, such as a physician.)

If there is a mental aspect to virtually every type of disease, isn’t it then rational to assume there is a mental aspect to virtually every type of physical pain? The simple truth is that mental states affect physical states and vice-versa.

Traditional medicine has labeled this the psychosomatic effect. Interestingly, the specialty of psychosomatic medicine is the latest sub-specialty in psychiatry to become board-certified. Board-certified physicians comprise the “best of the best” in 24 different medical specializations (e.g. neurology, dermatology, psychiatry, etc.) As important, these medical specialties are universally recognized by the medical and scientific communities as vital to public health.

Indeed, pain can be caused by emotional and mental states. In science, it has been demonstrated that both mental/emotional and physical pain activates the same areas of the brain: the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex. So – a physiological connection between brain and body exists as well.

Here we are going to discuss 10 different types of pain that are directly linked to feelings, emotions and thoughts. Equipped with this knowledge, one can begin to make whatever adjustments necessary to feel better (we’ll also provide some recommendations).

Here are 10 types of pain caused by feelings/emotions/thoughts:

1. Back pain

Areas of the back and shoulders are arguably where we feel muscle tension the most. Chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical professionals have been explaining the stress/anxiety connection between back pain and mental/emotional health for years.

Making matters worse, this type of pain is cyclical. We begin to stress and worry about back pain, which tenses back the muscles; the muscles tense, and then we begin to feel things like frustration and anger.

2. Headaches and migraines

Dr. Christina Peterson, a board-certified physician, writes: “Stress comes in many varieties, including time stress, emotional stress, and the stress of physical fatigue…and (these) emotions pack a wallop for the migraine sufferer.” Furthermore, emotions like anger, anxiety, crying/sadness and depression trigger headache pains.

The good doctors recommend practicing relaxation techniques, meditation, and to seek the help of a counselor in the event that this pain doesn’t subside.

3. Neck pain

The buildup of emotions; more specifically, negative emotions, can affect virtually every area of the body. Neck pain, according to Calm Clinic, is one of the most common complaints of people suffering from anxiety-related disorders.

It’s nearly impossible to explain every one of the multitude of ways that anxiety can manifest. Financial problems/worries, relationship problems, sadness, fatigue, etc.

4. Shoulder pain

Many kinesiologists believe that our shoulders are the area of the body most prone to feeling the adverse effects from pressure. Ever wonder where the axiom “Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders” comes from?

Us too. But it turns out there is a whole lot of truth to it.

5. Stomach aches and/or cramps

Our poor stomach is where we house most of our worries, fears, and anxieties. Experiencing these emotions repeatedly, without surprise, can cause stomach aches and pains. In fact, as it turns out, chronic stress can develop into stomach ulcers.

6. Elbow pain and/or stiffness

Dr. Alan Fogel, in a piece published by Psychology Today, writes, “All emotions have a motor component.” The elbow is no different. While medical conditions such as arthritis and others may be the reason for pain or stiffness; mental states such as anxiety and depression can also manifest in strange areas…including the elbows.

7. Pain in hands

Similar to the elbows, pain in the hands can arise from legitimate medical conditions. Some even say that hand pain may result from feelings of isolation or confinement. As Dr. Fogel said, every one of our emotions manifests into a physical symptom…so, anything is possible, right?

8. Hip pain

Aside from a documental medical condition, some type of emotional trigger is almost assuredly the cause of hip pain. The human body has more nerve connections in the hip than we would think; so distress can manifest into physical pain in this area as well.

9. Knee pain

The rationale given for knee pain experienced from emotions is pretty much the same as that given for hip pain. Of course, there are many nerve endings in the knee; hence, more of a brain/body connection. As such, it is perhaps more likely that emotional triggers such as anxiety, fear, depression, etc. will manifest into knee pain than other, less sensitive areas, such as the hip.

10. Foot pain

Here’s what one podiatrist says about the relationship between mental/emotional states and foot pain: “Stressed people present with a wide range of biomechanical issues. I am not trying to be a guru…but I am convinced there is an anecdotal connection between lower limb and foot presentation and their emotional status.”

Experts at Columbia University admit that “there’s some evidence that there are psychological conditions that may be associated with physical symptoms,” and that treating the real cause of the pain may be the answer.

Related article: This Simple Mind-Body Exercise Reduces Negative Thoughts and Improves Health

After investigating the physical pain or stress, it’s worthwhile to do the same with any emotional state(s). What are you feeling?

Relaxation techniques (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation), controlled breathing, meditation, guided imagery, and many other techniques and practices exist to help people who are experiencing both physical and/or emotional pain.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Treating The Patient As An Individual: Essential For Neuropathy Treatment Success

Today's post from (see link below) is written mainly for the benefit of pain professionals who are currently scratching their heads at the difficulties and complexities posed by pain treatment anno 2017. The message is that the best way of treating pain is by treating the individual and tailoring courses of treatment to that individual. Blindly following model pain behaviours has failed and results in wasted opportunities but at the moment, the medical community has little else to offer (hence the ridiculously vague, pain-testing modules). Everybody in the medical community accepts that individualised treatment has to be the answer but turning the theory into practice is mind-numbingly complex in terms of how that should be done. Nobody understands this better than the neuropathy patient who knows that his/her symptoms are unique to him/herself but is forced to follow outdated treatment models based on failing drug therapies. It strikes me that time is the problem. The average doctor or neurologist frankly does not have the time to develop individual treatment courses based on a holistic overview, for every patient. Yet this is the only answer that will bring quicker results and result in the patient swallowing less harmful medications along the way. In the end, the patient is going to have to be respected enough to form a partnership with the doctor to develop the best possible treatment outcomes. Definitely worth a read.

Distinguishing Neuropathic, Non-Neuropathic, and Mixed Pain By Charles E. Argoff, MD Last updated on: February 14, 2017 First published on: February 10, 2017
Given the complexity of chronic pain management, clinicians are challenged to move toward more rigorous assessment and individualized treatment to improve quality of life for all patients.

In the pain management community, we are all too familiar with the statistic estimating that there are 100 million adults suffering from chronic pain in the United States.1 However, with all of the recent negative attention on pain management, insufficient energy and attention have been focused on perhaps one of the more daunting aspects of chronic pain—the actual assessment and treatment of the person in pain. Therefore, it is reasonable to acknowledge that managing chronic pain in today’s healthcare system, as we come to understand more and more the complexity of pain, is challenging, but also quite rewarding.

It has become increasingly clear that chronic pain does not refer to one disorder or underlying mechanism and cannot be assessed or treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. Advances in our understanding have led to new, more effective patient assessment and treatment strategies.2,3 We expect that practitioner adoption of these types of tools may better guide and inform optimal chronic pain management, leading to better quality of life for patients. However, considerably more work needs to be done to implement truly individualized approaches to patient care with regard to pain management.

Among the most difficult aspects of treating a person in pain is identifying the type(s) and mechanism(s) of pain. Our patients often present to us experiencing more than 1 type of chronic pain, with more than 1 mechanism underlying their complaints. Assessing which mechanisms of pain a person is experiencing—in other words, assessing a patient’s pain profile—is not simple, but it is vital.

There are at least 2 important components of assessing the pain complaint(s):

Intensity, quality, and change over time
Differentiation among the mechanisms of ongoing pain, including those resulting in neuropathic and/or non-neuropathic pain.

To most accurately and effectively identify and understand the type of pain a person is experiencing, a multidimensional assessment covering both these components is imperative.

However, differentiation among pain types, as well as the root causes of the pain, can be difficult to ascertain using in-office tests. It is unlikely that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), or other similar tests, in the absence of detailed history-taking, would be sufficient to fully assess pain appropriately. Although there are many tests available, they seldom result in a specific diagnosis of a patient’s pain and may provide confounding results.

New resources are being developed to assist in the assessment of pain, including screening tools, such as the painDETECT questionnaire,4 which has been validated to detect neuropathic components of lower back pain. In the absence of specific tests, however, practitioners can still assess a patient by asking how he/she would describe the way the pain feels. For example, asking if there is any of the following symptoms: numbness, burning, tingling, or feelings of electric shock, which can provide useful insights. Notably, distinguishing between neuropathic and nonneuropathic pain types, and understanding if a person has features of both, can better allow for a more tailored treatment.

The Best Pain Management Comes From a Thorough Pain Assessment

When conducting a pain assessment, the evaluation should be as in-depth as possible to plan the most appropriate management course. When a patient with an established pain diagnosis(es) presents for chronic pain treatment, it is important to begin by assessing the patient’s functional impairment, expectations, and psychosocial needs, as well as to evaluate for any medical red flags, such as the risk of medication misuse or abuse.

Questions to consider asking include:

Has the patient been treated for cancer, or is he/she being treated for some potentially unrelated condition that may contribute to the pain?
What other medical/interventional/non-medical treatment is the patient receiving?
What treatments have been unsuccessful in the past?
What is the intensity and duration of the pain?
Is the patient experiencing distress or impairments associated with chronic pain?

When considering the responses to determine a course of treatment, be mindful that multimodal therapy may be required for optimal care. Since there are various potential origins for the pain that present with similar symptom profiles and distinct mechanisms that drive pain, devising a personalized treatment may be hard to come by, but still must be our ultimate goal.

Ideally, the selection of appropriate medication to address chronic pain complaints should follow the same principle as choosing an antibiotic treatment regimen, although the complexity of chronic pain and our current knowledge do not allow for this approach in all instances. For example, there are dozens of antibiotics that can be prescribed to treat a bacterial infection. Rather than a trial-and-error approach, treatment for a bacterial infection is specifically tailored to the illness based on the culture of the bacteria and the specific manifestation of the disease. Selecting the appropriate pain medication should be treated in the same manner, whenever possible.

Consider Pain Mechanisms in Prescribing Medications

Besides analgesia and depending on severity, chronic pain can be managed in many ways, including appropriate physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral approaches, neurostimulation, acupuncture, functional medicine, and other noninvasive approaches, nonanalgesic medications, and other modalities.

Medications may include commonly used analgesics, such as aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); for more severe pain, opioids may be more effective. So-called adjuvant analgesics (eg, anticonvulsants or antidepressants) may also be considered.

However, there may be individual differences in response to these drugs, depending on the patient’s neuropathic and non-neuropathic pain profile. Nociceptive pain, a type of non-neuropathic pain, is generally more responsive to anti-inflammatory agents and classical opioids, while neuropathic pain may be less responsive to traditional pain management. In some cases, pharmacologic agents that address more than 1 type of pain may be more effective for some patients, and many newer medicines are designed to target both types of pain in a single pill.

As we continue to gain insight into pain mechanisms and subtypes and begin to develop increasingly sophisticated evaluation tools, the need for both a thorough assessment and individualized treatment has become more evident. Preferably, pain management will begin with a rigorous evaluation, using the latest available tools, followed by evidence-based, individualized treatment with multimodal therapy where appropriate. Bringing these crucial pieces together to improve management of chronic pain will ultimately help improve patients’ lives, which is, of course, our end goal.

View Sources

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

With Neuropathy, Don't Let Your Body Fall Into A 'Disuse' Syndrome

Today's short post from (see link below) is as good an argument for exercising if you have neuropathy as you'll find. One of the best reasons for exercising (however uncomfortable the idea feels) is that your muscles, joints and nervous system will degenerate through disuse. Especially as you get older and the pain and your lifestyle mean that your life by definition becomes more sedentary, it's important to keep as active as possible. If your neuropathy is affecting more parts of your body than just your feet and legs (autonomic neuropathy) then it's vital to keep moving in some way or other, so that the organs, muscles and joints still have something to work for. The article is short but makes the point very clearly. Well worth a read.

Disuse Syndrome
Posted by john on February 13, 2017

In our last post, we discussed how exercise can help control the symptoms of your underlying illness (whatever caused your autonomic neuropathy). Today we’re going to discuss the effects of not exercising, which are called disuse syndrome.

Use Vs. Disuse

When you’re thinking about starting an exercise program and you’re thinking about how dangerous it can be, you also need to consider the effects of not starting an exercise program.

The effects of not exercising are called disuse syndrome. If your level of activity seriously out of sync with your level of inactivity, you can develop:

• Decreased physical work capacity

• Muscle atrophy

• Negative nitrogen and protein balance

• Cardiovascular deconditioning

• Pulmonary restrictions

• Depression

The effects of any of these symptoms of disuse syndrome in combination with your autonomic neuropathy symptoms can make a bad situation even worse.

The very nature of your autonomic neuropathy can affect the systems that are most sensitive to the effects of exercise. Any exercise program you begin should be designed and monitored by a medical professional well versed in the effects of autonomic neuropathy, like your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Autonomic neuropathy can have a serious effect on the very systems in the body that are directly affected by exercise. Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider before you start an exercise program and let them monitor your progress.

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to our newsletters at

Monday, 20 March 2017

How Much Will Genetic Testing Help Your Neuropathy Problems?

Today's interesting post from (see link below) looks at the potential of genetic testing for improving the lot of neuropathy patients. However, it's a bit of a teaser because it suggests that genetic testing itself can help solve the problem, when in fact, while genetic testing will identify the cause of neuropathy much easier, it has little impact on the treatment. The article does say that by identifying and targeting the cause of nerve damage, the treatment can be better directed and people can avoid unnecessary therapies. That may be so but as any long-term neuropathy patient will tell you, the cause of their nerve damage has long been forgotten as they try to find ways of reducing the impact of the symptoms. The cause itself then becomes almost irrelevant because after the damage has been done, irrespective of why, symptom reduction becomes paramount. Genetic testing may certainly help identify the cause and verify the diagnosis and may reduce the number of 'idiopathic' diagnoses but testing itself will not reduce your pain and discomfort. That all said, the future may well lie in genetic and DNA  manipulation, that may rejuvenate damaged nerves, or ensure that the damage doesn't happen in the first place. That remains a somewhat sci-fi concept at the moment! However, genetic testing is not genetic manipulation, it's just the first stage in a relatively new science. An interesting article that may offer up more questions than answers.

Using genetic testing to transform care for neurological disorders
By Sharon Rosen @shr02
Thu, Feb 23 2017

Our nervous system is made up of complex biological pathways that control everything we do, including breathing, thinking, speaking, moving and feeling. For patients suffering from a neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, nerve pain (neuropathy) and dementia, the symptoms of these conditions can impact many aspects of daily life. Some patients with unexplained neurological symptoms search for years for a diagnosis and treatment.

Scientists and physicians have suspected that many neurological conditions had underlying genetic causes. The question has been how to verify that. Advances in DNA testing technology provide new, more accurate ways to pinpoint genetic variations that lead to neurological disease. Armed with this knowledge, physicians can then offer patients targeted treatments for their condition. Christopher Klein, M.D., and Tatiana Faroud, Ph.D., discuss the best ways to use genetic testing to find a diagnosis and individualized treatment for neurology patients in their paper published in the February 2017 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The paper, Neurology Individualized Medicine: When to Use Next-Generation Sequencing Panels, provides an overview of the different types of DNA testing now available through advanced technology known as next generation sequencing, the advantages and shortfalls of each method and how to select a genetic test for a patient based on their particular neurological symptoms.

Dr. Christopher Klein

“New genetic testing technologies have transformed care for patients with neurological disorders. Many different genetic causes can lead to similar symptoms in patients. By using genetic tests, we can identify the cause of disease and select more precise, individualized treatments based on a patient’s genetics,” says Dr. Klein.

Three types of DNA testing to consider

Whether you are a patient or a provider, it is important to understand the different types of genetic testing available. The paper explains concepts that can help you understand what tests are best for you or your patient in a clinical setting. The authors highlight three methods of next generation sequencing used to identify genetic links to disease:
Targeted panel testing examines a select group of genes connected to disease, often testing from 50 to 300 genes.
Whole exome sequencing examines only a small portion of the whole genome but includes all genes that have been shown to have a connection to disease.
Whole genome sequencing is the most comprehensive DNA analysis to date and examines a patient’s entire genetic makeup of 3 billion genes.

How do physicians determine which genomic testing method to use when trying to diagnose a neurological disorder? According to the authors, it depends on the number of genes that may be involved in causing a particular disease.

Targeted panel testing

The authors advocate using targeted-panel next generation sequencing for neurological disorders which may be caused by more than one type of genetic variation. This approach has been a successful diagnostic tool for inherited neurological conditions such as neuropathy, myopathy (muscle disease), motor neuron disease (a progressive disease that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord) and epilepsy syndromes.

Advantages to using targeted-panel testing include:

Lower costs for conducting DNA sequencing of a smaller set of genes and analyzing the data generated by the tests.
Provides in depth analysis of specified genes that are known to cause disease and accurate identification of genetic variants, which can be used to make decisions about patient care.
Produces a smaller number of variations with unknown importance, which can be difficult to interpret, compared to other genetic testing methods that examine a broader range of genes.

Whole genome or whole exome sequencing

On the other hand, there are benefits to using broader genomic testing methods to diagnose certain neurological disorders. The authors recommend using whole genome sequencing or whole exome sequencing to explore disorders with unknown genetic origins.

For example, these approaches may be able to provide a diagnosis for patients who have searched unsuccessfully for a diagnosis using traditional clinical testing or for patients with developmental delays or autism. In these cases, the broader approaches offer the opportunity to discover new genetic variants that could be responsible for these conditions.

When selecting these broader approaches, providers should recognize the disadvantages of these tests which include:
Higher costs for genetic testing and data analysis
Longer turnaround time to receive test results
More genetic variations with unknown significance are identified, making the results more challenging to interpret
Higher likelihood of identifying unexpected genetic predispositions to disease, in addition to the neurological disorder

Proper use of genetic tests can enhance patient care

According to the authors, the key to effective use of genetic testing is collaboration. Clinicians, laboratory geneticists and bioinformatics experts must work together to develop guidelines to select the right genetic tests, accurately interpret results and then use this information to guide patient care.

This collaboration can have a tremendous impact on patient care by:
Avoiding improper therapies and additional costly invasive therapies such as biopsy.
Identifying specific prognostic and disease management information.
Offering family genetic counseling for conditions that could impact other family members.
Providing opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials and have access to emerging drug therapies.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings Symposium on Precision Medicine

This paper is the second in Mayo Clinic Proceedings Symposium on Precision Medicine, a series of articles that cover a wide range of topics in personalized medicine. Watch for upcoming articles in the symposium, which will focus on how personalized medicine and genomics are impacting patient care. Learn more about the series.

Christopher Klein, M.D., is professor of Neurology and consultant in the Department of Medical Genetics at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota.

Tatiana Faroud, Ph.D., is division chair, Joe C. Christian Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Chancellor's Professor, director, Division of Hereditary Genomics at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Learn more about precision medicine and join our community

Get the latest news from the Center for Individualized Medicine. Visit our blog, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter at @MayoClinicCIM.

Save the date for the next Individualizing Medicine Conference on Oct. 9-11, 2017.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Some Of The Facts About Opioids And Chronic Pain

Today's post from (see link below) takes a look at opioids and their use for treating chronic pain conditions. It's not really an extensive report but it is useful because it explains to many people now terrified of opiate drugs, that if used properly, they're an efficient solution to chronic pain. It also quite rightly reports that the longer you are on opioids, the greater the chance of side effects, including addiction and the greater the chance that you'll need more to fulfill the same need. The article argues however, that opioids are fine if controlled and regularly checked and evaluated but it may be wise to explore alternative pain control methods too. This blog agrees that an holistic approach to treatment, covering a range of treatments has to be the best way to go. However, if your pain is neuropathic, you need to watch out for chiropractor claims that can do more damage than good. They may work for pain coming from injury or degradation of joints and muscles but chiropractic methods rarely work for nerve pain. A sensible article definitely worth a read.

Opioids and Chronic Pain: What You Need to Know
By Jackie Waters Posted on February 25, 2017 in Alternative Pain Therapy, Pain Medication

If you are a sufferer of chronic pain, you are not alone. Roughly 11% of Americans have suffered or are suffering from chronic pain and many were prescribed opioids to manage it. Opioids remain the go-to method for managing chronic pain despite its many side effects. Of course, these painkillers can also be used properly and effectively to manage your symptoms. If you are a person with chronic pain, there are some things you need to know about pain management and opioids.

Opioids are Risky But Can Be Effective for Some

One of the main problems experienced by people with chronic pain is the risk of addiction. As opioids are the most common drug used for pain management, many people are faced with a potential addiction.

Those with risk factors for addiction should beware of using opioids as long-term pain management. If you have a family history of addiction or mental illness, you may want to consider alternative treatment. If you do not have a family history of addiction or mental illness and you use opioids properly, they can be a very effective way to cope with your chronic pain.

There is a Difference Between Short-Term and Long-Term Pain Management

Opioids are often used for pain regardless of the duration of it. However, when opioids are used for chronic pain, the extended use can result in greater risk for addiction as well as increased side effects. Taking opioids for a limited time can be somewhat safer for those with temporary pain, but you may want to reconsider if your pain is chronic.

There are Many Forms of Alternative Pain Management

Most doctors will prescribe some form of an addictive pharmaceutical for chronic pain and, for some, that is a necessary form of pain management. However, you never should feel that drugs are your only option. Chronic pain management can come in many shapes and sizes. Exercises such as swimming and yoga have been shown to be the most effective ways to handle chronic pain but can be difficult to muster when you’re already in pain.

Meditation, on the other hand, is a real-life example of mind over matter. Learning to control your mind and headspace allows you to reduce your pain. Of course, the relaxation that meditation offers also helps ease pain.

Altering your diet is another way you can cope with chronic pain. Many cases of chronic pain are the result of inflammation, and what you eat has a significant impact on inflammation in your body. Some foods can reduce inflammation while others may actually cause inflammation. Sometimes, pain management is just a matter of buying a recipe book. If none of these alternative methods sounds appealing, you may want to consider acupuncture. Studies show this practice also is effective at treating pain.

Physical therapy is another excellent option for treating chronic pain. By employing special exercises, massage, manual therapy, and other methods, physical therapy can help reduce chronic pain, increase mobility, and improve overall functioning of the body.

Chiropractic care can also help ease your chronic pain, and regular treatment may be able to reduce your need for opioids. A specialist will use spinal manipulation, postural exercises, and other therapies to help your body heal itself. Proper chiropractic treatment can even help your day-to-day functioning.

You should also be careful not to overdo it in the course of your daily activities. For example, there may be a task at work that you simply shouldn’t be doing because of your pain. Speak with your boss or manager to see if you can trade responsibilities with another employee so that any tasks that aggravate your chronic pain can be transferred to someone else. In turn, you can take on responsibilities of theirs that are less physical. At home, get help with housekeeping by either asking a friend or family member to do your cleaning or by hiring a housekeeper. You might also get help making modifications around your house that could make your life easier–such as replacing knobs and cabinet pulls with easier-to-grasp options.

Whether opioids are an effective treatment for pain often depends on individual cases. These drugs might work well for your chronic pain, or they may pose too great a risk for you. It is helpful if you research alternative treatments and lifestyle changes regardless of what you’re currently using to manage your pain. In most cases, a meditation course will be more beneficial for your overall health than opioids, even if you feel you aren’t at risk for addiction. So, do your research, try different methods of pain management, and figure out what works best for you and your chronic pain.

Jackie Waters is a new contributor to National Pain Report. She is a mother of four energetic boys and lives with her family on a three acre hobby farm in Oregon where they grow as much of their own food as possible, focus on sustainability, and practice simplicity. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her mid-20s.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Yet More Dosage Information About Turmeric (Curcuma) For Neuropathy

Today's post from (see link below) maybe should be taken with a pinch of salt (or in the case of turmeric (curcuma)...a pinch of pepper!). The claims for turmeric are becoming more exaggerated by the day. However, there's nothing wrong with turmeric and it can't do you much harm, so even if half the claims are even partly true, then you may be making a wise dietary move by including it in your daily supplementation for nerve pain. The article mentions adding pepper to your intake several times but doesn't really explain why this is necessary. Because turmeric will leave your system before you can blink, there has to be a binding agent for better absorption and in this case, pepper will do nicely. (There are other methods of improving absorption (see here) The article provides lots of useful information to stimulate further research but never blindly believe everything you read here. It may be true but then again it may not and healthy skepticism will always prevent disappointment. That said, the authors also provide warnings and general good advice about taking turmeric sensibly and as such, this is an interesting read that will fill in some of the gaps in your knowledge about turmeric (curcuma).

Turmeric Dosage For Neuropathic Pain
2017 No author mentioned

Damage to nerves causes nerve pain. Nerve pain can be a symptom of various severe conditions such as diabetes mellitus, regional pain syndrome (RPS) exposure to toxins, traumatic injuries and cancer.

Impairment to the peripheral nervous system or central nerves system results in pain, this is called as neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathic pain is also called as nerve pain, sensory peripheral neuropathy or peripheral neuritis .

A nerve in the body sends sensation signals to the brain and alerts the brain to the danger.

In a person with nerve pain, the signaling system does not work precisely. Even when the pain is felt and the signal is received by the brain there is no evident cause .

Symptoms of Nerve pain include:
Difficulty in sleeping
Loss of balance

Benefits of Turmeric in Nerve/Neuropathic Pain

Turmeric relieves nerve pain in the following manner:

1.Turmeric serves as a good analgesic

2.Turmeric is useful in relieving numbness, tingling sensation and pain in hands or feet.

3.It has anti-nociceptive action- it relieves pain signals.

4.It benefits in diabetic neuropathy.


Turmeric for nerve pain

Turmeric for pain

Can Turmeric Replace as Opioid Painkillers?

Best Ways To Take Turmeric For Nerve Pain or Neuropathy

Disclaimer – There is no particular prescribed dose of turmeric defined for Neuropathic Pain. Based on the studies and reader’s reports we have summarized various ways of taking turmeric which could benefit in this disorder.

The dosage depends in terms of the formulation and severity of the condition. Here is the recommended dose:

Fresh roots

Turmeric roots are a great addition to diet but the limited quantities we eat cannot exert a significant therapeutic effect in neuropathic pain.

Recommended intake: 1-3 g or ½ inch long piece of root sliced or chopped. You can also juice it and take it with a pinch of black pepper.

This can be a part of your fresh juices or taken individually as 30 ml thrice a day to curb pain. You can also make Golden paste from fresh roots.

Further Read – Is fresh turmeric better then powder?

Turmeric powder

If you are including turmeric powder in cooking then 1 tsp daily is sufficient. Always opt for good quality organic turmeric powder (How to identify organic turmeric, Recommended Turmeric brands)

However if you take turmeric powder straight with black pepper then it would be 1-2 g of turmeric powder with a pinch of black pepper.

In terms of teaspoon that would be 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper powder twice a day.

Start with small doses and increase gradually. Avoid taking it on an empty stomach. You can also make Turmeric capsules at home.

Maximum dose: 1 tsp of turmeric powder with ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper thrice a day

Golden Paste

Golden Paste combines heat, black pepper and healthy fats to increase the absorption of turmeric.

It is highly recommended to take this paste after/with meals and to avoid taking it close to other medications. (Read Does Turmeric cause acid reflux? Black pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interaction?) Here is the recipe.

You can also make Golden Paste from fresh roots.

Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose by ¼ teaspoon every week. Continue till reach a dose of 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day (precisely 1 tsp 3 times a day).

Also if the pain is too severe you can consider splitting the dose and taking it in regular intervals. Or you may increase the dose.

This is the ideal dose of Golden Paste where you should experience relief. The ideal dose differs with every individual; some do fine on a small dose while some may need more.

Thinking of other ways to take Golden Paste read 10 ways to take Golden Paste

Maximum dosage: 1 table spoon 2-3 times a day only advised if you are comfortable taking it and not experiencing gastric side effects.

Turmeric tincture

Some individuals swear by turmeric tincture’s pain relief action. And it also skips the taste issue.

Take 10-30 drops 2-3 times a day depending on the condition. It can be added to teas, juices or smoothies.

Maximum dosage: 20-30 drops 3 times a day

Turmeric tea

This is a good option for tea lovers and who want to skip the taste of turmeric paste. Here is the recipe.

Recommended intake: 1-2 cups a day

Turmeric Milk

This is just perfect when it comes to combating pain naturally. You can find the recipe here.

Recommended intake: 1-2 cups a day
Turmeric supplements

The recommended dosage for supplements is 300-400mg 2-3 times a day for standardized 95% curcumin extract.

However the dose would differ based on the formulation, hence it is best to consult a doctor before taking turmeric supplements.

Avoid taking supplements on an empty stomach and close to the time of taking medicines. Consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements.


Turmeric in diet is absolutely safe. Turmeric supplements should be taken with care. (Read Side effects of Turmeric)

If you are taking blood thinners, turmeric supplements should be avoided. Turmeric can be included in diet in small doses. If suffering from a bleeding disorder consult a doctor and herbalist or naturopath before taking turmeric.

Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of pregnancy and lactation. Discontinue use of turmeric supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery.

Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of gall bladder obstructions.

Turmeric may interact with certain medications like stomach acid reducing drugs, diabetes medications, blood thinners. Avoid taking turmeric supplements at the same time as medicines.

If suffering from gout or kidney stones, limit intake of turmeric as a spice. (Read Does turmeric cause kidney stones? Is turmeric safe in gout?)

Consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements.

If harrowed by turmeric stains here is how you can take care of them.

Turmeric has many medicinal properties such as anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory property which makes it efficient in treating the symptoms of neuropathic pain such as numbness or pain in hands or feet.

Turmeric is beneficial for patients suffering from neuropathic pain.