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Alternative Therapies for Your Chemotherapy Induced Neuropathy Patients

Alternative Therapies for Your Chemotherapy Induced Neuropathy Patients

One of the more challenging patient populations you can treat is the chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy patient.  They’ve already been through the cancer diagnosis and are either in the midst of chemotherapy or they’ve finished their treatment.

Just when they think they’re done with all the side effects of chemotherapy, they’re visited with[1]

–       Shooting pain

–       Burning and numbness

–       Tingling in the hands and feet

–       Inability to sleep because of the pain

Can you imagine the frustration?

Chances are really good that no one told them that chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) was a potential side effect of their treatment because, let’s face it, no one can really predict which patients will develop chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy.  Why bring it up if you don’t know for certain that it’s going to happen?

For many, their symptoms last well beyond their chemotherapy.

For your CIPN patients, the first option is, of course, drugs to deal with the pain.  But many chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy patients are choosing to be more proactive and do everything they can to alleviate their current symptoms and lessen the possibility of permanent nerve damage.  They don’t just want to take a pill to make them feel better. They want to give their bodies the best treatments available.

What Else Can They Do?

More and more CIPN patients are opting for what used to be called “alternative medicine” treatments.  While many think of anything outside of conventional medicine as “alternative”, that’s really not accurate.  Alternative treatments are defined as anything not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  The treatments we’re talking about here are more complementary or integrative therapies.  In other words, they’re therapies used in addition to and to complement traditional medicine, not taking the place of it.

Because of the growing popularity (and effectiveness) of these complementary and integrative therapies, the medical community has actually named them – Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Some complementary and alternative therapies providing good results for chemotherapy induced chemotherapy patients are:

–       Cancer treatment specific diets

–       Herbal supplements

–       Non-herbal supplements (like Vitamins B6 and B12, alpha lipoic acid)

–       Acupuncture

–       Massage therapy and Reflexology

–       Exercise

–       Homeopathic and ayurvedic medicine

Any of these therapies, in the hands of skilled practitioner, is a great complement to your chemotherapy and other cancer treatment and can provide substantial relief from chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy pain.  Offering these services to your chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy patients is an excellent way to treat the whole patient and not just the symptoms.

Involve Their Oncologist

Before you start any Complementary and Alternative Medicine treatments with your chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy patients, talk to their oncologists.[2] Make sure that what you’re planning to do will not have an adverse effect on their chemotherapy regimen (some antioxidants do).  Always keep the oncologist in the loop on what you’re doing to complement or following a chemotherapy regimen.

Why These Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments Work

Many of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine regimens we mentioned above will help deal with and even alleviate some chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

The body is a finely tuned instrument and all the systems work together.  Massage therapy, acupuncture and Reflexology can help with muscle pain and stimulate the systems within the body to fight the cancer.

Certain supplements can help give the body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to repair itself and eliminate the possibility of permanent nerve damage caused by chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy.


Treating the Whole Patient By Working With The Whole Team

Everyone On The Patient Team Must Work Together...

None of the medical specialties treating chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy patients operates in a vacuum.  You all need to know what the others are doing.

Luckily, most oncologists these days are familiar with the Complementary and Alternative Therapies chemotherapy patients are turning to for relief from the chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  Make sure that you involve your patients’ other treaters in your care by communicating with them.  By integrating your Complementary and Alternative Medicine treatments into the overall treatment program, you have a much better chance of giving your patients the optimum results they deserve.

When you are ready, let them know you’re there to help them.

For more tips on growing a successful chiropractic, physical therapy or pain management practice, log on to http://perfectpractice web.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon  “Living and Practicing by Design” at http://perfectpracticeweb.com.

 

 

How You Can Help Your Patients With Nutritional Neuropathy

If you’re treating patients with neuropathy symptoms as a result of[1]

When you’re trained and ready to work with your patients, let them know you’re there.

  • Anemia
  • Gastritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcerative colitis

They may well be suffering from nutritional neuropathy in addition to the symptoms for their underlying illness. 

Why Digestive Issues Cause Nutritional Neuropathy[2]

Patients with any of these digestive disorders suffer from a very special set of problems and nutritional neuropathy just makes their physical issues worse.

They have to be careful about everything they eat because they never know exactly what will set off their symptoms.  They have to plan their lives around food and exactly how their underlying illness will disrupt their lives. 

Their illness affects how their body absorbs the vitamins and nutrients from the food they eat.  One of the leading causes of nutritional neuropathy is vitamin deficiency, especially Vitamin B12.  If your patient is limiting their animal protein because of their digestive issues, they could be suffering from a vitamin deficiency in the vitamins they would normally get from those foods. 

Any condition that affects the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients and vitamins from food can lead to nutritional neuropathy. 

Designing the Right Treatment Program for Your Nutritional Neuropathy Patients

To effectively treat your nutritional neuropathy patients, the first thing you need to do is a thorough history and physical.  Your treatment program will need to not only take into account their nutritional neuropathy symptoms; you need to design a diet plan that will work well with their underlying illness.  Digestive issues present a separate set of challenges for you as a clinician.

Your diet plan will not only need to include the vitamins and minerals, but you also need to take into account any digestive problems that will prevent their body from absorbing the good nutrition your diet plan provides.

Make sure your diet plan includes:  

  • Whole grains and legumes to provide B vitamins to promote nerve health.  Whole grains promote the production of serotonin in the brain and will increase feelings of well-being.
  • Fish and eggs for additional vitamins B12 and B1.
  • 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 the 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 skin and boost the immune system.

Advise them to avoid:

  • Coffee and other caffeinated drinks. 
  • Fried foods and all other fatty foods.  Fatty foods suppress the immune system and that’s the last thing they need when fighting nutritional neuropathy and their digestive system disease.
  • Limit high protein foods like animal protein.  High-protein foods elevate the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine which are both tied to high levels of anxiety and stress which will only make them more irritable.
  • Alcoholic beverages.  Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse. 
  • Processed sugar.  They don’t have to eliminate sweets completely, just control them.  Keeping blood sugar levels constant will help control irritability.
  • Control salt intake.  Opt for a salt substitute with potassium instead of sodium and stay away from preserved foods like bacon, ham, pickles, etc.  Reducing salt intake will help ease inflammation and that alone will work wonders in the healing process.

Sit down and discuss your nutritional neuropathy patient’s diet as part of the initial consultation process.  The information gained will help you devise a nutrition plan tailor made for your patient and help to build a rapport between you.

When you’re trained and ready to work with them, let them know you’re there.

For more tips on growing a successful chiropractic, physical therapy or pain management practice, log on to http://perfectpractice web.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon  “Living and Practicing by Design” at http://perfectpracticeweb.com.

Still Ignoring The Social Media Revolution?

Twitter…

Facebook…

Blogging…

Online articles…

Search Engine Optimization…

"How can I possibly do all this and run a practice.."

These terms are becoming as much a part of the modern chiropractic, medical or physical therapy practice as Preferred Providers and deductibles.

We all know that people are looking for everything online but chiropractors and physical therapists have been some of the last to join the Social Media Revolution.

But join they have and they’re using the internet like every other savvy business owner.

What Does This Mean To Your Chiropractic or Physical Therapy Practice?

Two studies conducted in 2008 showed that 41% of all the research medical professionals are doing is now done online (and that number was expected to double in 2009) and that the large pharmaceutical companies were gearing much of their marketing efforts to the online community as the best way to communicate with and educate their target audience – healthcare providers, including chiropractors and physical therapists.

Just take a look at some of the more popular social networking sites for medical professionals – Ozmosis, SocialMD and DoctorNetworking – each of these sites has literally thousands of members.

If you’re going to develop a presence online and reach your potential patient base, now is the time to do it if you haven’t already.

5 Trends In The Use Of Web & Social Media by Chiropractors and Physical Therapists

1.            Increase in Social Networking.

There are a growing number of sites that give healthcare providers the opportunity to connect with other professionals in their specialty to share knowledge, network, and support each other. Most of these sites are protected and allow users to communicate and share opinions and results in a safe online environment.  Check out our own NeuropathyDR site as an example.

2. Scholarly Medical Journals Have a Presence Online

Newspapers are not the only print media suffering the effects of online information.  Many scholarly medical journals have opted for an online-only format to save printing costs and to reach a broader base of readers.  Even beyond the convenience of their information being a mouse click away, many of these sites are increasingly interactive with Q&A sessions and even online classes and seminars for CME credit, perfect for the busy chiropractor or physical therapist trying to build a practice.

3. Blogs and Online Articles.

Many chiropractors and physical therapists are now blogging and publishing online articles to reach potential patients and educate the public about their particular specialty.  Where it used to take             months to be published in a medical journal, now you can set up your own blog, sit down and type a post (or have someone else do it for you), and you’re done.  This allows you to share a unique perspective about your specialty, local events, even the healthcare system.             All from the vantage point of a practicing chiropractic or physical therapy professional.  Your patients and future patients see you as a human with particular expertise and a voice they recognize.

4.            Twitter and Facebook.

Do you have a Twitter account? A Facebook page? If you don’t have at least one of these             social media tools working for you, you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity that’s             virtually free.  The only real cost is time.  If you don’t have the time to post to your own             Facebook page or send regular “tweets”, we’ll  do it for you!  In fact, I can help you get all of this done, and even get an ezine in the hands of YOUR patients for just pennies a day, automatically. “Frequent, relevant content” as my friend Nitin Chhoda DPT says, will keep you in constant contact with your patient base.

That puts you first in their minds when they, or someone they know, needs your specialty.

But if you are doing it all yourself, an important thing to remember about either of these tools – don’t use “doctor speak”             when posting your messages.  Imagine you’re talking to your next door neighbor at a             barbecue and keep that tone in your social media message.  You’ll get your point across             and impress rather than intimidate your patients.

When diving into the social media scene, the first thing to consider is exactly what you’re attempting to accomplish.  Don’t go in without a plan.  You’ll do nothing but send mixed and scattered messages.

Post strategically, wherever you post, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you profit from this new social interaction.  Join the Social Media Revolution and make this year the best your chiropractic or physical therapy practice has ever seen.

What Stresses Us Out The Most?

What Stresses Us Out The Most?

Just coming off a great weekend, lots of outdoors time which is so important to clearing our heads…

In any event, on a coffee break yesterday, I got to enjoy a great PBS show on the adverse effects of stress, the age accelerating and disease causing components in particular.

Lots of evidence presented that people (and in fact animals) who lack a ‘sense of control in their lives’ are sick more often and seriously, are frequently depressed and just unhappy. In fact the deterioration in life quality is profound.

And so it is in practice. I find every day that those who are clear on intent, are busier, continue to study and learn great business and marketing skills, make better decisions, are far happier both long and short term are far less stressed, happier and more fulfilled.

Here’s some practical things you can do to make this easier:

"Since I Started planning better, my practice is really growing again..."

Frequently, step back and take a look at the “big picture”. This needs to be during regularly scheduled planning time, at least weekly. The true masters though continuosly visualize this entire process.

Rekindle your purpose, but more than that, share it with patients and staff, regularly. This is why tools such as in-office events, workshops and Instant Patient Newsletter are so powerful, they help keep your purpose front and center.

Regain a sense of control over your business! Set some new goals. Make full usage of checklists, game plans, your marketing calendars, staff meetings. Monitor your hits and misses. Continuously strive to make it all systems in your practice more effective.
Work from ONE Master checklist. Don’t overwhelm yourself, but do mark off your accomplishments every day.

Lastly, be sure to focus on thoroughly implementing the revenue generating services that patients want, and gladly pay for.

Just remember, it’s all about continuously practicing by design, not default.