Risks During Pregnancy And When Breastfeeding
People who are pregnant and those who intend to become pregnant should tell a doctor before taking gabapentin.
Research from 2020 suggests that taking this drug during pregnancy may be associated with a higher risk of cardiac malformations in the fetus, a condition called small for gestational age, and preterm birth.
However, it is also essential to control seizures during pregnancy, so pregnant people should only take the drug if it is absolutely necessary.
People should never start or stop taking gabapentin for seizure control before talking with a doctor. They will assess the potential risks and benefits.
After childbirth, gabapentin passes into breast milk. At low levels, it may not affect the infant. However, it is best to discuss this issue with a doctor before breastfeeding.
What Foods Trigger Neuropathy
Neuropathy from diabetes will worsen with certain foods and drinks that cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Triggers include excessively salty food, too, not just sugary goods. When in doubt, fruit and vegetables will never let you down and can be an excellent way to fill your plate.
If youre suffering from neuropathy due to type 1 or type 2 diabetes, theres a chance you are already relatively mindful of your diet. Below is a list of the top six foods and drinks that you should avoid if you suffer from peripheral neuropathy.
Caffeine Dependency And Withdrawal
Like many other drugs, its possible to build up a tolerance to caffeine. This means you become used to its effects on your body and need to take larger amounts to achieve the same results. Over time, you may become physically and psychologically dependent on caffeine to function effectively.
If you are dependent on caffeine and you stop having it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. These may include:
Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal may begin within 12 to 24 hours and can last about seven days.
The easiest way for you to break caffeine dependence is to reduce the amount youre having gradually. This gives your nervous system time to adapt to functioning without the drug.
Nerve Damage In Neuropathy Progresses Sooner Than Previously Thought Lending Urgency To Earlier Detection And Treatment
With his pain gradually improving, William Loughran is headed back to the gym.
If we wait until these patients have large-fiber neuropathy, weve needlessly lost time and nerve function. This is one more reason to be aggressive about controlling patients glucose levels.
William Loughran retired from his job as a bank director in northeast Maryland in 2014, when he was 68. Like many new retirees, he vowed to ramp up his exercise routine.
I started going to the gym three or four times a week and walking every day, he says. I felt better than I had in years.
But then, after a long day of walking with his son during a visit to California, it began: I went to bed, and the soles of my feet felt like they were on fire, Loughran recalls. It was jabbing pain, pins-and-needles pain, and it was pretty severe.
Within weeks, Loughrans feet had become so painful that driving his car was a struggle. Just the slight pressure from the pedals was too much to tolerate, he says. For months, he spent almost all of his time at home, in bare feet.
After several false starts with physical therapists, podiatrists and other specialists, Loughran realized that he needed to see a neurologist. He searched online and learned that Johns Hopkins has a prominent research program in peripheral neuropathy.
In Loughrans case, the blood work strongly suggested prediabetes. He is acting accordingly. Ive cut out sodas, he says, and Im trying to get back to exercising.
Insomnia And Other Side Effects
Overdoing it with caffeine, whether from coffee, other caffeinated beverages, or even chocolate, can sometimes produce unwanted side effects that can increase muscle and joint stiffness. For instance, insomnia or trouble getting enough recuperative sleep each night can exacerbate existing joint issues, especially when first waking up.
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What Do People Use Gabapentin For
Gabapentins primary use is to prevent or control seizures. It works by calming nerve activity to reduce seizure intensity or occurrence.
Children and adults can take this drug. The brand-name drug Neurontin can treat one form of epilepsy in children as young as 3 years old. Some people take other medications with gabapentin to control epilepsy symptoms.
Gabapentin can also help reduce post-herpetic neuralgia, which refers to a burning or stabbing nerve pain that is a common complication of shingles.
Extended-release gabapentin tablets can treat RLS, which is a condition characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs and a strong or irresistible urge to move the lower limbs.
Individuals taking gabapentin should talk with a doctor about any problems they experience while doing so, especially if they are severe, ongoing, or getting worse.
People taking gabapentin should be aware of the following serious safety concerns.
Is Coffee Contributing To Your Back Pain
Do you like grabbing a cup of coffee with friends or camping out at your favorite little coffee shop in town to catch up on work and emails? Is coffee a social aspect for you, or are you someone who relies on that caffeine boost to get you up in the morning, and keep you going throughout the day? I personally am the latter! However, something so trivial and helpful throughout the day can actually be causing harm. If you drink coffee regularly and also experience back pain, it is possible that there may be a connection.
Although drinking coffee won’t physically injure you, it can cause back aches and enhance previously existing aches and pains. According to The Healthy Home Economist, caffeine specifically places stress on the adrenal glands. These are round disk shaped organs that sit atop each kidney on the posterior side of the body. Stressing out the adrenals all the time with an unchecked caffeine habit weakens not only the adrenal glands but the entire area around them which includes the lower back, reports the publication. Weak adrenals can also take vital nutrients away from the ligaments and tendons, which can then affect the joints. This can include the sacroiliac joint which supports the weight of the entire body.
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What Foods Are Bad For Neuropathy
Starch and refined sugar rapidly raise blood sugar levels and burn nerves, so they should be avoided. Nutritionists suggest eating smaller portions and reducing carbohydrates, to lower sugars.
Avoiding inflammatory foods is also very important. Downtowns Healthcare regenerative medicine experts confirm that the following foods / products to have inflammatory potential: unsaturated and saturated fats, soy, saffron, sugar, alcohol and omega 6 oils, such as corn. Most oils are classified as omega-6 or omega-3. Omega-3 oils tend to reduce inflammation, while omega-6 oils make it worse.
The following foods have the potential to increase pain in neuropathy: dairy products, wheat, citrus fruits, corn, caffeine, meat of all kinds, nuts and eggs.
Numerous studies show that low-fat, vegetarian and vegan diets can significantly reduce pain in neuropathy.
How To Sleep With Neuropathy
Sleep is an essential part of livingsleep helps us avoid major health problems and it is essential to our mental and physical performance. It affects our mood and stress and anxiety levels. Unfortunately, sleep disturbance or insomnia is often a side effect of neuropathy pain. It is a common complaint among people with living with chronic pain.
Its no surprise that about 70 percent of pain patients, including those suffering from PN, back pain, headaches, arthritis and fibromyalgia, report they have trouble sleeping according to the Journal of Pain Medicine.
Pain can interfere with sleep due to a combination of issues. The list includes discomfort, reduced activity levels, anxiety, worry, depression and use of medications such as codeine that relieve pain but disturb sleep.
Most experts recommend a range of seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults, regardless of age or gender. This may seem impossible to people with chronic pain, but there are steps you can take to improve your sleep, which may lead to less pain and lower levels of depression and anxiety. First, talk with your doctor to see if there are medications that may lessen your sleep disturbance. You should also check with your doctor to make sure your current medications arent causing some of your sleep disturbance.
Following are tips for improving your sleep:
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The Takeaway On Caffeine And Headaches
For folks who are occasional caffeine users and have fewer than three headaches a month, sipping on a cup of coffee or combining the java with an over-the-counter pain-relief medication can generally be a safe and effective treatment for headaches, says Dr. Cooper. “But if someone is an every-single-day caffeine user, then the caffeine’s going to do nothing to help their headache,” he adds. And in these individuals, skipping their usual latte or matcha could actually trigger a headache, he says.
And if you’re suffering from more than four headaches a month or if your headaches are interfering with your life, don’t rely on caffeine as your go-to treatment. Instead, chat with your doctor about a treatment, such as triptan drugs and gepants medications , that’s right for you, says Dr. Cooper.
“Many times people who have migraine, unfortunately, grow up in a household that has migraines, so they learn from a young age, ‘Oh, mom or dad has a headache, they’re going to have to sleep it off for the next day and there’s really no hope for them,'” he says. “They don’t realize we have really good treatments out there, ways that are way better than just caffeine, to turn off a headache.”
How To Stop The Cycle Of Nerve Pain And Sleeplessness
One of the number one complaints from people living with neuropathy is heightened nerve pain during the night. Restless, seemingly endless nights of little to no sleep not only disrupt your life but increase your nerve pain over all.
Living with chronic nerve pain, its important to understand why your pain is worse at night and how you can help it.
In a previous blog post, we discussed some of the common reasons why nerve pain takes a stronger hold after the sun goes down. First, you have fewer distractions no meetings, phone calls, events or errands to fill your brain. Second, the temperatures are cooler, causing less blood flow in your body and hindered circulation to the areas where your nerves are most sensitive, such as hands and feet. Finally, emotional and physical stress on the body can cause additional pain such as stress from previous exercise, a hard day at work or on-going family issues.
When these issues affect your sleep, its an endless cycle of sleep deprivation and a lower pain threshold. Neuropathic pain can feel excruciating to your raw nerves, especially when youre tired.
Here are some tips on how to get a good nights rest to stop the cycle of pain and sleeplessness:
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How To Stop Neuropathy Pain At Night
There are options we can explore if your neuropathy pain seems to be worsening at night, explains Dr. Claytor. There might be oral or topical medications we can prescribe, or maybe its getting your stress under control and being more mindful.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy and meditation may be complementary tools to reduce pain as well.
Dr. Claytor stresses the importance of talking to your doctor sooner rather than later. Often times people will wait so long to see their physician that theres permanent nerve damage that might have been avoided.
I think one of the most important things I can discuss with a patient who comes in with neuropathy pain at night is getting to the root cause of what is actually driving it, says Dr. Claytor. Depending on what the underlying cause is, treating that first and foremost can usually help reduce the pain overall especially at night.
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Does Caffeine Treat Or Trigger Headaches
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Many people ask whether caffeine can treat or trigger a headache. The answer is that caffeine can do both.
Caffeine can provide relief for a headache.
During a headache, blood vessels swell, tighten or go through other changes, causing an increase in blood flow around the brain. This increase blood flow pressures surrounding nerves, which send pain messages to the brain. This brings on the headache.
Caffeine has vasoconstrictive properties, meaning that blood vessels narrow to restrict blood flow, thereby alleviating the pain. Also, when caffeine is taken in combination with pain medicines, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, it increases the absorption and strength of the medication to provide faster relief.
Caffeine can trigger a headache.
When caffeine is consumed regularly, the body becomes dependent on its effects. And because caffeine narrows the blood vessels that surround the brain, when consumption is stopped, the blood vessels enlarge. This causes an increase in blood flow around the brain and pressures surrounding nerves. This can then trigger what is known as a caffeine withdrawal headache. Withdrawal headaches can last for a couple of weeks because it takes the body a while to adjust to not having caffeine in its system.
What should you do?
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Strategies For Easing Nerve Pain
In addition to relieving pain, many self-care and home treatments can help prevent more serious problems and protect overall health. Some of these strategies may even trigger the body’s natural painkillers, having the added benefit of making you feel good.
Walk it off.Exercise releases natural painkillers called endorphins. Exercise also promotes blood flow to the nerves in the legs and feet. Researchers believe that regular exercise may create a long-lasting expansion in blood vessels in the feet, nourishing damaged nerves back to health. Start with a daily walk, gradually increasing pace and distance.
Pamper your feet. If the feet are affected by nerve pain, it’s time to focus on good foot care. Nerve pain usually means impaired sensation, making injuries and infections more likely. Reduce the risk by examining your feet daily, wearing comfortable shoes, and seeing a podiatrist regularly. No wound or injury to your feet is too minor for a consultation with a doctor.
Soak it away. A warm bath might be the easiest — and least expensive — home treatment for nerve pain. Warm water temporarily increases blood flow to the legs and can help ease stress as well. Avoid burns by measuring water temperature with your arm before stepping in.
Sugar And Artificial Sweeteners
People with diabetes can quickly develop diabetic neuropathy due to the consumption of sugar and other artificial sweeteners.
Diabetic neuropathy occurs when nerve damage is due to diabetes. It most often damages the nerves in the hands and the feet.
To avoid diabetic neuropathy and diabetes in the first place, you need to do all you can to cut out sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Itll be in your best interest to replace them with natural sugars found in fruit, but remember, sugar is sugar. You shouldnt over-consume any of it.
Diabetic neuropathy affects roughly half of everyone with diabetes.
You can manage it the same way you manage your diabetes, with proper blood sugar levels and an active, healthy lifestyle.
You need to consume healthy, organic, and all-natural whole foods and maintain some type of daily activity.
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Caffeine Is Added To Pain Medications
Because of all its reported health benefits, caffeine has been added to a variety of drugs over the years.
The primary formulations being aspirin, acetaminophen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Caffeine was likely originally added in order to offset the latent sedative effects of some of these drugs.
However, many now view caffeine as a substance that accelerates, prolongs, or enhances the analgesic effects of these pain relief medications.
Circulatory And Respiratory Systems
Caffeine is absorbed from your stomach. It reaches its highest levels in your bloodstream within an hour or two.
Caffeine can make your blood pressure go up for a short time. This effect is thought to be attributed to either an increase in adrenaline or a temporary block on the hormones that naturally widen your arteries. In most people, there is no long-term effect on blood pressure, but if you have irregular heart rhythms, caffeine may make your heart work harder. If you have high blood pressure or heart-related problems, ask your doctor if caffeine is safe for you to consume.
An overdose of caffeine may cause rapid or irregular heartbeat and breathing trouble. In rare cases, caffeine overdose can result in death due to convulsions or irregular heartbeat.
Caffeine in large amounts may interfere with absorption and metabolism of calcium. This can contribute to bone thinning .If you consume too much, caffeine may cause also your muscles to twitch.
If experiencing caffeine withdrawal, a symptom may include achy muscles.
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Create The Right Sleeping Environment
It can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep if the room youre in isnt conducive to rest and relaxation. Cut out light and noise by adding black-out curtains to your room, shutting your door and turning off electronic appliances. Keep your room well-ventilated by opening a window or having a small fan. Make sure that your pillows and mattress are comfortable and dont leave you with added pain or stiffness throughout the night or in the morning. Moving bedsheets and blankets so theyre not touching your legs and feet can also help with intensified nerve pain.
Adequate rest is so important and can help with chronic nerve pain. Make sleep as easy for yourself as possible.
Want more helpful tips on living with peripheral, diabetic or chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy? Visit our blog to learn more.